Wagner Journal

ShareThis

Featured Book

Twitter

Follow TheWagnerian on Twitter

Archive

Powered by Blogger.

T

 Twylah Fan Page

Opera Today

Comment: Australia's Only Classical Music Magazine Bows Out?

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday, 30 November 2013 | 3:23:00 am

Its a sad fact that we are at a time when large publishing interests - there are not that many of them - continue to eat away at their arts coverage. Whether that be arts columns in newspapers, in their online presence or in some places ceasing publication of specialist arts magazines altogether.  And where this coverage remains, it becomes so puerile, on occasion,  that it hardly seems worthy of the title  "arts coverage".

Take for example the Guardian's ongoing series in its "culture" section that describes Tannhauser as, "An early opera that has corking tunes and a very silly plot. Staged with tongue firmly in the cheek, it can be magnificent" Or what about, "S is also for Siegfried, Siegmund and Sieglinde, key characters in the Ring and rather too intimately related for their own genetic good". Or perhaps, "Some have argued that Wagner's villains (sic)– Beckmesser in Meistersinger, Alberich and Mime in the Ring – are representations of Jewishness (Ed:One assumes they mean negative Jewish stereotypes?). The contention is hard to prove either way, which is fortunate  for Wagnerians or these works would truly be tainted" (As tainted as Dicken's Oliver? Or Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice? Or George Orwell? Or Winston Churchill?  Or ...). But lets not single out the Guardian. Lets look at the following from the Telegraph, "Vegetable lover: (Wagner) became convinced that eating meat instead of vegetables corrupted the blood, and refuse (sic)to touch meat again". Or what about the Independant which said...Oh! Hang on! Sorry, I forgot they fired most of their arts critics so the Sindy isn't saying much about Wagner at all nowadays.  I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

With this in mind it should perhaps come as little surprise, that Australia's only classical music magazine, Limelight, maybe joining the cultural wasteland that the "western world" continues to produce at an alarming rate.   Perhaps this would not be the case if Limlight had dedicated  its "art" features to BoyZone? Or maybe it should have described "Der fliegende Holländer" as, "A rip roaring pirate adventure, as written by Barbara Cartland, in which: boy meets girl, boy wins girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back and they live happily ever after. It has scary ghosts too!" (Copyright: "The Wagnerian)  See, I know how to do it.  Official announcement below:


Award winning publication, and Australia's only classical music magazine, faces an uncertain future.

Limelight magazine is currently under threat of closure after its publisher Haymarket Media has chosen to wind up its operations in Australia.Limelight is now in search of a buyer to take over the award-winning classical music magazine and website.

The decision came after Haymarket Media announced that they would cease to publish in Australia and were selling or licensing their brands to local publishers. Haymarket Media have been publishing Limelightmagazine under licence from the ABC since 2006.

“With the Haymarket Media Group (Ed: publisher of, believe it or not, Windpower Monthly ) internationally focusing on its chosen sectors, and the recent expansion in Singapore, we saw this as an ideal time for our Australian brands to go to local publishers that will invest to ensure their long-term future," said Jeremy Vaughan, Haymarket Media’s Managing Director.

Liz White, GM ABC Publishing said, “Winning Relaunch of the year 2012 and Consumer Magazine of the year 2013 (under 20,000 circ) at the Publishers Australia Excellence Awards was an endorsement from the magazine industry of the Limelight team’s achievements.”

Haymarket Media is still soliciting expressions of interest in Limelight until it closes its Australia offices on December 13.


3:23:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Trailer: Wagner's Lost "Opera": Männerlist größer als Frauenlist - Soon On DVD

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 29 November 2013 | 7:11:00 pm

"The likelihood of previously unknown music of Wagner's coming to light over a century after his death might be thought remote. Yet that is exactly what happened in the summer of 1994, when sketches for Wagner's youthful comic opera Männerlist grösser als Frauenlist oder Die glückliche Bärenfamilie (Men are more Cunning than Women, or The Happy Bear Family), WWV48, previously thought to be irretrievably lost, surfaced in a private collection. Männerlist, which dates from 1838 - in other words immediately prior to Rienzi and Der fliegende Holländer - was to have been an opera in the light French style. Why was Wagner contemplating writing an opera in what was surely an antipathetic style to him? What would it have sounded like? And why did he abandon it?" Barry Millington: The Wagner Journal (vol. 1 No. 3) - Happy Families: A Wagner Singspiel Rediscovered

Männerlist größer als Frauenlist, oder Die glückliche Bärenfamilie (Men Are More Cunning Than Women, or The Happy Bear Family) is Wagner's unfinished Singspiel (written between 1837 to 1838)

Männerlist was Wagner's last operatic project before he embarked on Rienzi. Although the book of the opera (which Wagner as usual wrote himself) has long been available, the full text (including dialogue) and three completed musical numbers (in piano score), were discovered in a private collection in 1994 and later acquired by the archives of the Richard-Wagner-Stiftung in Bayreuth. Wagner refers to this project in his "Red Pocketbook" and his autobiographical works A communication to my friends (1851) and My life 1870-1880). In the latter he describes the work as "in a light neo-French style," which he began to write in Königsberg, but that later when he took it up in Riga for completion, "I was overtaken by utter disgust at this kind of writing."

Back in 2007, Two numbers from Männerlist realised by James Francis Brown and were given their UK premieres on 13 October 2007 at the Linbury Studio Theatre, London. (James talks about this here)

Then, early this year, Germany's Pocket Opera Company, produced the work "complete" for the first time - orchestrating - and "building-upon"  - the three existing musical fragments.

This performance will shortly be available on DVD - see link below.
7:11:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Wagner's Meistersinger: Performance, History, Representation - Nicholas Vazsony

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 | 10:32:00 pm

Another in our series of good Wagner books you may have missed - suitable for both the "educated reader" (whatever that might mean) and for academic researchers. As always, we try to provide a decent sized preview to allow you to make-up your own mind rather than a review. However, this is a good, solid and entertaining read - and being available for only £17 (having been reprinted in paperback this year) now helps increase our recommendation.

Indeed,  would also, recommend about anything by Vazsony. His "Richard Wagner: Self-Promotion and the Making of a Brand" is a shockingly under mentioned book in Wagner studies. A review of this will follow later.

Richard Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg has been one of the most performed operas ever since its premiere in 1868. It was adopted as Germany's national opera ("Nationaloper"), not least because of its historical coincidence with the unification of Germany under Bismarck in 1871. The first section of this volume, "Performing Meistersinger," contains three commissioned articles from internationally respected artists - a conductor (Peter Schneider), a stage director (Harry Kupfer) and a singer (Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau), all experienced in the performance of this unusually demanding 5-hour work. The second section, "Meistersinger and History," examines both the representation of German history in the opera and the way the opera has functioned in history through political appropriation and staging practice. The third section, "Representations," is the most eclectic, exploring in the first place the problematic question of genre from the perspective of a theatrical historian. The chronic issue of Wagner's chief opponent, Eduard Hanslick, and his musical and dramatic representation in the opera as Beckmesser, is then addressed, as are gender issues, and Wagner's own utterances concerning the opera.

10:32:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Honour Thy German Masters: Wagner’s Depiction of “Meistergesang”

Welsh National Opera's Meistersinger (To be revived 2015)

Originally published in: The Journal Of Musicological Explorations (Vol 11 (2010)

Honour Thy German Masters: Wagner’s Depiction of “Meistergesang” in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Annalise Smith

Abstract

The music and culture of the sixteenth century Meistersinger is the central topic of Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, his only operatic comedy. Wagner turned to Johann Christoph Wagenseil’s Von der Meister-Singer Holdseligen Kunst for information on the customs of the Meistersinger, and many scenarios within the opera are based on information from this treatise. The inclusion of the famous historical Meistersinger Hans Sachs as a central character further strengthened the drama’s connection with the historical guild. The use of distinct set pieces, a seeming departure from the endliche Melodie of earlier operas, also helped Wagner create an air of authenticity within the music of Die Meistersinger.

In contrast to Walther’s pieces, influenced by Wagner’s compositional technique and only loosely invoking the traditions of sixteenth-century Meitergesang, Beckmesser’s songs reveal many similarities with their historical models.
As much as Die Meistersinger invokes the sixteenth century, Wagner does not present an accurate musical depiction of Meistergesang in this work. Though Hans Sachs and his role as a Meistersinger is an important element in his drama, Wagner only superficially observed the form and style of historical Meistergesang. None of Walther’s songs, including Fanget an!, Am stillen Herd, or his Prize song, which wins him the admiration of both the masters and the people, completely satisfies the rules set down by Wagenseil. The character of Sachs, in fact, sings no Meisterlied at all. A comparison of Sachs’ Morgenweise and Silberweise with Wagner’s drama reveals that it is actually in the music of Beckmesser, the pedantic, rule-bound antagonist, that Wagner comes closest to the musical traditions of the sixteenth century. Given the historical setting of the opera and the emphasis the libretto places on rules and traditions, this paper sets out to examine how these three characters are musically portrayed, the degree to which they deviate from traditional Meistergesang, and what this reveals about Wagner’s ideas on artistic genius and musical composition.

The operas of Richard Wagner (1813-1883) exist in a world of fantasy, populated by mythic knights, gods and goddesses, and depictions of heaven and hell. The exception is Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1867). Foregoing the world of myth, Wagner transports the audience back to sixteenth-century Nürnberg, where the city is led by the Meistersingers and, in particular, Hans Sachs. Though still writing in a nineteenthcentury style, Wagner went to great lengths to integrate the actual practices and compositional rules of the Meistersingers into his opera. This attempt at historical accuracy allows for an exploration of the musical correspondences between historical Meistergesangand Wagner’s own depiction of the genre. By comparing Silberweise and Morgenweise, two pieces written by the historical Hans Sachs, to the Meistergesang within Wagner’s opera, it becomes clear that Wagner’s most accurate representations of Meistergesangare sung by Beckmesser, the antagonistic marker. Why then, if the opera purportedly promotes rules and the maintenance of tradition, are Sachs and Walther the heroes? Though this contradiction may seem a hypocrisy, this essay will show that the depiction of Meistergesang in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, while incorporating nineteenth-century compositional methods, expresses Wagner’s belief that musical innovation must be based on tradition.


As charming and believable as Die Meistersinger may be, it too, in its own way, is a fantasy. Wagner’s Nürnberg is not a historically accurate depiction of the town and its populace, but an “idealized monument to a peculiarly German kind of city at the very moment of its historical disappearance.” This idealization was part of nineteenth-century German Romanticism, which longed for a strong, unified Germany. This longing was “inevitably projected to a vaguely medieval past when Germany had seemed powerful and united.” The glorification of medieval Nürnberg inevitably led to a misrepresentation of the Meistersingers. In his opera, Wagner portrays the Meistersingers as both cultural and civic leaders. They are the burghers who run the city, and their festivals are shared by all the people. However, as Peter Hohendahl points out:

[Nuremberg] was anything but a harmonious community in which its citizens enjoyed work and
art.…The Meistersingers clearly did not play the significant role that Wagner assigns them. Their
poetic practices were much more confined to their own social group.


Wagner was not the first to take creative liberties with the cultural and political role of the Meistersingers. The study of Meistersingerswas popular at the beginning of the century, resulting in several studies and narratives through which Wagner became acquainted with the medieval tradition.

Wagner’s first introduction to Hans Sachs and the Meistersingers came from Georgg Gottfried Gervinus’ History of German Literature (1835), a reading that sparked the idea for Die Meistersinger. Wagner was also familiar with Jakob Grimm’s essay Über den Altdeutschen Meistergesang(1811) and the works of E.T.A. Hoffmann, particularly his story Meister Martin der Küfner und seine Gesellen(1819). Both of these authors contributed to an idealized picture of the Meistersingers, in which “artists and artisans, hand in hand, march happily together towards a common goal.”

The Meistersingerswere even the inspiration for an opera before Wagner, Albert Lortzing’s Hans Sachs,
which premiered in 1840. The plot similarities between the two operas indicate the Wagner  was
surely  aware  of  Lortzing’s  opera  when  writing the libretto for Die Meistersinger

To Continue Reading Download The Full Paper In PDF

9:17:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Mendelssohn Hero or Has Been? Or Did Wagner Really Do It?

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 25 November 2013 | 7:19:00 pm


"For critics like Marx and Brendel, this task could only be fulfilled by a progressive art fully reconciled with the strivings of the age. Adolf Bernhard Marx, in a classic statement of this perspective in The Music of the Nineteenth Century and its Culture (1855), argued that 'enjoyment and a feeling of happiness are no criterions of progress; in art as in every other concern of the spirit, a higher perception is the only proof of advance'. [37] For both Marx and Brendel, Mendelssohn's music was inimical to this new aesthetic. On the contrary, it served as a symbol of the aspects of German musical culture that stood in the way of progress" Sinead Dempsey 2004

Our editor, finds a fascinating paper on the very different reception to Mendelssohn 's music in England and Germany. However, proceeds this with a long introduction that can be happily ignored. 

Unlike Wagner, I like Mendelssohn and so I was naturally drawn to the following paper "Hero or Has Been? Mendelssohn Reception in England and Germany in the 1840s" . It has now been long assumed that Mendelssohn's reputation was destroyed by Wagner. His attack upon Mendelssohn in Judaism in Music is especially vehement and there are a number of other reasons - apart from being Jewish - that it is thought Wagner set out to destroy Mendelssohn's reputation.  In an article written in 2009,  common of those "blaming" Wagner, Tom Service wrote:
7:19:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Photos: Melbourne Ring - Götterdämmerung

November 25

Siegfried Stefan Vinke
Gunther Barry Ryan
Alberich Warwick Fyfe
Hagen Daniel Sumegi
Brünnhilde Susan Bullock
Gutrune Sharon Prero
Waltraute Deborah Humble
Woglinde Lorina Gore
Wellgunde Jane Ede
Flosshilde Dominica Matthews
First Norn Elizabeth Campbell
Second Norn Jacqueline Dark
Third Norn Anke Höppner



4:55:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Trailer Die Frau Ohne Schatten - Bayerische Staatsoper



50 years ago, on 21 November 1963, the Bayerische Staatsoper’s main performance venue, the Munich National Theatre, which had been destroyed in the Second World War, opened its restored doors with the premiere of "Die Frau ohne Schatten". In 2013, the Bayerische Staatsoper has once again been starting off the season's new productions with this work by Richard Strauss.

Kirill Petrenko has been directing the Bayerisches Staatsorchester for the first time in his function as General Music Director of the Bayerische Staatsoper.
4:33:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Video: Panel Discussion Following Hilan Warshaw's "Wagner's Jews"

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 24 November 2013 | 11:05:00 am



Panel discussion following screening of Hilan Warshaw's documentary "Wagner's Jews" organised by the Wagner Society of New York. Sept. 24, 2013. Thanks, yet again, to the Wagner Society Of New York
11:05:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Richard Wagner On His Desire For Perfumes,Silk, Colours & Snuff.

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday, 23 November 2013 | 11:41:00 am

Caricature titled ‘Frou Frou Wagner’ published in
Der Floh, on 24 June 1877, showing journalist Daniel Spitzer
standing  on a cache of letters pricking Wagner, who is in deep
deliberation over bolts of silk and satin, with his
poison pen; reproduced in John Grand-Carteret’s
 Richard Wagner en caricatures, Paris, 1892


"R tells me about a young couple who committed suicide for love, and he adds, "This is still the main tragedy of life". We are diverted from these dismal thoughts by my remarking how pretty his room (blue grotto) is, and this leads us to his desire for colours, for perfumes, the latter having to be very strong, since he takes snuff. "Taking snuff is really my soul", he says very drolly. At the start he describes how gently glowing colours influence his mood, but later in the conversation denies any connection and says very emphatically, "These are weaknesses". CW: Jan 23 1883

4 days later:

"R told me his dream: wearing the mauve nightgown he has on now, he went with me into a box in the theatre; there people behaved improperly towards him, but he did not wish to show himself, though he could hardly avoid it, while I became very embarrassed, whereon he woke up." CW:  Jan 27 1883


11:41:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Melbourne Siegfried: First Images

November 22

Siegfried Stefan Vinke
Brünnhilde Susan Bullock
Erda Deborah Humble
Mime Graeme Macfarlane 
The Wanderer Terje Stensvold
Alberich Warwick Fyfe
Fafner Shane Lowrencev
Forest Bird Taryn Fiebig


12:52:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Wagner & Seinfeld: Die Meistersinger von Monk’s

Michael Teager
Michael Teager is an experienced performing musician, both as a leader and a sideman. Currently, Mike serves on the faculties for Michigan State University and Spring Arbor University. At MSU he is Instructor of Music for the Office of Study Abroad, teaching Music Appreciation each summer in Bregenz, Austria. At SAU he teaches Music History and he previously taught Music Appreciation.

Mike performs frequently throughout Michigan. Recordings can be found on Slo.Blor Media, Neighbor Neighbor LTD, ITAV Records and VagueTerrain.net. He can regularly be seen with Matt Borghi (often as Teag & PK), The Fencemen, and various other groups, and he writes for and manages MT-Headed Blog.

Convocation, his new album with Matt Borghi, can be found on iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, and Spotify.

Mike also likes Seinfeld. Oh and Wagner! In the following, article he examines parallels between Seinfeld and Wagner, specifically Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. A parallel and link, which seems especially relevant given a rather famous, in some Wagner circles, episode of Seinfeld's co-creator, Larry David's own show, the genuinely excellent, "Curb Your Enthusiasm". But we will let Mike explain. Recommended.

12:09:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Britten Explains How Peter Grimes Rejects the Wagnerian theory of "permanent melody"

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 22 November 2013 | 9:04:00 pm

Britten's introduction to Peter Grimes
The composer wrote this introduction to his opera prior to its first performance at London's Sadler's Wells in 1945.

I am especially interested in the general architectural and formal problems of opera, and decided to reject the Wagnerian theory of "permanent melody" for the classical practice of separate numbers that crystallize and hold the emotion of a dramatic situation at chosen moments.

During the summer of 1941, while working in California, I came across a copy of The Listener containing an article about George Crabbe by E.M. Forster. I did not know any of the poems of Crabbe at that time, but reading about him gave such a feeling of nostalgia for Suffolk, where I have always lived, that I searched for a copy of his works, and made a beginning with The Borough.

[ … ]: It is easy to see how [Mr Forster's] excellent account of this "entirely English poet" evoked a longing for the realities of that grim and exciting seacoast around Aldeburgh.

Earlier in the year, I had written the music of Paul Bunyan, an operetta to a text by W.H. Auden, which was performed for a week at Columbia University, New York. The critics damned it unmercifully, but the public seemed to find something enjoyable in the performances. Despite the criticisms, I wanted to write some more works for the stage. The Borough - and particularly the story of Peter Grimes - provided a subject and a background from which Peter Pears and I began trying to construct the scenario of an opera. A few months later I was waiting on the East Coast for a passage back to England, when a performance of my Sinfonia da Requiem was given in Boston under Serge Koussevitsky [sic]. He asked why I had not written an opera. I explained that the construction of a scenario, discussions with a librettist, planning the musical architecture, composing preliminary sketches, and writing nearly a thousand pages of orchestra score, demanded a freedom from other work which was an economic impossibility for most young composers. Koussevitsky was interested in my project for an opera based on Crabbe, although I did not expect to have the opportunity of writing it for several years. Some weeks later we met again, when he told me that he had arranged for the commissioning of the opera, which was to be dedicated to the memory of his wife, who had recently died. On arrival in this country in April 1942 I outlined the rough plan to Montagu Slater, and asked him to undertake the libretto. Discussions, revisions, and corrections took nearly eighteen months. In January 1944 I began composing the music, and the score was completed in February 1945.
9:04:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Review. Richard Wagner: The Lighter Side - Terry Quinn

Where would we be without 7000 page, 6 volume, explorations of whether, by completing volume 6 of Wagner's prose works (Religion and Art) on Christmas Day 1897, William Ashton Ellis was indicating, for those that understood,  that according to the secret rites of the 33rd degree of Freemasonry, Wagner was the new Messiah - and hence why Aleister Crowley ("The name is Crowley, it rhymes with Holy. It isn't Crowley, that rhymes with foully") included Wagner among the Gnostic Saints of his Gnostic Mass?  Or, what about that twelve volume set explaining the true meaning of Zum Raum wird hier die Zeit, linking it to the future novels of Barbara Cartland? Or, far, far more common,  works written by authors clearly trying to out Wagner, Wagner in the turgid prose/complete incomprehensibility department?   Well, personally I wouldn't be without them. This maybe due to some unconscious, masochistic tendencies,  it has to be admitted, but I shall leave such analysis to those many authors who interpret Wagner's work, from a Freudian/Jungian perspective ( I am still waiting for someone to interpret Wagner's work based on the work of B. F.Skinner upon his pigeons. Although, one should be careful what one wishes for in Wagner research). However, just occasionally one does feel that something a little "lighter" wouldn't go amiss. Something detailed perhaps, snappily but well written. Something one could just dip into when the occasion called, but actually contains the more than odd bit of information that even a Wagner" obsessive", such as I, might find for the first time. Oh! And well illustrated, that would be nice also.



And so we turn to Terry Quinn's Richard Wagner: The Lighter Side. Oddly, and despite what I have said above, and  even, having heard good things of Quinn among Wagner "circles" (the good kind of Wagner "Circle", not the kind that once existed at Bayreuth that even Wagner ran away from straight to Venice) I was not waiting on this book with any enthusiasm. Books based on trying to make Wagner "accessible" (which its title suggests it might) are rarely ever successful. Often condescending and almost always with forced "witt". However, Quinn's book is none of this things and instead, while accessible to the Wagner "neophyte", is aimed far more at anyone with a love and some knowledge of  Wagner or his work. Basically, a series of anecdotes and more detailed explorations of Wagner, his work, Wagnerians, anti-Wagnerians, artists and more, it is simply a "fun" read and as far as I  am aware, the first of its kind. The sample pages scattered around this review can probably provide a better idea of what to expect than any description. . 


I don't believe it is the sort of book that one would read from cover to cover - although one could. Instead, it works much better as a book that one dips into for a refreshing change from the heavier tombs already discussed

Is it perfect? Well, it lacks an  index, which is a sad omission and would have proven invaluable. Despite its style, it contains much information of more than simple entertainment value - and some very interesting photos and historical illustrations. As with what seems every book I have read about Wagner over the past few years,  it contains the odd typo. Dates seem to be a struggle on one or two occasions, leaving the less familiar confused one suspects. And like any book made up of, even detailed, "factoids" it occasionally suffers from, slight repetition. But in general this does not mar the book greatly and neither are these "sins" heavily repeated.




Overall, a fun and interesting book - not without depth. Clearly written by someone with a deep passion for Wagner, aided by a wide knowledge of his world - then and now. Highly recommended. 



That twelve volume set linking Parsifal to Barbara Cartland? If its published buy it too, but for sheer fun and entertainment buy Quinn's book. Or if you have any sense, and should it be something of which you partake, put it on your Christmas present list. Its the perfect book to read while everyone else is listening to the Queens Speech and later watching the newest Disney animated feature on TV.

WOE
7:56:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

"Wagner's Jews": Trailer

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 21 November 2013 | 8:14:00 pm

 A review can be read over at Seen and Heard International


“This film brings to light new insights into this topic, and manages to be - for all its laconic brevity - incredibly complex. Hilan Warshaw is a musician, a violinist. Perhaps that is why he possesses this ability to work virtually polyphonically, pursuing many different voices and balancing contradictions, without once taking the floor himself at all.”
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, May 19. 2013

8:14:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Theatre Freiburg's Parsifal & Tannhauser To Reach UK In 2014


As part of an event titled WagnerFest 2014, the Theatre Royal Norwich will host Theater Freiburg's production of Parsifal and their, yet premiered new production of Tannhauser. Details a little sketchy at present but more as they arrive. We are also awaiting a response from the Theatre Freiburg as to whether the productions will tour elsewhere in the UK. Details, so far below - including a video of Theatre Freiburg's Parsifal.


Parsifal Wed Jul 23 2014 - 5:00 PM
Parsifal Fri Jul 25 2014 - 5:00 PM
Tannhauser Sun Jul 27 2014 - 3:00 PM
Tannhauser Mon Jul 28 2014 - 5:00 PM

More Details: Theatre Royal Norwich
6:22:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

The Ring, The Taxidermist and Richard Wagner

Reviewing the Melbourne Ring we could not help but notice the amount of "stuffed animals" that littered Valhalla. This brought to mind two thoughts: their meaning withing the production and whether they were real" - the subject of the taxidermist "art". The latter was as much concern as the first as it seemed - given Wagner's thoughts on vivisection and animal cruelty - he might not have approved if they were "real".  But the internet being what it is, a quick tweet by someone that we follow on twitter and an equally fast reply was received. We supply that below - for anyone curious - but first a few thoughts from Wagner.

"Recently, while I was in the street, my eye was caught by a poulterer's shop; I stared unthinkingly at his piled-up wares, neatly and appetizingly laid out, when I became aware of a man at the side busily plucking a hen, while another man was just putting his hand in a cage, where he seized a live hen and tore its head off. The hideous scream of the animal, and the pitiful, weaker sounds of complaint that it made while being overpowered transfixed my soul with horror. Ever since then I have been unable to rid myself of this impression, although I had experienced it often before. It is dreadful to see how our lives—which, on the whole, remain addicted to pleasure—rest upon such a bottomless pit of the cruellest misery! This has been so self-evident to me from the very beginning, and has become even more central to my thinking as my sensibility has increased ... I have observed the way in which I am drawn in the [direction of empathy for misery] with a force that inspires me with sympathy, and that everything touches me deeply only insofar as it arouses fellow-feeling in me, i.e. fellow-suffering. I see in this fellow-suffering the most salient feature of my moral being, and presumably it is this that is the well-spring of my art"RW: Human Beasts of Prey and Fellow-Suffering - Selected Letters of Richard Wagner. translated by Stewart Spencer and Barry Millington

"To these wise men the mystery of the world unveiled itself as a restless tearing into pieces, to be restored to restful unity by nothing save compassion. His pity for each breathing creature, determining his every action, redeemed the sage from all the ceaseless change of suffering existences, which he himself must pass until his last emancipation. Thus the pitiless was mourned by him for reason of his suffering, but most of all the beast, whose pain he saw without knowing it capable of redemption through pity. This wise man could but recognise that the reasonable being gains its highest happiness through free-willed suffering, which he therefore seeks with eagerness, and ardently embraces; whereas the beast but looks on pain, so absolute and useless to it, with dread and agonised rebellion. But still more to be deplored that wise man deemed the human being who consciously could torture animals and turn a deaf ear to their pain, for he knew that such a one was infinitely farther from redemption than the wild beast itself, which should rank in comparison as sinless as a saint." RW: Against Vivisection

Up to here, but alas! no further, can we trace the religious basis of our human forbears' sympathy with animals, and it seems that the march of civilization, by making him indifferent to "the God," turned man himself into a raging beast of prey. . . . [Now] our creed is: "Animals are useful; particularly if, trusting in our sanctuary, they yield themselves into our hands. Come let us therefore make of them what we deem good for human use; we have the right to martyr a thousand faithful dogs the whole day long, if we can thereby help one human creature to the cannibal well-being of five hundred swine." RW: Against Vivisection

"[To] the beasts, who have been our schoolmasters in all the arts by which we trapped and made them subject to us, man was superior in nothing save deceit and cunning, by no means in courage or bravery; for the animal will fight to its last breath, indifferent to wounds and death: "It knows nor plea nor prayer for mercy, no avowal of defeat." To base man's dignity upon his pride, compared with that of animals, would be mistaken; and our victory over them, their subjugation, we can only attribute to our greater art of dissembling. That art we highly boast of; we call it "reason" and proudly think it marks us from the animals: for look you! it can make us like to God himself—as to which, however, Mephistopheles has his private opinion, concluding that the only use man made of reason was "to be more bestial than any beast.RW: Human Beasts of Prey and Fellow-Suffering - Selected Letters of Richard Wagner. translated by Stewart Spencer and Barry Millington


Ring Cycle: Taxidermy artists help create larger-than-life set design
By Jennifer Williams, September 3, 2013

"We’re trying to create the illusion of taxidermy with fake animals that look real.”

Every director that takes on the Ring cycle has to be aware of the fact that Wagner’s epic has been interpreted and reinterpreted across the ages. From tattoos and fellatio in Bayreuth this year to the undulating “Wagner machine” from the Met’s 2010 production, Wagner’s four-opera epic has inspired hundreds of interpretations, each one bigger and better and more out there than the last.

For the Melbourne Ring Cycle, director Neil Armfield wasdetermined to take the opposite route. His Ring cycle harks back to the era of the natural scientist: at a time when fossils and insects captivated the public consciousness, and every man, woman and child spent their weekends fossicking for rocks and capturing butterflies.

“If you want genuine taxidermy, you find a dead animal, and you taxidermy it. What we’re doing here is more unusual,” Edmonds explains. “We’re trying to create the illusion of taxidermy with fake animals that look real.”

And the King of the Gods? A taxidermy enthusiast, naturally. In Opera Australia’s first Ring cycle, the powerful Wotan has a taxidermy collection that would put the Australian Museum to shame.

Beasts of land and air converge in his kingdom, frozen in time, impossibly lifelike in death.

The “taxidermy” project began nearly 12 months ago. Designer Robert Cousins worked together with the Opera Australia workshop on a painstaking research and development process, designing and sourcing animal forms. Some were sculpted from scratch by workshop artists, others were ordered directly from specialists in the United States. In Das Rheingold, the animals must fly – so the workshop staff had to take the lightweight forms and add counterweights and reinforcements.

The sheer scale of the Ring cycle has stretched the resources of the workshop department, so the team called in the help of prop-builders and costumiers Marea Fowler and Brian Edmonds in creating a series of mammals. Fowler is a costumier with a very specialist talent: creating anatomically accurate life-size animal forms.

It’s a less gruesome talent than actual taxidermy, as Edmonds explains. “If you want genuine taxidermy, you find a dead animal, and you taxidermy it. What we’re doing here is more unusual,” Edmonds explains. “We’re trying to create the illusion of taxidermy with fake animals that look real.

4:49:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Images & Video: Melbourne Die Walküre


Arts Centre Melbourne, November 20. Photos: Jeff Busby.
3:14:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Looking Back at 2013 - Part 1: Good Wagnerians And Bad Wagnerians

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 | 8:18:00 am

 First in a series of articles looking back on 2013

This year has been somewhat of an exhausting one for me. Now, of course, one might expect that to be the case in Wagner's bicentenary year, where we have been "flooded" with Wagner productions, recordings, books, papers, documents, etc. But this is not the case for someone who spends as much time with the old mystic, revolutionary, anarchist as I do - even if I did need to take the odd, extended, break to spend time with Strauss, Mahler, Schoenberg, Weber, Bloch and a number of other 20th century composers who occupy a significant amount of my "classical music" time. No, what exhausted me most were two things: ever present media references to Wagner as "Hitler's favourite composer" (he wasn't - although Hitler certainly used the perverted influence of the "Bayreuth Circle" to progress his own agenda) and even more so, to being informed with certainty in documentary after documentary - especially in the UK where this has become an especially prevalent obsession this year - that Wagner's works are littered with negative Jewish stereotypes; with everyone from Kundry to Klingsor, Mime to Alberich and Beckmesser, to even Wotan. being deconstructed - and possibly reconstructed - to support this argument.
8:18:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Should We Really Fund Wagner?

Published in Performing Arts Hub. As Opera Australia mount their $20 million Ring cycle Julian Meryrick asks can we defend such funding for just one work - or indeed any work

Should we fund Wagner operas or Kyle Sandilands statues?
Julian Meryrick 

In an age of user-generated content and zombie walks, it’s hard to defend opera’s pre-eminence.

The cultural dollar is tight. Why spend taxpayers’ money on mounting Wagner operas rather than – say – erecting a mile-high statue of Kyle Sandilands on the moon warning alien civilisations what to expect should they approach further?

The list of things considered culture is endless. Once dance, drama, ballet and opera ruled the performing arts roost. But now, in an age of user-generated content and zombie walks, it’s hard to defend opera’s pre-eminence. Should we even try?

Isn’t everyone’s taste equally valid? You like Berlioz; I prefer boot-scooting. Why should one be thought better than the other, or attract public support to perpetuate its privileged status?

Wagner is expensive even by opera’s standards, and the Ring Cycle, is expensive even by Wagnerian ones.

The production reportedly cost Opera Australia A$20 million to stage.

It’s pricey for audiences too – it costs A$1000-2000 to attend four consecutive nights of The Ring Cycle). It’s the sort of signature event that has opera buffs audibly panting and others muttering about the cost of it all.

To spend or not to spend?

The free market works, at least in theory, by striking a balance between the supply of something (s) and its demand (d). A good (x) is provided to consumers by producers, who vary in number depending on the level of profit that can be made.

Fixing the relationship between (s) and (d) is the index finger of Scottish philosopherAdam Smith’s 'invisible hand', the price mechanism (p).

Here is the source of all political objections to supply-side subsidy, be it for the car industry or for installation art: it queers (p), throwing out the delicate calibration between those who can provide a good and those willing to pay for it.


1:39:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Review: Wagner, His Life and Music - Stephen Johnson.

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 | 11:30:00 am

"For me, it was the experience of hearing Parsifal again in the legendary Hans Knappertsbuch recording that made me realise how important it is to identify the best in Wagner, and to show how it transcends and diminishes the worst". Stephen Johnson. 
Its an odd thing, but, in this bicentennial year, while there has been no shortage of books about Wagner, his work, his ideas, his influence or his family  - and they continue to arrive monthly - there has been a distinct shortage of straightforward biographies. So far, we have only been able to note Ray Furness', Richard Wagner (Critical Lives), a biography worth your attention, if only slightly marred by its uncritical approach to Wagner and his thoughts while sadly giving no attention to those that surrounded him. Perhaps writers feel that everything that can be said in a straightforward biography has been said? The trouble with this is, if we accept it as true - and I doubt it - most of these biographies are no longer available in English or are hard to find. Apart from the short guides, the only other biography of any note in recent years is Kohler's "Last Of The Titans - and that is greatly spoilt by a set of value judgements that are not only singly idiosyncratic but which Kohler no longer seems to maintain.  It came as same surprise then, to find that we had missed perhaps one of the better biographies for many years. And not just a biography but an accompanying four hours of Wagner's music, introduced with contextual, character and musical analysis.

Stephen Johnson's Wagner:His Life and Music  from Naxos Books is available in three formats: a  paperback book with two accompanying CDs of Wagner's Music, an electronic book for ebook readers without CDs and as a 9 hour or so audiobook. While not normally a "fan" of audiobooks - I struggle to concentrate with the things normally and prefer the written word - 4 hours of musical analysis (detailed in the case of Wagner's dramas) with extended full samples seemed simply too good an opportunity to pass-by and I thus, thankfully, put aside my usual reservations - although I have now also bought the accompanying ebook. 

Music journalist and presenter for Radio 3's Discovering Music, Stephen Johnson' is no stranger to Wagner or indeed producing intelligent introductions to his work. For Naxos he has already produced a series of audio introductions to  the Ring, Tristan and the Dutchman. These introductions have been both intelligent, insightful and not without wit - and he brings all of these qualities to this latest work. While a clear, enthusiastic and sympathetic commentator on Wagner and his work, he does not treat Wagner with the reverence that can lessen some biographies but neither does he stress above all else, the less pleasant sides of Wagner's personality - as far too many others do.  As he says in the preface,

"For me, it was the experience of hearing Parsifal again in the legendary Hans Knappertsbuch recording that made me realise how important it is to identify the best in Wagner, and to show how it transcends and diminishes the worst. There maybe - as some have argued - sinister racial overtones behind the image of the holy blood invoked in Parsifal, but most modern listeners have to be told the message is there to recognise it: Wagner never made it explicit. More to the point, it surely pales besides the wonderful elevation of compassion as the power that not only outfaces evil but offers integration and enlightenment to the divided modern soul. For most listeners, the opera's roots in Christian and Buddhist notions of self-transcendence eclipse whatever the libretto may or may not owe to nineteenth-century racial theories such as the once famous Count Gobineau. All this is only served and strengthened by the ingenuity and heartrending beauty of Wagner's music."

And this is a philosophy that is maintained throughout the book or 9 hours of audio. The main features, events, philosophies and influences on Wagner's life can be found herein. Wagner's work is placed firmly in the social, political and philosophical milieu of his time and Johnson manages to include facts, on occasion , that might be unfamiliar to even those with more than a "working knowledge" of Wagner. At the same there is a level of analysis and sophistication that is surprising for a book that one assumes is aimed at the neophyte.

More to the point, it surely pales besides the wonderful elevation of compassion as the power that not only outfaces evil but offers integration and enlightenment to the divided modern soul

It is certain that Johnson has kept up to date on much, if not all, of the recent literature around Wagner and anyone new or coming to Wagner will find much material here unfamiliar yet presented in a manner that makes it easily comprehensible and more importantly "balanced". Together with the audio introduction to Wagner's music, synopsis, background and analysis, this provides one of the best, and most intelligent, introductions to Wagner and his music in some-time. And it is not only the Wagner "neophyte" that will have much to enjoy here  as those with great familiarity with his work will also enjoy much here. Add to this, Johnson's lively narrative style (see sample below) and this is a set that would be hard not to recommend.

Note: We would not normally mention any particular retail outlet - except perhaps none profits or very specialised ones. And we have to say that Audible, being part of Amazon, is certainly anything if not commercial. However, readers maybe interested to note that they can  download the full audio book, as part of a free trial of Audible's membership. And should you just want this audiobook then you can cancel your subscription and the book remains yours. Google Audible and you will be directed to your countries local site. Otherwise, a quick search online should find a copy in the retail outlet of your choice.

One other thing, in the introduction Johnson notes that many people are only familiar with Wagner through the use of "Ride of the Valkyries" in Kubrick's "Apocalypse Now . The film nerd in me could not let it go by without saying that, that  landmark and exceptional film was actually directed by Francis Ford Coppola!


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

Melbourne Ring: First Extend Video Trailers



Care of Limelight Magazine - where a review can be found.
10:18:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

First Images Of The Melbourne Ring

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday, 18 November 2013 | 8:47:00 pm

The Melbourne Ring Cycle 2013 - Das Rheingold. November 18 2013. More: Melbourne Ring  Click any image to enter full sized gallery.


8:47:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

New Wagner Book: Tristan's Shadow - Adrian Daub

All details below are those supplied by the publisher - hence all the "revering and reviling". Expect a review - at some stage. Due to be released Nov 25

Tristan's Shadow: SEXUALITY AND THE TOTAL WORK OF ART AFTER WAGNER
ADRIAN DAUB

Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, and Siegfried.Parsifal. Tristan und Isolde. Both revered and reviled, Richard Wagner conceived some of the nineteenth century’s most influential operas—and created some of the most indelible characters ever to grace the stage. But over the course of his polarizing career, Wagner also composed volumes of essays and pamphlets, some on topics seemingly quite distant from the opera house. His influential concept ofGesamtkunstwerk—the “total work of art”—famously and controversially offered a way to unify the different media of an opera into a coherent whole. Less well known, however, are Wagner’s strange theories on sexuality—like his ideas about erotic acoustics and the metaphysics of sexual difference.

Drawing on the discourses of psychoanalysis, evolutionary biology, and other emerging fields of study that informed Wagner’s thinking, Adrian Daub traces the dual influence of Gesamtkunstwerk and eroticism from their classic expressions in Tristan und Isolde into the work of the generation of composers that followed, including Zemlinsky, d’Albert, Schreker, and Strauss. For decades after Wagner’s death, Daub writes, these composers continued to grapple with his ideas and with his overwhelming legacy, trying in vain to write their way out from Tristan’s shadow.

Reviews

Ryan Minor | author of Choral Fantasies: Music, Festivity, and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Germany
“Tristan’s Shadow is an important, highly intelligent, and ambitious study. Rigorously researched, blissfully unencumbered by canonical narratives, and written with Adrian Daub’s signature verve, this book provides a new, and entirely compelling, account of German opera after Wagner. It will undoubtedly become standard reading in musicology and opera studies, in German studies and comparative literature, and in the history of sexuality.”

Mary Ann Smart, University of California, Berkeley
“Boldly taking Wagnerism far beyond the usual suspects, Adrian Daub shows that the influence of Tristan didn't end with chromaticism or even with metaphysics. In a brilliant flash of insight, Daub perceives that the opera’s eroticism is entwined with its dramatic aesthetics in ways that haunted and inspired later composers. Better than any recent book I can think of, this lucid and imaginative study shows why Wagner mattered—and continues to matter—enormously.”

Lawrence Kramer, author of Interpreting Music
“In Tristan’s Shadow Adrian Daub does nothing less than rethink from the ground up the problem that Wagner's legacy posed for German opera composers through the first half of the twentieth century. Wagner himself emerges in a fresh light as Daub uncovers the surprisingly close connections between the erotics of Wagnerian opera and the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk. The mixture, both intoxicating and toxic, sets goals for subsequent German opera that, as Daub shows in a series of richly textured readings, could neither be achieved nor evaded. Anyone still struggling with Wagner (and who, in the opera world, is not?) will find this book rewarding.”

Jeremy Tambling, author of Opera and the Culture of Fascism
“Tristan’s Shadow maps sexuality onto Wagner’s concept of the total work of art, in order to show how the Gesamtkunstwerk must take account of the body and the sexual. Through exciting readings of Strauss, Schreker, d’Albert and Siegfried Wagner and Kurt Weill, Adrian Daub shows opera to be attuned to—and discordant with—ugliness, sexual dissidence, crises of masculinity and decadence: he reads German post-Wagnerian opera as though it was an index to the cultural crises that produced Hitler’s Reich.”
9:35:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Audio: Wagner: Making a National Hero

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 17 November 2013 | 1:01:00 pm



Part Of Radio 4's Wagner week from earlier this year.

Stephen Johnson explores the worlds of Wagner's heroes and how his Tannhauser, Lohengrin, Siegfried and Parsifal were created from a particularly Wagnerian concoction of ancient Norse legends, medieval German myths and current political thinking at the dawn of Bismark's Germany. He finds out how Wagner himself became a different sort of national hero through the efforts of Cosima, his zealously loyal widow, and then through misinterpretations of his writings about nationalism by the Third Reich.

Stephen talks to conductor Donald Runnicles, Wagner experts Barry Millington and Barbara Eichner, writer and opera director Adrian Mourby, Ring expert Edward Haymes, and Cosima's biographer Oliver Hilmes.


To Listen Click Here (Running Time: 46 minutes)
1:01:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Video: Wagner And Anti-Semitism



The question of 19th century German composer Richard Wagner's personal and musical anti-Semitism became a topic of enormous controversy during and after World War II, when Wagner's children welcomed Hitler to Bayreuth, the scene of the annual Wagnerian opera festival. Arguments about this question, however, often seem to deadlock in rival claims of "bad man" and "great music." This panel will attempt to expand the discussion by focusing on the following issues: what does Wagner actually say in his infamous essay, "Jewishness in Music"? Moreover, how do contemporary productions of Wagner's operas reflect or deflect the question of anti-Semitism in his works. Join Leon Botstein (President of Bard College and music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra), David J. Levin (University of Chicago), Kenneth Reinhard (UCLA), and Marc A. Weiner (author of Richard Wagner and the Anti-Semitic Imagination and Professor of Germanic Studies at Indiana University) in a discussion of composer Richard Wagner, his politics and his music. (Run Time: 1 hour, 50 min.)



1:56:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

It Ain't Over Till...Met To Revive Lepage Ring

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 15 November 2013 | 7:51:00 pm

Despite rumors to the contrary, it seems that Lepage's "machine" will return to the MET at least once more - albeit in five years time - during the 2018-19 season. No cast details yet except for Brünnhilde who will this time be played by Christine Goerke.

Said Peter Gleb of his choice of Goerke for the role. “After she sang in ‘Frau’ the other night, it just made me realize that we’d better invite her sooner rather than later, because I don’t want anybody else stealing her from us.”

And of the machine? Gleb announced that while some critics disliked it he felt that a significant number of members of the public did. Although he did suggest that "the machine" would be getting something of a fine tuning






7:51:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Mariinsky Ring Cycle Returns To UK In 2014

Last seen in the UK at Covent Garden in 2009 (Ed: Although perhaps not to universal acclaim) the Gergiev/Tsypin Ring is to return to these shores in 2014. This time making its premiere in Birmingham.

As expected, Gergiev will conduct. No casting as of yet but one cycle will run from Wednesday 5 - Sunday 9 November, at the Birmingham Hippodrome (normally home to the magnificent Welsh National Opera when they venture so far from the border) A full cycle will cost you from £252 up to £756. A brochure, with full details can be read or downloaded here . Photos below plus a brief video - for the curious.

7:15:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Read Now: Wagner And His Isolde

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 14 November 2013 | 10:14:00 am


Venice, December 22, 1858.

" An exquisite morning, my dear child ! Three days I had been at the passage, " Whom you embraced, whom you have smiled upon," etc. There was a long check to my inspiration, and, in trying to compose the passage, I could not recall just how I had planned it. I was upset; I could not con- tinue. A little goblin knocked at my door and appeared to me disguised as the lovely Muse. In a moment the problem was solved. I went to the piano and wrote out the passage as rapidly as if I had it by heart. Whoever listens to it critically will discover something familiar in it. " Dreams " haunts it. But you will forgive that, dearest! No, do not repent having loved me ! It is heavenly !"

The abridged letters between Wagner and Mathilde Wesendonck, translated by Gustav Kobbe. If you have never read these fascinating letters this might be a good place to start.

10:14:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Read: Carl Friedrich Glasenapp's 6 Volume "Life Of Richard Wagner"


The first major Wagner Biography, Glasenapp's 6 volume Life Of Richard Wagner may no longer be considered the most reliable review of Wagner's life but it is at least of historical interest - even if translated by the idiosyncratic Ellis.

Volume one below. Follow the links to read the other five volumes:








9:57:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra Perform Wagner Concert But With No Wagner

Theodor Herzl.: Founder Of Zionism &; Wagnerian
The playing of Wagner's music in Israel is of course not "banned" - at least officially. But it it is nearly impossible for anyone there to attempt a public performance of his work - as was reconfirmed last year when the Wagner Society of Israel tried to do such a thing. How then, might the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra note Wagner 200? It seems, that the only way to do so is to stage a concert program named, "The Case: Wagner" that will simply play none of Wagner's music. Instead, they will play work by both those thought to have influenced him and been influenced him. This will include: Nietzsche (Nietzsche as the composer, not Nietzsche as highly misogynistic philosopher), Weber, Halévy, Beethoven, Marchner and Liszt- Chausson, Richard Strauss, Schoenberg and Mahler.

Surrounding this, will be an analysis of Wagner's writings, thoughts and music (if not performed) - all within the context of his times. It will conclude by debating whether the boycott is right to continue - or not.

Details:

The Case WAGNER
Wed, 18 December 20:00 | THe Henry Crown Hall, Jerusalem
A program combining lectures and concerts featuring pre- and post-Wagnerian composers, including compositions byNietzsche, Weber, Halévy, Marschner, Liszt (pre-Wagner),Chausson, Richard Strauss, Schönberg and Mahler (post-Wagner)

Frédéric Chaslin, conductor
Efrat Ashkenazi, soprano
Shiri Hershkovitz, soprano

Beethoven - Leonore: Overture
Halevi - La Juive: Duet of Rachel and Eudoxie
Weber - Der Freischütz: Overture
Marchner - Der Vampire: Overture
Ernst Reyer - Sigurd: Overture
Debussy - Pelleas et Melisande (arr.: Marius Constant)
Chausson - Symphony in B Flat minor: 3rd Movement



7:01:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

The Life and Works of Richard Wagner: The Barbican - 30 November


The Life and Works of Richard Wagner (PG*)
4pm / With live piano accompaniment by Jean Hasse30 November 2013 / 16:00
Cinema 1 (Silk St)

Tickets:
Barbican Members - £9.20
Standard - £11.50
Concessions - £10.50
Under 18 - £6

With live piano accompaniment by Jean Hasse.

A very special screening of the first feature length film to be made about the life of Richard Wagner. Produced by Oskar Messter in Berlin in 1913, this silent landmark features Italian composer Giuseppe Becce as Wagner, together with Olga Engl and Miriam Horwitz.

Germany 1913 Dir Carl Froelich and William Wauer 96 min

Newly restored print with English surtitles. Restored by EYE and from the EYE/Desmet Collection.

With special thanks to EYE Film Institute Netherlands.

In association with Wagner 200. 

6:16:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

New Walkure Production: Verismo Opera, CA

Having begun their projected Ring cycle in 2011 with Rheingold, VO turn to Die Walkure, with a new production opening on November 16, 2013. Verismo Opera, for the uninitiated,  tries to make opera accessible to the public at reasonable prices through a community effort of professional musicians and singers. The performances are thus in places one would not expect to find Wagner, in particular, performed. Images from 2011's Rheingold can be found below.

This production is also unusual in that Sieglinde is performed by a artist known both for opera but perhaps more so as an R&B performer:  N'Kenge - presently appearing in "Motown: The Musical", on Broadway.


Performances at the Bay Terrace Theater (with Mira Theatre Guild), 51 Daniels Avenue, Vallejo, CA 94590

November 16 (Saturday 6:00pm)
November 17 (Sunday 1:00pm)
November 23 (Saturday 6:00pm)
November 24 (Sunday 1:00pm

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

Why Twitter Considers "The Wagnerian" "Dangerous"

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 | 9:07:00 am

Update: And we are officially no longer "dangerous" (ED: Not too sure how I feel about that). Tweeting from here no longer provides a warning by Twitter stating that we are either"spammy" (sic) or "unsafe". It only took nearly a day and a half mind. And twitters response? In an email we were told:

"Hello,

The URL you reported does not appear to be blocked. I'm able to use this URL in a Tweet or profile without any errors. Please double-check that the URL you reported as being blocked is correct.

Let me know if I can help you with anything else."


Which would have made us feel as if we getting rather paranoid apart from the many emails that we received confirming others could not tweet from here or received the "danger" warning. We would continue to chase this up but frankly grew rather exasperated by trying to get it rectified in the first place. So, at least for now, normal service returns as normal. Oh, one thing though, if you attempt to contact twitter, twitter support, or either of its senior executive team by Twitter, don't bother. It seems none of them actually read their twitters. Somewhat appropriate oddly enough. 

Finally, once again, let us thank all of those who twittered at or contacted twitter on our behave. It was very much appreciated indeed

Our editor explains that while the thought of being considered "dangerous" might be flattering, it is not always appreciated. 

For over 24 hours readers have been unable to tweet any articles from this site. On attempting to do so, they are meet with a message from Twitter informing them that www.the-wagnerian.com is a "dangerous and unsafe site". Oddly, this is the second time that a Wagner related site has been banned by Twitter. It was only a few weeks ago, noted Wagner scholar and author, Mark Berry's twitter account was removed completely by Twitter. Now happily reinstated, it appeared to be another of Twitter's automated systems "blunders"

Now I have to admit that during the course of history, many critics did indeed consider Wagner's music both "dangerous" and even"scandalous" -  and as much as I am sure it might in someway please RW's sense of humour -  we like to think that while somewhat "idiosyncratic" we are far from "dangerous"

With this in mind, we fired off an email to Twitter and received the following, edited, reply:
9:07:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Audio: An Introduction To The Ring (60 minutes)

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 | 8:31:00 am



Broadcast two days ago and made available by ABC Radio's "The Music Show. A fine introduction to the Ring cycle from Heath Lees whose 4-part documentary series- Wagner's Ring- A Tale Told in Music is available on DVD.


Emeritus Professor of Music Heath Lees, from the University of Auckland, is also a musicologist and broadcaster, and the founder of the Wagner Society of New Zealand. And he’s giving the pre-concert talks to each audience of The Ring for each of the 3 cycles coming up in Melbourne.

For more information on this broadcast or to download the full program as a podcast click here
8:31:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Stefan Herheim,/Salzburg Meistersinger To Get DVD Release In 2014


In a rather unusual turn of events - at least in regard to productions of Wagner's work - it seems everyone liked the Stefan Herheim directed Salzburg Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. So we assume most will be pleased to know that it will receive a confirmed a release on DVD  sometime in 2014 as part of a series called "Festival Documents".

It would thus appear, that Salzburg can do what Bayreuth seems unable - broadcast  a Stefan Herheim production of one of Wagner's works and then get agreement to release it on DVD.

Trailer below.







7:55:00 am | 0 comments | Read More

Trailer: Parsifal, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 10 November 2013 | 6:01:00 pm


November 9, 2013
Parsifal

Richard Wagner

Cast:
Parsifal: Paul Groves
Kundry: Daveda Karanas
Amfortas: Thomas Hampson
Gurnemanz: Kwangchul Youn
Klingsor: Tómas Tómasson
Titurel: Rúni Brattaberg
First Knight: John Irvin
Second Knight: Richard Ollarsaba
Flowermaidens: Emily Birsan, J’nai Bridges, Tracy Cantin, Kiri Deonarine, Angela Mannino, Laura Wilde
Lyric Opera Chorus & Orchestra
Conductor: Sir Andrew Davis
Director: John Caird
Chorus Master: Michael Black
New Lyric Opera production
6:01:00 pm | 0 comments | Read More

Wagner Thought For The Week

While listening  to some of the Wagner experts discuss their subject during "The Wagner Files" documentary, we were reminded of the following from the introduction to Dieter Borchmeyer's Drama and the World of Richard Wagner:

"Even the most serious writers on Wagner - mainly in Germany but increasingly in the Anglo-Saxon world - seem incapable of treating the object of their attention with the same degree of calmness and composure that other writers bring to bear on comparable subjects. Few who write on Mozart or Beethoven, Goethe or Thomas Mann, feel obliged to to begin by apologising or announcing a polemical intent. With Wagner, by contrast, this is almost always the case. Writers who grapple the subject feel that they have to take a particular line, defending or attacking Wagner, apologising for adopting a positive stance, or engaging in breast beating polemics in an attempt to demonstrate to the world their moral and intellectual integrity"Dieter Borchmeyer: Drama and the World of Richard Wagner, Trans: Daphane Ellis, pp viii (2003)

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