Recent Images

Loading...

ShareThis

Twitter

Follow TheWagnerian on Twitter

Wagner Journal

Archive

Powered by Blogger.

T

 Twylah Fan Page

Opera Today

Watch Now: The 2012 George Solti - International Conductors Competition Finals (Includes Rienzi)

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 30 September 2012 | 3:10:00 am

Date 23 September 2012. Full details of the annual competition please visit their website

Daye Lin from China (32) has won the 6th Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition in Frankfurt am Main 

First Prize was won by the 32 year Daye Lin. from China. Second Prize was awarded to Daniel Smith (30) from Australia and the Third Prize to Brandon Keith Brown (31) from the USA.

Prize money: €15,000 for the winner, €10,000 for the 2nd prize and €5000 for the 3rd.

Winners of the 1st and 2nd prizes also receive invitations to conduct the Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester, the hr-Sinfonieorchester and other international orchestras in Germany and elsewhere.

Three finalists conducted The Frankfurt Radio Symphony this morning at the Alte Oper Frankfurt – the works, drawn by lots, were: the overture to Euryanthe“ op. 81 by Carl Maria von Weber (Daniel Smith), the overture to, Rienzi, der letzte der Tribunen“ by Richard Wagner (Brandon Keith Brown) and the overture to, Fledermaus“ by Johann Straus (Daye Lin). All three candidates then conducted the 2nd suite from Maurice Ravel’s „Daphnis and Chloë“.

Chairman of the jury Rolf-E. Breuer announced the results after consultation with the jury, members of which had also attended rehearsals for the final concert which took place on Friday and Saturday. „We want this competition to be a platform for future world class conductors“, said Breuer.

The thrilling morning was rounded off with Emil von Řezníček’s Donna Diana ouverture, conducted by the winner, Daye Lin. The score of this (surprise) work was only given to the candidates at the beginning of the competition.

The Final’s Jury, chaired by Rolf-E. Breuer, consisted of: Ingo de Haas (1st Leader of the Opern- und Museumsorchester), Bernd Loebe (Intendant & Managing Director of Oper Frankfurt), Dr. Stephan Pauly (Intendant & Managing Director of Alte Oper Frankfurt), Markus Stenz (General Music Director of the City of Cologne, GürzenichKapellmeister), Sebastian Weigle (General Music Director of the City of Frankfurt, Oper

Frankfurt and the Opern- und Museumsorchester), Andrea Zietzschmann (Manager of the Music Department and Orchestra at the Hessischen Rundfunk and Orchestral Manager of the hr-Sinfonieorchester). 405 conductors, aged between 20 and 35, from 70 countries, applied to take part in this year’s competition. 22 of them were invited to come to Frankfurt to take part in preliminary rounds (September 17th–20th) with the Opern- und Museumsorchester and The Frankfurt Radio Symphony, from which three finalists were selected.

3:10:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Das Rheingold, Royal Opera House: Review round-up

So, Britain's opera reviewers have returned from the best free seats in the house. Well, not quite, those free tickets were reserved for certain members of the present cabinet - but you know what I mean. Actually, forget that also, having sat in a number of the ROH boxes over the years (sorry, you must forgive a now admittedly embarrassing capitalist youth - personally I blame the 80's and Duran Duran videos) like most boxes (for those lucky enough to have not experienced)  they have you creaking your neck and banging your knees off of the front if you try to see anything). Anyway,  upon returning - or while on the Tube on the way home - they have extracted their Ipads and written their thoughts. Of course, as always, they often seem to have been at different performances - but such is the unreliability of human neurophysiology

Production

One assumes whether you found it stimulating depends on how you respond to some poor soul, who has has reached the apex of their career, being made to dress up like an escaped "mad scientist" from a bad B Movie - while  simulating sex with a high-street dummy (No, no! Not members of the the Cabinet - I mean Keith Warner's production.).

So, first to Rupert Christiansen at the Guardian (RC - G): does that do anything for you Christian? 

"Third time round, I am finding Keith Warner’s production of the Ring no more intellectually illuminating, dramatically impressive or visually beguiling than I did when I first saw it. "

Seems not, anything else?

"Fatally, it lacks any clarity of interpretation or purpose: what Warner presents is neither a romantic legendary saga, nor an archetypal tragedy of hubris and catastrophe nor a Shavian critique of modern civilization"

Instead the staging tries to have it all ways, stuffing the ragbag with an assortment of images and symbols, in costuming that spans several eras and idioms. The effect is not so much suggestively eclectic as downright chaotic"

Ok, anyone else? Michael Church at the Independent (MC - I)? Did it "float your boat"?

Eight years after its unveiling, Keith Warner’s ‘Ring’ is back, and though his ‘Rheingold’ has been streamlined, the balance between symbolism and naturalism remains awkward (we’re not meant to laugh when Alberich turns into a monster, but we do).

Oh dear.

"And the opening scene still doesn't work: it has no primeval suggestiveness, and there’s a crude disjunction between the gracefully undulating helix-spiral backdrop and the tiresome St Trinians-type taunting of Alberich by the naked Rhinedaughters"

We seem to be acquiring movie references as we go along here - one hope it doesn't turn into a theme. Richard Fairmen at the FT (RF - FT)?

It is probably fortunate that Keith Warner’s production for the Royal Opera preceded the financial world’s own Götterdämmerung. Assembled between 2004 and 2006, it offers a rather muddle-headed take on the big picture, though Das Rheingold starts out promisingly enough, pitting the aristocratic, 19th-century ruling class of the gods against warring clans of Victorian industrialists and evil-minded scientists."

Will you lot stop it with the B-Movie film references - I wish I hadn't started it now. Barry Millington at the London Evening Standard (BM - LES). One can always rely on you to take things seriously - can't we?

Too often revivals fail to reignite the spark of the original. Happily, Warner has returned to direct a partly new cast himself. The basic conception is the same but every line of text has been rethought. 


The Rhinemaidens’ teasing of Alberich seems crueller than ever. Alberich’s grisly eugenic experiments in Nibelheim shock anew.

This infinitely resourceful production — a truly creative collaboration between singers and director — strikes gold in more than one way

I see, no film reference but you do sneak in an 80's music reference. It seems I am being haunted by that miss-spent youth noted earlier - or is it just guilt?

Conductor and orchestra

Das Rheingold - a dry, unyielding score at the best of times - did not quite catch fire musically either, despite Antonio Pappano’s astutely judged conducting. RC - G)

"...dry, unyielding score..."? Really? The variances of human neurophysiology at play again it would seem.

Antonio Pappano and his orchestra are on top form (MC-I)

Antonio Pappano’s musical direction lives very much in the here-and-now. There is little of the mythic quality of some Wagnerians to his conducting, or their achingly expansive speeds, and he keeps the music on a keen, forward trajectory that should ensure this cycle never loses its impetus... RF-FT).

Ok, good stuff. Now what about noted Wagnerian scholar Barry M (BM - LES) Barry? Barry? Oh well, maybe he forgot?

Cast:

Bryn Terfel made a grippingly restless, devious charmer of a Wotan (one thought of Orson Welles and Citizen Kane) (Look, what did I just say about enough with the film references? TW) with a worthy adversary in Wolfgang Koch’s subtly psychopathic Alberich. Sarah Connolly sang her first Fricka with eloquent legato, and Iain Paterson’s sturdy Fasolt and Gerhard Siegel’s snivelling Mime were also outstanding (RC -G)


Wolfgang Koch’s Alberich is a resonant presence, maybe too debonair for the demands of his gnome-like character, but as a counterweight to Bryn Terfel’s Wotan.  Terfel’s singing rightly governs the pace of events. When he declares "I must have the ring", the whole world seems to pause and take account of this fateful realisation, and a similar effect occurs when he tells Alberich - whom he has stripped of all his possessions - that he must yield up that last treasure too. Erda’s prophetic emergence from the earth - is powered by Maria Radner’s compelling sound; Stig Andersen’s Loge and Gerhard Siegel’s Mime are vivid creations. (MC-I)

(The) Wotan of Bryn Terfel, who increasingly feels like the raison d’etre of the entire enterprise. Gloriously sung, imposingly played as the patrician leader of a dying breed, Terfel’s Wotan is a match for any, past or present. His ability to sing quietly and look intimately into his character’s heart provides a depth of understanding that is generally missing from what is going on around him. 

The rest of the cast put musical qualities first. There is little of the old-style Wagnerian shouting, barking or whining, though with some loss of character along the way. Wolfgang Koch’s businesslike Alberich and his sidekick, the nerdy Mime of Gerhard Siegel, sing solidly. Sarah Connolly makes a dignified Fricka and, among those who will not appear again later, Stig Andersen was a somewhat muted Loge, Ann Petersen a nicely open-hearted Freia, and Iain Paterson sang strongly as the more human of the giants, Fasolt. (RF - FT)

Bryn Terfel is back as Wotan, running the gamut of megalomania, surliness and tenderness. His consort, Fricka, is newly cast: Sarah Connolly gives notice of a fine assumption to come with her natural sense of line. Stig Andersen cannot compete with the agility of the late Philip Langridge as Loge but plays him as a portly, greasy butler. Gerhard Siegel’s gift for comic acting is once again exploited to fine effect as Mime. Freia’s loss of innocence is painfully depicted by Ann Petersen. (BM - LES

Full reviews can be read - and is recommended - by following the links below. Next up: Walkure.


ROH Rheingold - 2006

Full Reviews:


1:08:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Evelyn Lear - A Celebration. Washington DC 12 Oct 2012

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday, 29 September 2012 | 10:58:00 pm

Presented by the Wagner Society of Washington. Included below a brief bio from Opera News. Images and video added by TW

EVELYN LEAR—A CELEBRATION 

When: 12 October 2012
Time: 7:30 pm
Location:  George Washington University
Tickets: Free and open to the public
Full Details: Wagner Society of Washington


If any artist could be said to have had it all, it was Evelyn Lear — a striking beauty, a masterful musician and a singing actress of startling imagination.

Lear had brains, heart and courage in equal and abundant measure; her personal warmth, professional generosity and passionate curiosity were nonpareil. And — no small matter when creating a professional legacy — she was a woman for whom honesty and frankness were almost a compulsion. Born Evelyn Shulman, the soprano was raised in Brooklyn, the daughter of a musical family. She studied piano and French horn — an instrument she played in the Tanglewood orchestra under Leonard Bernstein during her student days. She did not seriously consider a singing career until her early first marriage, to physician Walter Lear, brought her to the Washington, D.C. area, where she made her nonprofessional opera debut in Weill's Down in the Valley. After her marriage to Lear ended in the early 1950s, Evelyn Lear — by then the mother of a son and a daughter — returned to New York, where she studied at Juilliard. It was there that she met Texas- born baritone Thomas Stewart, who was to be the love of her life. Lear and Stewart were married in 1955, marking the start of a union that endured for more than fifty years, until Stewart's death, in 2006.

In 1962, Lear's reputation kicked up a notch when she was asked to sing a concert performance of

Berg's Lulu in Vienna — on very short notice. As she told OPERA NEWS in 1967, "I was recommend- ed as the only person in the world who could learn the role in three weeks. Of course, I dropped dead when I saw the score, but I did it." Two years later, Lear sang Lulu in a production staged for the reopening of Vienna's Theater an der Wien, with Karl Böhm conducting; such was Lear's success that there were to be six other new productions of the Berg opera mounted for her Lulu within the decade. She made her Salzburg Festival debut in 1962, as Cherubino, and the following year created Jeanne in Egk's Die Verlobung in San Domingo for the gala reopening of the Munich Nationaltheater. Rudolf Bing offered Lear the chance to sing three roles at the Met in the 1964-65 season — Octavi- an, Marie in Wozzeck and Vanessa — but the soprano chose instead to make her Covent Garden debut, as Donna Elvira, during the period in question. She did not arrive at the Met until the 1967 world premiere of Mourning Becomes Electra, Marvin David Levy's opera of Eugene O'Neill's cycle of plays about murder and re- venge in a nineteenth-century New England family.

Lear sang fifteen seasons with the Met, where her ninety-three performances in New York and on tour ranged from Cherubino,

Octavian and the Composer to Donna Elvira, Alice Ford, Sophie and Marie in Wozzeck. She made her unannounced Met farewell in 1985, as the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, a role that had become one of her specialties since her first performance of it , in Berlin in 1972 .

After Lear stopped singing, she remained active as a teacher, working with students privately, on faculty at the University of Maryland and in master classes throughout North America. In 1999, Lear and Stewart established the Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart Emerging Singers Program (ESP) in partnership with the Wagner Society of Washington, D.C., dedicated to identifying singers with the potential for a career sing- ing Wagner. It was a subject in which Lear remained fiercely interested until the end of her life: in late May, just six weeks before her death, Lear was in the audience at the Washington Chorus's Wagner program, The Essential Wagner, applauding the artists from the program that she and her late husband founded together.

10:58:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

The Wagnerian at Pinterest

You may, should you wish, now find the Wagnerian at Pinterest - link below. Let it never be said that we don't get around. Although, must admit simply trying it out at the moment to judge whether it might be of any use. However, what is it with the obsession with shoes over there?

4:27:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Why Thomas Adès considers Wagner to be a "fungus"

As regular readers will know, I am not against those who analyse  Wagner in a "negative" manner. However, the arguments made by composer Thomas Adès, in conversation with the Guardian's Tom Service, have left even me a tad confused. Perhaps they will make more sense to you?

TA: "....in opera, because you have this further absurdity of the supposed psychology of the characters on stage. I really want to do something where their psychology is not the important point. Because you can't just believe that these characters have a psychology of their own unless it is genuinely, unequivocally encoded in the music. Psychological problems in themselves are not really a strong enough force for musical structure. This is the root of my problem with Wagner...."

Can you expand on that? What about the power of Wagner's music to cause seismic events in something like Tristan und Isolde?

TA: Well, I find that much less interesting than Janacek's operas about fate – because I think music in an opera should be a sort of fate that the characters are going to be subjected to.

But isn't that exactly what Tristan is about?

TA: No! Because they're taking drugs, aren't they? It's artificial. They're not really that keen on each other. I can hear that in the music, it's inorganic.

But the music in Tristan – that's surely the fate that drives them, that they can't escape from? … The whole thing is about an unstable situation from bar one, which ends up in an image of stability, which the whole thing is striving for and reaches only at the end of the piece – it's a place that they're all trapped in until the very end.

TA: I don't know, I find it a bit too long.
I'm not defending it, necessarily, in those terms, but surely in Wagner the fate of the characters is in the music. Why doesn't Wagner do that for you?

Thomas Adès: The Tempest

TA: It's too psychological. I'm thinking of The Ring more than Tristan, there's an awful lot of psychology in it which I find tedious. And naive, in a sort of superficial way. I mean, so much of Parsifal is dramatically absurd, which would be fine if the music was aware of the absurdity, but it is as if the whole piece is drugged and we all have to pretend that it's not entirely ridiculous. And it seems to me that a country that can take a character as funny as Kundry seriously, this woman who sleeps for aeons and is only woken up by this horrible chord, a country that can seriously believe in anything like Parsifal without laughing, was bound to get into serious trouble.

You're obviously not convinced by the music?

TA: I don't find Wagner's an organic, necessary art. Wagner's music is fungal. I think Wagner is a fungus. It's a sort of unnatural growth. It's parasitic in a sense – on its models, on its material. His material doesn't grow symphonically – it doesn't grow through a musical logic – it grows parasitically. It has a laboratory atmosphere.
To read the full interview click here
12:26:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Twilight of the Gods: MET/Lepage Ring released on CD. Listen here

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 27 September 2012 | 10:39:00 pm

We have already mentioned it but for those that may have missed it: a 2 disc highlight CD.  As anyone who has experienced opera live,  then in some form of visual media distribution and then in audio format only;  they can be very different experiences. We also find that "highlight" discs offer an even further form of experience. The newest MET ring proves to be no different.

Our thoughts? We would need to listen to it a few more times - however, at present, it would not replace the Bohm/Bayreuth highlights disc. Although Terfel's Wanderer seems especially effective so far.

For those without Spotify there are links to Amazon at the bottom of the page to listen to samples of both. As always, should you decide to purchase one - or both -  we recommend "looking around".
10:39:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Janowski Tristan und Isolde to be released 30/10. Nina Stemme, & Stephen Gould,


This is the one part of this continuing series we can say we have really been waiting to hear.  Available as a  3 SA-CD set and also as download.

With complete libretto in German and English

TRISTAN UND ISOLDE

Stephen Gould l Tenor
(Tristan)
Nina Stemme l Soprano
(Isolde)
Kwangchul Youn l Bass
(König Marke)
Johan Reuter l Baritone
(Kurwenal)
Michelle Breedt l Mezzo-soprano
(Brangäne)
Simon Pauly l Tenor
(Melot)
Clemens Bieber l Tenor
(Ein Hirte A shepherd)
Arttu Kataja l Baritone
(Ein Steuermann A steersman)
Timothy Fallon l Tenor
(Ein junger Seemann A young sailor)

Rundfunkchor Berlin
Chorus Master Eberhard Friedrich

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
conducted by Marek Janowski

PTC 5186404



Live recording 
of the concert performance in the Berlin Philharmonie 
on March 27, 2012
9:53:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Whose Wagner recordings would Christian Thielemann recommend you listen to?

No, we believe his mom does not cut his hair
Would it surprise you to learn: Krauss, Knappertsbusch, and Karajan but not Furtwangler - at least directly?

In his own words today:

"I'd consider listening to older recordings of great conductors, especially the ones made in Bayreuth in the 1950s and '60s. There's some astonishing material there: Clemens Krauss, Hans Knappertsbusch, also Herbert von Karajan, who once conducted the 'Ring' there. Strong personalities who interpreted the scores in such utterly different ways. And it's completely incredible that such a thing is possible at all."
9:16:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Wagner to feature on new 10 Euro Coin


Considering how much of his life he spent in poverty and certainly on the run from creditors (would The Dutchman be the same opera if not?) together with his political beliefs, one must wonder what Wagner would have thought if he had known that he would one day feature on a 10 Euro coin?

Well, whatever his thoughts, in 2013 a ten euro coin will be issued in Germany featuring his prominent profile.

At least it is silver - and not gold:  Details below:

Country:Germany
Mintage year:2013
Issue date:22.05.2013
Face value:10 euro
Diameter:32.50 mm
Weight:18.00 g
Alloy:Silver
Quality:Proof.
Design:Erich Ott , München



7:11:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Gramophone Opera Of The Year: Fidelio - Stemme; Kaufmann; Abbado. LFO

Seems to be a very good year for Abbado:

Beethoven Fidelio
Stemme; Kaufmann; Lucerne Festival Orchestra / Claudio Abbado
Decca 478 2551DH2

Abbado’s second Berlin Philharmonic symphony cycle, recorded live in Rome in 2001, thrust him more or less unexpectedly into the ranks of the immortals where Beethoven is concerned. Seven years after that, in Reggio Emilia in 2008, he conducted his first Fidelio, followed two years later by a pair of semi-staged Lucerne Festival performances from which this recording thrillingly derives.

The revised dialogue provided by stage director Tatjana Gürbaca is not without controversy. In Act 1, her cuts and rewrites remove all hint of domesticity and private affection; in Act 2, she omits just about everything. The result is Beethoven’s lofty Singspiel recast as musical meta-theatre. Happily, the cast is as fine as any that might be assembled today and Abbado himself conducts a performance the like of which we have not heard since the time of Furtwängler. It is a no-frills yet at the same time deeply expressive reading which goes like a bolted arrow directly to the heart of the matter. If Fidelio speaks as no other opera does of the miraculous resilience of the human spirit, Claudio Abbado’s late re-creation of it serves only to compound that miracle.

Richard Osborne


6:32:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Claudio Abbado wins Lifetime Achievement Award


Announced today by Grammophone, who have also awarded his Bruckner 5 with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra DVD,  Performance of the year. Full details below on both awards.

6:21:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Ian Storey as Siegfried - Proms Ring Cycle 2013

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 | 11:25:00 am



That forest bird has been back again: Ian will perform Siegfried - but only in Götterdämmerung - on July 28. Or so she tells us.

11:25:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Simon O'Neill as Siegmund: Proms 2013 with Berlin Staatskapelle/Barenboim


The heading says it all really, but we thought we would provide another piece of information to what must be the worst kept secret in Proms history. But, just in-case you have not been keeping track, The Berlin Staatskapelle and Barenboim will be performing a Ring Cycle at the 2013 Proms. We can now tell you that a little forest bird has flown in the window - yet again - and whispered to us that O'Neill will perform Siegmund in Walkure on 23, July 2013. Remember where you heard it first.



11:08:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

“Unresolved Desires,” an afternoon of Wagner - Oct 21. NY


What better way to spend a wet afternoon in NY at the end of October?

Analog Arts presents “Unresolved Desires,” an afternoon of iconic scenes from Richard Wagner's operas performed by emerging singers from the 2012 Wagner Intensive at Baldwin Wallace University


 Rising stars of the Wagnerian stage will join forces for a program of opera scenes on Sunday, October 21, at 3 PM. The afternoon's line-up will feature Jennifer D. Behnke, Christina Carr, Caleb Stokes and Jeremy Irland, performing beloved segments from Richard Wagner's Die Walküre, Parsifal, and Lohengrin under the baton of Wilson Southerland, and accompanied by pianist Mary Pinto. The four singers were participants in the 2012 Wagner Intensive at Baldwin Wallace University, where they studied with co-directors Jane Eaglen and Tim Mussard, as well as coach/conductors Eric Weimer and William Vendice.

Presented by Analog Arts, “Unresolved Desires” will take place at the Church of Christ and St. Stephen at 122 West 69th Street, New York, New York. Tickets can be purchased at BrownPaperTickets or at the door. Admission is $30.

Date: Oct 21, 2012 3:00 PM 

Location:  Christ and St. Stephen Church, New York, NY

Concert Program:

Part I
Die Walküre - Act 1 Scene 3 - Jennifer Behnke, Sieglinde and Caleb Stokes, Siegmund
Die Walküre - Act 2 Scene 1 - Christina Carr, Fricka and Jeremy Irland, Wotan
"Leb wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind" from Die Walküre - Jeremy Irland


Part II
"Dich, teure Halle" from Tannhäuser - Jennifer Behnke
Parsifal - Act 2 Scene 2 - Christina Carr, Kundry and Caleb Stokes, Parsifal
Lohengrin Act 2 Scene 2 - Jennifer Behnke, Elsa; Christina Carr, Ortrud and Jeremy Irland, Friedrich

JENNIFER D. BEHNKE (Sieglinde/Die Walküre; Elsa/Lohengrin) Praised by Gordon Hawkins as, "quite possibly the strongest singer he's ever met," Ms. Behnke, is excited to reunite with her colleagues from this summer's Wagner Intensive where Ms. Behnke sang Adriano in Rienzi and Grimgerde in Die Walküre. Other roles include roles of Nella in Gianni Schicchi and the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro (dell'Arte Opera Ensemble), Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Diane in Orphée aux enfers (International Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy). Earlier this season, Jennifer and her frequent collaborator, Eric Hunter presented a recital of art song program entitled “The Risk to Blossom,” featuring works by Richard Wagner, Claude Debussy, Nikolai Medtner and Ryan Malone. As a soprano soloist in the tri-state area, she has sung Handel's Messiah and Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Astoria Symphony. Ms. Behnke is soprano, cantor and psalmist at Sacred Heart Church in Bloomfield, New Jersey.


CHRISTINA CARR (Fricka, Die Walküre; Ortrud, Lohengrin and Kundry, Parsifal) lauded by The New York Times lauds as “utterly convincing” and a “show-stealer”, Ms. Carr is rapidly establishing her place as a formidable dramatic mezzo-soprano. She recently participated in new Wagner Intensive headed by Jane Eaglen and Tim Mussard, performing scenes as Kundry in Parsifal, Fricka and Schwertleite in Die Walküre. Earlier this year she performed the role of Azucena in Il Trovatore with Cleveland’s Opera Circle, with whom she had performed Amneris in Aida in 2011. Other recent performances include Azucena, Madam Flora (Baba) in The Medium, La zia principessa in Suor Angelica, and La Frugola in Il Tabarro with Taconic Opera. Ms. Carr was the first-prize winner of the New York Vocal Artists competition in 2002. She was also a finalist in the 2002 MacAllister awards, and a regional finalist in the 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.


CALEB STOKES (Siegmund/Die Walküre; Parsifal/Parsifal) Mr. Stokes is thrilled to be performing again with colleagues from this summer's Wagner Intensive. Opera credits include Luigi in Il Tabarro, Der Königssohn in Königskinder (dell'Arte Opera Ensemble), Peter in Peter Grimes, Narraboth in Salome (One World Symphony), Boris in Kat'a Kabanova (Yale Opera), Horatio in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (AOP and Mark Morris), and The Governor/Vanderdendur in Candide (Orchestra di Milano Giuseppe Verdi). In 2011, he was an Apprentice Artist with Chautauqua Opera. As a recitalist last season he collaborated with Wilson Southerland and Martha Cargo to create the innovative chamber piece 'Til Morning with AOP Helping Hands. In 2010 he created the role of Bob, singing Schumann's Dichterliebe in BAD ROMANCE. (art.party.theater.company). This fall he debuts in Boston as guest artist in recital at Boston Conservatory. Caleb hails from Pleasantville, NY and holds degrees from Oberlin and Yale.

JEREMY IRLAND (Wotan/Die Walküre; Friedrich/Lohengrin) a busy performer and teacher in the Walla Walla Valley, Mr. Irland's opera appearances include Bobby in Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel with Seattle Symphony, Wotan in Wagner’s Die Walküre and Hagen in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung with Baldwin Wallace Wagner Festival, Colline in Puccini’s La Boheme, Nardo in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, the Mother in Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins, and Doctor Bartolo and Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with UW Opera. He has also appeared as Sir Giorgio Valton in Bellini’s I Puritani with Seattle Opera outreach programs as well as the Doctor in Verdi’s La Traviata with Washington East Opera. Other credits include the Pirate King in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, Zacharias in Randall Thompson’s Nativity According to St. Luke, and dual world premières of Michael Valenti’s one-act operas Beau Nash and Story of an Hour with both the Portland Chamber Symphony and the Walla Walla Symphony.

WILSON SOUTHERLAND American conductor and pianist, Mr. Southerland is in high demand as a vocal coach and collaborator throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. His engagements have included concerts at London’s Wigmore Hall, South Africa’s State Theater, New York City’s Alice Tully Hall, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, and the Villa D’Ephrussi Palace near Nice, France. Mr. Southerland made his conducting debut this season to high acclaim with Philip Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles at North Carolina Opera, where he served as Associate Music Director. Wilson has enjoyed assistant-conductorships with the Castleton Festival, Seattle Opera, the Ohio Light Opera, and Opera Africa. His work as assistant conductor to Maestro Lorin Maazel has taken him to Virginia, San Francisco, and New York with upcoming engagements at the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman. Mr. Southerland debuted on the theatrical stage in Terrence McNally’s Tony-winning play Master Class. He holds a master of music from The Juilliard School in New York City, where he currently resides and maintains an active private studio.

MARY PINTO Acclaimed accompanist and vocal coach, Ms. Pinto has worked with international opera singers and major American opera companies for the past 25 years. She made her film debut recently in Wagner's Dream: The making of the Met's Ring which premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. During the past year, Mary has had the pleasure of coaching for Deborah Voigt in preparation for her 3 Brünnhilde's for the new Ring Cycle presented at the Metropolitan Opera. A student of John Wustman, Ms. Pinto began her professional career as rehearsal pianist for Dayton Opera, Omaha Opera and Augusta Opera. While at Omaha Opera, she privately coached many singers, including a young Susan Graham. Mary went on to Lyric Opera of Chicago Ryan Opera Center preparing performances of Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, and world premieres of Bright Sheng's The Song of Majnun and Bruce Saylor's Orpheus Descending. At Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, she prepared singers for Tosca, Otello and André Chénier. At Dallas Opera, Ms. Pinto collaborated on Carmen with Denyce Graves as well as preparing performances of Billy Budd, Káťa Kabanová, and Aida. Since returning to her home state of New Jersey, she has joined the faculties at Montclair State University and William Paterson University. Mary maintains a busy private coaching studio in New York City.

3:09:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Listen to: Nina Stemme, Ian Storey, Donald Runnicles & SSO: Tristan und Isolde

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 | 1:22:00 am


Part of the Scottish Symphony Orchestras Tristan und Isolde concert performance between now and April 2013, BBC Radio 3 will be broadcasting live act one on Thursday 27 September 2012. Should you not be able to get tickets for the opening night or Thursdays performance click the link below to listen live and for 6 days on-demand thereafter. Not to be missed. For full details of the series (including dates)" click this link - you might be able to pick-up a ticket also if your quick - for the second night. 



Opening Night: Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde: Act I
with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Thursday 27 September 2012, 7.30pm

Rachmaninov The Isle of the Dead
Interval (c. 20 minutes)

Wagner Tristan und Isolde: Act I
(concert performance, sung in German, with English surtitles)

Nina Stemme Isolde
Ian Storey Tristan
Tanja Ariane Baumgartner Brangäne
Boaz Daniel Kurvenal
Nicky Spence Young Seaman
Men of the RSNO Chorus
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Donald Runnicles conductor
1:22:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Free live video broadcast: Yannis Kokkos' production of Tristan und Isolde - 30/09/12


I have already gone into some detail about Wide Open Opera's production of Tristan und Isolde this month - Ireland's first in 49 years (Click here for the full details including video). However, if you are not lucky enough to get to Dublin to see it, Platform Ireland will be broadcasting the entire performance on the 30 September - live and in video. This will be made freely available internationally. If you have grown tired of many theatrical "interpretations" of Tristan - or simply just fancy a chance - then this production is one worth seeing. With a cast of some import it should be pleasing on the ears also.

Broadcasting 17:00 Sunday, 30 September 2012



Cast:

 Tristan: Lars Cleveman
 Isolde: Miriam Murphy
 Brangäne: Imelda Drumm
 Kurwenal: Brett Polegato
 Marke: Manfred Hemm
 Melot: Eugene Ginty
 Junger Seemann: Eamonn Mulhall
 Ein Hirt: Owen Gilhooly
 Ein Steuermann: Gavan Ring
 Conductor: Fergus Sheil
 Director: Yannis Kokkos
 Set Designs: Yannis Kokkos
 Costumes: Yannis Kokkos
 Lighting: Guido Levi




12:29:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Isolde Comes Home: Ireland's first Tristan in 49 years. Sept - Oct 2012

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 24 September 2012 | 11:58:00 pm

Its hard to imagine that Tristan has not been performed in Ireland for nearly 50 years - indeed there has been no Wagner performed there since 2001's Der Fliegende Hollaender. It is thus a daring plan for a new opera company to stage this, one of Wagner's most demanding dramas - with an international cast and a performer making her debut as Isolde. But this is what Wide Open Opera will be doing this month and next - although for only three nights. The production is a rival of Yannis Kokko's production first seen with WNO. Having seen this production only a few months ago in the UK I can warmly recommend it - see images below. I have the suspicious feeling this may be one of the last times you may get the chance to see this this particular production. I am reliably informed that some tickets still remain.

If you are from outside of Ireland, a visit to Dublin is always worth while - this production of Tristan only makes it much more so. 

Full details below, plus rehearsal and brief documentary videos
11:58:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Anna Netrebko to perform in Lohengrin with Thielemann. And then Bayreuth?

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 21 September 2012 | 8:37:00 am

There had been, of course, some rumors (well more than rumors but you know what we mean) for sometime but it is now confirmed - as brought to our attention by the always wonderful Sounds & Fury In an interview with "The Wall Street Journal" published today (see below) she says it is "time for her to grow-up" and confirms that in 2016, she is scheduled to sing Elsa in "Lohengrin" in Dresden under the baton of Christian Thielemann -  whose "demonic energy" she likens to that of Valery Gergiev.

Of course, for those keeping track, this will not be the first time that she has sung Wagner - see the first video below. But a full production of  Lohengrin in the role of Elsa is a far different thing. Those of us who have been paying even closer attention are aware that she is something of a Wagner "fan" and has noted a desire on a number of occasions to perform Wagner. For example in 2008 she said, "I want to try Wagner's Lohengrin because it is beautiful and I want to sing it".

And in an interesting turn of events, in 2009 Eva Wagner-Pasquier  said that she would welcome her in Lohengrin at Bayruth, "If she wanted, we will put her on the stage immediately", Wagner said,  adding: " I love Netrebko - she can sing everything"

A few of us have suspected for sometime there was a place in Wagner for Netrebko - and time will tell. In the meantime it allows the excuse to include some of her performances here in the Wagnerian.



So Long, Ingénues

No singer today more sharply divides opera fans than does the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko. Her admirers thrill to her robust stage presence and plush, vibrant tone; they celebrate her distinctive fashion sense and crave details about her glamorous private life. Her detractors insist that her celebrity compromises her artistry; they deride her interpretive choices as obvious, fault her diction as imprecise and insist that her top notes no longer ring as purely as they once did.

Yet Ms. Netrebko's star power remains undisputed. On Monday, for the second consecutive year, she opens the Metropolitan Opera's new season—this time co-starring with the American tenor Matthew Polenzani in Bartlett Sher's new production of Donizetti's comic opera "L'Elisir d'Amore."

Ms. Netrebko has sung the role of Adina in "Elisir" at major houses for more than a decade, though never before at the Met. It is the sort of part—light and bright—that brought her to fame. But she will soon leave such characters behind, she says.

"The thing is, my voice changed a lot—enormously," Ms. Netrebko insisted over lunch at a Lincoln Center restaurant earlier this month. She was dressed casually—"for rehearsal," she explained—in a matching brown top and shorts, a multicolored scarf binding her hair, her huge Prada sunglasses resting on the table.


"I'm a different person," she said. "I look different, and I'm different in my mind. Well, I'm 41 years old—time to grow up. The last two or three years, I was trying to figure out where I'm going. I tried to postpone heavier repertoire. But now I'm saying goodbye to -inas"—a suffix that often denotes ingénues in opera—"and I'm very happy about that."

She calls this shift "the big move" and cites her age and motherhood as its chief causes—three years ago she gave birth to her first child, a son, Tiago, whose father is the Uruguayan bass-baritone Erwin Schrott. "After the baby, I got bigger, and I like it," she said, adding, almost reflexively, a digression on our culture's preoccupation with weight. "I like me better now than when I was young and skinny. I don't understand this extreme fashion for being anorexic-skinny. We forgot about women with curves, real women. We're not embracing that anymore. You should not starve yourself with stupid diets, which I don't believe in anyway. But it's not only about the way I look. It's just that I'm different. It's good; it's interesting. I'm more serious, more responsible. Of course, when you have a kid, things change."

Continue reading the TWSJ



8:37:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Video: François Girard talks about his MET Parsifal

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 20 September 2012 | 8:07:00 am


MET in HD:  March 2, 2013, 9 am. Jonas Kaufmann stars in the title role François Girard's new vision for Wagner's final masterpiece. His fellow Wagnerian luminaries include Katarina Dalayman as the mysterious Kundry, Peter Mattei as the ailing Amfortas, Evgeny Nikitin as the wicked Klingsor, and René Pape as the noble knight Gurnemanz. Daniele Gatti conducts.

Encore: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 6:30 pm. 






8:07:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

René Pape’s 2012-13 Season

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 19 September 2012 | 5:47:00 pm

René Pape’s 2012-13 Season Offers Recital Debut at La Scala; Wotan in Berlin; Plus Solti Centennial Concerts in New York & Chicago

13 September 2012 — After kicking off his 2012-13 season this month as Phillip II in Verdi’s Don Carlos at the Vienna State Opera, René Pape makes his recital debut at La Scala in Milan Sunday, September 16. The bass will sing Schubert, Schumann, and Wolf lieder, with fellow Dresdener Camillo Radicke at the piano. Pape then travels to Germany to reprise his acclaimed Wotan at the Berlin State Opera, in a production of Wagner’s Die Walküre conducted by Daniel Barenboim (Oct 4-14). For concerts celebrating the centennial of Sir Georg Solti’s birth, the singer joins conductor Valery Gergiev and the World Orchestra for Peace at Carnegie Hall (Oct 19) and in Chicago (Oct 21). Pape returns to La Scala in December to open its opera season, portraying King Heinrich in Wagner’s Lohengrin, together with his friend Jonas Kaufmann and frequent musical partner Daniel Barenboim (Dec 7-17). On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, the “black diamond bass” (Opera News) re-joins Barenboim for performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at the Staatskapelle Berlin. And in 2013, to help mark the bicentennial of Wagner’s birth, Pape sings his signature Gurnemanz in the new François Girard production of Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Daniele Gatti (Feb 15-March 8).


Pape’s season also takes in performances at the Berlin State Opera as Sarastro in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. It was that role that put him on the operatic map, thanks to Solti selecting him for the part in a high-profile production at the 1995 Salzburg Festival – a key reason for the singer’s participation in the conductor’s centennial concerts this year at Carnegie Hall and in Chicago.

The Schubert, Schumann, and Wolf lieder of Pape’s La Scala recital debut echoes the program from his Los Angeles recital debut in 2011. In his glowing review of that performance, Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times declared the singer “the finest bass of his generation,” and mused on the qualities Pape shares with voices from the Golden Age, writing that “what he conveys is that same unforced intensity of expression heard on old recordings of the great singers of the past.” Swed added, “Vocally, Pape is a complete singer. His lows vibrate with a satisfying subterranean buzz, his highs have a baritonal smoothness.” But execution matters, too; Swed noted one particularly impressive interpretation: “Schubert describes a surging storm as a metaphor for the swelling of a broken heart. Pape delivered lyrics with the shocking immediacy of tweets reporting devastation the second it happens.”


For those wanting a preview of the marvels Pape can manage in Die Walküre, Lohengrin, and Parsifal, there is his album Wagner, released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2011. That recording – with Daniel Barenboim conducting the Staatskapelle Berlin – presents the bass as Gurnemanz in Parsifal and Wotan in Die Walküre, as well as King Heinrich in Lohengrin. The disc was featured as an Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, where Arnold Whittall’s review summed up this singer’s appeal: “It's not often we hear this music so gorgeously intoned… When it comes to sheer vocal refinement and the purest Wagnerian gravitas, René Pape is hard to beat.” Wagner won Pape his second ECHO Klassik award, the German equivalent of a Grammy, for Opera Recording of the Year. And WQXR, New York's classical station, declared the album to be "a must for any Wagnerite.”

Schedule:



Oct 4, 7, & 14 

Berlin, Germany 

Berlin State Opera 

Wagner: Die Walküre (Wotan) 

Daniel Barenboim, conductor 

Oct 19 

New York, NY 


Solti Centennial Concert: Arias by Mozart & Verdi 

World Orchestra for Peace; Valery Gergiev, conductor 

Oct 21 

Chicago, IL 

Symphony Center 

Solti Centennial Concert: Arias by Mozart & Verdi 

World Orchestra for Peace; Valery Gergiev, conductor 

Oct 28; Nov 1, 4, 7, & 10 

Berlin, Germany 

Berlin State Opera 

Verdi: Don Carlos (Philipp II) 

Massimo Zanetti, conductor 

Nov 9 

Berlin, Germany 

Berlin State Opera 

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte (Sarastro) 

Alexander Soddy, conductor 

Dec 7, 11, 14, 18, 21, & 27 

Milan, Italy 

Teatro alla Scala 

Wagner: Lohengrin (King Heinrich) 

Daniel Barenboim, conductor 

Dec 29 

Berlin, Germany 

Berlin State Opera 

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte (Sarastro) 

Julien Salemkour, conductor 

Dec 31; Jan 1 

Berlin, Germany 

Staatskapelle Berlin 

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 

Daniel Barenboim, conductor 

Feb 15, 18, 21, & 27; March 2, 5, & 8 

New York, NY 

Metropolitan Opera 

Wagner: Parsifal (Gurnemanz) 

Daniele Gatti, conductor


5:47:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

ROH unveils 2012/13 season trailer - but who needs opera?

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 18 September 2012 | 4:13:00 am

Its an Opera house - honest.
Some people accuse us of giving London's two big house's "a hard time" but honestly we are often left bewildered. And sometimes they do seem to be "asking for it". Perhaps it's our age?

We  have of course commented on the ROH's new advertising campaign previously. For example, putting poor old Jonas Kaufmann in a boxing ring with some cliched "techno" playing in the background  (although, at least they didn't make him wear a leopard-skin "jump suit" like another "house" we might mention) But today, the ROH have surpassed anything they have done in the past. Their latest video, to promote the 2012/2013 autumn season, features nothing related to opera at all.Zilch, nada, nothing, zero. Even Peter Gelb's bunch managed to get some opera in their trailer.

Possibly the most substantial arts media budget in the country and what do we get? Well, why not press play below and see. Of course you might enjoy it. It could, after all, be just us. We never were "down with the kids". But, if you don't agree: "Do we look bothered? Bothered? Me? Bothered?
4:13:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Glyndebourne to release Meistersinger on CD in 2013

As readers will be aware, Glyndebourne released - through Opus Arte - last years Meistersinger on both DVD and Blu-ray this month. As quickly as it was reported here, we began to receive a number of messages asking if an audio CD was likely to follow. At first we thought this unlikely as DVD releases seems to have become common place and often not only complimenting CD releases but in many cases replacing them - see Bayreuth for example. However, we can now confirm that  Glyndebourne plans to follow-up the DVD/Blu-ray release this year with a CD issue sometime next year - on their own Glyndebourne Label.

Formed in 2008, the Glynedbourne Label was  aimed at drawing on an extensive collection of  recordings in the archive, which span the years from 1960 to the present day. These recordings are released in pairs, with one recording from the old opera house and one from the new -  all  from live performances. The latest release is 2010's Hansel und Gretel.

More about the Glyndebourne Meistersinger release as, and when, we get it.

2:50:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Wagner at the Gramophone awards 2012 - Spotlight: Rene Pape - Wagner Scenes



I must admit to liking this CD - a lot. And not only does one get Pape, but Barenboim and Domingo too.

Wagner Scenes René Pape (bass) Plácido Domingo(ten) Staatskapelle Berlin / Daniel Barenboim (DG)
1:07:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Georg Solti: the making of a musical colossus

An article from the Guardian wherein Ed Vulliamy dicusses, in some detail, Solti's career and talks to Lady Valerie Solti

In February 1965 the Hungarian director of the Royal Opera House – emerging as incontestably the greatest conductor of his generation – flew to Tel Aviv to lead a series of performances by the Israel Philharmonic. Georg Solti had for a while been much enamoured by young television reporter Valerie Pitts, who had interviewed him in the Savoy hotel a few months previously, in September 1964, and he had pressed her to join him on the road. Early in March 1965 she duly arrived in the Middle East and Solti was asked by the singer Ken McDonald how long the comely blond visitor was planning to stay. "For the rest of her life," replied the maestro.

Pitts had been working as an interviewer and announcer for the BBC, with her own programme covering cultural events in the week ahead. "I wrote and researched the programme during the previous week, ready for transmission on a Monday evening," recalls Lady Solti today. "At the end of August there was a last-minute change of plan. The clip of the new film I was going to talk about was held up in customs. I was in a total panic. It was Friday afternoon and I had to find an item. So I thought: the Royal Opera House – maybe they've got a ballet or an opera – and Sheila Porter in the Opera House press office said, 'Well, there's always Solti. He's doing a new Ring.' She rang back a few minutes later, saying: 'He'll do it. Make yourself pretty and be there at 11, at the Savoy.' That was all very well but where on a Friday at 5.30 was I going to find a film crew for the next day?
12:48:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Bryn Terfel to perform as Wotan with MSO in Sir Andrew Davis' 2013 Gala

Next April the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will celebrate Sir Andrew Davis’ official return to Australia as its Chief Conductor with an exhilarating concert featuring  Bryn Terfel.

To be held on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April, 2013 A Joyous Celebration Gala will be a celebration of great music.

“Sir Andrew Davis and Bryn Terfel have performed together all over the world, from the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. There could be no more appropriate guest artist to mark Sir Andrew’s inaugural concert as Chief Conductor of the MSO,” said Huw Humphreys, MSO Director of Artistic Planning.
12:25:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

A brief docu (in Eng): Salzburg Marionette Theater's Ring Cycle

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 17 September 2012 | 2:06:00 pm

Now confirmed to be revived in 2013.

For the first time in its history the Salzburg Marionette Theatre will stage works by Richard Wagner. A compressed version of the "Ring of the Nibelung" will be premiered in co-operation with the Salzburg State Theatre end of March 2012. The staged version will guide the spectator in a little more than two hours through Wagner's world of the Ring and will show the best known scenes through unrivalled puppetry of the Salzburg Marionettes. In a very clear manner the audience will be led through Wagner's epos, the simple form will make it also for Wagner beginners or a younger public easily accessable. More than that, the evening will give the Wagner enthusiast plenty of pleasure and musically involving hours taking in advantage Sir Georg Solti's acclaimed recordings of the operas.

For more click here
2:06:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Glyndebourne Die Meistersinger released on DVD & Bluray



Details from Opus Arte below (Alas, their website seems to be down for maintenance at the moment)

David McVicar's production -- the first at Glyndebourne -- which is updated to the early-19th century of Wagner's childhood. At the centre of a true ensemble cast is Gerald Finley, a 'gleamingly sung', 'eminently believable' Sachs (The Independent on Sunday), supported by the dynamic conducting of Vladimir Jurowski which, like McVicar's production, uses Glyndebourne's special intimacy to bring sharp focus to bear on the subtlety of Wagner's musical and dramatic counterpoint.
10:52:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Watch Now: Profile: Jay Hunter Morris

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 16 September 2012 | 5:43:00 am



5:43:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Watch Now: Robert Lepage and Peter Gelb discuss MET's Ring. (2 hrs)

Robert Lepage is the 2012 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts recipient.

This event offered a fascinating glimpse into Lepage's thinking (it says here), as he discussed his work with Peter Gelb, General Manager, Metropolitan Opera. The 90-minute program, Technology in Stagecraft and Storytelling, began with a discussion of Lepage's new production of the Ring cycle for the Metropolitan Opera but spanned Lepage's extraordinary body of work -- from film to one-man performances, Shakespeare to Peter Gabriel concerts, Cirque du Soleil productions to spectacular architectural projections. The talk included a multimedia presentation showcasing the sophisticated sets for the Ring cycle as well as many other productions, including The Image Mill, an outdoor illumination in the Québec harbor that used the surface of the Bunge grain elevators as a giant screen. The discussion of Lepage's diverse career as a multidisciplinary performance and media artist highlighted his versatility in a full range of theater craft: from directing to acting, to filmmaking and writing plays. Philip Khoury, Associate Provost and Ford International Professor of History, introduced the panelists and moderated questions from the audience

5:16:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

New Wagner Book: Wagner and Tolkien: Mythmakers

Details as received from the publisher (Published 20 June 2012):

Both Rings were round and there the resemblance ceases", wrote J.R.R. Tolkien about the rings in his epic The Lord of the Rings and Richard Wagner's opera cycleThe Ring of the Nibelung. Or did he? The answer is not as straightforward as many Tolkien fans believe, whether they agree with the statement or consider it misguided. Nor is the statement itself as transparently defensive as some Wagner buffs suggest.

Much has been said and written about Wagner and Tolkien, a subject that tends to generate a certain amount of heat, mostly due to the former's controversial status as Hitler's favourite composer. But until now the various, often contradictory opinions and the facts and perceptions on which they are based were rarely discussed at length or analysed in depth. The publication in 2009 of Tolkien's The Legend and Sigurd and Gudrúnwith its partly Wagnerian content reinforced the need for a systematic treatment of the subject. This book offers one.

There is more to both Rings than their common roundness, and the resemblance between Tolkien and Wagner goes beyond a Ring of Power and some narrative elements: they shared a number of preoccupations and interests – Nature, nation, the North, death and immortality, language and above all, myth. This is a book about the two great mythmakers of their times, and about what they have in common despite everything that separate them.

Follow this Link to the publishers (Walking Tree) who are a voluntary - none profit-  Tolkien organization.

Table of Contents:

Introduction

The Master and the Professor - Wagner and Tolkien

Part One, Two Round Rings

Chapter 1, A Conspiracy Unmasked?
1.1. A Ring of Power
1.2. Two round rings
1.3. How well did Tolkien know Wagner?

Chapter 2, Searching for Sources
2.1. A list of similarities
2.2. 'Faint and disparate echoes'
2.3. Common sources

Chapter 3, What has it got in its pocketses?
3.1. No
Birzer / Bratman / Spear / Müller / Scott Rohan / Ridpath
3.2. Yes
Hillard / Shippey / Haymes / Bayreuth and sundry / Ross, Kasper, and sex / The racism card, Schwartz & Arvidsson / Hate-speak
3.3. Deliberately
Hall / O'Donoghue / Spengler / 'Thief Tolkien'

Chapter 4, Other Approaches
4.1. The evils of power
Werner / Luke, and Ross again / What power? / Views of evil / Fear of the end
4.2. A poisoned imagination?
Chism and the poisoned sources / From myth to history


Chapter 5, Conclusion

Part Two, Myths, Fairy Tales and Endings

Chapter 6, Romanticism and Mythmaking
6.1. Introduction
6.2. National myths
Tolkien in England / Wagner in Germany
6.3. Modern myth


Chapter 7, Nature and its Defilement

Chapter 8, A World too Much? Fantasy versus (Stage) Drama
8.1. Myth and drama
Dramatic narrative / Faërian drama / Visual representation
8.2. Fantasy drama
8.3. Music, words and the invisible stage

Chapter 9, Tragedy, Elegy, Eucatastrophe
9.1. Tragedy versus comedy
9.2. Revolution versus restoration
9.3. The end of myth
9.4. The end of the world?

Chapter 10, Conclusion

Part Three, The Amateur and the Professional

Chapter 11, Sources and Resources
11.1. Pure and adulterated northernness
11.2. Sigurd versus Siegfried

Chapter 12, Language
12.1. Words, grammar and syntax
Tolkien's archaisms / Attack and defence / Wagner's archaisms / Wordplay / Philological jests / Kennings
12.2. Alliterations
Stave rhyme rediscovered / Some technicalities / Wagner's verse / Tolkien's development / Rhythm and patterns
12.3. Proverbiality

Chapter 13, Narrative Elements
13.1. The Ring and the Legend – correspondences
Introduction / From the beginning to Ragnarök / Baldr / The solar hero and the Saviour / Odin and Wotan
13.2. The Ring and the Legend – differences
Assorted differences / Characteristic choices / Half-brother and full brothers
13.3. Solving a conundrum: The ring at the core
The sources / The botched tradition / The ring of fire / Did they do it?

Chapter 14, Conclusion

Afterword

Bibliography

Index of fiction

General index
12:14:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Find The Wagnerian on Google Plus

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 14 September 2012 | 4:05:00 pm

 
I have had this for a little while but hardly used it. However, it does now update from here so, if you are interested you can "friend" a Wagnerian today by clicking below. But remember a Wagnerian isn't just for Christmas:

4:05:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

The Wagners Speak: Dutchman at the cinema, Castorf is great and no tickets for Wagner Societies

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 13 September 2012 | 6:59:00 pm

Katharina Wagner, is giving interviews again. You can read the full interview - in German alas -  here. However, while there is much to be found within it,  here are  a few nuggets to wet your appetite - if both badly translated and summarized alas.

Despite being available in only one cinema (the Warwick Arts Center in the UK) outside of Germany, Austria and Switzerland This years cinema relay of Parsifal was a "great success" (The Wagnerian may bore you someday with the the confused (and bewildering) conversation regarding its lack of availability world wide - that took place with its distributors). Indeed so successful was it that next years Dutchman will also receive a cinema relay in 2013. Whether this relay will extend beyond a cycle shack in Stoke Newington is yet to be confirmed. Should you get to said cycle shed in Stoke Newington there will however be an interview with the conductor in the interval.

When asked why ticket demand has declined it seems it may all be the Wagner Societies fault. Admittedly she coincided this maybe because Bayreuth have withdrawn the Socities ticket allocation and thus they are not ordering anymore (?).

Both Wagner sisters are enjoying themselves tremendously and intend to stay till at least 2015

They are very happy with the choice of Frank Castorf as director of 2013 Ring Cycle (there is a Shakespeare quote that might fit here but I shall refrain. However,  if you wished to search it out you might want to have a look at Hamlet, Act III, scene II),
6:59:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Ben Heppner withdraws as Captain Ahab, Jay Hunter Morris steps in

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 12 September 2012 | 10:23:00 pm

Having heard Ben give one of his finest Tristan's in many years recently (I will produce a review shortly - if a late one) one hopes that it is nothing serious and we wish him the best.


JAY HUNTER MORRIS TO SING THE ROLE OF CAPTAIN AHAB IN ALL PERFORMANCES OF
JAKE HEGGIE AND GENE SCHEER’S MOBY-DICK,
REPLACING BEN HEPPNER IN HIS PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED PERFORMANCES

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (September 12, 2012)—San Francisco Opera announces a casting change for the Company’s production of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick at the War Memorial Opera House, October 10–November 2, 2012. American tenor Jay Hunter Morris, who was last seen at San Francisco Opera in the title role of Wagner’s Siegfried as a part of the Company’s 2011 Ring cycle, will now sing the role of Captain Ahab in all eight performances, replacing tenor Ben Heppner, who has withdrawn from the production for personal reasons.

“It is with regret I announce today that Ben Heppner has withdrawn from our Moby-Dick production,” stated San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley. “Ben is a distinguished artist with a great history with this Company and we respect his decision, wishing him the very best. However, we are fortunate to have another talented tenor already scheduled to sing Ahab in the final two performances and we welcome the opportunity to now present Jay Hunter Morris for the entirety of the production.”

Jay Hunter Morris most recently made a triumphal appearance at San Francisco Opera in the title role of Siegfried, stepping in at late notice to replace the originally scheduled tenor. He has previously appeared to critical acclaim as Captain Ahab in Adelaide, Australia and San Diego, where sandiego.com wrote of him: “the fiery brilliance of his resplendent upper range captured both Ahab’s inner strength and demonic possession.” Morris made his Company debut as Mitch in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire in 1998; he also created roles in San Francisco Opera’s world premiere productions of Heggie’s first opera, Dead Man Walking (2000) and John Adams’ Doctor Atomic (2005). The Texas native’s other Company appearances include Števa (Jenůfa), Walther (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Lykov (The Tsar’s Bride), and roles in Louise, Saint François d’Assise, and Doktor Faust. Other recent engagements include a widely acclaimed portrayal of Siegfried at the Metropolitan Opera in their 2012 Ring cycle; Florestan (Fidelio) with Portland Opera; Tristan (Tristan und Isolde) with Welsh National Opera; and Erik (Der Fliegende Holländer) in Atlanta; Seattle; Santiago, Chile; and Sydney.

Moby-Dick is composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s new adaptation of Herman Melville’s classic meditation on man and the sea. Now making its first appearance in the Bay Area, this San Francisco Opera co-commission has previously been presented by the Dallas Opera, Calgary Opera, San Diego Opera and the State Opera of South Australia. Joining Jay Hunter Morris will be tenor Stephen Costello as Greenhorn (Ishmael), baritone Morgan Smith as Starbuck and Samoan bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu as Queequeg. Conducted by San Francisco Opera Principal Guest Conductor Patrick Summers, this co-production features innovative set designs by Robert Brill and is directed by Leonard Foglia. Moby-Dick runs for eight performances from October 10 through November 2.

10:23:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More