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Updated: Complete Ring Cycles Productions: 2013

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 31 December 2012 | 10:34:00 am

Rheingold, Bayreuth 1876

Only productions that have at least announced their principle casts have been included. As always, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any listing and recommend that you check with the box office before booking. We will attempt to add video and photos as time allows.  If you believe we have missed a production - and we have no doubt that that is the case -  please get in touch and let us know: where, when and who.

10:34:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Contributors/Articles Wanted

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday 28 December 2012 | 10:20:00 pm

Over time, we have found some of our best articles, reviews,  monographs and academic papers  submitted by external sources. With that in mind, we would like to extend an official and open invitation to anyone who would like to contribute articles, papers, reviews, etc. In keeping with our rather idiosyncratic style - and the best interests of philosophical anarchist thought (one feels Wagner would have been pleased) - there are few rules regarding submission within the outlines explained below:

The item must relate to Wagner, his live, works, etc.
The item must be of interest to those with an interest in Wagner - even if only casually.
The item must be submitted in English.

Although all submissions will of course be read, we cannot guarantee using everything submitted - but will try our best.

Alas, the author will receive no monetary reward but will have our undying gratitude - and your name "in lights".

Submissions please to the following address:

10:20:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Watch Glyndebourne's Tristan und Isolde now & free.

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 26 December 2012 | 5:48:00 pm

If  you missed our earlier article on this Glyndebourne's first Tristan und Isolde, it is now being streamed free live at the Guardian's website. Available till the 6 January 2013. We could think of much worse ways to spend a Boxing Day evening


Conductor: Jiří Bĕlohlávek
Director: Nikolaus Lehnhoff
Set and Lighting Designer: Roland Aeschlimann
Costume Designer: Andrea Schmidt-Futterer
Associate Lighting Designer: Robin Carter
Assistant Director: Daniel Dooner

Cast includes:
Isolde: Nina Stemme
Brangäne: Katarina Karnéus
Kurwenal: Bo Skovhus
Tristan: Robert Gambill
Melot: Stephen Gadd
King Marke: René Pape
Young Sailor/Shepherd: Timothy Robinson
Steersman: Richard Mosley-Evans

London Philharmonic Orchestra
The Glyndebourne Chorus
5:48:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

The Third Man? Both Barry Millington & Wagner Society Victoria reply

We have noted what has become in some quarters a rather "heated" debate about a Daguerreotype found by the Kaplan Collection which they believe maybe the earliest photograph of Wagner (at 30) so far found. We have also, noted the Wagner Society's (London) balanced analysis of the image and its history which can be found here. Now, Peter Bassett of the Victoria Wagner Society has published an article which seems to prove that the image in question could not possibly be that of Richard Wagner. Using close analysis and pursuing the historical records, Peter seems to prove that the image could not have been taken before 1855 - while Wagner was in exile in Switzerland. The full article can , and should in our opinion, be read here.

On a related note - but not connected to either of the analysis already cited - Barry Millington (editor of the Wagner Journal and author of a new book on Wagner and his works:  Wagner: The Sorcerer Of Bayreuth) has recently been in contact and made the following statement:

"For the subject of an anonymous daguerreotype to be identified with Wagner, you would expect as a basic minimum that there would be a facial resemblance. Albert Kaplan's picture unfortunately bears no resemblance to any known portrait or photograph of Wagner. He's not deterred, however, even by the dimple, but is there even any history of attribution to Wagner? Apparently not. Mr Kaplan acquired the picture and decided immediately that it was Wagner. What can one say? "

4:43:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

A Digital Christmas Card from the Wagnerian: Kirsten Flagstad, Eugene Ormandy,: Ah, Perfido (1937)

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 24 December 2012 | 7:09:00 am

Yes, it's that time of year again, and as I hate wasting paper (all those poor trees) you, regular readers (and contributors, bloggers,  re-tweeters, artists, houses, etc especially) , get a digital Christmas card . From 1937, with Eugene Ormandy, conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, the legend that is Kirsten Flagstad, sings Beethoven's lesser heard "Ah, Perfido" in a wonderfully clear recording. Yours to download free (courtesy of, as it's in the public domain. Well, you know how mean I am ).

Happy Christmas, and all that other hum bug!


The Festspielhaus while under construction

BEETHOVEN: Ah, Perfido!, Op. 65

Kirsten Flagstad, soprano
Philadelphia Orchestra
Eugene Ormandy, conductor

Victor 78rpm Album M-439 (14844, 1879)
Recorded October 17, 1937
Digital transfer by F. Reeder
Creative Commons license: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0

Download by clicking here: - BEETHOVEN - Ah, Perfido 8.0 MB(MP3 Vbr) (hosted at

Found here

Lyrics (Not very christmassy I know, but hey!)

BEETHOVEN: Ah, Perfido!, Op. 65

Ah! perfido, spergiuro,
Barbaro traditor, tu parti?
E son questi gl'ultimi tuoi congedi?
Ove s'intese tirannia più crudel?
Va, scellerato! va, pur fuggi da me,
L'ira de' numi non fuggirai.
Se v'è giustizia in ciel, se v'è pietà,
Congiureranno a gara tutti a punirti!
Ombra seguace, presente, ovunque vai,
Vedrò le mie vendette,
Io già le godo immaginando.
I fulmini ti veggo già balenar d'intorno.
Ah no! Fermate, vindici Dei!
Risparmiate quel cor, ferite il mio!
S'ei non è più qual era, son io qual fui,
Per lui vivea, voglio morir per lui!

Per pietà, non dirmi addio!
Di te priva che farò?
Tu lo sai, bell'idol mio!
Io d'affanno morirò.

Ah crudel! Tu vuoi ch'io mora!
Tu non hai pietà di me?
Perchè rendi a chi t'adora
Così barbara mercè?
Dite voi se in tanto affanno
Non son degna di pietà?
Ah! You treacherous, faithless,
barbaric traitor, you leave?
And is this your last farewell?
Where did one hear of a crueller tyranny?
Go, despicable man! Go, flee from me!
You won't flee from the wrath of the gods.
If there is justice in heaven, if there is pity,
all will join forces in a contest to punish you.
I follow your trail! I am wherever you go,
I will live to see my revenge,
I already take my delight in it in my imagination.
I already see you surrounded by flashes of lightning.
Alas! Pause, avenging gods!
Spare that heart, wound mine!
If he is not what he was, I am still what I was.
For him I lived, for him I want to die!

Have mercy, don't bid me farewell,
what shall I do without you?
You know it, my beloved idol!
I will die of grief.

Ah, cruel man! You want me to die!
Don't you have pity on me?
Why do you reward the one who adores you
in such a barbaric way?
Tell me, if in such a grief
I do not deserve pity?

 Translation © Bertram Kottmann
(Please see here for more of Mr Kottmann's wonderful translations)
7:09:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Wagner at the 30? The Wagner Society speaks

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday 21 December 2012 | 12:31:00 am

"In March 1844 Richard Wagner was 30 and living in Dresden. In his autobiography, Mein Leben, he recounts “no recollections of any importance in [early] 1844 other than two enterprises: the first to Berlin early in the year, for the production of my fliegender Holländer, and the other in March to Hamburg for Rienzi” Ken Sunshine: Wagner News 

We often receive many replies to articles published here (so much so that we are thinking of a producing a "letter to the editor page") but nothing seems to have stirred as many replies - or indeed controversy - as The Kaplan Collections proposed photo of a 30 year old Wagner, as reported here. We will publish more on this later but for now would like to draw your attention to a wonderfully lucid examination presented in the Wagner Society (London) "Wagner News" written by their Webmaster Ken Sunshine -  the opening of which is quoted above.

This has now been made freely available to none Society members and can be read by following the link below. Highly recommended.

Read the full article here:  Wagner at 30?
12:31:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Is this the earliest photo of Richard Wagner?

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday 15 December 2012 | 11:54:00 am

The Kaplan Collection have published the daguerreotype below -  taken in either March or April 1844. Making an not unreasoned argument, Kaplan suggests that this may well be the earliest photograph of Wagner found so far. Before dismissing it completely,  might we suggest you investigate the argument, evidence and a detailed examination of the daguerreotyp, its origin and restoration by visiting The Kaplan Collection where the publisher also seeks feedback

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Watch act 3 of ROH Walkure internationally and on demand

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 12 December 2012 | 8:27:00 pm

As part of the new partnership between the Guardian and the ROH, the Guardian website will broadcast Act 3 of this years Walkure - from multiple and unusual perspectives.

On January 7th 2013, visitors to the site will be able to view and listen to Walkure (recorded earlier this year) from one of 3 perspectives available on three separate but simultaneous streams: from cameras backstage, cameras following Antonio Pappano in the pit or cameras giving a wide angle view of the stage.

This will be included in a day of events on the Guardian's website starting at 10:30 and finishing at 9:00 pm (GMT).

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Johannes Debus to take the baton from Jiří Bělohlávek : Tristan und Isolde, Canadian Opera Company

Toronto – Canadian Opera Company Music Director Johannes Debus conducts his first Tristan und Isolde when he leads the COC Orchestra and Chorus this winter in the company’s production of Wagner’s epic masterpiece. He replaces Jiří Bělohlávek, who has regrettably withdrawn due to health reasons.

“Jiří Bělohlávek is one of the foremost conductors in the world and I regret that he will not be making his COC debut at this time. When my appointment to the COC was announced in 2008, Jiří was one of the first people to contact me about coming to work with the company, and he has an open invitation to conduct one of our productions in the future,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef. “I am very grateful to Johannes for agreeing to take over for Jiří, especially on such short notice. Tristan und Isolde is one of the most revolutionary and influential works in music history and it is the rare conductor who can command the piece with the necessary skill and musicianship. I look forward to watching Johannes lead his first Tristan on the COC’s opening night in January.”
8:01:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Trailer: Lohengrin - Teatro alla Scala 2012-2013

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday 11 December 2012 | 6:50:00 pm

11, 14, 18, 21, 27 December 2012


Lohengrin - Jonas Kaufmann
Elsa - Anja Harteros / Annette Dasch
Telramund - Tomas Tomasson
Ortrud - Evelyn Herlitzius
Heinrich der Vogler - René Pape
King's Herald - Zeljko Lucic

Conductor: Daniel Barenboim
Director: Claus Guth
Set Designs: Christian Schmidt 

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Wagner makes the front pages of the Italian media - again

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 10 December 2012 | 5:53:00 am

"This choice is a smack for Italian art, a blow for national pride in a moment of crisis,"  Corriere della Sera

One hundred and fifty years after they helped forge their home nations' ideas of pride and patriotism, Wagner and Verdi have proved they can still provoke a bust-up between Germany and Italy.

As opera houses around the world gear up to celebrate the 200th birthdays of the composers – they were both born in 1813 – the decision by Milan's La Scala to seemingly overlook its local hero and instead open its season on Friday with Wagner's Lohengrin has sparked angry criticism.

The theatre's decision to opt for Wagner, whose pounding operas were the soundtrack for German unification, over Verdi, whose uplifting works inspired Italy's own Risorgimento, comes as Italians feel the bite of austerity policies they see as dictated by Berlin, a humiliation lightened only by Italy's beating of Germany in the European championships this summer.

"This choice is a smack for Italian art, a blow for national pride in a moment of crisis," Milan's daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera, declared, claiming there was disquiet in the orchestra at La Scala, where Verdi made his professional debut. "Would the Germans have inaugurated a Wagnerian year with a work by Verdi?" asked the paper.

Peter Conrad, the British author of Verdi and/or Wagner, a study of the lives of both men, agrees. "As La Scala's musical director and a Wagner specialist, [Daniel] Barenboim has put his tastes ahead of Italy's," he told the Guardian. "This reminds me of how a German banker paid for a bust of Wagner to go up in Venice at the start of the 20th century before the local town hall then shamefully put up one of Verdi next to it. Italy gets trampled on because it is not good at celebrating its own culture."

However, Stéphane Lissner, La Scala's general manager, pointed out that next year the theatre will stage five works by Wagner against eight by Verdi and open next season with Verdi's La Traviata, "which is chronologically exact, because Verdi was born in October, while Wagner was born in May," he said. "The rest is just stupidity and ignorance." Moreover, Barenboim – a Wagner expert – was only free this month, he added.

Barenboim has chimed in, saying: "What difference does it make inaugurating the season with one or the other when almost all the works of both will get performed?"

Continue Reading at: The Guardian

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Dijon Opera announce new Ring Cycle in 2013 - in two days!

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday 8 December 2012 | 1:04:00 pm

Dijon Opera have announced that in 2013 they will perform an entirely new, fully staged Ring Cycle in a festival lasting just two days! Each day will see performances of two of Wagner's Dramas: Rheingold and Walkure on day one followed by Siegfried and Götterdämmerung on day two.

In an laudable attempt to make Wagner accessible to more people, seats prices will range from 5 euros to 25 euros for a full cycle. Top seat prices at 150 Euros for a full cycle. What looks like a fine cast will include Daniel Brenna - a performer whose lyrical Siegfried we have enjoyed greatly on the past.

And the "concept and theme" that informs this cyclce? A very interesting one it would seem  In the words of Dijon Opera:

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Video: Jonas Kaufmann In Conversation

Originally brought to our attention by the always excellent Sounds and Fury. In English - despite the French titles. And if you have access to Spotify...

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Jonathan Harvey: 3 May 1939 - 4 December 2012,

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday 6 December 2012 | 1:49:00 pm

Included below is both part of the obituary in yesterdays Guardian and his opera about Wagner's last few minutes - Wagner Dream. If you are in the UK in 2013 WNO will be performing Wagner Dream for the first time fully staged in the UK. More information here (Trailer below). Last year we also reprinted an explanation he gave regarding the composition of Wagner Dream - that can be found by clicking this link

The composer Jonathan Harvey, who has died aged 73 after suffering from motor neurone disease, was unique in the way he put digital technology and a strenuously rational approach to music at the service of a deeply spiritual message. In terms of international profile and honours, Harvey's status was almost on a par with his slightly older colleagues Harrison Birtwistle and Peter Maxwell Davies. While they have always been in the news, thanks to their pugnaciously unfashionable views and hard-edged modernism, Harvey's rise was so inconspicuous that even the musical world seemed not to realise just how eminent he had become.
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Wagner Spotify Playlist: Wagner Complete Operas (DG: 2012)

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 2 December 2012 | 5:01:00 am

We have already mentioned the DG "Wagner: The Complete Operas" If you are thinking of buying it but would like to listen to it first , or if you are like us and just wanted,yet another, quick Wagner playlist for your Ipod then the entire set is now available on Spotify (our apologies for a number of readers that do not have access to Spotify)

The other Wagner Box set that you might be interested in - Wagner's Vision" - is also available but alas, Spotify's meta-tagging is so poor we are struggling to collect it all. Once we have, we will make the playlist available to you.

But for now:

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