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The Animated Life Of Richard Wagner. In 1 minute 33 seconds

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 29 April 2013 | 9:07:00 pm


Upon finding this we simply could not resist bringing it to your attention.
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Watch Now: Minkowski Conducts Wagner, Beethoven. With Anne Sofie von Otter



Richard Wagner Faust Overture, WWV 59

Richard Wagner Wesendonck Lieder, WWV 91

Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica"
1. Allegro con brio
2. Marcia funebre : Adagio assai
3. Scherzo : Allegro vivace
4. Finale : Allegro molto


The Swedish singer Anne Sofie von Otter has conquered the classical music world, singing the greatest mezzo soprano roles in the most prestigious opera houses. After her recordings of Berlioz's Les Nuits d'été with the founder of the ensemble Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, she joins forces again with Marc Minkowski and opens this concert with the Wagner Wesendonck-Lieder.

Thus, this programme is an opportunity to celebrate the bicentenary of Richard Wagner's birth. This major piece of the Lieder repertoire tells the story of the impossible yet passionate love of the composer for the spouse of one of his sponsors, Otto von Wesendonck. An intimate work, which composition was contemporaneous with the one of Tristan and Isolde.

The Orchestre du Capitole concludes this concert with a rendition of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, also called "Eroica". Composed between 1803-1804, it is one of the composer's most popular works, which opened the Romantic era in music.

Anne Sofie von Otter and Marc Minkowski appear courtesy of Naïve Classique.

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A First Timers Guide To Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen


Given the amount of Wagner that will be "out there" this year (in concert, on stage, on the radio and TV), there is every possibility that many people maybe seeing or hearing a full Wagner work for the first time. It is also, given its popularity, most likely that first encounter this year will be with the Ring.  Perhaps not necessarily the easiest place to start - if very worth while.  With that in mind, we have trawled the archives here, and elsewhere, to put together the following guide. We hope it proves of some use. It should be noted this is a "work in progress" and we shall add relevant items to it as they arise.
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ROH Unveils 2013/14 season trailer. It has opera in it shock!

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 28 April 2013 | 11:16:00 pm



We were perhaps a little "critical" of the ROH 2012/2013 season trailer video. In our defence, this was because it contained no actual opera music. But things are much better in the new video. Much better indeed.  Throwing away their advertising agency it seems that they have managed to produce something far more interesting "in-house".

You may or may not like it - we do - but it does mange to contain both opera and ballet. And consist of an intriguing concept. Not that we have any idea what its about mind.  And no irritating "techno" playing over it. So at least we know this isn't the 90's.

Still, we feel somewhat saddened for the youtube commentator who says: "Wanna see this!" Bless.

Anyway, well done ROH marketing and press. See? We can be nice on occasion. Now, lets see what happens with Parsifal later this year.




A seedy motel room, a tender pas de deux from The Royal Ballet’s Sabina Westcombe and Tristan Dyer, and an impassioned cross-dressed channelling of the great Maria Callas.

The trailer references the latest brochure cover image and was directed by Royal Opera House Audio-Visual Producer Tom Turner.

‘The film is primarily about transposing the sensation experienced by the audience, dancers, singers and musicians during a performance’, says Tom, ‘it aims to bottle that feeling of being fully committed and lost in the moment.’

‘I’ve tried to create a narrative that draws on the emotional connection performers and audience experience through our art forms. There is a sense of voyeurism in how we see this very intimate scene, in the same way artists and musicians deliver their heart and soul during a performance.’

 The film was wholly created in house, drawing on the talent and resources within the Royal Opera House and filmed in one of The Royal Opera's cavernous rehearsal rooms.

More


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Richard Wagner Books To Be Published in 2013: A list and overview

Given  that 2013 is Wagner's Bicentenary, it should come as no surprise that we should see a plethora of books about "the most written about composer in history". With that in mind, we thought it was time to provide an overview of what you might expect in the next 6 months. And trust us the range of material is vast: from reprints of Ernest Newman's 4 volume set The Life of Richard Wagner to Terry Quinn's optimistically titled "Richard Wagner: The Lighter Side" to Chris Walton's translation of Eva Rieger's, "Friedelind Wagner: Richard Wagner's Rebellious Granddaughter". Given that most of these are to be published at some stage in the future - and the vast length of many - it has not been possible to review all of them as yet. Thus the commentary below is mainly from the publishers.



The Wagner Experience and its Meaning to Us - the two-volume bicentenary celebration.
Paul Dawson-Bowling

Hardcover: 760 pages
Publisher: Old Street Publishing (7 May 2013)
ISBN-10: 1908699434

In this bicentenary celebration of Wagner and his music, Paul Dawson-Bowling introduces, deepens and enriches the Wagner Experience for the newcomer and the seasoned Wagnerian alike. Expounding in colourful style the stories, the sources and the lessons of Wagner’s great dramas, he offers unusual insights into the man, his works and their meaning, while grappling with the music’s almost occult power.

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Q&A with Jay Hunter Morris. Boston Wagner Society. May 6

 
Q&A with Jay Hunter Morris
The Met’s Siegfried
Moderated by WGBH Host Ron Della Chiesa

Monday, May 6, 2013 6:00 p.m.
A cheese and wine reception will follow

The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
Details here
Click here for tickets
 
 
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Goodall Ring Cycle In English & Why Wagner Wanted It That Way

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday, 27 April 2013 | 1:56:00 am

A few people have emailed asking if this is available on Spotify. After much searching (Spotify's search algorithms are not always the best. Although one suspects this maybe more to do with how poorly classical music is meta-tagged in general) we finally found it. We have thus created a playlist of the entire cycle and include it below.

"I hope you will see to it that my works are performed in English; only in this way can they be intimately understood by an English speaking audience." Richard Wagner Oct 22 1877

Perhaps never a first choice, it is worth listening to at least once. This is especially so if your German is not especially good - or none existent for that matter. There are of course those that believe Wagner should never be sung in anything but German. However, as noted in a quote from Wagner, he seemed very keen for his libretto to be translated and sung in a countries local tongue.

That quote is taken from a letter written by Wagner to Melbourne resident Emil Sander. As noted by the Wagner Society Of New York:

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Bayreuth Festival Names New Managing Director - Heinz Dieter Sense

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 26 April 2013 | 4:40:00 pm

Heinz Dieter Sense
Eva Wagner-Pasquier and Katharina Wagner are to be joined by a new and third director atop the Green Hill as Heinz Dieter Sense joins as Commercial Director.

It seems the appointment, initially for two years,  is the result of the recent investigation into mismanagement at the festival.

Sense, was previously artistic director at Deutsche Oper Berlin for a few months and then at the Eutiner Festspiele. When he left that post, the Eutiner Festspiele was unfortunately bankrupt.

Exactly what influence he will have over any artistic decisions at the festival are still not clear. Equally, what impact, if any, this will have with the Wagner Societies ongoing battle to get back their ticket allocation remains to be seen


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The 'Colón Ring' on film - sans Katharina Wagner

Press Release:

At an Argentine production of Wagner's 'Ring,' there was plenty of behind-the-scenes drama. A documentary now tells the story of the difficult show. Its premiere in a Berlin theater was an audience hit.

Just a few weeks ahead of the premiere in Buenos Aires, pages were being ripped out of scores. Players were threatening to leave. The conductor, annoyed at the orchestra's sound, left the rehearsal room in a fit of rage. Stage elements were still being hammered together, and a leading role suddenly lost its singer.

But a young director was there, radiating energy and drive. It was clear that the production depended in large part on her will to succeed.

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Tolkien, Wagner, Nationalism, Modernity & Anarchism"

Found at the ISI Lecture Archive . A lecture from 2001 given by Dr. Bradley J. Birzer, Professor of History at Hillsdale College. Its full title being:  "Both rings were round, and there the resemblance eases": Tolkien, Wagner, Nationalism, and Modernity" Only the first part is reproduced below. To read the entire paper it will be necessary to visit the direct link at ISI. Images and media here added by TW. 

It maybe worth noting before reading, that ISI describes itself as, "The educational pillar of the conservative movement and the leading source of information about a free society for the many students and teachers who reject the post-modernist zeitgeist." Nothing skeptical here then - if you'll forgive the pun.

"My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs)-or to 'unconstitutional'
Monarchy," Tolkien wrote to his son Christopher.

When the Swedish translation of The Lord of the Rings appeared in 1961, its author was appalled. Fluent in Swedish, J.R.R. Tolkien found no problems with the translation. Indeed, Tolkien often considered the various Scandinavian languages as better mediums for his Middle-earth stories than English, as the medieval Norse and Icelandic myths had strongly influenced them. His disgust, instead, came from the presumption found within the introduction to the Swedish edition. The crime: translator Åke Ohlmark had compared Tolkien's ring to Wagner's ring. "The Ring is in a certain way 'der Niebelungen Ring,'" Ohlmark had written. Indignant, Tolkien complained to his publisher: "Both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceases." The translator's commentary was simply "rubbish," according to Tolkien.


Ohlmark was not the only critic to make the comparison. A Canadian English professor, William Blissett, reviewing The Lord of the Rings for the prestigious South Atlantic Quarterly, found several parallels between the two legends but was unwilling to preclude "any direct Wagnerian influence." By the early 1960s, the comparison was becoming common. In his last interview before his death, Tolkien's closest friend C.S. Lewis claimed to have wanted to write a new prose version of Wagner's Ring Opera. Lewis feared, though, that "at the mention of the word Ring a lot of people might think it was something to do with Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings.'" Since the first comparisons in the 1950s, many critics have used Wagner's Ring against Tolkien. One famous English poet referred to The Lord of the Rings as "A combination of Wagner and Winnie-the-Pooh. "

The comparison to Wagner grated on Tolkien. In their own personal lives, the two had little in common. Wagner was a nineteenth-century German socialist, a believer in the apotheosis of man. Tolkien was a twentieth-century English unconstitutional monarchist, a devout Roman Catholic, and a strong believer in the limitations placed upon humans by Adam's original sin. According to his official biographer and family friend, Humphrey Carpenter, Tolkien "held in contempt" Wagner's interpretation of the Norse and German versions of the Niebelungen Saga. Still, he studied or listened to Wagner and his music frequently. One student of Lewis's, Derek Brewer claimed rumors circulated that Lewis and Tolkien annually attended the full ring opera in London. Tolkien's daughter Priscilla remembers one such visit to the opera where her father and Lewis had failed to wear formal evening attire—the only two in the entire audience who had forgotten to do so.

Additionally, Tolkien and Lewis studied Wagner's myths as a part of their exploration in their short-lived but deeply influential Kólbitar Club. Creating the academic club in 1926, Tolkien hoped to interest several Oxford dons in the significance of Norse mythology. Meaning "Coal Biters," Kólbitar was a derisive term for Norse men who refused to join in the hunt or fight, preferring instead the warmth of the fire. Tolkien's Kólbitars read several of the Norse myths, including the entire Volsunga Saga and the Elder Edda in the original Icelandic. It was in this club that Tolkien and Lewis realized how much they had in common and began their thirty-four year friendship. "One week I was up till 2.30 on Monday (talking to the Anglo Saxon professor Tolkien," Lewis wrote to his friend Arthur Greeves in 1929, "who came back with me to College from a society and sat discoursing on the gods & giants & Asgardfor three hours." Tolkien must have especially regarded the late-night discussion as important, for he lent to Lewis parts of The Silmarillion, a work he regarded as vital but intensely personal and private. Only his family and a research assistant knew anything about it. To what must have proved an immense sense of relief for Tolkien, Lewis responded enthusiastically to his colleague's private world. "I sat up late last night and have read the Geste as far as to where Beren and his gnomish allies defeat the patrol of orcs above the sources of the Narog and disguise themselves," Lewis wrote to Tolkien. "I can quite honestly say that it is ages since I have had an evening of such delight." According to a friend, Lewis "was aghast. This was the sort of writing which he would not have dared to believe could exist."

By the early 1930s, the Kólbitars had dissipated, and the remaining members, Tolkien and Lewis, continued the club under a different name, "The Inklings." The translations of Norse and Germanic legends continued though. By 1934, Warnie Lewis reported in his diary, that he, his brother, and Tolkien were translating the text of Wagner's second Ring Opera, the Valkyries, from the original German. "Arising out of the complexities of Wotan," Warnie recorded, "we had a long and interesting discussion on religion which lasted until about half past eleven when the car called for us." Agreeing with or disagreeing with Wagner's interpretations, it provided much food for thought.

Of the two major Inklings, Lewis was far more taken with Wagner than was Tolkien. In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, Lewis wrote that when he first encountered Wagner in 1911, at the age of 13, "pure 'northernness' engulfed" him. Five years later, Lewis attended his first performance of Wagner's Ring and was disturbed by members of the audience who were so taken with the opera that they yelled directions to the conductor or stood up spontaneously, unable to control their excitement. The young Lewis even pulled one overly enthusiastic opera fan back into his seat. For Lewis, the Ring Opera proved to him that "all Italian opera is merely a passtime [sic] compared with the great music-drama of Wagner." Italian opera, he concluded, was mere "screaming and contortions." For the atheist and rationalist Lewis, northern paganism had served as a form of substitute Christianity. Wagner, he wrote after attending another Ring performance
in 1924, gave him a meaningful glimpse into divinity, "of seeing the very most ultimate things hammering it out." When feeling depressed, Lewis called upon his "small stock of Wagner" to lift his spirit. After his conversion to Christianity, Lewis admitted to loving "Balder before he loved Christ." To a group of Oxford  students, Lewis stated: "If Christianity is only a mythology, then I find that the mythology I believe in is not the mythology I like best. I like Greek mythology much better; Irish better still: Norse best of all." Lewis even wrote the climax of the second volume of his famous space trilogy, Perelandra, paralleling Wagner's Ring.

Though Tolkien never held Wagner in the same regard as did Lewis, one cannot completely dismiss the comparison between Tolkien and Wagner. At a superficial level, the two ring stories share several things in  common: dragons (with vulnerable spots) guarding treasures; important rings that cause evil, directly or indirectly; the broken sword remade; a wandering, grey deity, inspiring men; and the moral and physical stretching of the ring's original possessor. Perhaps most important, Wagner and Tolkien both greatly admired northern courage. "It is the strength of the northern mythological imagination that it faced this problem, put the monsters in the centre, gave them victory but no honour, and found a potent but terrible solution in naked will and courage," Tolkien wrote in his justly famous essay on Beowulf. The "northern has power, as it were, to revive its spirit even in our own times."

Even the comparisons, though, should not lead one to conclude that Tolkien borrowed from Wagner. Rather, Tolkien and Wagner each drew from the same sources. Namely, Wagner used the basic stories from the Austrian Nibelungenlied, the Icelandic Elder Edda and Völuspá, and the Norse Volsunga Saga. Tolkien, too, took from these sources. But, the Finnish Kalevala, various Anglo-Saxon poetry, George MacDonald, and G.K. Chesterton also served as influences on Tolkien, directly or indirectly. There were other important influences on him, not so immediately obvious. "Imagine that! You know, he used to have the most extraordinary interest in the people here in Kentucky," Allen Barnett, a Kentuckian and former classmate at Oxford said. "He could never get enough of my tales of Kentucky folk. He used to make me repeat family names like Barefoot and Boffin and Baggins and good country names like that."

The manner in which Tolkien used the sources differed greatly from that of Wagner. For Wagner, the pagan northern myths served several purposes in his operas. First, they gave the German people a nationalist identity. It should be regarded as no accident that Wagner wrote and completed the Ring Opera as Germany and Bismarck struggled to unify and find a common voice. Second, Wagner promoted socialism, in what would in the twentieth century be seen in two varieties, national socialism and international socialism. Finally, Wagner desired to show that man could attain his own godhood. Wagner, English philosopher Roger Scruton explains, "proposed man as his own redeemer and art as the transfiguring rite of passage to a higher world." Certainly, the death of Siegfried leading to the fiery consumption of Valhalla suggests that.

1. Tolkien vs. nationalism

It would be difficult to find some one who held views more different from Wagner than Tolkien. First, Tolkien viewed a sanctified northern, pagan myth as a means to return the modernist, heretical West to Christendom. "The greatness I meant was that of a great instrument in God's hands-a mover, a doer, even an achiever of great things, a beginner at the very least of large things," Tolkien wrote from the trenches in France in 1916. The 24-year old hoped, he continued "to rekindle an old light in the world," to carry on the Old Truths in the ravaged, post-war world.

For Tolkien, Beowulf best exemplified the merging of pagan traditions and Christian thought. The
anonymous author of Beowulf lived as England was in the slow process of converting to Christianity. A Christian, the Beowulf author used the poem to demonstrate that not all pagan things should be dismissed by the new culture. Instead, the Christian should embrace and sanctify the most noble virtue to come out of the northern pagan mind: courage.

Tolkien's argument reflects St. Augustine's thinking as well. In his "On Christian Duty," St. Augustine wrote: if philosophers "have said aught that is true and in harmony with our faith, we are not only not to shrink from it, but to claim it for our own use from those who have unlawful possession of it." Clement of Alexandria, living in the late second and early third centuries, presaged Augustine's argument. Pre-Christian faiths, he argued in Miscellanies, served as a "preparatory teaching for those who will later embrace the faith." God had given the Greeks philosophy as a gift awaiting the arrival of Christianity. Philosophy, Clement concluded, "acted as a schoolmaster to the Greeks, preparing them for Christ, as the laws of the Jews prepared them for Christ." Plato and Aristotle served as much as a preparation for Christianity, as did Abraham and Moses. History and legend, as Tolkien would say, fused with the incarnation of Christ, the True Myth.

The anonymous author of Beowulf had followed Clement's and Augustine's advice, appropriating the best of pagan culture and sanctifying it as Christian. For truth, the argument runs, belongs to God, whether codified in scripture or nature. With the creation of the world, the natural law reveals as much as direct revelation. And, by being the author of all society and the plethora of cults/cultures, God placed a part of His Truth in each. As each non-Christian culture encounters Christianity, it has some piece of the truth, allowing it to accept the full Truth. Lewis put it more succinctly than Tolkien: "Paganism does not merely survive but first really becomes itself in the [very] heart of Christianity." By writing his extensive, life-long mythology, Tolkien followed the same practice, appropriating northern myth and baptizing it, making it relevant to the heresies of the modern world.

Indeed, Tolkien often noted that Middle-earth represented Europe. The term, after all, was merely Anglo-Saxon for the land between the oceans, the land between Heaven and hell, the land between the spirit and the material: Christian Europe. "Rhun is the Elvish word for 'east.' Asia, China, Japan, and all the things which people in the west regard as far away," Tolkien noted in an interview in 1966. "And south of Harad is Africa, the hot countries." England, by such logic, would be the Shire. Tolkien admitted as much. Most specifically, the Hobbits represented the best of the English. Much of his feelings stemmed from his childhood move from South Africa to England. Tolkien's earliest memories are of Africa, but it was alien to me, and when I came home, therefore, I had for the countryside of England both the native feeling and the personal wonder of somebody who comes to it. I came to the English countryside when I was about 3 ½ or 4—it seemed to me wonderful. If you really want to know what Middle-earth is based on, it's my wonder and delight in the earth as it is, particularly with the natural earth.

Tolkien originally hoped that his legendarium would serve as a mythology for England, a land devoid of all but the Arthurian myth. Even Beowulf, written in Anglo-Saxon, dealt with the history of the Danes and the Geats as opposed to the Anglo-Saxons. But, from its original inception as a myth for England, the legendarium grew much larger in scope and significance. The story, especially The Lord of the Rings, became much more than a myth for any one people or nation. It, instead, became a myth for the restoration of Christendom. With the return of the king, Aragorn, to his rightful throne, Tolkien argued, the "progress of the tales ends in what is far more like the re-establishment of an effective Holy Roman Empire with its seat in Rome." Considering the intense religiosity of Tolkien and his belief that God led him to and through the mythology, it would be difficult for the devout Roman Catholic to conclude otherwise. His myth, he hoped, would help impede the rise of nationalism. Witnessing unification in the United States, Germany, and Italy, Whig historian Lord Acton stressed that the rise of nationalism would quickly mean the end of Christendom and western ideals regarding the sovereign person created in the image of God. "Christianity rejoices at the
mixture of races," he wrote in his famed essay "Nationalism." Paganism, however, "identifies itself with  their differences, because truth is universal, errors various and particular." Though writing in 1862, Acton seemingly understood that a Nietzsche would soon arise. "By making the State and the nation commensurate with each other in theory," Acton continued, those deemed inferior will be "exterminated, or reduced to  servitude, or outlawed, or put in a condition of dependence."

To Continue Reading (PDF)
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Random Youtube Comment Of The Month To A Wagner Video

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 25 April 2013 | 4:40:00 am


First, and most likely last, in a new series. While comparing versions of "Heil dir, Sonne!" (which one must admit separates the Walkures from the true Brünnhildes and remains the great stumbling block of many who have attempted it) one came across Anne Evans' performance under Barenboim at Bayreuth. While quickly scanning the comments, came across the following and felt it worth sharing:

"Considering she has been in a coma for 18yrs, I think she came out of it fine." Fredo1070



By the way, if you have not bought the Kupfer Ring on DVD you really should. Or at least rent it. If only Wagner 200 in London were to show this rather than the Chéreau. As interesting as that might be

TW

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BBC Radio 4 Documentary Series: Richard Wagner - Power, Sex And Revolution

A new two part documentary about Wagner from BBC Radio 4. Presented by Paul Mason, part one will broadcast 30 April at 11.30am. It will then be available on Iplayer for 7 days.

Two hundred years after the composer's birth, Paul Mason takes a fresh look at the man whose music has gripped him for as long as he can remember.

The megalithic 15 hours of The Ring cycle dominates people's view of Wagner, but behind it lies a man whose complex personality leaves people still struggling to understand him. He was a revolutionary, not just in music but also in politics, even finding himself a wanted man in exile.

He was determined to transform drama into something which would be a powerful force in society, and a man driven by ambition to revitalise a Germany which he saw as critically unwell. There were the darker instincts too, not least an attitude to racial purity which leaves deep questions about his validity as an artist.

In the first programme, Mason peers into the murky depths of a tale of desire and obsession. Tristan And Isolde takes the listener deep into the mind of its composer, a man with powerful sexual urges of his own, and whose approach to life was totally reshaped by his discovery of one of the greatest philosophers of his age.

Click here to Listen
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Trailer And Introduction To WNO's Wagner Dream


June 6 will see the UK premiere of the  first fully staged production of the late Johnathon Harvey's Wagner Dream. Below can be found a trailer, images and a video introduction from WNO's David Pountney - which includes further set designs of WNO's new production of Lohengrin


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Images: Early set designs of WNO's Lohengrin

Antony Mcdonald's new production of Lohengrin for WNO will be set in 1840. Below, are some early set designs to give you an idea of what to expect when the production premieres May 23.






Conductor Lothar Koenigs
Director & Designer Antony McDonald
Associate Director Helen Cooper
Lighting Designer Lucy Carter
Movement Director Philippe Giraudeau
Associate Movement Director Lizie Saunderson

Cast includes
Lohengrin Peter Wedd
Elsa Emma Bell
Ortrud Susan Bickley
Friedrich von Telramund John Lundgren
Herald Simon Thorpe
Heinrich Matthew Best

Birmingham Hippodrome 13 Jun - 15 Jun
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The Best Reproductions Of The Rackham Ring Cycle Prints Available?

As regular readers will be aware, we are producing a series of "flashbooks" for any interested reader featuring Rackham's 1908 paintings based on the Ring cycle. This is being done using commonly available reproductions of these images. However, a reader has brought to our attention the following. Last year Seattle Opera posted images taken by a patron from an original 1911 edition. As you can see from the few posted below these may well be the most vivid reproductions yet available. In many ways they seem like different paintings and truly show Rackham's talent to the full.

Of interest to anyone with an interest in Rackham, the Ring or Wagner. The full set can be seen at Seattle Opera's Facebook page by clicking here. It is highly recommended you visit and view the full set. You might also want to check out  Seattle Opera's "traditional" Ring Cycle (perhaps the only cycle you will see this year close to Wagner's original wishes)  by clicking here



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The Frankfurter Ring Now On DVD. Trailer

Due for release from April 29.

Der Ring des Nibelungen
Recorded live June/July 2012, Frankfurt

Das Rheingold
Terje Stensvold (Wotan), Jochen Schmeckenbecher (Alberich), Kurt Streit (Loge), Martina Dicke (Fricka), Barbara Zechmeister (Freia), Magnus Baldvinsson (Fafner), Alfred Reiter (Fasolt), Hans-Jurgen Lazar (Mime), Dietrich Volle (Donner), Richard Cox (Froh), Meredith Arwady (Erda), Britta Stallmeister (Woglinde), Jenny Carlstedt (Wellgunde), Katharina Magiera (Flosshilde)

Die Walküre
Frank van Aken (Siegmund), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde), Susan Bullock (Brünnhilde), Terje Stensvold (Wotan), Martina Dike (Fricka), Ain Anger (Hunding), Anja Fidelia Ulrich (Gerhilde), Mona Somm (Ortlinde), Eve-Maud Hubeaux (Waltraute), Bernadett Fodor (Schwertleite), Christiane Kohl (Helmwige), Lisa Wedekind (Siegrune), Tanja Ariane Baumgartner (Grimgerde), Monika Bohinec (Rossweise)

Siegfried
Lance Ryan (Siegfried), Peter Marsh (Mime), Terje Stensvold (Der Wanderer), Jochen Schmeckenbecher (Alberich), Magnús Baldvinsson (Fafner), Meredith Arwady (Erda), Susan Bullock (Brunnhilde), Kateryna Kasper (Woodbird)

Götterdämmerung
Susan Bullock (Brunnhilde), Lance Ryan (Siegfried), Gregory Frank (Hagen), Claudia Mahnke (Waltraute/Zweite Norn), Johannes Martin Kranzle (Gunther), Anja Fidelia Ulrich (Gutrune), Jochen Schmeckenbecher (Alberich), Britta Stallmeister (Woglinde), Jenny Carlstedt (Wellgunde), Katharina Magiera (Flosshilde), Meredith Arwady (Erste Norn), Angel Blue (Dritte Norn)


Frankfurt Opera and Museum Orchestra & Choir of the Frankfurt Opera, Sebastian Weigle


Complete Edition in Hardcover Slipcase






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Opera Awards 2014: Wagner dominates with Kaufmann and Stemme

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 | 11:47:00 pm

While there may have been some controversial awards given, Wagner was more than well represented in the first ever International Opera Awards tonight with Jonas Kaufmann wining both "Male Singer" and "Readers Singer"awards. At the same time Nina Stemme was awarded "Female Singer".

A full list of all awards can be found below together with a video summery of the ceremony

Female Singer: Nina Stemme

Male Singer: Jonas Kaufmann

Conductor: Antonio Pappano

Readers’ Award: Jonas Kaufmann

Young Singer: Sophie Bevan

World Premiere: Written on Skin (Benjamin), Aix-en-Provence

New Production: The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, Netherlands Opera, p. and d. Dmitri Tcherniakov

CD (Complete Opera): Alessandro (Handel), c. George Petrou (Decca)

CD (Operatic Recital): Christian Gerhaher: Romantic Arias (Sony)

DVD: Il Trittico, Royal Opera, p. Richard Jones, c. Antonio Pappano (Opus Arte)

Festival Opera: Salzburg

Opera Company: Oper Frankfurt

Opera Orchestra: Metropolitan Opera

Chorus: Cape Town Opera

Director: Dmitri Tcherniakov

Set Designer: Antony McDonald

Lighting Designer: Paule Constable

Costume Designer: Buki Shiff

Lifetime Achievement: Sir George Christie

Newcomer (conductor or director): Daniele Rustioni

Philanthropist/Sponsor: Sir Peter Moores

Rediscovered Work: David et Jonathas (M.-A. Charpentier), Les Arts Florissants

Accessibility: Metropolitan Opera

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Flying Dutchman’ as Played on Sight by a Bad Spa Orchestra...


I've always quite enjoyed it to be honest

In 1925 Paul Hindemith wrote a short piece for string quartet that — when played well — provides seven minutes of some of the most excruciatingly painful music ever to offend the ear. Its title, rendered in English, is “Overture to the ‘Flying Dutchman’ as Played on Sight by a Bad Spa Orchestra by the Village Well at 7 in the Morning,” and if you’re a devoted Wagner fan you might want to stop reading now.

In Wagner’s original, the gleaming heroism of the horn motif is pitted against foaming strings evoking the stormy force of nature and the pitiless power of fate. If there’s heroism in Hindemith’s version, it’s that of a hung-over group of second-rate musicians hurling themselves against the technical challenges of a score that is already unfairly reduced from its full orchestral version.
The resulting mistakes are carefully written out. Players overshoot octaves resulting in squeaky ninths; rapidly repeated tremolando notes that add urgency to the orchestral score are rendered through dogged sawing; pizzicato passages trip over themselves in haplessly imprecise rhythms. The chromatic up and down scales with which Wagner paints the swirling stormy seas are slurred into haphazard glissandos because, really, who can be bothered to articulate all those notes?
At one point the players give up on Wagner altogether, launching into a jolly waltz before steering the Dutchman into his final, utterly dissonant port. 




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Is It Still Too Soon to Like Wagner Again?

Logan K. Young  Published in Classicalite

One of the most irritating trends in contemporary musicology has to be the wholesale re-appraisal of a revered composer under the guise of institutional revisionism.

Now, scholarly re-assessment, itself a noble sentiment in an epoch typically unkind to second chances, can indeed be a rugged tool for unearthing those musical figures whom time and/or circumstance hath conspired to bury under the organum, secondary dominants and combinatorial sets of the last 1,000 years.

From Felix Mendelssohn 's Bach revival of the 1820s, to Knud Jeppesen's Palestrina fixation of the 1930s, to the more recent (and sound) work of Margaret Notley on behalf of Anton Bruckner, careful scrutiny of the canon is imperative, lest we lose another luckless genius to the annals of obscurity.

Nevertheless, when this same inquisition results in the dethroning of a bona fide artist, looking back turns the discourse into a briny pillar of salt.

Doggedly questioning an already proven master is not the purview of good musicological research. At his best, the music historian becomes an humanitarian; he offers redemption to the composer too long denied. Scathing polemics and quasi-Adorno dialectics regarding the qualitative merit of established convictions on established composers prove retroactive to the endeavor proper.

Once ensconced in the 'publish or perish' methodology of today's ivory towers, however, underpaid intellectuals are compelled to proffer any such theory on the true worth of Bach, Beethoven, Bartok or Babbitt to any periodical or journal that's fit to print.

Perhaps the single composer whose legacy has suffered the barrage of reconstructionist vehemence most viciously, and most often, is one Richard Wilhelm Wagner. Musical visionary, dramatic innovator, acute social philosopher--and, to be fair, late darling of the Third Reich--Wagner's historical significance has become quite the topic of suspicion in both aesthetic and epistemic scholarship.

Music historians like Ms. Notley argue that for a composer's music to be 'successful,' it must not only embody his own aesthetic, political and even moral convictions, but it must further dictate said values to his listeners. Citing Brahms as the master of these seemingly extra-sensory techniques of "rational elaboration,"1 Notley therefore indirectly brands Wagner, and moreover his music drama, (of the "Neo-German School"2 quoth Franz Brendel of the Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik) as 'unsuccessful.'

Taking a cue from obscure religious thinker Ferdinand Ebner and Viennese Secessionist/fellow Wagner-phobe Friedrich Nietzsche (post-Die Geburt der Tragodie, of course), the academic Allan Janik, despite dubbing Wagner "the philosophical father of Viennese modernism,"3 acknowledges the derivative nature of his thinking as it "borrows liberally from Arthur Schopenhauer, whom [Wagner] frequently exploits for his own purposes."4

For Notley, Wagner's music sounds problematic because of its inability to convey Wagner's own agenda as expressed above. Wagner's proscribed menology--steadfast aestheticism, a maximalist's delusions of grandeur and a controversial (in a "new key"5 according to Carl Schorske) yet harmless concoction of then-routine anti-Semitism ("But bethink ye, that one only thing can redeem you from the burden of your curse: the redemption of Ahasuerus."6)--is conspicuously silent in everything from the opening bars of Das Liebesverbot to the "Good Friday Scene" from Parsifal.

Continue Reading At Classicalite
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Gods & Heroes. John Tomlinson: Weekend Masterclass, Lectures and Concerts. Wagner, Verdi & Britten

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 21 April 2013 | 9:38:00 pm

Should you have a free weekend in May this might be very much of interest.  And by the sea as well... This also gives an excuse to add a clip of what may surely be the greatest entrance of Wotan to act 3 of Siegfried.

MASTERSINGERS and A MUSIC CLUB OF LONDON Weekend of Masterclasses & Concerts

Featuring SIR JOHN TOMLINSON
with Mastersingers Artists
in music by
BRITTEN, VERDI & WAGNER
3-5 May 2013

All Saints Chapel,
Darley Road, Eastbourne BN20 7PE

FRIDAY MAY 3
20.00 – 21.30 Lecture: A GREAT TRIO
David Edwards introduces the weekend’s three composers, examines how they influenced each other and looks at what they thought about each other’s work with recorded excerpts

SATURDAY MAY 4
10.30 – 13.00 Masterclass: WAGNER’S SIEGFRIED ACT 3
Sir John Tomlinson works on the final act of the third opera in the RING cycle Michael Druiett Der Wanderer Rhonda Browne Erda Neal Cooper Siegfried Kelvin Lim piano

15.00 – 16.30 Lecture Recital: AN OPERATIC BESTIARY
David Edwards presents a brief guide to the animals in Wagner, Verdi & Britten – a dragon, a bear, horses, swans & donkeys… featuring Mastersingers young artists & others

19.30 Concert: VERDI, BRITTEN (& some Wagner)
Sir John Tomlinson sings music by these three great composers and is joined in arias and duets by Lee Bisset & Cheryl Enever sopranos, Rhonda Browne mezzo-soprano, Adam Tunnicliffe & Neal Cooper tenors, Michael Druiett & Stuart Pendred basses Kelvin Lim piano

SUNDAY MAY 5
10.30 – 11.30 Interview: SIR JOHN TOMLINSON & FIONA MADDOCKS
The distinguished music critic of The Observer talks to Sir John about
his long and varied international career

12.00 – 13.00 Masterclass: WAGNER’S SIEGFRIED ACT 1
Sir John Tomlinson works with two singers who will perform at Opera North this summer Michael Druiett Der Wanderer Richard Roberts Mime Kelvin Lim piano

14.00 – 15.00 Book Signing: THE WAGNER EXPERIENCE
Author and Wagner expert Paul Dawson-Bowling introduces his major
new study of Wagner on the eve of its publication


http://www.musicclublondon.com/UK0074.html


The Facebook Page Can Be Found Here

TICKETS
Friday 20.00 £10
Saturday 10.30 £12
15.00 £10
19.30 £20
Sunday all sessions inclusive £15
OR Buy a Season Ticket for all events £50

TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM
Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre,
Cornfield Road, Eastbourne BN21 4BQ



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New Wagner Boxset: The Great Wagner Singers

In a time when there is a "bucket load" of Wagner "cash in" CDs, the following sticks its head above the water a little higher than many. Admittedly, there is very little here for the dedicated Wagnerite but it does make a very good set to pop on your Ipod.

Interesting note: all of Wagner's mature work is represented (with the addition of Rienzi - the sublime "Gerechter Gott! So ist's entschieden schon!" from Janowitz. See youtube clip below) Wesendonck Lieder is shared between Varnay and Melchior. See below

Already published in the UK and much of Europe it will receive official release in North America on 30 April. Although one suspects that if you really wanted it no matter were you were it would be possible to find as an import.

As always, it is suggested that you listen to samples first. Amazon UK has some available at present.


CD 1: Great Wagner Singers
Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883)
Der fliegende Holländer

Act 1

1.
2. Rezitativ und Arie. "Die Frist ist um"
8:45
Hans Hotter, Bavarian State Orchestra, Heinrich Hollreiser

2.
"Mit Gewitter und Sturm aus fernem Meer"
1:27
Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Wilhelm Pitz, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele

Act 2

4. Szene, Lied und Ballade. "Summ und brumm, du gutes Rädchen"
8:33
Gwyneth Jones, Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Karl Böhm, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele, Wilhelm Pitz, Helmut Fellmer

4.
"Johohoe! Traft ihr das Schiff im Meere an"
8:16
Gwyneth Jones, Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Karl Böhm, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele, Wilhelm Pitz, Helmut Fellmer

Act 3

5.
"Steuermann, lass die Wacht!" (nur Chor)
1:58
Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Wilhelm Pitz, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele

Rienzi

Act 3

6.
Scene und Arie des Adriano: "Gerechter Gott! So ist's entschieden schon!"
8:54
Gundula Janowitz, Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Ferdinand Leitner

Act 5

7.
"Allmächt'ger Vater, blick herab"
4:32
Lauritz Melchior, Orchestra

Tannhäuser

Act 2

8.
"Dich, teure Halle, grüß ich wieder"
4:40
Leonie Rysanek, Münchner Philharmoniker, Ferdinand Leitner

Paris version

Act 2

9.
"O Fürstin!"
8:50
Wolfgang Windgassen, Annelies Kupper, Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Richard Kraus

Act 2

10.
"Freudig begrüßen wir die edle Halle"
6:17
Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Wilhelm Pitz, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele

11.
"Gar viel und schön"
4:59

Josef Greindl, RIAS Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Leopold Ludwig

Act 3

12.
"Beglückt darf nun dich, o Heimat, ich schauen" - "Dies ist ihr Sang"
3:25

13.
"Heil ! Heil! Der Gnade Wunder Heil!"
2:38
Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Wilhelm Pitz, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele

14.
"Allmächt'ge Jungfrau, hör mein Flehen!"
5:45
Gundula Janowitz, Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Ferdinand Leitner

Total Playing Time 1:18:59

CD 2: Great Wagner Singers

Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883)
Tannhäuser

Act 3

1.
Wie Todesahnung... O du mein holder Abendstern (Wolfram)
6:18
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Otto Gerdes

2.
"Inbrunst im Herzen"
11:09
Lauritz Melchior, Orchestra

Lohengrin

Act 1

3.
"Einsam in trüben Tagen"
5:39
Gundula Janowitz, Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Ferdinand Leitner

4.
Seht, seht! Welch ein seltsam Wunder!
2:34
Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Wilhelm Pitz, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele

Act 2

5.
"Euch Lüften, die mein Klagen"
3:39
Gundula Janowitz, Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Ferdinand Leitner

6.
"Gesegnet soll sie schreiten"
5:20

Act 3

7.
"Treulich geführt ziehet dahin"
4:39
Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Wilhelm Pitz, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele

8.
In fernem Land...Mein lieber Schwann
8:24
Leo Slezak, Manfred Gurlitt, Berlin State Opera Orchestra

Tristan und Isolde

Act 1

9.
"Weh, ach wehe! Dies zu dulden"
11:48
Astrid Varnay, Hertha Töpper, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Hermann Weigert

Act 2

10.
"Tatest du's wirklich?"
12:08
Kim Borg, Ferdinand Leitner, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra

Act 3

11.
"Mild und leise wie er lächelt" (Isoldes Liebestod) (Isolde)
6:25
Birgit Nilsson, Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Karl Böhm

Total Playing Time 1:18:03

CD 3: Great Wagner Singers

Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883)
Das Rheingold

Scene 4
1.
"Weiche, Wotan, weiche!"
3:50
Karin Branzell, Orchestra, Manfred Gurlitt

Scene 2

2.
Abendlich strahlt der Sonne Auge
2:49
Josef von Manowarda, Orchestra

Die Walküre

3.
Orchestervorspiel
3:41
Württembergisches Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Ferdinand Leitner

4.
Szene 1: "Wes Herd dies auch, hier muß ich rasten"
12:32
Wolfgang Windgassen, Maria Müller, Württembergisches Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Ferdinand Leitner

5.
Szene 2: "Müd am Herd fand ich den Mann"
4:47
Josef Greindl, Maria Müller, Wolfgang Windgassen, Württembergisches Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Ferdinand Leitner

6.
"Friedmund darf ich nicht heißen"
9:38
Maria Müller, Wolfgang Windgassen, Josef Greindl, Württembergisches Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Ferdinand Leitner

7.
"Ich weiß ein wildes Geschlecht"
5:30
Josef Greindl, Württembergisches Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Ferdinand Leitner

8.
Szene 3: "Ein Schwert verhieß mir der Vater"
5:38
Wolfgang Windgassen, Württembergisches Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Ferdinand Leitner

9.
"Schläfst du, Gast? "Schläfst du, Gast?
0:57

10.
"Der Männer Sippe saß hier im Saal"
5:17
Wolfgang Windgassen, Maria Müller, Württembergisches Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Ferdinand Leitner

11.
"Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond"
2:47
Wolfgang Windgassen, Württembergisches Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Ferdinand Leitner

12.
Du bist der Lenz
5:53

13.
"Wehwalt heißt du fürwahr?"
1:12

14.
Siegmund heiß ich und Siegmund bin ich
3:42
Wolfgang Windgassen, Maria Müller, Württembergisches Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Ferdinand Leitner

15.
War es so schmählich, was ich verbrach
3:51
Frida Leider, Orchestra

16.
"Leb wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind"
8:46
Hans Hotter, Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Robert Heger

Total Playing Time 1:20:50

CD 4: Great Wagner Singers

Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883)
Die Walküre

1.
Szene 4: "Siegmund! Sieh auf mich!"
21:35
Kirsten Flagstad, Set Svanholm, Wiener Philharmoniker, Georg Solti

Siegfried

2.
Notung! Notung! Neidliches Schwert!
3:16
Erster Aufzug

3.
Ho-ho! Schmiede, mein Hammer, ein hartes Schwert
2:36
Lauritz Melchior, Orchestra

4.
Daß der mein Vater nicht ist - Waldweben
9:25
Max Lorenz, Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Heinz Tietjen

5.
Wache, Wala! Wala! Erwach!
2:14
Siegfried von Manowarda, Orchestra

6.
"Heil dir, Sonne!" (Brünnhildes Erwachen)
4:01
Frida Leider, Fritz Soot, Orchestra

7.
"Ewig war ich"
4:19
Frida Leider, Orchestra

8.
"O Siegfried!"
2:36
Frida Leider, Fritz Soot, Orchestra

Götterdämmerung

Prologue

9.
"Zu neuen Taten, teurer Helde" - "O heilige Götter" (Brünnhilde, Siegfried)
13:23
Astrid Varnay, Wolfgang Windgassen, Leopold Ludwig, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

10.
"Hier sitz' ich zur Wacht"
7:07
Josef Greindl, Leopold Ludwig, RIAS Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

Total Playing Time 1:10:32

CD 5: Great Wagner Singers

Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883)
Götterdämmerung

Zweiter Aufzug

1.
Szene 3: "Hoiho! Hoihohoho Ihr Gibichsmannen"
10:30
Josef Greindl, Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Wilhelm Pitz, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele

2.
Mime hieß ein mürrischer Zwerg
8:13
Max Lorenz, Georg Hann, Münchner Philharmoniker, Ferdinand Leitner

3.
"Brünnhilde, heilige Braut" (Siegfrieds Tod)
3:35
Wolfgang Windgassen, Münchner Philharmoniker, Leopold Ludwig

4.
"Starke Scheite schichtet mir dort"
17:49
Astrid Varnay, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Hermann Weigert

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Act 1

5.
Das schöne Fest, Johannistag
5:40
Josef Greindl, Leopold Ludwig, RIAS Symphony Orchestra Berlin

6.
"Fanget an!"
3:25
Jess Thomas, Berliner Philharmoniker, Walter Born

Act 2

7.
"Was duftet doch der Flieder"
6:42
Hans Hotter, Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin

8.
"Jerum! Jerum!"
3:16
Friedrich Schorr, Orchestra

Act 3

9.
"Wahn! Wahn! Überall Wahn!"
6:59
Hans Hotter, Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Robert Heger

10.
"Wacht auf! Es nahet gen den Tag"
2:09
Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Wilhelm Pitz, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele

11.
"Morgenlich leuchtend"
4:33
Jess Thomas, Berliner Philharmoniker, Walter Born

12.
Verachtet mir die Meister nicht!...Ehret ihre deutschen
4:32
Theodor Scheidl, Orchestra, Hermann Weigert

Total Playing Time 1:17:23

CD 6: Great Wagner Singers

Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883)
Parsifal

Act 1

1.
Zum letzten Liebesmahle gerüstet Tag für Tag
6:30
Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Wilhelm Pitz, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele

2.
"Des Weihgefäßes göttlicher Gehalt" (Amfortas Klage)
4:56
Theodor Scheidl, Orchestra, Hermann Weigert

Act 2

3.
"Ich sah das Kind an seiner Mutter Brust"
4:34
Frida Leider, Orchestra

4.
"Amfortas! Die Wunde!"
7:05
Lauritz Melchior, Symphonie-Orchester Danmarks Radio, Nicolai Malko

Act 3

5.
Karfreitagszauber
5:51
Josef Greindl, Orchester Der Wurttembergischen Staatstheater, Ferdinand Leitner

6.
Ja, Wehe! Wehe! Weh' über mich! (Amfortas, Ritter)
6:35
Thomas Stewart, Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Pierre Boulez, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele

7.
Nur eine Waffe taugt (Parsifal)
3:22
James King, Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Pierre Boulez

8.
"Höchsten Heiles Wunder!" - "Erlösung dem Erlöser!" (Knaben, Jünglinge, Ritter)
3:39
Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Pierre Boulez, Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele

Wesendonck Lieder

9.
1. Der Engel "In der Kindheit frühen Tagen"
3:23

10.
2. Stehe still "Sausendes, brausendes Rad der Zeit"
3:19

11.
3. Im Treibhaus "Hochgewölbte Blätterkronen"
6:30
Astrid Varnay, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Leopold Ludwig

12.
4.Schmerzen "Sonne, weinest jeden Abend Dir die schönen Augen rot"
2:41
13.
5. Träume "Sag', welch wunderbare Träume"
4:50
Lauritz Melchior, Orchestra

Total Playing Time 1:03:15



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Siegfried: The Illustrated flashbook - Arthur Rackham


It has, it must be said, been sometime coming, but here is the third part in our series. To make up for the delay you could listen to, what is now, public domain Furtwangler conducted Siegfried -  while you are having a look



 


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MCO to stage "Mini-Ring". Hunter-Morris, Eaglan, Fink.

MINNESOTA CONCERT OPERA CASTS JANE EAGLEN, RICHARD PAUL FINK, JAY HUNTER MORRIS AND OTHER STARS FOR “MINI-RING” TO COMMEMMORATE WAGNER YEAR 2013

In association with the Wagner Society of the Upper Midwest, Minnesota Concert Opera (MCO) announces its all-star lineup for a concert version of David Seaman’s abbreviated Ring Cycle, which reduces the four-opera, 16-hour cycle to one four-hour performance.

One of the most unique offerings celebrating the 200th anniversary of Wagner’s birth, this production brings some of the world’s biggest Wagnerian stars to the MCO stage in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

THE MINI-RING
Wagner’s Ring Cycle, the abbreviated version by David Seaman
With orchestra and English supertitles
Conducted by Jonathan Khuner

WHEN SEPTEMBER 13 & 15, 2013
WHERE: The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts
528 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403
TICKETS: On-sale April 13 at 612-206-3600 or thecowlescenter.org

THE CAST:

JANE EAGLEN, soprano (Brünnhilde/Wellgunde)
One of the leading sopranos of the modern era, Grammy Award-winning Jane Eaglen has performed her signature role of Brünnhilde at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, in Seattle legendary Ring Cycle, and others. Critics have proclaimed British-born Eaglen the worthy successor to the great dramatic sopranos Flagstad, Traubel, and Nilsson.

RICHARD PAUL FINK, baritone (Alberich/Fasolt)
The acclaimed dramatic baritone and Wagnerian superstar who recently performed in LA Opera’s complete Ring Cycle, Richard Paul Fink has made his mark at the Met, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opera National de Paris, Welsh National Opera, Washington National Opera, and many others.

JAY HUNTER MORRIS, tenor (Siegfried/Siegmund/Froh)
Many opera lovers discovered the tall, Texan tenor Jay Hunter Morris for the first time in movie theaters when he starred as the hero Siegfried in the Metropolitan Opera’s live HD broadcast of Wagner’s Götterdammerung in 2012. Since then, his career has skyrocketed with leading dramatic roles scheduled throughout the world, including his monumental 2012 appearance as Captain Ahab in San Francisco Opera’s production of Moby Dick, which prompted the San Jose Mercury News to describe Morris’ Ahab as “a force of nature . . . he sang with a pressurized fury that practically shook the seats of the War Memorial Opera House.”

PHILIP SKINNER, bass-baritone (Wotan/Gunther)
The internationally acclaimed bass-baritone, seen on DVD in productions with San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, and Canadian Opera brings his stellar Wagnerian roles to MCO’s Mini-Ring. Skinner is a mainstay at the world’s greatest opera houses including Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Victoria State Opera in Melbourne, Opera de Nantes, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington Opera, the Spoleto Festival, and many others.

LURETTA BYBEE, mezzo-soprano (Fricka/Flosshilde)
Ms. Bybee will appear in MCO’s Mini-Ring fresh off performances in Seattle Opera’s renowned Ring Cycle. From her first international success singing the title role in the world tour of Peter Brook’s La Tragedie de Carmen, Bybee has proven herself to be an artist of remarkable range and versatility.

KEVIN LANGAN, bass (Fafner/Hagen/Hunding)
Langan’s “deep, toffee-smooth voice and convincing interpretive abilities” (New York Times) have made him a favorite with virtually all of the leading North American opera companies. A leading bass with the San Francisco for 30 years, his career throughout the world spans a repertoire of more than 80 roles and he is one of the most sought-after artists in opera and concert.

SALLY WOLF, soprano (Wogline/Freia/Sieglinde/Woodbird/Guntrune)
Another star of Seattle’s Ring Cycle, Sally Wolf has sung her brilliant dramatic coloratura and lyric repertoire all over Europe and North America. A former interpreter of the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, she performed the role in most of the world’s prestigious opera houses including The Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, Vienna Staatsoper, Salzburg Festival, and many others.

JONATHAN KHUNER, conductor: Californian Jonathan Khuner’s main posts are as assistant conductor and prompter for San Francisco Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and he has also been the prompter for the Ring Cycle at the Bayreuther Festspiele.

www.mnconcertopera.org
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Cosima Wagner: The Movie

Iris Berben.

A German TV movie based around the life of Cosima Wagner and the Wagner family of her time, is to enter production later this year. Directed by Oliver Berben; Iris Berben will play Cosma

Of Iris, Oliver said, "She is perfectly cast to portray Cosima." Mind you, given that she is his mum he might say that.

He went on to point out that, "The Wagner Clan provides the perfect material for a movie. Affairs, scandals, intrigue.We want to film no mere biography, but tell the exciting story behind it"

Well, if we are lucky we might also get a bit of Wagner's music. You never know




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All of Proms 2013 Wagner to be broadcast on BBC radio - but not on TV

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 18 April 2013 | 2:54:00 pm

Nina Stemme: Brünnhilde


Of the rather fine series of full concert performance of Wagner's works to be performed at this years Proms, only Semyon Bychkov's Tristan is to also get a TV broadcast - recorded for broadcast on BBC Four on 1 September.

So, should you want to see whats going on you might need to get ready to grab a ticket when booking opens on Saturday 11 May.

EDIT: Following a number of emails from those not familiar,  with the UK Proms, full details as to how and where to book tickets can be found at the following link: Proms Booking: Proms 2013


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Proms 2013. Wagner. Parsifal. Elder.

Sunday 25 August
4.30pm – c. 10.10pm

Royal Albert Hall

Choral music and opera

EDIT: Following a number of emails from those not familiar,  with the UK Proms, full details as to how and where to book tickets can be found at the following link: Proms Booking: Proms 2013
  • Wagner

    Parsifal (235 mins)
    (concert performance; sung in German)
  • Lars Cleveman tenor, Proms debut artist (Parsifal)
  • Katarina Dalayman soprano (Kundry)
  • Robert Holl bass-baritone (Gurnemanz)
  • Iain Paterson baritone (Amfortas)
  • Tom Fox baritone, Proms debut artist (Klingsor)
  • Reinhard Hagen bass (Titurel)
  • Robert Murray tenor (Knight 1)
  • Andrew Greenan bass-baritone, Proms debut artist (Knight 2)
  • Sarah Castle mezzo-soprano (Squire 1/Flower Maiden 3)
  • Madeleine Shaw mezzo-soprano, Proms debut artist (Squire 2/Flower Maiden 6/Voice from Above)
  • Andrew Rees tenor (Squire 3)
  • Joshua Ellicott tenor (Squire 4)
  • Elizabeth Cragg soprano (Flower Maiden 1)
  • Anita Watson soprano, Proms debut artist (Flower Maiden 2)
  • Sarah-Jane Brandon soprano, Proms debut artist (Flower Maiden 5)
  • Trinity Boys Choir
  • Hallé Youth Choir
  • Hallé (pre-2003, Hallé Orchestra)
  • Sir Mark Elder conductor
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Proms 2013. Wagner. Tannhäuser. Runnicles

Sunday 4 August
6.00pm – c. 10.10pm
Royal Albert Hall

Choral music and opera

EDIT: Following a number of emails from those not familiar,  with the UK Proms, full details as to how and where to book tickets can be found at the following link: Proms Booking: Proms 2013
  • Wagner

    Tannhäuser, WWV 70 (183 mins)
    (concert performance; sung in German)
  • Robert Dean Smith tenor (Tannhäuser)
  • Heidi Melton soprano, Proms debut artist (Elisabeth)
  • Daniela Sindram mezzo-soprano, Proms debut artist (Venus)
  • Ain Anger bass, Proms debut artist (Landgraf)
  • Christoph Pohl baritone, Proms debut artist (Wolfram)
  • Thomas Blondelle tenor, Proms debut artist (Walther)
  • Andrew Rees tenor (Heinrich)
  • Brian Bannatyne-Scott bass (Reinmar)
  • Ashley Holland baritone (Biterolf)
  • Hila Fahima soprano, Proms debut artist (Shepherd Boy)
  • Chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
  • BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Donald Runnicles conductor
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Proms 2013. Wagner. Tristan und Isolde. Semyon Bychkov

To be broadcast on BBC radio 3 and BBC TV

Saturday 27 July
5.00pm – c. 11.00pm
Royal Albert Hall


EDIT: Following a number of emails from those not familiar,  with the UK Proms, full details as to how and where to book tickets can be found at the following link: Proms Booking: Proms 2013 

Choral music and opera, Proms on TV

  • Wagner

    Tristan and Isolde (284 mins)
    (concert performance; sung in German)
  • Peter Seiffert tenor (Tristan)
  • Kwangchui Youn bass, Proms debut artist (King Mark)
  • Violeta Urmana soprano (Isolde)
  • Boaz Daniel baritone (Kurwenal)
  • David Wilson-Johnson baritone (Melot)
  • Sophie Koch mezzo-soprano, Proms debut artist (Brangäne)
  • Andrew Staples tenor (Shepherd/Young Sailor)
  • BBC Singers
  • BBC Symphony Chorus
  • BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Semyon Bychkov conductor
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Proms 2013: Barenboim Ring Cycle Full Details


EDIT: Following a number of emails from those not familiar with the UK Proms, full details as to how and where to book tickets can be found at the following link: Proms Booking: Proms 2013

And so the exact details of the worst kept secret in Proms history is upon us. But better kept is the rest of Wagner's works to be performed. More of this in a bit. Booking open from 11 May. Get queuing now. To be broadcast on radio 3.

Monday 22 July
7.00pm – c. 9.55pm
Royal Albert Hall

  • Wagner

    Das Rheingold (160 mins)
    (concert performance; sung in German)
  • Iain Paterson baritone (Wotan)
  • Stephan Rügamer tenor (Loge)
  • Jan Buchwald baritone, Proms debut artist (Donner)
  • Marius Vlad tenor, Proms debut artist (Froh)
  • Ekaterina Gubanova mezzo-soprano (Fricka)
  • Anna Samuil soprano (Freia)
  • Anna Larsson mezzo-soprano (Erda)
  • Johannes Martin Kränzle baritone (Alberich)
  • Peter Bronder tenor (Mime)
  • Eric Halfvarson bass (Fafner)
  • Aga Mikolaj soprano (Woglinde)
  • Maria Gortsevskaya mezzo-soprano (Wellgunde)
  • Anna Lapkovskaja mezzo-soprano, Proms debut artist (Flosshilde)
  • Staatskapelle Berlin
  • Daniel Barenboim conductor

Tuesday 23 July
5.00pm – c. 10.05pm
Royal Albert Hall

  • Wagner

    Die Walküre (225 mins)
    (concert performance; sung in German)
  • Bryn Terfel bass-baritone (Wotan)
  • Simon O'Neill tenor (Siegmund)
  • Anja Kampe soprano, Proms debut artist (Sieglinde)
  • Eric Halfvarson bass (Hungding)
  • Nina Stemme soprano (Brünnhilde)
  • Ekaterina Gubanova mezzo-soprano (Fricka)
  • Danielle Halbwachs soprano, Proms debut artist (Gerhilde)
  • Carola Höhn soprano, Proms debut artist (Ortlinde)
  • Ivonne Fuchs mezzo-soprano, Proms debut artist (Waltraute)
  • Anaïk Morel mezzo-soprano, Proms debut artist (Schwertleite)
  • Susan Foster soprano, Proms debut artist (Helmwige)
  • Leann Sandel-Pantaleo mezzo-soprano, Proms debut artist (Siegrune)
  • Anna Lapkovskaja mezzo-soprano, Proms debut artist (Grimgerde)
  • Simone Schröder mezzo-soprano, Proms debut artist (Rossweisse)
  • Staatskapelle Berlin
  • Daniel Barenboim conductor 

Friday 26 July
5.00pm – c. 10.20pm
Royal Albert Hall

  • Wagner

    Siegfried (238 mins)
    (concert performance; sung in German)
  • Lance Ryan tenor, Proms debut artist (Siegfried)
  • Nina Stemme soprano (Brünnhilde)
  • Terje Stensvold baritone (Wanderer)
  • Peter Bronder tenor (Mime)
  • Johannes Martin Kränzle baritone (Alberich)
  • Eric Halfvarson bass (Fafner)
  • Rinnat Moriah soprano, Proms debut artist (Woodbird)
  • Anna Larsson mezzo-soprano (Erda)
  • Staatskapelle Berlin
  • Daniel Barenboim conductor

Sunday 28 July
4.30pm – c. 10.15pm
Royal Albert Hall

  • Wagner

    Götterdämmerung (259 mins)
    (concert performance; sung in German)
  • Nina Stemme soprano (Brünnhilde)
  • Ian Storey tenor, Proms debut artist (Siegfried)
  • Mikhail Petrenko bass (Hagen)
  • Gerd Grochowski baritone (Gunther)
  • Anna Samuil soprano (Guntrune/ Third Norn)
  • Johannes Martin Kränzle baritone (Alberich)
  • Waltraud Meier mezzo-soprano (Waltraute/ Second Norn)
  • Margarita Nekrasova mezzo-soprano, Proms debut artist (First Norn)
  • Aga Mikolaj soprano (Woglinde)
  • Maria Gortsevskaya mezzo-soprano (Wellgunde)
  • Anna Lapkovskaja mezzo-soprano, Proms debut artist (Flosshilde)
  • Royal Opera Chorus
  • Staatskapelle Berlin
  • Daniel Barenboim conductor

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Michael Tanner: Why we should celebrate Wagner 200

‘The overpowering accents of the music that accompanies Siegfried’s funeral cortège no longer tell of the woodland boy who set out to learn the meaning of fear; they speak to our emotions of what is really passing behind the lowering veils of mist: it is the sun-hero himself who lies upon the bier, slain by the pallid forces of darkness — and there are hints in the text to support what we feel in the music: “A wild boar’s fury”, it says, and: “Behold the cursed boar,” says Gunther, pointing to Hagen, “who slew this noble flesh.” The words take us back at a stroke to the very earliest picture-dreams of mankind. Tammuz and Adonis, slain by the boar, Osiris and Dionysus, torn asunder to come again as the Crucified One, whose flank must be ripped open by a Roman spear in order that the world might know Him — all things that ever were and ever shall be, the whole world of beauty sacrificed and murdered by the wintry wrath, all is contained within this single glimpse of myth.’

That magnificent tribute is part of Thomas Mann’s great lecture-essay ‘The Sufferings and Greatness of Richard Wagner’, given on the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death in 1933. Mann the great ironist is here at his least ironic, paying homage to the artist who counted for more in his life than any other. Yet the lecture, delivered in Munich two weeks after Hitler came to power, earned him 12 years of exile, for his alleged ‘lukewarm and patronising praise’.

No one nowadays is likely to be exiled for praise, lukewarm or otherwise, of Wagner, except possibly in Israel. But Wagner remains a figure of violent contention, just as much as he has ever been. And trying to get people to see him in a less contentious light is itself likely to lead to accusations of parti pris, ignorance of his use for political purposes, or simply of a failure to realise that, more than any other artist of comparable fame and stature, his work, and every other aspect of him, is inherently controversial.

Continue Reading At: The Spectator. 
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Wagner discusses Cosima with Liszt - In Comic book form?

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 15 April 2013 | 11:16:00 pm

Frank Liszt Comics is an irregular blog featuring moments from Liszt's life - both factual and fictional - in comic strip form. There is much there and the interested reader is advised to visit by clicking this link - which will also lead to a full sized reproduction of the strip below. As expected Wagner makes many appearances. Below is one such Wagner strip that includes, in part,  a real conversation Wagner was supposed to have had with Liszt regarding Cosima.



Artists comment:








“If you had such a nice house we’d visit you more often… Or such a wife! Ehhh? Ohh right! I’m sorry, I always forget that she’s your daughter…”
The first two panels are an actual quote… I don’t know, it gives off weird vibes to me. Especially when one considers how insanely jealous Wagner was of Liszt in regards to Cosima…

Source





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Tannhauser Paris premiere - in the form of a comic book

Found over at the blog of Big Time Attic, the following was created in 2010 as part of a writing class. For full details click here - which you should visit for the full story behind its creation. We thought you might find it amusing.





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Balkenhol Sculpture of Richard Wagner Nearing Completion (images)

Stephan Balkenhol working on his sculpture of Richard Wagner, for a memorial for the 200th birthday of Richard Wagner to be erected in Leipzig

Kassel/Leipzig. On May 22, 2013, the 200th birthday of Richard Wagner, a memorial
for the composer will be erected in Leipzig. A prestigious jury selected the design by
sculptor, Stephan Balkenhol from among the artist contest entrants. There was a
special challenge involved in this commission in that the current artist would have to
integrate an existing design, from a different artist from over one-­hundred years ago.
At the same time the complete design would have to project its validity into the future.
At the moment Balkenhol is working on the completion of his design in his Kassel
studio. Richard Wagner is portrayed as a life-­size young man standing in front of his
own exaggeratedly large shadow.

At the beginning of the 20th century an attempt to create a Wagner monument was already
begun. With the whirlwind of WWI and the 1920 death of Max Klinger, the only one intimate
enough with his work, it remained incomplete. The only thing that was actually implemented
was its white marble pedestal, which is now the basis for the new sculpture: In front of a four
meter tall silhouette of the elder Wagner, Balkenhol presents a life-­‐size Wagner as a young
man from his time in Leipzig.

"I'm showing a Richard Wagner yet to be spoiled by fame and recognition: adventurous,
human and approachable," says Balkenhol about his design. Wagner's human size is not only
juxtaposed by the old master, the übermensch genius, in front of whom he seems to stiffen,
but also in contrast to the oversized shadow: "When the composer is taken out of the flat
idealization and becomes more plastic, the viewer can then find a new way of looking at him,"
says Balkenhol.

The sculptor at first distances himself from Klinger's design, which Wagner then elevates and
monumentalizes – the tall shadow paraphrases Klinger's design, because the shadow's
outline is adapted from the shape and size of Klinger's Wagner. The oversized shadow can
not be separated from he who casts it, just as the person and work of Wagner can not be
separated. Shadow and work are distinct from the person, but at the same time they have far-­‐
reaching and super-­‐temporal dimensions. Wagner's compositions as well as his vision of a
Gesamtkunstwerk have grown beyond the person himself. They grow out of the individual
human scale to gain independence in both positive and negative ways. What's certain: This
shadow needs the man Wagner. He is origin and instigator.

The reception of Wagner changes with time, and this time factor has been thematically
melded with his work. Balkenhol says, "The relationship between person/artist,

transience/timelessness is continuously hashed out anew. My design elucidates the historical
nature of Wagner's reputation and at the same time designs a picture of the being of
visionary artistic production: The artist, the genius foreshadows himself."

Balkenhol's exciting scene mirrors the polarity of the Wagner image and at the same time it
leaves many questions open. Just like in his previous work, Balkenhol requests the viewer to
bring himself into the piece: "Only when some things have been left unsaid can the recipient
put his own effort into it. Only by really getting to know the work can the viewer experience
its varied and distinct sensual layers," says the sculptor.

Balkenhol, born in 1957 in Fritzlar, Hessia, Germany has been Professor of Visual Arts at the
State Academy of Visual Arts in Karlsruhe. He lives and works in Kassel, Karlsruhe, in French
Meisenthal and in Berlin and among other things, he is known for his roughly hewn and
colorfully painted wooden sculptures. Even though Balkenhol mostly prefers to work with
wood, due to weathering, both the figure of Wagner and the silhouette will be cast in bronze.

The unconventional design sets itself apart from all of the previous Wagner monuments. This
is how the people are to be made aware of Richard Wagner in his role as son of Leipzig. In
contrast to Wagner cities like Bayreuth, Munich or Dresden, in Leipzig an independent
Wagner picture is in the making.

This project has been graciously made possible by Wagner Denkmal e.V., an initiative of
volunteers, who have the goal of supporting the continued development of Leipzig as a music
and culture city. The realization of this project, without state subsidies, is secured strictly
through donations.
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