Wagner Journal

ShareThis

Featured Book

Twitter

Follow TheWagnerian on Twitter

Archive

Powered by Blogger.

T

 Twylah Fan Page

Opera Today

Jonas Kaufmann Withdraws From La Scala Recital Due To Illness

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 31 May 2013 | 8:43:00 pm

The recital was originally scheduled for Saturday 1 June. However, La Scala has just announced that  Jonas Kaufmann  has had to withdraw due to a sudden illness. It has now been rescheduled for the 21 October 2013. Existing ticket holders may use their tickets at that date instead. The full press release reads as follows:

8:43:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Trailer: Parsifal. Salzburg Easter Festival . DVD



Christian Thielemann on Deutsche Grammophon.

The opera was recorded at the Salzburg Easter Festival earlier in 2013. The cast includes Johan Botha in the title role, Michaela Schuster as Kundry, Danish bass Stephen Milling as Gurnemanz and, in another break with tradition, Wolfgang Koch in the two baritone roles of Amfortas and Klingsor.

8:23:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Video: On The Trail Of Richard Wagner In Bayreuth




8:06:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Janowski Begins His Second Ring Cycle On CD. Listen Here

It must be said that not many conductors have been given the chance to record the Ring even once, never-mind twice, but this is the case with Janowski's second (this time live) Ring cycle for Pentatone. In comparison to the first part of the so far sadly disappointing Gergiev Ring, Janowski's newly released Rheingold is a very different beast. As one might suspect, he manages to bring out much from the score that lesser conductors leave hidden - or often never knew was there in the first place. And like Karajan, "line" is prominent throughout - his "greatest secret" as Wagner called it. And my-word, does it have much "forward momentum. No lulls here.

Alas, it does not contain the stellar cast or the overall vocal "quality" of many other rings - or indeed Janowski's first digital recording in the eighties, but based on this Rheingold it certainly would seem a modern Ring deserving of more than minor attention - despite the occasional "unevenness". Whether it will replace Janowski's 80's recording is however another matter. Time will tell

Should you want to "give it a spin" the entire recording can be heard on spotify below.

7:14:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Nina Stemme In New Tristan Production

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 30 May 2013 | 8:43:00 pm


It seems after what will be a long absence, Nina Stemme will be appearing twice at the MET: first in Elektra and then in a new Willy Decker production of  Tristan und Isolde. However, no need to start booking your tickets yet for it will not be till the 2016-2017 season.


8:43:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Lohengrin singer proposes at dress rehearsal...



No pressure there then. But who said Lohengrin always turns out badly, when Welsh National Opera singer Joe Roche proposed on-stage to his girlfriend, WNO chorus member Paula Greenwood. Well, at least she won't have to worry about asking his name.








5:52:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

New Wagner Documentary: "Wagner’s Jews"

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 | 1:28:00 pm

It goes with out saying that despite Wagner's antisemitic writing, many of Wagner’s closest associates were Jews—young musicians who became personally devoted to the composer, and provided indispensable help to his work and career. They included Hermann Levi, a rabbi's son who conducted the premiere of Wagner’s Parsifal; Angelo Neumann, who produced Wagner's works throughout Europe; and Joseph Rubinstein, a pianist who lived with the Wagner family for years and committed suicide when Wagner died.


Much, and much nonsense, has been written about these people over the years.  The documentary "Wagner's Jews" attempts to ask, who were these people, what brought them Wagner and why did so many stay with him. To do so, it uses archival sources, interviews, visual re-enactments, and original performances of musical works by some of the central characters—the first such performances on film.

Produced by  Overtone Films LLC in co-production with WDR,it will be broadcast on WDR and ARTE in 2013. If you are in London it will also be shown at sometime during Wagner 200 (Date to be confirmed. See here for updates


Those interviewed for the film include:

  • Yossi Beilin, Israeli politician and negotiator of the Oslo peace accords
  • Leon Botstein, President of Bard College; Conductor Laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
  • John Louis DiGaetani, Wagner scholar
  • Asher Fisch, Israeli conductor
  • Robert Gutman, Musicologist and Wagner biographer
  • Uri Hanoch, Deputy Chairman, Central Organization of Holocaust Survivors in Israel
  • Jonathan Livny, President, Israel Wagner Society
  • Zubin Mehta, Music Director, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Dina Porat, Chief Historian, Yad Vashem; Chair, Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, Tel Aviv University
  • Paul Lawrence Rose, Professor of Jewish Studies, Penn State University
  • Jan Swafford, Brahms biographer
More Here
1:28:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Preview: The Gift. A New Wagner Dramatization/Performance. London 28 June

The Gift


A dramatised re-creation by Barry Millington, of the events surrounding the first performance of the Siegfried Idyll, together with performances of the Idyll and the Beethoven Septet (also played on that day at Haus Tribschen).

Henry Goodman, who has been starring in The Winslow Boy at the Old Vic. plays Richard Wagner.  He noted recently that he was greatly looking forward to playing the role next to Harriet Walter's Cosima - a portrayal which as a Jewish man he finds quite poignant.

He has already read a short extract from The Gift on BBC Radio 3's "In Tune", with Emily Bruni as Cosima,. This, including an interview with Henry, can be heard by following this link

Wagner Siegfried Idyll
Beethoven Septet
Wagner Siegfried  Idyll
Beethoven Septet
Aurora Orchestra
Nicholas Collon conductor
Dame Harriet Walter as Cosima Wagner
Henry Goodman as Richard Wagner


Friday 28 June, 8pm, Kings Place, Hall 1
Aurora Orchestra, conductor Nicholas Collon

More information  

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Donald Runnicles conductor
Royal Albert Hall, 3 August 2012
12:58:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

New Translation of "The Artwork Of The Future" Trans: Emma Warner

Published by the Wagner Journal and arguably central in assisting an understanding of Wagner's thought and work:

Wagner 200 is proud to announce, as part of its Wagner the Writer strand, a new translation by Emma Warner of one of Wagner’s most important essays: Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft (The Artwork of the Future). The essay is one of the group of three written by Wagner in 1849–51, immediately before starting work on the Ring, in which he formulated his ideas about the Gesamtkunstwerk (Total Work of Art). In Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft Wagner sets out his fundamental principles of music drama. The essay amounts to nothing less than a radical overturning of the whole system of operatic production and is of enormous significance for opera audiences and practitioners today.

The translation, by Emma Warner, is the first to have been undertaken since William Ashton Ellis published his notoriously impenetrable version in 1895. The publication is prefaced by essays written by Keith Warner, the director of the highly acclaimed Ring at Covent Garden, and Jonathan Coffey. The translation is published as a special issue of The Wagner Journal, distributed free to subscribers and available on general sale throughout Wagner 200. To obtain a copy of this new translation, click here.

Edit: Following a request: To clarify how you might buy a copy:

Go to the Journal's How To Buy Page (Click Here)

Follow the instructions below (found halfway down the "To Buy page):

1. By credit or debit card, using the secure PayPal facility. Click on the ‘Buy now’ button for your local currency (under ‘Annual subscriptions’ above) and you will be taken to the secure PayPal website. Enter 'Artwork of the Future' in the ‘Enter description’ box and the amount (numerals only) in the 'Item price’ box. You do not need a PayPal account for this facility. 

2. By sending a sterling cheque to The Administrator, The Wagner Journal, PO Box 57714, London NW11 1DL, England. 
 


6:44:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Off Topic Subject 2013: The RIAS Second Viennese School Project Berlin 1949-1965

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 | 9:05:00 pm

The first of this years twice yearly "Off Topic" articles comes to us via the so called Second Viennese School and this remarkable four disc set released at the end of last year. The entire 4 discs can be found on Spotify below. Should you not have access to this, but are still unsure whether this "is for you" and thus the price of the 4 cd boxset, the entire 4 albums can be downloaded as MP3s from Amazon for only £5.99! Also, included below is a playlist from Ulysstenetone, which may make as good an introduction as any to a few full works of the"SVS" - plus a little more (Mahler and Strauss included) . Sit back for a few hours and be delightfully "decadent" and "degenerate". Glass of wine (or beer), chaise lounge and cigarette holder, alas, not included.

Having been banned as “degenerate” during the Third Reich, by the end of World War II the experimental work of what is now called the Second Viennese School was, at best, on the fringes of German public perception. The three composers who made up the school as such were dead (Berg in 1935 and Webern in 1945) or self-exiled to the U.S. (Schoenberg). There were few performances of their work in postwar Europe and even fewer commercial recordings. So Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt, the editor of new music at the RIAS in occupied West Berlin, and Schoenberg’s conductor-colleague Josef Rufer, sought out musicians—many from the composers’ circle of students and friends—to record and broadcast some of the most important works of these three pivotal modernists. This was more than an act of national contrition for Stuckenschmidt and Rufer. They intended to revive the performing traditions that had been developing in Berlin in the 1920s and ’30s, and cultivate a new generation of performers. They hoped, as well, to create more interest in the listening public through greater familiarity.


Audite’s four-disc The RIAS Second Viennese School Project presents a selection of these RIAS performances recorded between 1949 and 1965. The pieces, written between 1906 and 1950, provide an overview of the arc of the school’s development from the quartal harmonies of Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1, to the stricter 12-tone serial techniques of works like the Two Piano Pieces, op. 33a & b, to the still dodecaphonic but increasingly personal works like his Piano Concerto and String Trio. While these works are often collectively written off as austere and unapproachable, the reality revealed here is rather different. Though the uninitiated will still find some of the going rough—there are works by these composers that are still cutting-edge these many decades later—this compilation persuasively argues that wholesale dismissal of the oeuvre of these composers is intellectual laziness. Most of the music here is not all that taxing to ears attuned to music of the last century.




(Taken from the Fanfare Review: Ronald E. Grames)


The RIAS Second Viennese School Project Schoenberg / Berg / Webern
Release Date: 11/13/2012
Label: Audite Catalog #: 21412 Spars Code: DDD
Composer: Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Anton von Webern, Johann Strauss Jr.
Performer: Hans Bastiaan, Klaus Billing, Irmen Burmester, Hans-Peter Schmitz, ...
Conductor: Josef Rufer, Ferenc Fricsay, Winfried Zillig, Günther Arndt, ...
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra, Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, ...
Number of Discs: 4

Works on This Recording

1. Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21 by Arnold Schoenberg

Performer: Hans Bastiaan (Violin), Klaus Billing (Piano), Irmen Burmester (Voice),
Hans-Peter Schmitz (Flute), Werner Haupt (Cello)
Conductor: Josef Rufer
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1912; Vienna, Austria

2. Chamber Symphony no 1 in E major, Op. 9 by Arnold Schoenberg

Conductor: Ferenc Fricsay
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1906; Vienna, Austria

3. Concerto for Piano, Op. 42 by Arnold Schoenberg

Performer: Peter Stadlen (Piano)
Conductor: Winfried Zillig
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1942; USA

4. Fantasy for Violin and Piano, Op. 47 by Arnold Schoenberg

Performer: Tibor Varga (Violin), Ernst Krenek (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1949; USA

5. Book of the Hanging Gardens, Op. 15 by Arnold Schoenberg

Performer: Suzanne Danco (Soprano), Hermann Reutter (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1908-1909; Vienna, Austria

6. De profundis, Op. 50b by Arnold Schoenberg

Conductor: Günther Arndt
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1950; USA

7. Pieces (3) for Piano, Op. 11 by Arnold Schoenberg

Performer: Eduard Steuermann (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1909; Vienna, Austria

8. Little Pieces (6) for Piano, Op. 19 by Arnold Schoenberg

Performer: Eduard Steuermann (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1911; Vienna, Austria

9. Pieces (5) for Piano, Op. 23 by Arnold Schoenberg

Performer: Eduard Steuermann (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1920-1923; Vienna, Austria

10. Piece for Piano, Op. 33a by Arnold Schoenberg

Performer: Else C. Kraus (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1928-1929; Berlin, Germany

11. Piece for Piano, Op. 33b by Arnold Schoenberg

Performer: Else C. Kraus (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1931; Berlin, Germany

12. Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello, Op. 45 by Arnold Schoenberg

Performer: Ernst Doberitz (Viola), Erich Röhn (Violin), Arthur Troester (Cello)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1946; USA

13. Suite for String Orchestra in G major by Arnold Schoenberg

Conductor: Ferenc Fricsay
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1934; USA

14. Lyric Suite for String Quartet by Alban Berg

Orchestra/Ensemble: Végh String Quartet
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1926; Austria

15. Pieces (4) for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 5 by Alban Berg

Performer: Heinrich Geuser (Clarinet), Klaus Billing (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1913; Austria

16. Early Songs (7) by Alban Berg

Performer: Magda László (Soprano), Lothar Broddack (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1905-1908; Austria

17. Schliesse mir die Augen beide (I) by Alban Berg

Performer: Evelyn Lear (Soprano), Hans Hilsdorf (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1907; Austria

18. Schliesse mir die Augen beide (II) by Alban Berg

Performer: Evelyn Lear (Soprano), Hans Hilsdorf (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1925; Austria

19. Passacaglia for Orchestra, Op. 1 by Anton von Webern

Conductor: Arthur Rother
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1908; Vienna, Austria

20. Pieces (5) for Orchestra, Op. 10 by Anton von Webern

Conductor: Bruno Maderna
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1911-1913; Austria

21. Pieces (4) for Violin and Piano, Op. 7 by Anton von Webern

Performer: André Gertler (Violin), Diane Andersen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1910/1914; Preglhof

22. Der Zigeunerbaron: Schatz-Walzer, Op. 418 by Johann Strauss Jr.

Performer: Emil Hammermeister (Harmonium), Klaus Billing (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Bastiaan String Quartet
Period: Romantic
Written: 1885; Vienna, Austria
Notes: Arranger: Webern.

23. Das Spitzentuch der Königin: Rosen aus dem Süden Waltzes, Op. 388 by Johann Strauss Jr.

Performer: Emil Hammermeister (Harmonium), Klaus Billing (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Bastiaan String Quartet
Period: Romantic
Written: 1880; Vienna, Austria
Notes: Arranger: Schoenberg. 24. Fantasy for Violin and Piano, Op. 47 by Arnold Schoenberg
Performer: Rudolf Kolisch (Violin), Alan Willman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1949; USA

  








9:05:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Wagner Week may have finished but Wagner 200 has just begun: The Brochure



If  you are in the UK, and London especially, and thought that the entire Wagner 200 thing was now over:

The Wagner 200 brochure is now available for download. It contains the full festival programme and highlights the special events held at Kings Place.













7:04:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

WNO Lohengrin. Listen On Demand For 7 Days

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 27 May 2013 | 3:56:00 am



Cast:

Lohengrin ..... Peter Wedd (tenor)
Elsa ..... Emma Bell (soprano)
Ortrud ..... Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)
Friedrich von Telramund ..... Claudio Otelli (baritone)
Heinrich ..... Matthew Best (bass)
Chorus and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
Lothar Koenigs (conductor)




3:56:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

The German stereotypes that turn out to be myths

Hard-working, efficient, humourless. There are many dubious stereotypes about Germany and its people. The build-up to this month's celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of Wagner's birth helped Stephen Evans realise how often he got it wrong.

I happened to be chatting to the intendant of the Deutsche Oper the other day, as you do - the director of the Deutsche Oper, one of the world's big opera houses.

And I thought I would have a bit of go, having just seen a production of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde which irritated me.

Tristan and Isolde, you see, is to me - and to Wagner - all about Celtic myth and Cornish kings. But this production was set on an ocean liner with naked drug addicts wandering across the stage.

I can take a bit of radical opera production as much as the next opera buff but this, I felt, was too much - classic German opera production up its own bottom. I scoffed from the cheap seats.

So, given the chance to meet the man at the helm, I spoke my mind.

"Why do you Germans have to have productions which are so outrageous?" I asked him.

This, by the way, was before the recent Tannhauser in Dusseldorf featuring Nazis murdering Jews which got the audience booing within 30 minutes and the production pulled within a week.

So, why, I wanted to know, was Germany so in thrall to radical productions such as the Tristan for which his company was currently responsible.

He paused, put down his delicate coffee cup, looked at me and said: "That production was done by a British director."

I had not noticed, but so it was. Graham Vick, actually.

Continue Reading: BBC NEWS
3:48:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

The Wagnerian Reviews: "Wagner's Ring Cycle" Ipad App from Naxos

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday, 25 May 2013 | 8:07:00 pm

Back in 1997 "Media Café" released its now legendary "Ring Disc". A single CD Rom for PC that contained, in admittedly mono sound, the entire Solti Ring cycle, an English/German libretto that ran in time to the audio, a full piano score,  detailed analysis of the work, characters, score and leitmotifs and much more.  The disc remains a marvel of Ring scholarship and the best example of how computer media can be used to to investigate and increase ones appreciation and understanding of work such as Wagner's. Sadly, it has been long "officially" discontinued - despite the fact it still runs well in modern operating systems

Some of us that still own that disc, have long wondered what "modern operating systems" - with their emphasis on multimedia - could do along similar lines. "Wagner - The Ring" Ipad app from Naxos, whilst having nowhere near the range or scope of the "Ring Disc" may provide us with the closest answer we have so far. This is especially so in regard to the development of the leitmotifs throughout the Ring. Indeed, this is central to the app - but more of this in moment.

Running well and without fault on the Ipad, the  rather attractive looking app, provides a general overview to not only the Ring, but to Wagner, Bayreuth and the performance history of the Ring. However, it needs to be noted, with the exception of the Ring, these topics are covered only briefly - or at least maybe considered so to anyone with a knowledge of Wagner and his work. But as the app is really geared to investigate the leitmotifs, this is understandable. Nevertheless, those new to Wagner or who are just discovering his work, will find this background more than useful. A full list of all of the features can be found below, but let us now come to the where this app truly shines: its investigation of the leitmotifs and their use and development within the Ring.

65 leitmotifs are investigated using a total of 130 audio clips (from the Naxos recordings, performed by the Stuttgart State Opera and Orchestra under Lothar Zagrosek.). If you wish, you can simply find a list of the leitmotifs and listen to one - reading a very good explanation of each from app authors Martin and Rachel Walters. However, a reader will get the most out of this app as they use it to investigate each within the context of each drama and note its development within the entire cycle - made easy due to the app's design.

To do so, simply select one of the dramas from the main menu and click on the name of the leitmotif within that drama (they are listed in the order they appear first in each work). This is useful enough in-itself, but two other factors add much to this: Martin and Rachel Walters' commentary and their investigation of each as they follow that leitmotif's development and use throughout the cycle.

As an example, if we turn to Die Walkure, and click on the "Renunciation" leitmotif, we find a brief overview to it, a sound sample of its use and then can, if we wish,  trace its development within each drama. We could, if we wanted for example, listen to it when it is first heard in Die Walkure and then listen to it's first appearance in Das Rheingold. Here noting its use  in both. We can then simply scroll down to note and listen to its use in Gotterdamerung.  And so on for each leitmotif. It is worth mentioning that the authors note each leitmotif's development but also that we should be careful assuming that a particular leitmotif always has a particular emotional value  - such as "good" or bad" - attached to it. So, using this example, in Das Rheingold, when the the Renunciation leitmotif is first used it is with deeply negative connotations - the renunciation of love that must be given by that person that wishes to seek the absolute power of the forging of the Ring. However, in Die Walkure it is used to announce Siegmund's renunciation of his past "woeful life". Thus given its place within the text, its emotional meaning shifts substantially. Nothing in Wagner is as simply or as straight forward as it can first seem.

On the negative side, while a full, detailed synopsis of each drama is included, it is difficult to understand why a full libretto was not. It seems a missed opportunity and would have added much to the apps value. Although those new to the Ring will easily benefit from the synopsis.

Overall, a valuable and worthy addition to material relating to the Ring - and the leitmotifs especially.  While especially useful to those new to the Ring, more seasoned explorers of Wagner's work will also find much to enjoy.

Features:
  • 130 audio clips: 65 different leitmotifs isolated from the operas.
  • Extended audio clips: eight tracks, two from each opera.
  • An explanation of each leitmotif example.
  • Each leitmotif example in musical notation.
  • Biographical text about Richard Wagner.
  • Clear synopses of the operas.
  • Information about the operas in performance.
  • Audio comments from renowned tenor, Simon O’Neill.
  • Further Reading
  • Photographs
    All musical excerpts are taken from the Naxos recordings of the dramas, performed by the Stuttgart State Opera and Orchestra under Lothar Zagrosek. 
Price: £5.99/$8.99


(Reviewed on Ipad Mini)

 
8:07:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Stephen Fry to Manage Wagner/Verdi Festival & Simon Callow To Star As Wagner

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 24 May 2013 | 1:52:00 pm


Simon Callow IS Richard Wagner
This year’s Deloitte Ignite Festival at the ROH will be curated by  Stephen Fry. A multi-media/multi-art form event, 2013's festival will be different to past years in that it will be spread over four weekends rather than 3 days.

Events related to Wagner will include: 

  • An interactive sculpture installed in the Covent Garden piazza. Created by set designer Es Devlin (Les Troyens, Take That‘s Progress Tour (Really? Ed), and the London 2012 Closing Ceremony), the installation will feature  behind-the-scenes footage captured during a performance of  the ROH's Die Walküre. 
  • An "original take" on Die Walkure by  Gandini Juggling (Yes. They juggle)
  • Mime artist Andrew Dawson, who will perform a potted version of Wagner’s Ring cycle (Is it just me that is having flashbacks to the 60's with David Bowie, Lindsay Kemp  and Threepenny Pierrot ? Ed)
  • And in what maybe the most interesting event,  Simon Callow will  present a one-man show - Inside Wagner’s Head - commissioned specially for the festival, in which Callow will play Wagner.
Stephen Fry said:

"This is an incredible year for opera lovers. The two-hundredth birthdays of Verdi and Wagner and the centenary of our very own Benjamin Britten’s entry into the world. Very proud and pleased to be associated with Deloitte Ignite’s contribution to this celebration and the opening up of opera to as wide an audience as possible.’

The festival will run from 6 – 29 September.
1:52:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Free Ebook. The Story Of The Greatest Wagnerian Soprano: Evelyn Innes by George Moore

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 23 May 2013 | 11:30:00 am

George Moore
"Wagner had been all his life dreaming of an opera with a subjective hero. Christ first and then Buddha had suggested themselves as likely subjects. He had gone so far as to make sketches for both heroes, but both subjects had been rejected as unpractical, and he had fallen back on a pretty medieval myth, and had shot into a pretty medieval myth all the material he had accumulated for the other dramas, whose heroes were veritable heroes, men who had accomplished great things, men who had preached great doctrines and whose lives were symbols of their doctrines. The result of pouring this old wine into the new bottle was to burst the bottle.In neither Christ nor Buddha did the question of sex arise, and that was the reason that Wagner eventually rejected both. He was as full of sex—mysterious, sub-conscious sex—as Rossetti himself. In Christ's life there is the Magdalen, but how naturally harmonious, how implicit in the idea, are their relations, how concentric; but how eccentric (using the word in its grammatical sense) are the relations of Parsifal to Kundry.... A redeemer is chaste, but he does not speak of his chastity nor does he think of it; he passes the question by. The figure of Christ is so noble, that whether God or man or both, it seems to us in harmony that the Magdalen should bathe his feet and wipe them with her hair, but the introduction of the same incident into "Parsifal" revolts. As Parsifal merely killed a swan and refused to be kissed—the other preached a doctrine in which beauty and wisdom touch" 

"She might begin with "Margaret" and "Norma," if she liked, for in singing these popular operas she would acquire the whole of her voice, and also the great reputation which should precede and herald the final stage of her career. "Isolde," "Brunnhilde," "Kundry," Wagner's finest works, had remained unsung—they where merely howled. Evelyn should be the first to sing them. His eyes glowed with subdued passion as he thought of an afternoon, some three years hence, in the great theatre planned by the master himself, when he should see her rush in as the Witch Kundry"

"As she lay between sleeping and waking, she strove to grasp the haunting, fugitive idea, but shadows of sleep fell, and in her dream there appeared two Tristans, a fair and a dark. When the shadows were lifted and she thought with an awakening brain, she smiled at the absurdity, and, striving to get close to her idea, to grip it about its very loins, she asked herself how much of her own life she could express in the part, for she always acted one side of her character. Her pious girlhood found expression in the Elizabeth, and what she termed the other side of her character she was going to put on the stage in the character of Isolde. Again sleep thickened, and she found it impossible to follow her idea. It eluded her; she could not grasp it. It turned to a dream, a dream which she could not understand even while she dreamed it. But as she awaked, she uttered a cry. It happened to be the note she had to sing when the curtain goes up and Isolde lies on the couch yearning for Tristan, for assuagement of the fever which consumes her. All other actresses had striven to portray an Irish princess, or what they believed an Irish princess might be. But she cared nothing for the Irish princess, and a great deal for the physical and mental distress of a woman sick with love."

" In Brunnhilde and Elizabeth all the humanity she represented—and she thought she was a fairly human person—was on the stage. But Elsa? That was the one part she was dissatisfied with. There were people who liked her Elsa. Oh, her Elsa had been greatly praised. Perhaps she was mistaken, but at the bottom of her heart she could not but feel that her Elsa was a failure. The truth was that she had never understood the story. It began beautifully, the beginning was wonderful—the maiden whom everyone was persecuting, who would be put to death if some knight did not come to her aid. She could sing the dream—that she understood. Then the silver-clad knight who comes from afar, down the winding river, past thorpe and town, to release her from those who were plotting against her. But afterwards? This knight who wanted to marry her, and who would not tell his name. What did it mean? And the celebrated duet in the nuptial chamber—what did it mean? It was beautiful music—but what did it mean? Could anyone tell her? She had often asked, but no one had ever been able to tell her."




What, dear readers, will you make of the Irish, Victorian novelist George Moore's first Wagnerian novel Evelyn Innes - should you have never read it before. To tell you too much would simply spoil it surely? And also help predict and define any reaction you might have? Its often the way of things - if just unconsciously. No. Better you should find it as it is. But still, a brief overview:

Published in 1898, Evelyn Innes is Moore's first truly Wagnerian novel - and his move to symbolism. Innes, is not only a Wagnerian Soprano but the greatest that has ever lived,: "Wagner's finest works, had remained unsung—they where merely howled. Evelyn should be the first to sing them." The daughter of a Catholic organist - of importance later as you may discover -she sees her personality developing through roles of Elisabeth, Isolde, Brunnhilde and finally Kundry. But there is much more.

Something of a "scandal" on it's release. OK. Find a link to one review below. From the New York Post. At its time of publication in the US. It is a PDF. Click the title to read.
George Moore's "Evelyn Innes."; A Curious and Perhaps Deplorable Example of the Modern Psychological Novel. The New York Times. (Warning contains "spoilers")
By the way. There is a sequel to Evelyn Innes. If anyone is interested enough let us know and we will add.


 To Download the Full Novel Free for Kindle click here: Evelyn Innes by George Moore

 To Download the Full Novel Free in Epub click here: Evelyn Innes by George Moore

 To Read the Full Novel In Your Browser click here: Evelyn Innes by George Moore


11:30:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

"Cor Blimey! Its Wagner On The Buses" - In Washington



The German embassy in Washington has covered two of the cities local buses in portraits of Richard Wagner. Its all to promote German culture it seems. The buses, along with another covered with art from the current Albrecht Dürer exhibit at the National Gallery of Art,  can be seen roaming around the city till the end of July. 

But will it be driven and manged by this particular team?






9:21:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Becoming In Endless Melody: Tristan, Isolde, Wagner and Swinburne

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 | 5:20:00 pm

Algernon Charles Swinburne
From: Richard Wagner and the English: 'Wagner's Tristan und Isolde was completed in 1859, first performed in 1865, and first produced in London in 1882, a month before the appearance of Swinburne's poem Tristram of Lyonesse. Again, critics have remarked on the affinities, particularly stylistic, between the two. Samuel Chew thought the parallels too close to be merely coincidental: "I think Swinburne must have known Wagner's libretto." Cecil Y. Lang, editor of Swinburne's letters, has said that Wagner's music "stimulated" the composition of the poem. John R. Reed observed that there was no doubt that Swinburne "did employ, in Tristram of Lyonesse, the technique of a conscious and disciplined motif suggestive of musical composition," and thus Swinburne might have noted and sympathized with Wagner's device of the leitmotiv. Also, Swinburne's organized rhapsodies have been called "melodious verbiage," and their effect on listeners may be compared perhaps with Wagner's "endless melody." For example, Ferdinand Wagner once wrote to George Powell:

"I always feel happier and better when I have dived into the turbulent waves of Swinburne's gigantic mind. The masterly hand with which he holds the threads that seem to float unconnectedly—as if driven by the wind—and which he always succeeds in tying together when least expected seems to me exactly like Richard Wagner."

Swinburne once was deprecated as a poet of sound obscuring sense, just as Wagner was criticized by Max Nordau and others for lack of coherence and form'. (From: Richard Wagner and the English.
Anne D. Sessa)





From: Tristram of Lyonesse. Algernon Charles Swinburne

Tranced once, nor watched along the fiery bay
The shine of summer darkness palpitate and play.
She had nor sight nor voice; her swooning eyes
Knew not if night or light were in the skies;
Across her beauty sheer the moondawn shed
Its light as on a thing as white and dead;
Only with stress of soft fierce hands she prest
Between the throbbing blossoms of her breast
His ardent face, and through his hair her breath
Went quivering as when life is hard on death;
And with strong trembling fingers she strained fast
His head into her bosom; till at last
Satiate with sweetness of that burning bed,
His eyes afire with tears, he raised his head
And laughed into her lips; and all his heart
Filled hers; then face from face fell, and apart
Each hung on each with panting lips, and felt
Sense into sense and spirit in spirit melt.
"Hast thou no sword? I would not live till day,
O love, this night and we must pass away,
It must die soon, and let not us die late."
"Take then my sword and slay me; nay, but wait
Till day be risen; what, wouldst thou think to die
Before the light take hold upon the sky?"
"Yea, love; for how shall we have twice, being twain,
This very night of love's most rapturous reign?
Live thou and have thy day, and year by year
Be great, but what shall I be? Slay me here;
Let me die not when love lies dead, but now
Strike through my heart: nay, sweet, what heart hast thou?
Is it so much I ask thee, and spend my breath
In asking? nay, thou knowest it is but death.
Hadst thou true heart to love me, thou wouldst give
This: but for hate's sake thou swilt let me live."
Here he caught up her lips with his, and made
The wild prayer silent in her heart that prayed,
And strained her to him till all her faint breath sank
And her bright light limbs palpitated and shrank
And rose and fluctuated as flowers in rain
That bends them and they tremble and rise again
And heave and straighten and quiver all through with bliss
And turn afresh their mouths up for a kiss,
Amorous, athirst of that sweet influent love;
So, hungering towards his hovering lips above,
Her red-rose mouth yearned silent, and her eyes
Closed, and flashed after, as through June's darkest skies
The divine heartbeats of the deep live light
Make open and shut the gates of the outer night.
Long lay they still, subdued with love, nor knew
If could or light changed colour as it grew,
If star or moon beheld them; if above
The heaven of night waxed fiery with their love,
Or earth beneath were moved at heart and root
To burn as they, to burn and bright forth fruit
Unseasonable for love's sake; if tall trees
Bowed, and close flowers yearned open, and the breeze
Failed and fell silent as a flame that fails:
And all that hour unheard the nightingales
Clamoured, and all the woodland soul was stirred,
And depth and height were one great song unheard,
As though the world caught music and took fire
From the instant heart alone of their desire.
So sped their night of nights between them: so,
For all fears past and shadows, shine and snow,
That one pure hour all-golden where they lay
Made their life perfect and their darkness day.
And warmer waved its harvest yet to reap,
Till in the lovely fight of love and sleep
At length had sleep the mastery; and the dark
Was lit with soft live gleams they might not mark,
Fleet butterflies, each like a dead flower's ghost,
White, blue, and sere leaf-coloured; but the most
White as the sparkle of snow-flowers in the sun
Ere with his breath they lie at noon undone.
Whose kiss devours their tender beauty, and leaves
But raindrops on the grass and sere thin leaves
That were engraven with traceries of the snow
Flowerwise ere any flower of earth's would blow;
So swift they sprang and sank, so sweet and light
They swam the deep dim breathless air of night.
Now on her rose-white amorous breast half bare,
Now on her slumberous love-dishevelled hair,
The white wings lit and vanished, and afresh
Lit soft as snow lights on her snow-soft flesh,
On hand or throat or shoulder; and she stirred
Sleeping, and spake some tremulous bright word,
And laughed upon some dream too sweet for truth,
Yet not so sweet as very love and youth
That there had charmed her eyes to sleep at last.
Nor woke they till the perfect night was past,
And the soft sea thrilled with blind hope of light.
But ere the dusk had well the sun in sight
He turned and kissed her eyes awake and said,
Seeing earth and water neither quick nor dead
And twilight hungering toward the day to be,
"As the dawn loves the sunlight I love thee."
And even as rays with cloudlets in the skies
Confused in brief love's bright contentious wise,
Sleep strove with sense rekindling in her eyes;
And as the flush of birth scarce overcame
The pale pure pearl of unborn light with flame
Soft as may touch the rose's heart with shame
To break not all reluctant out of bud,
Stole up her sleeping cheek her waking blood;
And with the lovely laugh of love that takes
The whole soul prisoner ere the whole sense wakes,
Her lips for love's sake bade love's will be done.
And all the sea lay subject to the sun.
5:20:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Fake Bayreuth Tickets In Circulation.

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 | 10:38:00 pm



Not the first time you might say but these are a little different, because they are being given away free to local residents in Bayreuth. It seems that a number of Bayreuth residents have awoken to find the tickets in their mailboxes, along with a fictitious letter from the festival management.

However, the tickets are easily spotted: although they resemble official tickets closely, they are printed on very cheap paper and contain the addition of an QR Code which when scanned includes, among other things, the following message:

"This ticket is counterfeit. Sorry. However, Richard Wagner's anti-Semitism is real"

How very droll.
10:38:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Want to get Seattle Ring Tickets before they go on general sale? Become their friend.



If you want to make sure of buying the tickets of your choice for Seattle Opera's "Green Ring" before they go on general sale tomorrow, then all you have to do is like "like" them on Facebook and you will receive a code and advanced login details to do so.

Click either  of the following links below:

 Like Seattle Opera on Facebook

OR

Buy Tickets Wednesday at 9:30
10:19:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Wagner 200: 'Ring of the Nibelungen' an animated scenic progression


Blair Parkinson, is an artist well known to us over on facebook and on his website. He has produced the following video to commemorate Wagner 200. As you can read from Blair's description below, this is just a small part of his 'Nibelungenlied' project. For full details and to view the work done so far, please visit Blair's blog: Living Horus. He also reviews the odd Wagner recording and video.  Recommended.

A personal tribute to Richard Wagner to mark the bicentennial of his birth. This is the culmination of around eight months work and the completion of the first stage of my 'Nibelungenlied' project.

It's an animated progression of each scene from the depths of the Rhine to the final apocalypse of the Immolation Scene.

There are few characters here, those in there are at the moment purely present to judge the scale. Characters and costumes are the next stage of the project. From there I'll combine the two to encompass the entire story.





8:00:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Daniel Barenboim In Conversation: Wagner & Ideology

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday, 18 May 2013 | 10:00:00 pm

We could not recommend this enough - if for nothing else than for Barenboim's discussion
about conducting Wagner. 

The following is an edited conversation about Wagner that took place between Edward Saïd, and Daniel Barenboim at Columbia University, where Mr. Saïd is Professor of Comparative Literature and English. The conversation appeared in full in the Spring 1998 issue of Raritan, a quarterly publication of Rutgers University and at Barenboim's website here.

ES: Wagner is a composer who, unlike almost any other composer, lends himself to conferences and discussions. And, of course, associated with the name of Wagner are a series of adjectives -there's Wagnerism, there's Wagnerian, there's a Wagnerite. What is it that causes this extraordinary interest and devotion to Wagner?

DB: I think that the reasons are manifold. They stem from Wagner’s musical personality; they stem from his personality outside music; they stern from the fact that he not only wrote music and the librettos to his own operas, but tried to revolutionize opera and to create the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk. We can't really talk about Beethoven and the consequences; we can only speak about Debussy and the consequences in a very limited sense. But when we discuss Wagner and the consequences, we have to ask, did he have any influence -and if so, what kind of influence - on the way people viewed the music that preceded him? Did he have any effect on the history of the development of interpretation of the great classics, Mozart, Beethoven, etc.? And what influence, if any, did he have on the music that came after him? On the purely musical side of the twentieth century?

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

Wagner Bicentenary - One-Man Opera. Rhodes University SA

Readers will we are sure, recall Dr Jamie McGregor's Wagner/Tolkien paper "Two Rings To Rule Them All" which we reprinted here some time ago. Dr McGregor, who really is an impassioned wagnerite,  is now presenting a very unusual and special event on the 22 May: a one man presentation of the Dutchman - just as Wagner himself famously once did for his friends. Should you be in Grahamstown on the 22nd, we think it would be plainly silly to miss this unique event.

Event: Wagner Bicentenary - One-Man Opera

Venue: Beethoven Room, Rhodes Department of Music & Musicology

Date: Wednesday 22 May 2013

Time: 16h00

Entrance: Free


22 May 2013 marks the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner. To celebrate the occasion, English lecturer and notorious Wagnerite Jamie McGregor will "perform" his favourite composer's celebrated Gothic opera The Flying Dutchman in a wholly original way: by impersonating Wagner himself and recreating his dramatic public reading of the libretto. To bring
the work more fully to life, the reading will be complemented by an audio-visual presentation featuring recorded music from the opera and a slideshow of appropriate images (including stills from both recent and historical productions, set designs and artists' impressions of the work).

The total performance time will be four hours (16h00-20h00), including two intervals.

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

Wagner In New York

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 17 May 2013 | 7:47:00 am


At "The New Yorker", Alex Ross imagines  "what if" Wagner had acted on his thoughts of moving to the USA. Highly recommended.


A WALKING TOUR OF WAGNER’S NEW YORK
BY ALEX ROSS

The first in a short series of posts commemorating Wagner’s two-hundredth birthday, which falls on May 22nd. Above is the title page of Wagner’s “Grosser Festmarsch,” also known as the “American Centennial March,” commissioned for the celebrations of 1876.

In his last years, Richard Wagner often spoke of immigrating to America. The composer had enthusiastically greeted the founding of the German Empire in 1871, but in the following decade, as Bismarck and the Kaiser failed to provide funds for his nascent festival at Bayreuth, his chauvinism waned, and he entertained the idea of escaping to the New World. Cosima Wagner, his second wife, wrote in her diary in 1880: “Again and again he keeps coming back to America, says it is the only place on the whole map which he can gaze upon with any pleasure: ‘What the Greeks were among the peoples of this earth, this continent is among its countries.’” In consultation with Newell Jenkins, an American dentist who had become a family friend, Wagner drew up a plan whereby American supporters would raise a million dollars to resettle the composer and his family in a “favorable climate”; in return, America would receive proceeds from “Parsifal,” his opera-in-progress, and all other future work. “Thus would America have bought me from Europe for all time,” Wagner wrote. The pleasant climate he had in mind was, surprisingly, Minnesota.

What might have happened if, against all odds, Wagner had realized his American scheme? The outcome is almost impossible to imagine, although some historical novelist should give it a try. Somehow, one pictures Wagner winding up in California. In the event, of course, he stayed put. “Parsifal” had its première at Bayreuth, in 1882, and the composer died the following year, his name and work destined to be woven into the fate of the German nation.

During his tempestuous life, Wagner lived in many cities across the Continent, leaving an indelible imprint on all of them. In Leipzig, Dresden, Paris, Zurich, Lucerne, Vienna, Munich, and Venice, among other places, you can go on Wagner walking tours, seeing the houses where he lived, the halls where he conducted, and the meeting-places where he held forth. In recent weeks, as a kind of thought-experiment, I have been following ghost tracks of Wagner in New York, a city that he never saw and probably would have hated. A case of authorial obsession is to blame for this peculiar undertaking: I am working on a book called “Wagnerism: Art in the Shadow of Music,” an account of Wagner’s cultural impact. To be candid, the itinerary is often pretty dull, but it picks up interest toward the end, as traces emerge of hidden links between the Rockefellers and the Holy Grail.

Continue Reading: The New Yorker.

7:47:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Richard Wagner’s Impact on His World and Ours, 30 May – 2 June 2013. Leeds

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 16 May 2013 | 9:55:00 pm



There really are a few of these we must get to. Highly recommended

In association with the Royal Musical Association, Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, the Leeds University Centre for Opera Studies, and Opera North, the School of Music, University of Leeds, will host the international conference ‘Richard Wagner’s Impact on His World and Ours’ on 30 May–2 June 2013 To mark the 200th anniversary in May 2013 of Wagner’s birth.
Few aspects of late nineteenth-century and subsequent cultural developments remain untouched by Wagner’s influence. The conference seeks to place this influence in context, embracing the multitude of
artistic and non-artistic disciplines that have felt the composer’s impact. The full programme is under construction and will be announced soon.
Keynote lectures will be delivered by:
  • Barry Millington, entitled ’200 Not Out: Wagner the Ultimate All-rounder’
  • Michael Ewans, entitled ‘Two Landmarks in Wagner Production: Patrice Chéreau’s Centenary Ring (1976) and Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s Parsifal (2004)’
  • Heath Lees, entitled ‘Transformation at Tribschen: how a French literary trio became a Wagnerian musical trio’
  • Tony Palmer, the director of the feature film ‘The Wagner Family’, will screen his highly controversial film accompanied by a discussion session.
Round-table sessions will focus as follows:
  •  An international panel (convened by Dr Malcolm Miller) of guest speakers – scholars, practitioners and journalists (including German conductor Roberto Paternostro, former conductor of the Israel Chamber Orchestra) – will consider the controversial issue of performances of Wagner in Israel and by Israeli musicians, particularly the recent appearance of the Israel Chamber Orchestra at Bayreuth in August 2011.
  • A panel comprising scholars and practitioners from the University of Leeds and Opera North, considering Opera North’s current Ring project.
Program Highlights:

Thursday 30 May 2013

  • BARRY MILLINGTON: “200 Not Out: Wagner the Ultimate All-rounder” 


14:00-15:30: PARALLEL SESSION 1a
  • Katherine Syer (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA): The Art of Narration: Sieglinde’s Nightmare and the End of a Curse
  • Solomon Guhl-Miller (Rutgers University, USA): The Impact of Byron and Goethe on the Character of Wotan in the Drafts and Sketches of Das Rheingold and Die Walküre
  • Daniel Paul (Psychoanalysis, Clinical Psychology, USA): Wagner and Incest
14:00-15:30: PARALLEL SESSION 1b
  • David Trippett (University of Cambridge, UK): Wagner’s Italianism, Bellini’s Norma, and Sinnlichkeit
  • Malcolm Miller (Institute of Musical Research, Open University London, UK): Spinning the Yarn: Intertextuality in Wagner’s use and re-use of his songs in his operas
  • Cathal Mullan (NUI Maynooth, Ireland): Wagner as Song Composer: A New Perspective for the 21st century


16:00-17:00 WORKSHOP 1
  • Christopher Newell (University of Hull, UK), Wagner for the Uninitiated: A Director’s Perspective
  • With soprano Rosamund Cole and pianist Martin Pickard

Friday 31 May 2013

10:00-11:00 Keynote
  • MICHAEL EWANS: Two Landmarks in Wagner Production: Patrice Chéreau’s Centenary Ring (1976) and Nikolaus Lehnhoff’s Parsifal (2004)

11:30-13:00: PARALLEL SESSION 2a
  • Gwen D’Amico (City University of New York, USA): Opera and Politics: Die Meistersinger at the Intersection of New York City and World War II
  • Jane Angell (Royal Holloway University of London, UK): ‘Our Wagner’: the reception of Richard Wagner’s music in England during the First World War
  • Aleksandar Molnar (University of Belgrade, Serbia) ‘Went up in smoke The Holy Roman Reich/All the same for us would stay the holy German art.’ Political implications of Hans Sachs’ final monologue in Wagner’s Meistersinger in Germany from 1867 to 1945
11:30-13:00: PARALLEL SESSION 2b
  • Matthias Wurz (Music University, Vienna): Exploring 20th Century Vocal Tradition in Wagner’s Opera: Conductor Berislav Klobucar and Soprano Birgit Nilsson
  • Peter Kupfer (Meadows School of Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, USA): Wagner Productions in the GDR: A Statistical Approach
  • Lydia Mayne (Stanford University, USA): Was ist Deutsch? Wagner’s use of dialect and rhyme in Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg


14:00-15:30 ROUNDTABLE: Wagner and Israel – panel members
  • Chair: Dr Malcolm Miller (Institute of Musical Research)
  • Dr Margaret Brearley (author of Hitler and Wagner: The Leader, the Master and the Jews, and formerly Archbishop of Canterbury’s Adviser on the Holocaust)
  • Noam Ben-Ze’ev (music critic, journalist, Haaretz)
  • Roberto Paternostro (conductor, former director of Israel Chamber Orchestra)
  • Prof Na’ama Sheffi (Professor of History, School of Communication, Sapir College, Sderot, Israel; author of The Ring of Myths: The Israelis, Wagner and the Nazis)

Saturday 1 June 2013

9:30-12.00: PARALLEL SESSION 4a
  • Jane Ennis (William Morris Society, UK): William Morris’s Sigurd the Volsung and Wagner’s Ring
  • Michael Allis (University of Leeds, UK): The Diva and the Beast: Susan Strong and the Wagnerism of Aleister Crowley
  • Michael Papadopoulos (University of Leeds, UK): Varg í véum: Wagnerian Werewolves and Messiahs in Tolkien
9:30-12.00: PARALLEL SESSION 4b
  • Joseph E. Morgan (Boston, Massachusetts, USA): Wagner’s Re-conception of Weber’s German Nationalism
  • Golan Gur (Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany): Richard Wagner and the Discourse of National Identity in Musicology around 1900
  • Irad Atir (University of Bar-Ilan, Israel): Judaism and Germanism in Richard Wagner’s Art


14:00-15:30: PARALLEL SESSION 5a
  • Marina Raku (State Institute of Arts Studies, Moscow, Russia): Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago As An Experience Of ‘Russian Wagnerism’ In The Soviet Era
  • Anna Predolyak (Krasnodar State University of Arts and Culture, Russia): Wagner and Russian Musical Culture of XX – XXI Centuries: Problems of Influence And Perspectives for Development
  • Vladimir Marchenkov (Ohio University, USA): Gesamtkunstwerk: Life-Transforming Art
14:00-15:30: PARALLEL SESSION 5b
  • Matt Lawson ( Edge Hill University, UK): Wagner in American Cartoon
  • Anna Ponomareva (Imperial College London, UK): Inspiration or Translation: Belyi’s Novels of the Moscow Circle
  • Radosław Okulicz-Kozaryn (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan): ‘Where the King Spirit Becomes Manifest…’: Stanisław Wyspiański in search of the Polish Bayreuth

16:00-17:00 WORKSHOP 3
  • Kristina Selen (Opera Studio Oxford, UK): ‘Deeds of Music Brought to Sight’: Anna Bahr-Mildenburg as Isolde

Sunday 2 June 2013

9:30-11:00 PARALLEL SESSION 6a
  • Chantal Frankenbach (California State University, Sacramento, USA): ‘The Apotheosis of the Dance’: Gestures of National Transcendence in Wagner’s Artwork of the Future
  • Jonathan Waxman (New York University, USA): Richard Wagner’s Prose and its Impact on the Development of the Symphonic Program Note in the Twentieth Century
9:30-11:00 PARALLEL SESSION 6b
  • Dragana Jeremić Molnar (University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia): Richard Wagner’s Construction of Reality: ‘Finite Province of Meaning’, ‘Subuniverse of Meaning’ or ‘Deviant Symbolic Universe’?
  • Lauma Mellena (University of Latvia): Richard Wagner productions in 21st century Latvia
  • Plamen Kartaloff (Sophia Opera and Ballet, Bulgaria): The Universe Called Wagner, and Us. Der Ring des Nibelungen, Director’s Perspectives

11:00-11:30 Tea/Coffee

11.30-13.00 WORKSHOP 4
  • Daniel Somerville (University of Wolverhampton): Dancing Wagner: What Can Embodiment of Wagner’s Music Reveal

9:55:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

SYMPOSIUM “WAGNER AND US”: MELBOURNE 5–8 DECEMBER 2013


UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE 5–8 DECEMBER 2013

Scheduled to coincide with the performances of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in Melbourne, 18 November–13 December 2013, the symposium “Wagner and Us” will explore and critique Richard Wagner’s continuing cultural, political, and historical importance to contemporary society. The symposium, convened by Professor Kerry Murphy, is jointly hosted by The University of Melbourne and The Richard Wagner Society in Melbourne.

Topics to be covered include Wagner in Australia, Wagner and Anti-Semitism, Wagner in the Theatre, and the ‘Wagner Industry’, and others.

Invited Keynote Speakers include Patrick Carnegy (UK), Eva Rieger (Germany) and John Deathridge (UK).

It is anticipated that a Conference Proceedings will be published.

Full Details Click Here
9:37:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Starting Saturday On BBC Radio 3 - "Wagner Week". Highlights Listed


From Saturday May 18, BBC Radio 3 will begin "Wagner Week", a series of programs specially commissioned to celebrate Wagner 200.


Highlights include:

Wagner and His World

Donald Macleod explores the connections and relationships that helped establish Wagner as the most revolutionary musical thinker of the 19th century. Includes:

Beethoven
1/5 Donald Macleod explores how Beethoven's music heavily influenced Wagner.
First broadcast: 20 May 2013 

Weber and Bellini
2/5 Donald Macleod explores Wagner's early love for the operas of Weber and Bellini.
First broadcast: 21 May 2013

Meyerbeer and Palestrina
3/5 Donald Macleod explores how Wagner first cherished, then rejected, Meyerbeer's influence.
First broadcast: 22 May 2013

Liszt.
4/5 Donald Macleod explores the relationship between Wagner and Liszt.
First broadcast: 23 May 2013

8:53:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Donizetti: "La Favorite" Arranged for Two Violins by Richard Wagner

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 | 9:26:00 pm

Imagine, if you will, that you are a young 26 year old artist living in Paris in 1840. And not any old artist mind, but a composer of long, sprawling operas. You have just completed one such opera that will soon make your name and provide you with some economic stability - but which you will eventually, at least publicly, reject - called Rienzi .

At the same time, you have just written the first prose draft of an unusually concise work called The Flying Dutchman -  a work completely unlike anything that you have conceived so far and which may well set you on a  path to "revolutionize opera". You also have the loyal support of one of the most famous opera composers in Europe - Meyerbeer.

However, despite all of this, you and your young wife are  right now,  this very day, living in poverty - and once again you are heavily in debt and hiding out from debtors. How then might you earn a little money so that you do not end up like a character in an opera not yet written by another future composer: in Paris, forced to burn your manuscripts to stay warm and no doubt singing about tiny little frozen hands"?

If you were Richard Wagner you might turn, among other things, to earn a very meager living by correcting proofs of other peoples operas. Indeed, if you were Richard Wagner you might end up doing so on Donizetti's La favorita. But what if you were Richard Wagner, living in such conditions, and given the opportunity to earn, using your far from meager talents, the  princely sum of 500 francs to  prepare a piano vocal score and arrangements for various instrumental combinations, of said opera. Would you do it? Of course you would.

And so we are left today with the recording below of La Favorite Arranged for Two Violins by Richard Wagner. Alas, on this recording the producers added a spoken narrative, written by opera director Michael Dißmeier, and read in German by Daniel Morgenroth to fit between the 19 excerpts. It "breaks the flow" somewhat, but if it starts to irritate, you could always just play Wagner's' arrangement and ignore the rest completely. Available below on Spotify complete, you can also listen to some excerpts on youtube here, here and here.

But before doing so, we thought you might find the "article" below from the San Francisco Call's (now The San Francisco Examiner) opera article "Through The Opera Glass" (published 27 July 1890) to be of some amusement.









9:26:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

British Library to Hold "Wagner Weekend" 8-9 June 2013


This looks rather interesting, with some names very familiar to regular readers. Far too many speakers to mention here (full details at the British Library's website) but they include: Sir John Tomlinson, Mark Berry, David Trippett, Emma Warner, Hilda Brown, Roger Allen and a company of young actors from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

6:18:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Tannhauser: Pilgrims Chorus & Finale

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 | 7:36:00 am




Two productions: Bayreuth and the MET. Not picked specifically because they were "traditional" stagings but because they were the only relevant clips on Youtube. 


7:36:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Audio Discussion: The Düsseldorf Tannhauser.

Recorded earlier today as part of WQXR's "Conducting Business" series. Chaired by Naomi Lewin,  a panel consisting of:  ENO's John Berry, Parterre Box's James Jorden,  and  the Washington Post's Anne Midgette  discuss Deutsche Oper am Rhein's "controversial" Tannhauser and a certain form of Regietheater in general.

For clarification, the term "Eurotrash" is being used extensively in some debates (although oddly, few seem to be debating the impact any of this might have on  the living members, and their ancestors, of those many groups that suffered the sort of death and torture that was described in the production. Apart that is, however briefly, one of those groups itself). For europeans, and especially those in the UK  confused by the term, it appears commentators are not using it to refer to the TV program presented by Antoine de Caunes and Jean-Paul Gaultier. Instead, it  seems to be loosely applied in three different ways. For those supportive, of the Regietheater movement it appears to be used when the production in someway "goes wrong" (this is how WQXR's editorial seems to use it).  However, for those highly critical of  Regietheater, "Eurotrash" seems to be interchangeable with the term "Regie" and is used in a derogatory manner - as indeed is the abbreviated "Regie". Finally, there seems to be an another group that use the term to describe, oddly enough,  productions that have a certain visual and narrative aesthetic as defined in the movies of Andy Warhol and Russ Myer.

Note: unless there is some discussion from any group (especially Jewish groups) directly impacted by Nazi atrocities, we intend to carry no more on this story.  Please do not ask.





3:19:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

New BBC TV Documentary: "Pappano’s Essential Ring Cycle"

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 13 May 2013 | 5:46:00 pm

"Honest! The fish I caught in the Rhein was this big"
Lets hope it is a little less "one-sided" and "idiosyncratic" than the last BBC Radio 3 Wagner documentary. But given that we hear Pappano is something of a Wagner "fan", and that he certainly has the background to have a clear understanding of Wagner and his work, we have much hope.

Celebrating the bicentenary of Richard Wagner’s birth, Sir Antonio Pappano presents a 60-minute documentary which seeks to unravel the genius of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, one of the towering achievements of opera and a work which has challenged producers, conductors and performers alike, since its inception.

Filmed in London, Bayreuth, Bavaria and Switzerland, Pappano presents a unique insight into the story of this masterpiece from the people who perform it. In particular, he shares his insights into the extraordinary theatre at Bayreuth, exploring what it shows us about the theatrical world Wagner wanted to create. With expert comment from artists who appeared in the recent Royal Opera House production of The Ring, including Bryn Terfel, Susan Bullock and Sir John Tomlinson, the programme includes rehearsal footage from each of the four operas and performance from the 2005-7 production staged by Keith Warner.

Friday 17 May
7.30-9.00pm
BBC FOUR
5:46:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

WNO To Revive Die Meistersinger. Bryn Terfel To Return.


Given that Richard Jones’ production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for WNO received, rightly, unanimous praise it should probably come as little surprise that WNO would revive it at some time in the future. Well, it seems that future date is 2016. Bryn Terfel will return with the production
5:01:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

WNO's Artistic Director Discuses: Lohengrin, Fascism and Wagner

In his typically erudite manner, Welsh National Opera's David Pountney discusses the process that went into the creation their new production of Lohengrin, Wagner, fascism and the recent events in Dusseldorf.

I am very excited by the prospects for our new Lohengrin, firstly because Lothar Koenigs, our excellent Music Director, is passionate about the music of this symphony for a German revolution, and secondly because, if all remains on course as we devoutly pray, it has a superb cast with a strong element, as there should be for a company like WNO, of the home grown. That is quite an advantage given that its proximity to Wagner’s actual birthday on May 22 (Lohengrin opens on May 23) means that it is in competition with an avalanche of celebratory Wagner going on all over the world.
One performance with which Lohengrin will not be in competition now is the production of Tannhäuser in Düsseldorf which has just been cancelled after protests that the Nazi/Holocaust interpretation and its execution caused some members of the audience to be physically ill. There have been some very surprising statements by the theatre management, almost seeming to apologise for the fact that their production has had a visceral effect on the audience, which up to a point you might think was the idea of a theatrical event. Perhaps a certain line has been crossed.

The story will no doubt feed the anxiety of some members of many audiences about what might await them on stage in the plethora of productions marking Wagner’s anniversary. Wagner was himself in all senses an extremist – musically, dramatically and personally – and his art invites extreme responses from fanatical adoration to hatred. He was also undoubtedly anti-Semitic, and a revolutionary nationalist, and with historical hindsight this combination obviously takes on an unsavoury whiff of Fascism, particularly as the Fascists subsequently exploited this connection. However, throughout the 19th century, nationalism meant not national aggrandisation, in the Hitler sense of “Lebensraum”, but national liberation. This left-liberal brand of nationalism seems strange to us now, but essentially the decision by Wagner to go back to German mythology for his subject matter was made with the same intent that the German speaking Smetana chose to set Czech subjects, or the Russian “Mighty Handful” were steered by their “dramaturg” Stassov to go back to Russian history and mythology. As every Welshman will understand, the assertion of identity through language and mythology is one of the essential building blocks of national consciousness, and the aim of the 1840’s revolutions, in which Wagner enthusiastically took part, was to create national unity under the banner of democracy and free speech, and wrest power away from the repressive cluster of princes, bishops and kings who ruled the many small principalities that made up 19th century Germany. 

Continue reading at his blog at WNO. Recommended
4:01:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More