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The origin of Tristan und Isolde lies not in Schopenhauer but Kleist?

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 | 6:47:00 pm

Heinrich von Kleist
Originally published in New Left Review in 2000, Michael Marr investigates Wagner, his uncle Adolph and the possible influence of Heinrich von Kleist on on Tristan und Isolde

"My uncle subsequently exercised no small influence on my development; we shall meet him again at a critical turning-point in the story of my youth. RW: My LIFE

‘In the evening, something from Kleist’s posthumous works (political catechism)’ CW: Diaries


"In Kleist, as in Novalis, sacred night holds in its keeping the raptures of love and union in death. The Romantics are notably absent from Wagner’s library in Dresden, but it does contain the three-volume Kleist edition of 1826. In the library at Wahnfried, Wagner’s house at Bayreuth, one can examine the metrical marks Wagner made in Kleist’s Broken Pitcher". Michael Marr


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The Geneva Festival Wagner : 1813-2013


Anyone unaware of the special place reserved for Switzerland in Richard Wagner’s life and the subtle set of influences the country brought to bear on his work need only reflect on his frequent sojourns in Geneva, his ten-year exile in Zurich and the six happy years he spent at Lake Lucerne. And so it would seem entirely appropriate that in the composer’s adopted country, the bicentenary of his birth should be an occasion for ambitious celebrations.

 The Wagner Geneva Festival 1813-2013, offering twenty events drawn from across the spectrum of artistic expression, including dance, theatre, painting and cinema will once again confirm the influence on art and ideas of the man responsible for the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk.

 From the Martin Bodmer Foundation exhibit devoted to an intellectual biography of the composer to a stage production of Der Fliegende Holländer, delivered in its original (Paris) version, the Wagner Geneva Festival contribution to the bicentenary has its sights set on a portrait that is faithful yet full of contrast.

Der Fliegende Holländer, Paris version, 1841
Four stage performances
Between 28 October and 5 November 2013

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LUCERNE FESTIVAL 2013 - A new Ring Cycle


Revolution!

LUCERNE FESTIVAL celebrates its 75th anniversary! In 1938 the Festival, which operated under the name of “Internationale Musikfestwochen Luzern” until 2000, originated with a legendary “Concert de Gala” led by Arturo Toscanini.

 The “Anniversary Summer” of 2013 will focus on the theme of “Revolution.” When Igor Stravinsky’s ballet “Le Sacre du Printemps” was premiered on 29 May 1913 in the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the archaic power of this music had a shocking impact. There was booing, whistling, and shouting – even outright fighting. Arguably the most memorable of scandalous premieres in the history of music, at the same time it has become a vibrant symbol for the early 20th century, for the overthrow, reversal, and reorientation of values in that era.
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Video: Opera North, Ring - Walkure - Documentary

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 30 October 2012 | 11:09:00 pm




Pera North is staging Wagner's epic Ring cycle over 4 years.  This documentary follows the preparations for Die Walküre, the second part in the saga.

Wotan is king of the gods, law-maker and father of nine warrior daughters (Valkyries) with the goddess of the Earth, Erda.  He tries to break the curse of the Ring of power by fathering a pure-of-heart hero by a mortal woman.  But when the lives of Wotan's mortal off-spring are threatened, his plans to protect them are thwarted and his favourite daughter defies his will.  Though Wotan still loves her dearly, he is forced to punish her severely.

Siegmund - ERIK NELSON WERNER Sieglinde - ALWYN MELLOR Hunding - CLIVE BAYLEY Wotan - BÉLA PERENCZ Fricka - KATARINA KARNÉUS Brünnhilde - ANNALENA PERSSON Helmwige - KATHERINE BRODERICK Ortlinde - MEETA RAVAL Gerhilde - MIRIAM MURPHY Waltraute - JENNIFER JOHNSTON Siegrune - MADELEINE SHAW Rossweisse - CATHERINE HOPPER Grimgerde - ANTONIA SOTGIU Schwertleite - EMMA CARRINGTON

Conductor - RICHARD FARNES Concert Staging and Lighting/Projection Designer - PETER MUMFORD.



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Video: Keith Warner in conversation with Kasper Holten - ROH Ring

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 29 October 2012 | 5:37:00 pm


In this interview, Keith speaks about his career, what inspired his production of Richard Wagner's masterwork and how he tackled such an ambitious work. He also spoke about the nature of hope at the climax.

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The Wagnerian Reviews: The Sorcerer of Bayreuth

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 28 October 2012 | 4:11:00 am

Recently, regular contributor Daniel Carroll reviewed Barry Millington's new Wagner book: The Sorcerer of Bayreuth: Richard Wagner, His Work, and His World. This was from an academic perspective and as always made excellent reading. However, we noted at that time that our editor - a noted dilettante - would provide a more general review later. This can be found below but should not be seen to replace Daniel's in anyway.

The Sorcerer of Bayreuth: Richard Wagner, His Work, and His World
320 pages; over 300 b&w and color illustrations; 6-1/2 x 9-1/4;ISBN13: 978-0-19-993376-1ISBN10: 0-19-993376-6


Barry Millington's new book on the life and legacy of Richard Wagner is a strange work. In many ways it is the book on Wagner studies that we have been waiting for - and is long overdue. This is especially so for those new to Wagner or with a less detailed knowledge of his work and times.  At the same time, it contains a few strange eccentricities  - and even omissions - that simply cause one to scratch one's head. Often I found myself nodding in agreement at Millington's fair mindedness and ability to deal evenly with some of the conflicting thought in recent, and not so recent, Wagner research (as one might expect from the editor of the Wagner Journal). This can go on for chapters and then suddenly, as if from nowhere, I found myself thinking; "Oh come now! This seems as biased as some of Wagner's own writing". And Wagner was a man who, when caught in the moment, often found it hard to see the weaknesses in his own arguments.

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Read Now: Wagner At Home - Judith Gautier.

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday, 27 October 2012 | 5:04:00 am

"Chère, I am sad! There is another reception this evening, but I shall not be going to it! I reread a few pages of my life which I once dictated to Cosima! She sacrifices herself to her father's habits, - alas! Could it have been for the last time that I held you in my arms this morning? No! - I shall see you again - I want to see you! because I love you! - Adieu - Be good to me! R Wagner in a letter to Judith Gautier.

Often described as Wagners "muse" during Parsifal -  as Mathilde Wesendonk is supposed to have been his muse during the creation of Tristan - it is certain that Judith Gautier and Wagner were close. So close that Wagner named his chaise-longue after her!  

It is clear that she became an "enthusiastic fan", not only attending the first Bayreuth Festival but spending much time with the Wagners. However, Gaultier was much more than a "muse" or "wagnerian" she was also a poet, novelist, feminist and Oriental scholar. Of especial interest to us is that not only did she translate Parsifal to French but she also wrote a first-hand account of her first two visits to the Wagner's Villa Tribschen. This was translated into english in 1911 and published  by (in a rather ironic turn, considering what they went onto become) Mills and Boon.

Now out of copyright and in the public domain it can be read in full below

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"Inside The RIng": month long Wagner festival. UK 2013

As London closes its Wagner 200 events, the interested UK (and international) "Ring Follower" need not worry as a further series of events of no less a quality will begin in the Cotswolds. Truncated details below. Each set of events will appear during the noted LFO Ring Cycle. For full details - and booking information - please visit "Inside The Ring" at the Wagner Society's website.



A programme of events exploring aspects
of Wagner's masterpiece alongside
performances of The Ring by
Longborough Festival Opera
MASTERCLASSES, OPEN REHEARSAL, LECTURES, LIVE PERFORMANCEFILM
June 17-July 11 2013
St. George's Hall, Blockley, Moreton-in-Marsh, Glos. GL56 9BY
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR DAVID EDWARDS
PRESENTED BY THE MASTERSINGERS
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
LONGBOROUGH FESTIVAL OPERA
 WITH GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM
THE WAGNER SOCIETY


Cycle 1


JUNE 17 EVENT 1 

5PM MICHAEL PORTILLO'S RING The famous broadcaster's film on Wagner's epic and how its meaning inspires and impacts in the modern world. With a specially recorded preface for this Festival. 90 minutes 

7PM WAGNER'S ELEMENTS David Edwards and LFO young singers illustrate the themes of Earth, Air, Fire and Water that feature predominantly in the RING cycle. Richard Black piano 90 minutes 

JUNE 19 EVENT 2 

5PM REHEARSING THE RING Carmen Jakobi, LFO's Assistant Director, takes a rehearsal with understudies for the RING and demonstrates how the rehearsal process prepares singers to "jump in" 90 minutes 

7PM MARTIN & LIZZIE GRAHAM talk to Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, about their passion for Wagner and how they built up Longborough Festival Opera over many years. 90 minutes 

JUNE 21 EVENT 3 

5PM PROFESSOR BRYAN MAGEE in 

conversation with Alan Rusbridger. The U.K/s pre-eminent philosopher and Wagner enthusiast discusses the composer's thought and music. 90 minutes 

7PM GWYNNE HOWELL The veteran British bass has sung no fewer than 12 different Wagner roles. He discusses his distinguished career and coaches young singers on this taxing repertoire. 90 minutes




Cycle 2

JUNE 27 EVENT 4 

5PM MASTERCLASS with DAME ANNE EVANS 
The charismatic and celebrated British soprano coaches four young Wagner singers and gives a fascinating insight into the way singers must develop voice and character simultaneously in this demanding  repertoire. 
Richard Black piano. 3 hours, including interval 

JUNE 29 EVENTS 5

5PM ANTHONY NEGUS and THE MUSIC OF THE  RING 
LFO'S acclaimed Music Director talks about his passion for Wagner and how he approaches conducting this mighty work. 90 minutes 

7PM THE MERRY NIBELUNGS Rare opportunity to hear highlights from Oscar Strauss' 1904 operetta -which follows the Norse legend much more closely than Wagner's version. LFO singers. Richard Black piano Malcolm Rivers narrator 90 minutes 

JULY 1 EVENT 6 

5PM MIKE ASHMAN - RINGS OF THE WORLD 

The renowned director and writer gives his personal survey of productions of the cycle in modern times. The RING has inspired controversy among audiences for so long - how and why? 90 minutes 

7PM TONY PALMER - THE WAGNER FAMILY The 

famous filmmaker introduces his film examining sensitive political and familial relations between Bayreuth and Germany in the 1930s and beyond. Post-showing audience discussion. 2 hours



CYCLE 3 


JULY 7 EVENT 7 

5PM MASTERCLASS with tenor KIM BEGLEY 

This distinguished British singer shares his knowledge with the next generation of tenors.
Richard Black piano 90 minutes Subject to confirmation 

7PM WAGNER AND LISZT EXPLORED -JULIAN JACOBSON The virtuoso pianist examines the close relationship between two musical giants with illustrations at the keyboard. 90 minutes 

JULY 9 EVENT 8 

5PM BARRY MILLINGTON The eminent Wagner scholar gives an illustrated presentation on the RING, its origin and meaning and talks about his new book The Sorcerer of Bayreuth. 90 minutes 

7PM TONY PALMER introduces SILENT WAGNER, a remarkable film made by Carl Frohlich in 1913. A rare document made when Cosima Wagner was still in charge at Bayreuth. 90 minutes 

JULY 11 EVENT 9 

5PM BREAKING THE RING 
David Edwards and LFO singers explore the 11 year creative  divide in the composition of the RING. 
Richard Black piano 90 minutes 

7PM PROFESSOR JOHN DEATHRIDGE -ENDING THE RING The great Wagner expert, scholar, and celebrated author looks at the composition of GOTTERDAMMERUNG and how the RING concludes in a surprising way. 90 minutes





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Two rings to rule them all: a comparative study of Tolkien and Wagner


The following excellent and highly accessible paper acts as a comparative analysis (with a thesis we think highly original) of both Wagner and Tolkien's "Ring Cycles".  Originally published in the accredited fantasy journal Mythlore (which specialises in work on Tolkien, Lewis and other members of the Inklings -  in 2011. It is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author and Mythlore. For further details about  Mythlore please visit their website here.

The author, Dr Jamie McGregor originally came to our attention when we located, and reprinted part of  his doctoral thesis Myth, music and modernism : the Wagnerian dimension in Virginia Woolf's "Mrs Dalloway" and "The Waves" and James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake last yearHaving spoken to him since and gained an understanding of his extensive knowledge of and enthusiasm for both Wagner and Tolkien we are more than pleased that we did. 
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Katharina Wagner: "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" but she won't be back anytime soon

"Don't Cry For Me Argentina"

"It won't be easy
You'll think it strange
When I try to explain how I feel
That I still need your love
After all that I've done
You won't believe me
All you will see
Is a girl you once knew
Although she's dressed up to the nines"
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Evita


It's not often - indeed never - that you would expect to find lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber here, but it just seemed so appropriate somehow.

After a bizarre week - reported here in no little detail - it seems that Katharina Wagner and Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires have finally parted ways. No longer will K Wagner direct the reduced Ring Cycle that she has been talking about. with no little enthusiasm, for the past two years. Pedro Pablo García Caffi and Teatro Colon have dissolved  Katharina Wagner's contract to produce their reduced Ring. It seems, according to Garcia Caffi, the theatre could not possibly meet her demands for rehearsal equipment, etc. However, both parties announced that the split was an amicable one.

Despite this, Teatro Colon's "reduced Ring" will still premiere on the 27 November but now with Argentine Valentina Carrasco, who has worked for more than ten years as a director with the Catalan theatre group Fura dels Baus, at the helm.
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A Collection Of Free Wagner Ebooks

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 | 10:19:00 am



As has been often mentioned, Wagner is one of the most written about composers in history - and this is not a new phenomenon but  began even while he was still alive. The benefit of this to us is that many of these books are long out of copyright, in the public domain and are thus freely available to anyone that wishes to read them. Of course producing and distributing print books still retains a cost and this must be paid for. However, no such cost needs to be involved with distributing "Ebooks" (or at least very little cost). Such books can be read on ones computer or ebook device such as a Kindle or Sony Reader. Being in such a format also makes searching within them for research much easier.

We are presently in the process of collecting as many of the "better" ones (well written, proof read, formated) as we can - and some of these have already been made available here. However, to make finding them within the site as easy as possible  we have collated as many as we have available below. You need only click on the link and chose the book that you want and in the format that you require - where available. We shall add to this as we can.

As a predominantly english speaking site all books are in english. Clicking a link will take you to that books page with full details of its contents and the formats available.


My Life - Richard Wagner (In English)













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Alberic Magnard: The French Wagner, Bruckner, Mahler or something else?

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 | 10:14:00 pm

Magnard, for those that know him (and for some unknown reason that is too few) he has been called all of the above - or in the case of Mahler, a composer who at least "predicted" him. A Frenchman (son of François Magnard, a bestselling author and editor of Le Figaro) who fell in love with Wagner after a visit to Bayreuth (which caused him to give up law to study music). He studied four years with Vincent d'Indy, began to lose his hearing in his latter years and died having been burned to death alone in his house after shooting and killing two German soldiers during WW1. Magnard, a composer of a "Wagnerian" opera that ends not in redemption but failure and the knowledge that humanity can only be "redeemed" as whole - and only once they all truly seek it.

There is so much one might say about Magnard (and the curious reader can find out more by following the links below) But why not listen to some of his music below and decide whether he is worth pursuing? Although, we do include below a review from Gramophone written in 1988 examining his only recorded opera: GUERCOEUR.
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The Janowski Studio Ring - an overview

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 22 October 2012 | 11:53:00 pm

Readers may have realised by now that our taste in performances can be on occasion "idiosyncratic". This is probably no more so than in Ring Cycles. While we must admit to owning we think, every Ring Cycle recorded - and several not - one of the studio recordings (live recordings are another matter) that we return to frequently is Janowski's 1983 studio recording - the first digitally recorded Ring.

We grow somewhat "tired" of hearing Wagner of late that sounds more like Verdi. Janowski, we are pleased to say here, has a firm grasp of what Wagner "is" and should sound like. "Line" remains throughout but without a hint of any lack of "drama" or "excitement" that maintaining such "line" can result in. Janowski, at least to our ears, in this Ring understands what Wagner considered to be the "secret" of his style - as Wagner explains here in a letter to Mathilde Wesendonck in October 1859 :

"My greatest masterpiece in the art of the most delicate and gradual transition is without doubt the great scene in the second act of Tristan and Isolde. The opening of this scene presents a life overflowing with all the most violent emotions - its ending the most solemn and heartfelt longing for death. These are the pillars: and now you see, child, how I have joined these pillars together, and how the one of them leads over into the other. This, after all is the secret of my musical form, which, in its unity and clarity over an expanse that encompasses every detail, I may be bold enough to claim has never before been dreamt of."

(Note: It is due to this that we feel there is a "danger" in concentrating on the leitmotifs at the risk of so much else - it is not the "motifs" that are important, we would argue, but how they develop, change, meld and, to use Wagners terms, are involved in (and, at the risk of becoming too abstract, become) the act of "transition")

Others of course have understood this, Karajan comes to mind in particular, but, in our opinion it is possible to lose some of the "passion" or "drive" in Wagner while trying to maintain these transitions to closely - Janowski does not make this mistake. He seems to understand Wagner's notion of "transitions" but is nevertheless not slave to them like some. But perhaps this is what Wagner wanted? (At the other end of the spectrum, and at the risk of upsetting a number of readers, Solti is considered by some to have the least understanding of this process - in his studio Ring at least. Although this does mean, again to us, that he has individual moments of sheer genius that are unforgettable).

But this is not the only reason for buying this Ring - especially we would argue for those buying their first Ring "on a budget". We shall list these below:

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Free Ebook: Correspondence of Wagner and Liszt — Vol 1&2 Epub, Kindle, etc

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 21 October 2012 | 9:42:00 pm

"Two principal motives of my myth therefore remain to be represented, both of which are hinted at in "Young Siegfried", the first in the long narrative of Brynhild after her awakening (Act III.), the second in the scene between Alberich and the Wanderer in the second act and between the Wanderer and Mime in the first. That to this I was led not only by artistic reflection, but by the splendid and, for the purpose of representation, extremely rich material of these motives, you will readily understand when you consider the subject more closely. 

"Think then of the wondrously fatal love of Siegmund and Siegelinde, of Wotan in his deep, mysterious relation to that love, in his dispute with Fricka, in his terrible self-contention when, for the sake of custom, he decrees the death of Siegmund, finally of the glorious Valkyrie Brynhild, as, divining the innermost thought of Wotan, she disobeys the god, and is punished by him; consider this wealth of motive indicated in the scene between the Wanderer and the Wala, and at greater length in the above-mentioned tale of Brynhild, as the material of a drama which precedes the two Siegfrieds; and you will understand that it was not reflection, but rather enthusiasm, which inspired my latest plan." Wagner: 1851

"In July I wanted to begin "Young Siegfried" at Seelisberg, on the lake of Lucerne, but now I think of delaying that beginning till next spring. This dislike of work is the worst feature of all. I feel as if with it eternal night were closing around me, for what have I still to do in this world if I cannot do my work?" Wagner 1855

My health, too, is once more so bad, that for ten days, after I had finished the sketch for the first act of "Siegfried," I was literally not able to write a single bar without being driven away from my work by a most alarming headache. Every morning I sit down, stare at the paper, and am glad enough when I get as far as reading Walter Scott. With "Rhinegold" I got on well enough, considering my circumstances, but the "Valkyrie" caused me much pain. Wagner 1857


Translated by  Francis Hueffer and long in the public domain - I note that there are people selling  these in Ebook format still. You can find both volumes below as made available by Project Gutenberg. To download in the format of your choice please click the relevant link below. Originally published in 1889 but still highly readable

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The Wagnerian: Now available on Ipad, Android and more

The Wagnerian on Ipad
We have added The Wagnerian to the  Google Android/Apple App "Google Currents" - See images below.

This should allow users of any of these devices to view The Wagnerian in a way best optimized for their various devices - plus everyone seems to have an "app" nowadays. As always, these remain "advert free" and free to use - at least our little part of it..

 For more information on Google Currents please visit here: Google Currents. You can also download the app (free) from there or find it at either the Google or Apple App Store - again for free.

Once you have downloaded it you will need to "subscribe" to The Wagnerian within it.  You can do this by either searching within the App using the terms "The Wagnerian" or alternatively by clicking this link which will automatically subscribe you to the "stream" once you have the app: Subscribe To The Wagnerian in Google Currents. 


It is a work in progress at the moment and we shall add more pages and functionality - time and interest  permitting.

The Wagnerian on Android Phone

The Wagnerian on Android Tablet

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Book Review: The Sorcerer of Bayreuth: - Barry Millington

Regular contributor Daniel Carroll reviews Barry Millington's new Wagner book: The Sorcerer of Bayreuth: Richard Wagner, His Work, and His World. A further, if alas as usual idiosyncratic and "populist" review, will follow from your humble editor. However, Daniel's will remain the main source and most academic review for those with anything but a passing interest in Wagner. 

The Sorcerer of Bayreuth: Richard Wagner

The Sorcerer of Bayreuth: Richard Wagner, His Work, and His World, by Barry Millington, is an outstanding new contribution to the biographical literature on this most incredible of composers— highly innovative in his theoretical conceptions, profoundly influential in their practice, and almost distressingly protean in disposition. All of these characteristics have been presented in previous products of Wagner biography. However, in consideration of these, Millington certainly set himself a formidable challenge to do what much of the literature does not, namely, not only to procure significant historical information about his life, including key dates, locations, and events, but to present the information pertaining to the specific technicalities of his musical-theatrical platform and especially the often prohibitively complex philosophical formulations to which he subscribed in a readily accessible manner. (Bryan Magee’s The Tristan Chord: Wagner and Philosophy is another excellent source in this regard.) In this clear, straight-forward, and exhaustively researched text, featuring beautiful color illustrations of key people and places in the continuing Wagner story, which are certainly a novelty in the academic literature on the composer, Millington accomplishes these objectives handsomely.

Millington explains his affordance of the moniker “sorcerer” to Wagner on both of its seemingly conflicting but actually interrelated grounds. On one hand, the term is used to indicate the almost magical powers of this composer and the transformative power of his music, and on the other, it alludes to the potentially corrupting nature of it all. (p. 6) Throughout the book, Millington makes reference to individual people, particularly composers, who evaluated the composer and his works in either or both of these manners and the role that such perspectives have played in their own artistic development. Irrespective of what one actually thinks about individual works or even his general musical “style,” the audaciousness, even if not the wholesale legitimacy, of the very mission that Wagner created for himself, which entailed (to summarize the aims as exposed by Wagner himself) the bestowal of a national salvation by virtue of a desperately required purgation of frivolous and ineffective theatrical conventions and their replacement by the Gesamtkunstwerk , is assuredly and unanimously accepted. (Incidentally, Millington addresses the implications of the Gesamtkunstwerk for modern cinema at great length.) (p. 258-268)

Interestingly, Millington officially opens the text with a brief discussion of the paternity dispute that is, apparently, still being considered in the literature. He introduces the man named Ludwig Geyer, and also broaches the possibility that he was Richard Wagner’s biological father.1 Millington concedes that the veracity of such a proposition “remains tantalizingly unknown and unknowable.” (Jonathan Carr had expressed this sentiment even more strongly in his 2009 book The Wagner Clan by stating that “barring exhumation and DNA tests,” this issue could not be dispositively settled.) (p. 25)

Millington presents with great detail and occasional humor Wagner’s highly erratic and confusing psychological profile. From his obsessions with the macabre and grotesque which were given expression in his gruesome Leubald und Adelaide in which forty-two people are killed and resurrected as ghosts (p. 15), to his bitterly painful resentment for the rejections of his theatrical reforms by the contemporary theatres, which caused him to declare his unreserved “contempt” for them (p. 38), an astonishing and perplexing mind emerges. It was certainly one full of abhorrently inflated delusions of grandeur, as evidenced by the insurmountable debts that he incurred to fulfill his every personal and artistic whim, grandiloquent expositions of his theatrical revolution and its vital and urgent necessity, and the rampant anti-Semitic components of his works as well as his personal worldviews.

The philosophical affinities which Wagner cultivated, such as those with Feuerbach (p. 96-97) and Schopenhauer (p. 166-170) and their influences upon his musical-theatrical conceptions are presented with admirable clarity. New insights as to the influences of Bülow’s Nirwana, a work inspired by the Buddhist/Schopenhauerian perspectives on life and death, on Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde are herein given (p. 198). Millington also exposes the suicidal nature of not only Richard Wagner, but Cosima also, as well as Ritter and Bülow, thus indicating how Wagner seemed to be in the company of those similarly psychologically inclined if not philosophically as well (p. 197-198).

Millington offers some very new and intriguing information on not only the composer, but the institutions dedicated to him. Evidently, the collective of Wagner Societies which now exist the world over were initially established in Munich so as to raise funds for the ambitious enterprises at Bayreuth. It thus becomes apparent how they can not be perceived merely as “fan clubs,” but as entities which strove to make Wagner’s dreams come to fruition (p. 225). Millington also uncovers writings of Wagner which indicate the composer’s sympathy for the plights of domestic womanhood and, tellingly for our present era, his criticisms of “traditional marriages” and their capitalistic and proprietary nature (p. 243). The lore over Wagner’s final day, including multiple different accounts of the actual scene of his death including who was present, what was said, and how he was “disposed of” are also included (p. 244-245).

Millington closes the book with an examination of the current state of the Bayreuth Festival, including its recent family history, administrative personnel, and transformations in productions over the years. One of the still unsolved mysteries of the Festival is the connection between it and/or the Wagner family and the Third Reich. Millington mentions a substantial collection of documents that would indicate such information, but which have been kept hidden from outside examiners. He thus calls for these documents to be made available to both the academic and lay audiences who have a burning interest in this still most contentious of issues (p. 303). One is optimistic that such a release will be done, as it was for the Burrell Collection.2

The entire musicological and theatrical communities will profit greatly from Millington’s careful and revealing research. This book will stand in perpetuity as one of the great biographical works on the composer and will be of immense benefit to present and future researchers on this “sorcerer of Bayreuth.”

Notes:
1 See my recent paper, “Hurn and Root’s The Truth About Wagner: Revisiting a Controversial Book After Eighty Years,” on “The Wagnerian” website for information on the dubiousness of the claim that Geyer was his biological father.
2 See the paper on Hurn and Root’s book mentioned above.


About the reviewer:

Daniel John Carroll is a graduate student and teaching assistant in the Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Boston University. He has presented scholarly papers at academic conferences on philosophy and music (including the College Music Society and American Musicological Society) throughout the United States and Canada.

His academic work has been published in The New Grove Dictionary of American Music and several conference proceedings. Non-academic writings include articles for Pulse, the arts, entertainment, and culture section of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in Moscow, Idaho and The Public Humanist. 

Upcoming research projects include a stint as Lecturer in Residence for Boston Metro Opera, participation with the Phenomenology Research Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and the global seminar “The Aesthetics of Music and Sound: Cross-Disciplinary Interplay Between the Humanities, Technology, and Musical Practice” with the University of Southern Denmark
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Listen On-demand: Tristan - Stemme, Franz, Connolly, etc

Recorded and transmitted by Radio France Musique it is still available on their site. Normally available for 7 days it is always difficult to say if that will be the case - so catch it while you can.




Conductor ..... Mikko Franck

Tristan ..... Christian Franz
Isolde ..... Nina Stemme
King Marke ..... Peter Rose
Kurwenal ..... Detlef Roth
Brangäne ..... Sarah Connolly
Melot ..... Richard Berkeley-Steele
A young sailor ..... Pascal Bourgeois
A shepherd ..... Christophe Poncet
A steersman ...... Renaud Derrien


Choeur de Radio France (Brigitte Clair & Matthias Brauer)
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (OPRF)
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Gergiev: "I never think about Bayreuth in particular. We have our own Bayreuth"

In a fascinating interview with DW, Valery Gergiev discussed Mariinsky 's Wagner events in 2013, why he gives Bayreuth little thought, his thoughts on the Nikitin/Bayreuth "affair", the premiere of a new Meistersinger and much else

"What happened to Evgeny Nikitin in Bayreuth is, in my opinion, in no way flattering for the Bayreuth Festival. I still haven't heard anything regarding the festival leadership's actual position on the issue". Valery Gergiev

"I think my colleagues in Bayreuth handled the fate of this young singer from Russia without much sympathy and perhaps not entirely honestly". Valery Gergiev


DW: What can we expect in the Mariinsky Theater during the Wagner anniversary year of 2013?

Valery Gergiev: Wagner's trip to Russia in 1863, during which he gave six concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg, has not been forgotten. Russian opera lovers were thrilled with the music - including members of the tsar's family. Wagner was offered the post that I now occupy: St. Petersburg's general music director. Very few people know this, but he said yes. However, shortly after he left Russia, he received an incredible offer from King Ludwig of Bavaria. Bad luck for us.

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London 2013 becomes Wagner 200


2013 will see a wide variety of Wagner events throughout the world, in London this will include Wagner 200 a wide-ranging, London-based festival to celebrate the bicentenary of Richard Wagner’s birth.

It opens on 22 May 2013 with a Wagner Birthday Concert by the Philharmonia and a stellar cast under Sir Andrew Davis at the Royal Festival Hall. It continues with further concerts, screenings of opera performances, public masterclasses, symposia, a curated film season, an exhibition and much more, at leading venues including the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, the Barbican, Royal Albert Hall and Kings Place.

Barry Millington and Mark Eynon, co-directors of Wagner 200, will be announcing the full programme of events later this year. 

For more information go to: Wagner 200

Details so far of the  Royal Albert Hall Concert:

 Royal Festival Hall at 7.30pm

The programme is as follows:

Overture, Die Meistersinger

Prelude & Liebestod, Tristan und Isolde

Die Walküre Act III: Ride of the Valkyries (excerpts)

Performers:

Sir Andrew Davis with the Philharmonia Orchestra
David Edwards director
Susan Bullock soprano
James Rutherford bass
Giselle Allen soprano
Katherine Broderick soprano
Elaine McKrill soprano
Kimberly Myers soprano
Jennifer Johnston mezzo-soprano
Miriam Sharrad mezzo-soprano
Harriet Williams mezzo-soprano
Julianne Young mezzo-soprano
Antonia Sotgiu mezzo-soprano

For more information and tickets click here
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Why did Katharina Wagner leave her Teatro Colon Ring?

Katharina arrives at the Bayreuth opening 2012:
Arriving in an Audi sponsored VIP Car
We have  now heard two sides to this story: K Wagner says it was because Teatro Colon, was not ready, per her contract to begin rehearsals; the theatre director , Pedro Pablo Garcia Caffi, slammed a door on her and has not responded to her emails. García Caffi, on the other hand says he doesn't know what she is talking about. That the theatre is ready, that she never mentioned any thing to him and indeed thought she was only flying back to Germany briefly to sort out some business or other. The first he heard about any difficulties was reading newspaper reports. It is of course difficult to suggest exactly what might be the reason or who is to "blame.

On a completely unrelated note, over at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung  journalist Öhrlein Josef points out that not being able to rehearse and direct her Teatro Colon Ring cycle might be a very good thing - for her. For those unaware, he reminds us that  she has agreed to direct Audi's "50 years of culture at Audi" at their factory in Ingolstadt on November 11 this year. This is a prestigious and important event, especially so for Bayreuth  - Audio is after all the Festival sponsor  As K Wagner said recently, "When Audi asked me to stage an anniversary program, I did not hesitate. Rarely do you have the opportunity to work with artists from all areas in such an unusual environment," This was of course after agreeing to the Teatro Colon, engagement.

Indeed, suggests  Öhrlein Josef, K Wagner  may be relieved that she does not have to begin rehearsals in Buenos Aires as doing both that and Audio may have been something of a stretch. Not being in Buenos Aires at this time allows her to give her full attention to such a large and complex event in Ingolstadt

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Director of Teatro Colón responds to Katharina Wagner's "walkout"

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday, 20 October 2012 | 6:46:00 pm

García Caffi: "I only thought she'd
 popped out for a pint of  milk!"
As previously reported Katharina Wagner arrived at the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires on Tuesday, decided things were not ready and returned the someday to Bayreuth - putting the future of the the Ring Project in jeopardy.

According to her,  when she raised concerns that the theatre was not ready for rehearsal, per her contract, theatre director Pedro Pablo García Caffi simply walked out slamming the door behind him and has not returned her calls or emails.

Now, in a further twist to what is becoming a very strange story, García Caffi, has said today he has no idea what she is talking about and only thought she was returning to Germany on  business and make further preparations. The first time that he heard she might not becoming back was when he read the papers.

He says that the theatre is ready per their contract and that rumors circulating in the press that K Wagner has been replaced as director are untrue. "She is contracted to do so" he says.  So she will be returning he was asked? "I suppose so" Suppose so? Well, he admitted being a little unsure now after what he read in the press!

The full interview can be read here

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Video: An introduction to Tristan und Isolde - with Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet.



A collaboration between the Santa Fe Concert Association and the Wagner Society of Santa Fe with special guest, soprano Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet.


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Met "opera on demand" to add Lepage Ring Cycle on Oct 30

If you have not managed to catch Lepage's "controversial" Ring Cycle yet - either live, at the cinema, on DVD or on TV - you can now do so via another source: The Met's online Opera on Demand service.

Relayed in HD it will be available from October 30th. Alas, this is not for free. To watch you have a number of options: you can either "rent" each production for 30 days for $3.99 per drama or take out a subscription to their entire available opera - in video and audio. Of course, if you have not previously subscribed either monthly or yearly to the MET's online streaming service you could watch the entire cycle for free  - as they offer a 7 day free trial.

Wagner's Dream, - the documentary of the making of Lepage's Ring is already available.

For more visit: MET Opera On Demand.

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A Ring Cycle cancelled? Katharina Wagner picks up her Ring and goes home

Waiting for the phone to ring?
As Wagner arrives back in Bayreuth after only one day in Argentina she tells reporters: "Bayreuth will do me well enough".

We had not reported on this over the last few days as there has been slightly conflicting reports,  however an interview with Katharina Wagner today may have clarified things a little. As you are probably aware, a "new" "reduced Ring cycle (running at 7 hours) is planned to take place in the Teatro Colon,  Buenos Aires, beginning on the 27th November. Katharina Wagner was to direct. However, after spending only one day in Buenos Aires, she has flown straight home.

A number of conflicting reports have appeared over the last day or so: from announcements that the Cycle is cancelled , to another stating that the Teatro Colon had found itself a new director. In an interview today, Katherina Wagner has clarified things a little - at least from her perspective:

So, what happened exactly? ( and translated in our usual idiosyncratic manner)?

"I showed up on time with my team on Tuesday for the start of rehearsals in the Teatro Colon, and there just was not anything there - as had been agreed in advance. There was almost no rehearsal stage setup. The costume and the makeup department had not even begun their work. Assistants and some singers were missing. And it was clear that all of this would not even be there in two days. Therefore, we flow straight home. Bayreuth will do me well enough".

So, you have cancelled then, as the press has stated?

"We have certainly not cancelled. These press releases were false. On the contrary. We told the director, we want to work and fulfil our contract. If the conditions are provided which allow us to continue we can return within 48 hours and start work."

So, what did the Teatro Colon's artistic director say when you told him you were unhappy with the conditions?

"He said little. He asked if I was ready, that I could begin to rehearse without all of the props, artists and rehearsal staging."

And you replied?

"I told him this was simply not possible. And was unacceptable for all concerned

He then left the room, slamming the door. We sat and waited, because we thought he would return and make some suggestions but he did not. When we returned to Germany, I wrote to him  via email and told him that I want to fulfil the contract and that he should tell me when we can come back. So far he has not responded."

 It seems that opera directing outside of the ready resources of Bayreuth may not be to everyones tastes

The full interview can be read here (in German)
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Video Preview: San Francisco Opera - Lohengrin

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 19 October 2012 | 8:39:00 am


From Rehersals: Lohengrin, 2012. San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Nicola Luisotti.

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San Francisco Opera's new Lohengrin opens October 20

Brandon Jovanovich 
Photo by Terrence McCarthy.
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA PRESENTS WAGNER’S LOHENGRIN

STARRING BRANDON JOVANOVICH IN THE TITLE ROLE WITH CAMILLA NYLUND, PETRA LANG, GERD GROCHOWSKI AND KRISTINN SIGMUNDSSON

OCTOBER 20–NOVEMBER 9, WAR MEMORIAL OPERA HOUSE

CONDUCTED BY NICOLA LUISOTTI AND DIRECTED BY DANIEL SLATER

SAN FRANCISCO (October 15, 2012)—San Francisco Opera presents Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin at the War Memorial Opera House, opening on October 20 with six subsequent performances through November 9. American tenor Brandon Jovanovich sings the title role opposite Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund, appearing as Elsa von Brabant. Also appearing in this new-to-San Francisco Opera production, which was designed by Robert Innes Hopkins and is directed by Daniel Slater, are veteran Wagnerians Petra Lang as Ortrud, Gerd Grochowski as Friedrich von Telramund and Kristinn Sigmundsson as Heinrich der Vogler, as well as Brian Mulligan as the King’s Herald.

Following his great success as Siegmund in San Francisco Opera’s most recent Die Walküre, American tenor Brandon Jovanovich returns to the Company to make his title role debut in Wagner’s Lohengrin. Of his appearance in 2011’s Der Ring Des Nibelungen, the San Francisco Chronicle called Jovanovich a “first-rate Wagner tenor.” Other recent appearances with the Company include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly (2007), Luigi in Il Tabarro (2009) and Froh in 2011’s Das Rheingold. Later this season the tenor will appear as Pinkerton with Los Angeles Opera, Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut in Brussels and Sergey in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in Zurich.

Petra Lang
Appearing as the noble warrior’s bride, Elsa von Brabant, is Camilla Nylund. The Finnish soprano makes her San Francisco Opera debut in a role she has previously performed in Budapest, Dresden, Vienna, and Cologne. Recent career highlights include Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus and the title roles of Salome, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Arabella with the Vienna State Opera; Elisabeth in Tannhäuser at the Bayreuth Festival, San Diego Opera, Berlin State Opera, and in Cologne; and Salome with Paris Opera and in Valencia, Toulouse, and Cologne.

Mezzo-soprano Petra Lang appears as Ortrud, a role she has previously sung in Berlin, Budapest, Bucharest, Vienna, Geneva, London, and Edinburgh; she will reprise the role later this season at the Bayreuth Festival. The noted Wagnerian made her San Francisco Opera debut as Venus in 2007’s Tannhäuser, a role she has also sung at Milan’s La Scala, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Baltimore Opera.

German bass-baritone Gerd Grochowski made his San Francisco Opera debut as Jaroslav Prus in 2010’s The Makropulos Case and returned as Donner and Gunther in the 2011 Ring cycle. He appears in this production as Friedrich von Telramund, a role he has also sung in Tokyo, Berlin and London.

Kristinn Sigmundsson returns to San Francisco Opera as Heinrich der Vogler, a role he has previously performed in Munich, Berlin and Madrid. The bass made his San Francisco Opera debut as Méphistophélès in the 2002 production of La Damnation de Faust and has since returned to the Company as King Marke in Tristan und Isolde, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier and most recently, Sarastro in The Magic Flute.
Camilla Nylund

Baritone Brian Mulligan returns to San Francisco Opera in his role debut as the King's Herald. Mulligan garnered wide acclaim last season for his portrayal of Richard Nixon in John Adams' Nixon in China. His recent San Francisco Opera appearances include Valentin (Faust), Albert (Werther), Ragueneau (Cyrano de Bergerac) and Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), all in 2010. Other notable engagements include Valentin at the Metropolitan Opera; Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor) at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Washington National Opera, and the title role of Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer with Opera Theater of St. Louis.

Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts his first Wagner opera of his career, and British stage director Daniel Slater directs this co-production of Houston Grand Opera and Grand Théâtre de Genève. Slater previously directed San Francisco Opera’s 2004 production of Janácek’s The Cunning Little Vixen. This production of Lohengrin, designed by Robert Innes Hopkins, is set in a post-World War Two Eastern Bloc state and updates Wagner’s mythical story for a contemporary audience.

San Francisco Opera Guild will present an Insight Panel Discussion featuring members of the cast and production team from Lohengrin. The discussion will take place on Monday, October 15 at 6 p.m. in the Green Room at the War Memorial Veterans Building (401 Van Ness Avenue). Insight panels are free for Opera members and $5 for the general public; tickets can be purchased at the door 30 minutes prior to the discussion.

Sung in German with English supertitles, the seven performances of Lohengrin are scheduled for October 20 (7 p.m.), October 24 (7 p.m.), October 28 (1 p.m.), October 31 (7 p.m.), November 3 (7 p.m.), November 6 (7 p.m.), and November 9 (7 p.m.), 2012.


Cast:                                                                                                       Production Team:                               
Lohengrin                              Brandon Jovanovich                          Conductor                              Nicola Luisotti                     
Elsa von Brabant                  Camilla Nylund*                                   Director                                  Daniel Slater
Ortrud                                    Petra Lang                                             Scenic and Costume Designer Robert Innes Hopkins
Friedrich von Telramund     Gerd Grochowski                                 Lighting Designer                 Simon Mills
Heinrich der Vogler               Kristinn Sigmundsson                         Chorus Director                     Ian Robertson     
King’s Herald                         Brian Mulligan                                    Movement Director              Leah Hausman     

* San Francisco Opera Debut   Role Debut  ● OperaVision Performance

TICKETS AVAILABLE AT 415-864-3330 OR SFOPERA.COM
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Opera North announce Spring 2013 season - and Siegfried. 2013-2014

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 | 6:50:00 pm

Continuing their Ring Cycle and a new production of Albert Herring. Full details below.


Three productions close a full year of new productions in the 2012/13 Season, from Don Giovanni, Faust and The Makropulos Case to Otello, La clemenza di Tito and a double-bill of Poulenc’s La voix humaine and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in the new year.

The new productions announced for Spring 2013 begin in April with Handel’s mighty oratorio, Joshua, at Leeds Grand Theatre. Depicting the Old Testament story of Joshua, as he leads the Israelites in conquest of Canaan, this dramatic oratorio demonstrates Handel’s skill as an opera composer in its highly theatrical and strongly characterised score. Daniel Norman (Joshua) and Fflur Wyn (Achsah) lead a cast directed by Charles Edwards.

A new production of Benjamin Britten’s chamber comedy, Albert Herring, will be staged in the intimate space of the Howard Assembly Room in May. Albert Herring is directed by Giles Havergal (The Merry Widow, 2010), with set and costume design by Leslie Travers (Giulio Cesare, 2012). Casting includes the return to Opera North of Dame Josephine Barstow as Lady Billows, Alexander Sprague as Albert, and Joseph Shovelton as Mr Upfold.

Conducted by Music Director Richard Farnes, the next thrilling instalment of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Siegfried, will première at Leeds Town Hall in June before travelling to The Sage Gateshead, Symphony Hall, Birmingham and The Lowry, Salford Quays. Annalena Persson (Die Walküre, 2012) returns as Brünnhilde, while Estonian tenor Mati Turi sings the heroic title role.

The upcoming 2013/14 Season will now open with a ‘Festival of Britten’ in September 2013 and will close with the final part of Opera North’s four-year Ring Cycle, Götterdämmerung, in June 2014. Full details of the 2013/14 season will be announced in February 2013.

General booking for Joshua, Albert Herring and Siegfried will go on sale on 17 December.



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Video lecture: "Wagner and Buddhism"

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 | 6:10:00 pm


Recorded last year as part of the SF Ring Cycle. Includes former Buddhist monk and author of Redeemer Reborn: Parsifal as the Fifth Opera of Wagner's Ring Paul Schofield and Wagner lecturer Peter Bassett. Presented as a youtube playlist below. Total running time around 80 minutes.


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