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Mark Wigglesworth to succeed Edward Gardner as Music Director of ENO from September 2015

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday 28 January 2014 | 2:14:00 am

Its probably too much to expect any Wagner from ENO - but stranger things have happened. But then who needs that among all of the Glass and Butterflies

English National Opera (ENO) has  announced that its Music Director Edward Gardner will leave his role at the end of the 2014/15 season to take up his new appointment as Chief Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. He will be succeeded by Mark Wigglesworth, who takes up the ENO baton in September 2015.

John Berry, Artistic Director of ENO said:

“Ed Gardner has been a phenomenal Music Director, rightly winning plaudits across the board for the outstanding performances of our orchestra and chorus under his leadership. I’d like to thank him for his huge musical contribution to ENO and I look forward to working with him on a number of exciting company projects during 2014 and 2015. I wish Ed every success with his symphonic work and I’m delighted he’ll be back with us in 2016 as a guest conductor.

“It’s tremendous that I am also able to announce Ed’s successor today. Mark is one of the most outstanding conductors of his generation and I’m thrilled to be working with him. His appointment highlights ENO's current standing in the international opera world and our ability to attract the very best talent from across the arts and the wider creative industries. He has already had great success with us in recent seasons, conducting acclaimed performances of Katya Kabanova and Parsifal, and his brilliant technique and natural flair for the theatre make him a natural choice to lead the Company.

“I know Mark will make his presence felt and will support our mission to make ENO one of the most theatrically dynamic and musically exciting opera houses in the world.”

Equally at home in the concert hall or opera house,  Wigglesworth has worked with orchestras across the UK, Europe and North America, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Cleveland Orchestra.

He and ENO are no strangers, with Mark having conducted Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (2001), Così fan tutte (2002 and 2003) Falstaff(2004), Katya Kabanova (2010), and Parsifal  at the London Coliseum. Elsewhere, he has worked with Glyndebourne, Welsh National Opera, Netherlands Opera, La Monnaie in Brussels, Sydney Opera House, the Metropolitan Opera, New York and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where he will be conducting again shortly before taking up his post at ENO.

Speaking of his appointment to ENO from 2015, Mark Wigglesworth said:

“I have worked at ENO often enough to know that talent and experience, professionalism and passion run through the entire company: the orchestra, the chorus, the technical team, and the whole administration. To be part of this family of experts will be inspiring and fulfilling in equal measure.

“The core values of the company are those I hold most dear, music and drama delivered through collegiate brilliance, in a language the public understand; a public whose range and variety make them the most thrilling of all audiences. ENO has been close to my heart for over 30 years and to be part of its future is a privilege that I look forward to immensely.”

Edward Gardner began his tenure at ENO in May 2007 with a new production of Britten’s Death in Venice.

Gardner has led some of ENO’s most critically acclaimed productions of core repertoire (Damnation of Faust 2011; Der Rosenkavalier2008/2012; Wozzeck 2013) and contemporary work (Punch and Judy2008).

Gardner continues as Music Director for the remainder of the 2013/14 and the 2014/15 seasons, conducting Peter Grimes later this month, the world premiere of Julian Anderson’s Thebans in May, and reprising his creative partnership with Terry Gilliam with a new production of Benvenuto Cellini in June, plus productions throughout the 2014/15 season. And his association with ENO will continue, with an engagement as guest conductor already confirmed for ENO’s 2015/16 season.

Outside ENO, Gardner conducts regularly for the Metropolitan Opera, New York. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and in October 2015 he will take up his new appointment as Chief Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. He plans to focus more on symphonic repertoire in future and new orchestra relationships include the Royal Concertgebouw, Czech Philharmonic, Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Swedish Radio Symphony. His London presence will continue with annual appearances at the BBC Proms, concerts with the Philharmonia and BBC Symphony orchestras and regular collaborations with the Guildhall School and Royal Academy.

Speaking of his decision to leave ENO in 2015, Edward Gardner said:

“At ENO I've been surrounded by brilliant people creating some of the best opera productions in the world and I will never forget nine seasons of working with such an outstanding orchestra, chorus and music team. Certainly, the next 18 months are looking as exciting and challenging as ever.

“Beyond that, I’m eager to take the opportunity to explore new musical relationships, but I look forward to returning to conduct at ENO in 2016.”

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The Other Wagner Part 3: Wagner And The Will

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 26 January 2014 | 1:03:00 pm

"My child, the splendid Buddha was quite right to sternly exclude art. Who feels more acutely than I it is this ill-fated art which eternally throws me back into the torment of Life and all the contradictions of existence? If this wonderful gift, this strong domination of creative imagination were not with me, then I could, according to my clear insight and urging of my heart, become - a saint; and as a saint I would be in a position to tell you: come, abandon everything that bogs you down, smash the bonds of nature: that's the price you have to pay for me to show you the open path to salvation! - Then we would be free: Ananda and Savitri! But this is not the case. Look: this knowledge too, and this clear insight - it keeps turning me back into being the poet, into the artist that I am" 

Letter to Mathilde Wasendonck. Cited and translated: Urs App. Richard Wagner and Buddhism
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The Other Wagner, Part 2: A Personal Message From Richard Wagner

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday 24 January 2014 | 6:35:00 pm

Wagner wrote much. Alas, only a tiny percentage of it ever seems to receive attention - normally his less "charming" material. But Wagner was much more than his work or those of his writings that seem to receive so much attention. Following the re-print of one of his letters recently, we have decided to commit to a series we are calling "The Other Wagner". The following, "famous" to some of you we know, first appeared in Volksblätter no 14, Dresden, Sunday 8 April, 1849. Written only a year after the the first prose sketch for Ring of the Nibelung - of which some argue it share similarities. What is interesting about this work is that it suggests a very different person to that, that commentators such as Gutman, Kohler, et al, suggest was the forerunner of Adolf Hitler.

Richard Wagner: The Revolution. Printed in Volksblätter no 14, Dresden, Sunday 8 April, 1849.

"I am the e'er-rejuvenating, ever-fashioning Life; where I am not, is Death! I am the dream, the balm, the hope of sufferers ! I bring to nothing what exists, and whither I turn there wells fresh life from the dead rock. I come to you, to break all fetters that oppress you, to redeem you from the arms of Death and pour young Life through all your veins. Whatever stands, must fall:  such is the everlasting law of Nature, such the condition of Life; and I, the eternal destroyer, fulfil the law and fashion ever-youthful life. From its root up will I destroy the order of things in which ye live, for it is sprung from sin, its flower is misery and its fruit is crime; but the harvest is ripe, and I am the reaper. I will destroy each phantom (Wahn) that has rule o'er men. I will destroy the dominion of one over many, of the dead o'er the living, of matter over spirit; I will break the power of the mighty, of law, of property. Be his own will the lord of man, his own desire his only law, his strength his whole possession, for the only Holiness is the free man, and naught higher there is than he. Annulled be the fancy that gives One power over millions, makes millions subject to the will of one, the doctrine that One has power to bless all others. Like may not rule over like; like has no higher potence than its equal: and as ye all are equal, I will destroy all rulership of one over other."

I will destroy the existing order of things, which parts this one mankind into hostile nations, into powerful and weak, privileged and outcast, rich and poor; for it makes unhappy men of all. I will destroy the order of things that turns millions to slaves of a few, and these few to slaves of their own might, own riches. I will destroy this order of things, that cuts enjoyment off from labour, makes labour a load (Last), enjoyment a vice (Laster), makes one man wretched through want, another through overflow. I will destroy this order of things, which wastes man's powers in service of dead matter, which keeps the half of humankind in inactivity or useless toil, binds hundreds of thousands to devote their vigorous youth-in busy idleness as soldiers, placemen, speculators and money-spinners-to the maintenance of these depraved conditions, whilst the other half must shore the whole disgraceful edifice at cost of over-taxing all their strength and sacrificing every taste of life. Down to its memory will I destroy each trace of this mad state of things, compact of violence, lies, care, hypocrisy, want, sorrow, suffering, tears, trickery and crime, with seldom a breath of even impure air to quicken it, and all but never a ray of pure joy. Destroyed be all that weighs on you and makes you suffer, and from the ruins of this ancient world let rise a new, instinct with happiness undreamt! Nor hate, nor envy, grudge nor enmity, be henceforth found among you; as brothers shall ye all who live know one another, andfree, free in willing, free in doing, free in enjoying, shall ye attest the worth of life. So up, ye peoples of the earth! Up, ye mourners, ye oppressed, ye poor! And up, ye others, ye who strive in vain to cloak the inner desolation of your hearts by idle show of might and riches! Up, in miscellany follow my steps; for no distinction can I make 'twixt those who follow me. Two peoples, only, are there from henceforth: the one, that follows me, the other, that withstands me. The one I lead to happiness; over the other grinds my path: for I am Revolution, I am the ever-fashioning Life, I am the only God, to whom each creature testifies, who spans and gives both life and happiness to all that is!
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Claudio Abbado: 1933–2014. A life In Music

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 22 January 2014 | 7:25:00 pm

Mahler Symphony No 1 D major The Titan 
Claudio Abbado conducts Lucerne Festival Orchesta
1. Langsam. Schleppend
2. Kräftig Bewegt 16:50
3. Feierlich Und Gemessen, Ohne Zu Schleppen 24:25
4. Stürmisch Beweg 36:34
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 Ring. - 2014






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A Very Personal Letter From Richard Wagner.

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 20 January 2014 | 5:38:00 am

Venice, September 29, 1858. To Mathilde Wesendonck 

Now the waning moon is late in rising. When it was in its full glory it afforded me some consolation through agreeable impres­sions of which I stood in need. After sunset I regularly travelled toward it in my gondola in the direction of the Lido. The struggle between night and day was a wonderful spec­tacle in the clear sky. To the right, in the deep rosy heavens, twinkled the evening star, serenely bright. The moon in all its splendour threw its glittering net toward me across the sea. Homeward bound, my back was turned toward it. My gaze, ever wandering in the direction where you abide and from where you were gazing at the moon, was met, right above the familiar constellation of the Great Bear, gravely yet brightly, by the growing light-trail of the comet. This held no terror for me, as nothing does any more, since I no longer have any hope, any future. In fact I was obliged to smile at the superstitious fright which people show over such phe­nomena, and with a certain bravado I chose it for my own constellation. I saw only something uncommon, bright and wonderful. Am I too a comet? Did I bring misfortune? —Was it my fault?—I could not take my eyes off it.

Silent and composed I arrived at the Piaz-zetta with its bright lights and never-spent wave of gaiety. Then along the melancholy canal. Right and left superb palaces. Pro­found silence. Only the gentle gliding of the gondola and the swish of the oar. Ar­rival at the silent palace. Broad chambers and corridors, with myself as solitary tenant. The lamp is lighted. I take up the book, read a little, think much. Silence every­where.

Ah, music on the canal. A gondola with gaily coloured lights, singers, and players. More and more gondolas with listeners join it. The flotilla, barely moving, gently gliding, floats the whole width of the canal. Songs from pretty voices accompanied on passable instruments. Everything is ear. At last, almost imperceptibly, the flotilla makes the turn of the bend and vanishes still more im­perceptibly. For a long while I hear the tones ennobled and beautified by the night, tones which as art do not interest me, but which here have become part of Nature. Finally all is silent again. The last sound dissolves itself into moonlight, which beams softly on, like a visible realm of music.

Now the moon has set.

I have not been well for a few days and have been obliged to omit my evening outing. Nothing has remained for me but my solitude and my futureless existence! On the table before me lies a small picture. It is the portrait of my father, which reached me too late for me to show it to you. It is a noble, gentle, sorrowful, yet intellectual face that appeals to me strongly. It has grown very dear to me.

Whoever enters here expects to find the pic­ture of a dearly beloved woman. No! I have no picture of her. But in my heart I treas­ure her soul. Let anyone who can, see that! Good night!

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Lyric Opera Live Press Conference: Plus Details Of New Ring Cycle Production

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday 17 January 2014 | 6:08:00 pm

Available on demand. Full details below - as known.
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New DVD Release:Kaufmann Sings Wagner

Kaufmann Sings Wagner: Recorded at the Semper Oper Dresden, 2013. To be released February 2014.

Conductor: Christian Thielemann
Orchestra: Staatskapelle Dresden / Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden
Year: 2013
Run time: 01:48:00
Director: Michael Beyer
Producers: A production of UNITEL in co-production with ZDF/ Arte and cooperation with Semperoper Dresden and CLASSICA
Format: HDTV 16:9


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Ian Wilson-Pope: From the Bank to Valhalla - via Hollywood. A Wagnerian interview

Edit: With Fulham Opera Ian Wilson-Pope
With Fulham Opera getting ready to perform two Ring cycles in February we thought it might be time to revisit this interview with the productions Wotan from two years ago. 

It's not often one gets to speak to a god. It’s even more unusual to speak to one who spends his spare time as either a Hollywood movie star or a Texan Oil Baron (care of Blake Carrington) and yet still has time to perform in two complete Ring Cycles – in a church in Fulham! But such is the life of anyone with more than a passing interest in Wagner. However, no matter how unusual a background, it was a pleasure to meet (and hear perform) the highly talented, friendly, patient and very busy Ian Wilson-Pope – Fulham Opera’s Wotan. During our time together, he spoke about his childhood, training with British legend Norman Tattersall, appearing in the latest Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes film, explained how he prepared to play Wotan and much more. I also manged to acquire two examples of an even younger Wotan from 2008. Have a listen - you may be surprised what you might find hiding out in Fulham.
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COC to Revive Atom Egoyan's Walkure - 2014-2015

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday 16 January 2014 | 8:11:00 pm

Canadian Opera Company have just announced their 214-23015 season. Amongst the usual suspects is a revival of Atom Egoyan's Walkure from 2006.

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Seattle Opera Announces Finalists for 2014 International Wagner Competition

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 15 January 2014 | 6:32:00 pm

Seattle Opera Announces Finalists for 2014 International Wagner Competition
Ten Singers to Compete for $60,000 in Prizes at 7:30 p.m. on August 7, 2014 at McCaw Hall

General Director Speight Jenkins announced the singers selected for Seattle Opera’s popular International Wagner Competition on August 7, 2014

The competition is part of a celebratory weekend which also includes a concert and dinner in honor of Speight Jenkins’ three decades at the helm of Seattle Opera (and featuring 15 of the company’s favorite singers) on August 9.

In an all-Wagner concert conducted by Sebastian Lang-Lessing, who has extensive experience with Deutsche Oper Berlin, eight finalists and two alternates will compete for two prizes of $25,000, to be awarded by a distinguished panel of judges. The audience and orchestra will also play an important role in the competition. Both groups will award a prize of $5,000 to their favorite artist.

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Iris Wagner Dies At Age 71

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday 10 January 2014 | 11:26:00 pm

BERLIN (Reuters) - Iris Wagner, great-granddaughter of composer Richard Wagner, died in Berlin on Thursday after a lengthy illness, her family told the Nordbayerischer Kurier. She was 71.

Born in Bayreuth, Germany, in 1942, Wagner was the daughter of Wieland Wagner, who with his brother Wolfgang led the Bayreuth Festival, devoted to Wagner's works, after World War Two.

A painter, photographer, filmmaker and translator, Wagner sat on the board of trustees of the Richard Wagner Foundation, which was formed in 1973 to oversee the estate of the composer.

She mostly stayed in the background of the family squabbles that the Wagner clan is famous for, but in recent years she criticized the foundation for its decision-making process.

She opposed plans to expand the Richard Wagner Museum, threatening to take legal action against it,  which sits in the Wahnfried House, and media reports at the time said she blocked plans for a cafe and gift shop near the composer's grave.

Iris Wagner is survived by her three siblings Wolf Siegfried, Daphne and Nike Wagner, who is assuming leadership of the Beethovenfest Bonn beginning in the 2014 season.
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Wagner Vs Verdi: The Movie

Animated-humoristic tribute to the Opera composers Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, on their 200th anniversary (1813-2013). Dir: Pablo Morales de los Ríos (

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Review: The Cambridge Wagner Encyclopedia. With An Extensive Preview

The Cambridge Wagner Encyclopedia
EDITOR: Nicholas Vazsonyi
DATE PUBLISHED: November 2013
FORMAT: Hardback
ISBN: 9781107004252

Encyclopedias, especially specialist, one volume sets, are works fraught with risks. There is of course the question of what to include and what to exclude. The intrepid editor is unlikely to satisfy all readers with what is given inclusion and worse will be those facts that are left in the editors waste basket. And even when an item is included, can every reader be satisfied with the depth of coverage given to their preferred favourite subject?

And  who does one get to contribute? They are most likely to be experts in the subject area but this itself carries inherent risks. If they are academics, and they most likely are, they will, to steal a term from that most misunderstood of philosophers Thomas Kuhn, be swimming happily in whatever paradigm dominates the field at the time. For example, you are  unlikely to find a large number of physicists, assuming you could find a large number (such as Peter Woit, Lee Smolin, Philip Warren Anderson, Sheldon Glashow, Lawrence Krauss, and Carlo Rovelli.), contributing to an Encyclopedia of String Theory who believe that the imaginations of those  that try to doggedly construct a unified theory of everything - in a post-structuralist world -   is only matched by the number of new dimensions that need to be generated to maintain the theory's  integrity .

Finally, who is the encyclopedia aimed at? At other experts? Researchers or the non specialist but interested reader? These decisions will impact the level of explanation and the language used. Too "technical" - without explanation -  and you alienate the general reader. Too superficial and you make the volume of little use to a researcher.

So, one can see that the editor of an encyclopedia must:  hold a strong rein on their contributors, keeping them on track, making sure that their articles are balanced - even if they must out of necessity exist within the dominant paradigms -  maintain an adequate level of depth and yet be understandable to what was once called an "educated reader" (whoever or whatever that might be) and yet themselves have a very strong knowledge of the subject area so that they know what articles should be commissioned. And of course they themselves must try to retain a level of neutrality that would make a Zen monk groan. Alas, it is unlikely such a person has or ever will exist with all of these  skills, at such a level to compose the  "perfect" encyclopedia - especially on such a complex individual and his music as Richard Wagner. What we can only ever hope for  is a work that distances itself from imperfection as much as it might.

With this in mind, what are we to make of the first ever Wagner Encyclopedia? Perhaps one of the most ambitious projects in academic musicology and certainly the most ambitious around Wagner and his work? It is certain that its editor Nicholas Vazsonyi, has the background to manage such an ambitious a project. As Professor of Foreign Languages and Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina he has written or edited a number of books close to this project. These include:

Lukács Reads Goethe (1997),  followed by two edited volumes, one on German national identity formation between 1750 and 1871 (2000) and the other entitled Wagner's Meistersinger: Performance, History, Representation. 

His last book, and one I have recommended many times, is the highly original, Richard Wagner: Self-Promotion and the Making of a Brand. To add to his credentials he was co-organiser, along with with Anno Mungen (University of Bayreuth) of the excellent WagnerWorldWide 2013 project, a series of linked lectures and conferences around the world. He also has recently joined the editorial board of the German Wagner journal WagnerSpectrum .

To this, we must add a roster of Wagner experts, many familiar to visitors of this site, that would have to jostle each other aside to take a bow on the stage at Bayreuth. 

Of course, none of this guarantees success. However, while certainly not perfect, sometimes frustratingly so, this is not only perhaps the best we could have asked for but the best that we can, or should expect to receive  for a very long time - if ever. We can only be grateful that it was Nicholas Vazsonyi that Cambridge Press approached for this project. 

The range of subjects covered is extensive. Indeed, many hours of fun can be found by opening a page at random to find a Wagner related subject that one might not have considered. Yes, the usual subjects are covered.Topics such as Wagner's works - in great detail -  "biographies" and discussion of all of the major figures from the dramas, discussions of degeneration, nationalism, Endless Melody Bayreuth, Levi, Schopenhauer,Wagner's politics (in a standout entry by Mark Berry,  possibly one of the most concise yet detailed and readable explorations of this subject), Wagner's prose works  (often looked at individually and in some detail) production history (an eight page entry from Evan Baker) a detailed biography (written by Derek Watson)  however, there is always something to surprise. A detailed entry on Wagner's "servants" for example? Or what about a look at Wagner's pets?  Or his barber? His American dentist? One is certain, that should the Wagner Societies ever decide to stage "pub quizzes" then this would be the book that enterprising quiz masters would turn. For anyone interested the full index can be found by clicking here. 

However, this is not to suggest that this is not a book for the "serious" researcher, whether in history, musicology or any related subject. Indeed, it would be impossible to believe this book should not find its way into the libraries of any English speaking school, college or university  And any undergraduate or graduate student composing a dissertation or thesis  around Wagner would make a serious error to not refer to it - either for its clear exploration of of ideas or as a source for further reading. - although like any reference work, it is not immune to errors and anyone using it for research would be wise to investigate a subject thoroughly 

However, and there is always a "however", it is, as I have suggested, not a perfect book. Its greatest failing is what it does not include or looks at only superficially. Lets look for example at two of Wagner's early works separated by only a short time: Rienzi, and Der fliegende Holländer. Whereas the Dutchman receives 8 pages of detailed analysis, Rienzi is given only just over 2. Why? Yes, in Rienzi Wagner certainly has not acquired the "voice" that would soon become so obvious in the Dutchman but it is still a fascinating work - more so given this fact alone. And lest we not forget how popular it was at the time - the work that, without doubt, truly launched his career. It is also a work that I would argue is better than many of the juvenile works of Mozart or Verdi yet these are often given much prominence in their respective areas. And things are worse for earlier works, with Die Feen only getting a page to itself (it is not much larger than an entry on Wagner's pets). Could it be the editor has bought into the Wagner/Bayreuth Circle propaganda machine that attempted to dismiss these earlier works? A surprising development for an author that has so closely examined Wagner's "branding strategies" but most importantly a very much missed opportunity.

There are other very strange findings also. Lets look at Wagner's xenophobia - much discussed therein. as one would suspect and indeed welcome in such a work. Search for "Jew" (all related to his anti-semitism) and you will find 38 entries. Search for "French" and you will find one - under an entry noted as France. Worse, search for Jesuit - another of Wagner's peculiar, persistent, paranoid obsessions - and you will find none. Or lets us look at another one of Wagner's peculiarities; his confused and inconsistent misogyny (Alas, Wagner could be an outrageous (and like most of his characteristics highly inconsistent) misogynist. No entry of this can be found although  it is discussed briefly under an entry titled "women".

There is a similar problem with two of Wagner's nastiest, most xenophobic and frankly horrid writings: Das Judenthum in der Musik and Eine Kapitulation. A search for Das Judenthum in der Musik results in 33 entries -(a few of which consist of more than one page) and ultimately brings one to a three page examination of this "work" and its legacy. (a well written piece by Pamela M Potter that is highly recommended even if you can only access this book at a library). A similar search for Wagner's equally, if not in many ways worse and more lurid  Eine Kapitulation returns 6 entries. with none devoted purely to it. The most detailed analysis is in the entry "France" Here it is given two sentences that clearly propagates the Wagner Circle myth that actually Wagner didn't mean it, he was simply misunderstood and it was really only a criticism of German opera - and this is despite the joy it takes in starving Parisians forced to eat rats, or the denigration it metes out to a range of French artists, writers, etc. The French certainly took it seriously enough to help officially ban Wagner's work across two decades (No separate mention of this ban and thus no entry in the index) (For a detailed examination of Eine Kapitulation please read Thomas S. Grey's Eine Kapitulation: Aristophanic Operetta as Cultural Warfare in 1870, Richard Wagner and His World Edited by Thomas S. Grey)

I noted at the beginning  Kuhn's notion of "dominant paradigms" in academia. In Wagner academia this is is one where Wagner's anti-semitism is dominant, eclipsing  and informing everything: his life, his work, his writings. Everything else, his paranoia and hatred of the French and Jesuits, his misogyny, his views that the "black race" was the "lowest of them all"  are either ignored, considered "of his time" or else countered by his positive treatment of women, for example, in his dramas. Of course, Adorno is always cited so as to give an air of academic respectability to this paradigm (a rather good 3 page entry) yet it gained general popularity only after Robert Gutman's Wagner biography in the '60s (no entry) and continues a long tradition originally started by the Nazis (38 entries). This is a paradigm that allows allows Hans Rudolf Vagut to conclude an entry on Anti-semitism by saying, " In the end, there is no point in denying that a significant part of the operatic (sic) at least imbued with the spirit of anti-semitism.  That spirit  is communicated only indirectly....through coded characterisations and allusions." However, here or nowhere else does he, or anyone else,  suggest that we must logically conclude that Wagner projected racist or xenophobic characteristics of his  other "others" onto his works: the French, the Jesuit or "the lowest race of them all" the Afro-Caribbean.  Indeed, it means that such a subject is not even considered and should you make it you would no doubt be greeted with derision.

The above is the dominant paradigm in Wagner academia, as I have said,  but what is extraordinary about this encyclopedia is how little, in relative terms,  Vazsonyi allows it to intrude on its structure - with the odd exception as I have hinted at. Indeed, it is more evident by what is missing then what is included (Although there is an odd bias here and there but it is generally superficial). Given this dominant paradigm, I cannot see how any other editor could could have done a better job. Indeed,with perhaps a very few small exceptions, most would have allowed this view to dominate. We are very lucky indeed that Cambridge Press selected Vazsonyi as editor.

Of course, what you want to know is "should I buy this book? My instant reply is that if you have more than a passing interests in Wagner - and visiting here I would suspect that you may - then not only should you buy this marvellous, unique work, filled with insights,  but you must. The only "sticking point maybe a cost of  £120. If this is not an issue for you, then go out now. However, for everyone else, remember that the Cambridge artist Encyclopedias are always released later in paperback format. If we look at the Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia - which is a slimmer volume  and sells in hardback at £150 - it can be bought for around £30 new in paperback format and less from some sources on Amazon. If you can/have to wait, then this is certainly the best option. Whichever is the case I think you must at some stage at least spend time reading through it.

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Audio Interview: Christian Thielemann In Discussion (In English)

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday 4 January 2014 | 6:47:00 pm

One of his rarer english language interviews. Part of Radio 3's "Music Matters. You can catch it for the next 7 days by clicking the link below:

In this lively and thought-provoking interview Thielemann tells Tom Service why he prefers to be thought of as a kapellmeister rather than a conductor, why tradition is an inspiration as well as challenge, and why flexibilty is the key to everything. He also explains why he believes music can't possibly be political, and what drives him to conduct.

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Der Fliegende Holländer Performances - 2014

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday 3 January 2014 | 1:59:00 am

Der Fliegende Holländer 
Semperoper Dresden
28 August 2013 to 2 July 2014

Der Fliegende Holländer 
Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden
New production
7 September 2013 to 22 February 2014

 Der Fliegende Holländer 
Theater Bremen
New production
15 September 2013 to 14 March 2014

Der Fliegende Holländer 
National Theatre Brno
New production
27 September 2013 to 2 May 2014

St Gallen 
Der Fliegende Holländer 
Theater St Gallen
19 October 2013 to 28 January 2014

Der Fliegende Holländer 
Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe
27 October 2013 to 10 January 2014

 Der Fliegende Holländer 
Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet
16 January 2014

 Der Fliegende Holländer 
Bavarian State Opera
17 to 23 January 2014

Der Fliegende Holländer 
Aalto Musiktheater Essen
24 January to 21 February 2014

Der Fliegende Holländer 
Opéra national du Rhin
New production
26 January to 22 February 2014 (Strasbourg and Mulhouse)

Der Fliegende Holländer 
Royal Theatre Copenhagen
26 January to 28 February 2014

St Petersburg 
Der Fliegende Holländer 
Mariinsky Theatre
28 January 2014

Der Fliegende Holländer 
Opéra de Rouen
31 January to 2 February 2014

 Der Fliegende Holländer 
Calgary Opera
1 to 7 February 2014

Der Fliegende Holländer 
Sarasota Opera
1 to 23 March 2014

 Der Fliegende Holländer 
Opernhaus Zürich
11 to 23 March 2014

 Der Fliegende Holländer 
Opera Carolina
22 to 30 March 2014

Der Fliegende Holländer 
Hungarian State Opera
26 March to 5 April 2014

Der Fliegende Holländer 
Den Norske Opera
16 May to 22 June 2014

Der Fliegende Holländer 
Munich Opera Festival
8 to 11 July 2014

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Parsifal Performances - 2014

Teatro Comunale di Bologna
14 to 25 January 2014
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Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Performances - 2014

 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg 
Staatsoper Hannover
13 October 2013 to 19 July 2014

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg 
Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe
New production
27 April to 12 July 2014

Justin Brown

Tobias Kratzer

Set Designs: 
Rainer Sellmaier

Rainer Sellmaier
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The Use of Buddhist and Hindu Concepts in Wagner's Stage Works - Peter Bassett

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 1 January 2014 | 10:44:00 pm

Buddha: V&A Museum

The following is taken from a presentation given by Wagner scholar Peter Bassett during the Melbourne Ring in 2013 - which can be heard by clicking here. Printed here with kind permission of the author.

Peter, is author, among much else, of lasts years study of Wagner and Verdi: 1813: Wagner and Verdi. He also recently completed a four audio disc exploration of Der Ring des Nibelungen. Combining his own commentary with the Solti Ring cycle. Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen – Explorations is available from Decca and is highly recommended.

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