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International Wagner Performances January 2018

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday 28 December 2017 | 1:20:00 am

We are trying something new this month; a full, or nearly full, list of Wagner performances world wide. Not just full operas but concert performances or concerts with a significant amount of Wagner's work. Whether we continue will depend on how popular this proves. At the very lest we hope that this month will be useful to some of you.

All information is subject to change or correction. Please click on more or contact the venue for full, up to date information and tickets before making any travel arrangements.

If, you are a concert hall, performer, etc and we have excluded your performance, please get in touch with full details and we will include.

Jan 14, Feb 10

Staatstheater Darmstadt, Darmstadt

The Flying Dutchman

Will Humburg ,Conductor
Dietrich Hilsdorf ,Director
Dieter Richter ,set designer
Renate Schmitzer ,Costume Designer
Krzystof Szumanski ,Dutchman
Astrid Weber ,Senta
Seokhoon Moon ,Daland
Marco Jentzsch ,Erik
Elisabeth Hornung ,Mary
Michael Pegher ,The Steersman
Orchestra of the Staatstheater Darmstadt

Jan 05, 07 Mat

Concertgebouw: Main Hall , Amsterdam

Wagner ,Parsifal: Prelude
Wagner , Parsifal: Good Friday Music
Bruckner ,Symphony no. 9 in D minor, WAB 109
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Daniele Gatti ,Conductor


Jan 07, 14, 20

State Opera, Hamburg


Kent Nagano ,Conductor
Claus Guth ,Director
Christian Schmidt ,Set Designer, Costume Designer
Robert Dean Smith ,Siegmund
Liang Li ,Hunding
Matthias Goerne ,Wotan
Jennifer Holloway ,Sieglinde
Lise Lindstrom ,Brünnhilde
Mihoko Fujimura ,Fricka
Iulia Maria Dan ,Helmwige
Bright Kwon ,Gerhilde
Gabriele Rossmanith ,Ortlinde
Nadezhda Karyazina ,Waltraute
Katja Pieweck ,Siegrune
Dorottya Láng ,Rossweisse
Ann-Beth Solvang ,Grimgerde
Marta Swiderska ,Schwertleite
Hamburg Philharmonic
Michael Bauer ,Lighting Designer
Hella Bartnig ,dramaturgy


Tue 9 Jan 2018 at 19:30

National Concert Hall, Dublin

Irish National Opera:

Wagner ,Lohengrin: prelude to Act 3
Catalani ,La Wally: Ebben, ne andrò lontana
Korngold ,The Dead City: Pierrot's Song
Saint-Saëns ,Samson and Dalila (Samson and Delilah): Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix
Verdi ,Aida: O patria mia
Gluck ,Orfeo ed Euridice: Addio, addio, o miei sospiri
Wallace ,Maritana: The Marriner in his Bark
Gounod ,Romeo et Juliette: Amour, ranime mon courage
Tchaikovsky ,Eugene Onegin: final scene
Giordano ,Andrea Chenier: La mamma morta
Rossini ,La cenerentola: Là del ciel nell'arcano profondo
Verdi , La traviata: Semper libera
Verdi , Falstaff: Tutto nel mondo è burla
Claudia Boyle ,Soprano
Orla Boylan ,Soprano
Anna Devin ,Soprano
Jennifer Davis ,soprano
Máire Flavin ,Soprano
Sharon Carty ,Mezzo-soprano
Imelda Drumm ,Mezzo-soprano
Miriam Murphy ,Soprano
Gavan Ring ,Baritone
Ben McAteer ,Baritone
Padraic Rowan ,Baritone
John Molloy ,bass baritone
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
Fergus Sheil ,Conductor


2018 Jan 11, 13

National Theater, Munich

Das Rheingold

Bavarian State Opera
Kirill Petrenko ,Conductor
Andreas Kriegenburg ,Director
Harald Thor ,set designer
Andrea Schraad ,Costume Designer
Wolfgang Koch ,Wotan
Norbert Ernst ,Loge
John Lundgren , Alberich
Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke ,Mime
Alexander Tsymbalyuk ,Fasolt
Ain Anger ,Fafner
Ekaterina Gubanova ,Fricka
Golda Schultz ,Freia
Okka from the Damerau ,Erda
Elsa Benoit ,Woglinde
Rachael Wilson ,Wellgunde
Jennifer Johnston ,Flosshilde
Bavarian State Orchestra
Choir of the Bavarian State Opera


Jan 13, 29

Semperoper, Dresden

Das Rheingold

Dresden State Opera
Christian Thielemann ,Conductor
Willy Decker ,Director
Wolfgang Gussmann ,Set Designer
Frauke Schernau ,Costume Designer
Vitaly Kovalev ,Wotan
Kurt Streit ,lodge
Albert Dohmen ,Alberich
Gerhard Siegel ,Mime
Georg Zeppenfeld ,Fasolt
Karl-Heinz Lehner ,Fafner
Christa Mayer ,Fricka
Regine Hangler ,Freia
Janina Baechle ,Erda
Christiane Kohl ,Woglinde
Sabrina Kögel ,Wellgunde
Simone Schröder ,Flosshilde
Staatskapelle Dresden


Jan 14, 30

Semperoper, Dresden


Dresden State Opera
Christian Thielemann ,Conductor
Willy Decker ,Director
Wolfgang Gussmann ,Set Designer
Frauke Schernau ,Costume Designer
Peter Seiffert ,Siegmund
Georg Zeppenfeld ,Hunding
Vitaly Kovalev ,Wotan
TBC ,Sieglinde
Petra Lang ,Brünnhilde
Christa Mayer ,Fricka
Christiane Kohl ,Helmwige
Johanna Winkel ,Gerhilde
Brit-Tone Mullertz ,Ortlinde
Irmgard Vilsmaier ,Waltraute
Julia Rutigliano ,Siegrune
Simone Schröder ,Rossweisse
Sabrina Kögel ,Grimgerde
Katharina Magiera ,Schwertleite
Staatskapelle Dresden


17 Jan 2018 at 20:00

Carnegie Hall, New York City

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Wagner ,Parsifal: Prelude to Act III
Wagner , Parsifal: Good Friday Music
Bruckner ,Symphony no. 9 in D minor, WAB 109
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Daniele Gatti ,Conductor


Jan 18, 22, 25, 30, Feb 04 mat, 07, 10, 14

Dutch National Opera and Ballet , Amsterdam

Tristan and Isolde
New Production

Dutch National Opera
Marc Albrecht ,Conductor
Pierre Audi ,Director
Christof Hetzer ,Set Designer, Costume Designer
Stephen Gould ,Tristan
Günther Groissböck ,King Marke
Ricarda Merbeth ,Isolde
Iain Paterson ,Kurwenal
Michelle Breedt ,Brangäne
Andrew Rees ,Melot
Roger Smeets ,Young seaman
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Chorus of Dutch National Opera


Jan 18, 21 mat

Hong Kong Cultural Center: Concert Hall, Hong Kong


Jaap van Zweden ,Conductor
Daniel Brenna ,Siegfried
Gun-Brit Barkmin ,Brünnhilde
Shen Yang ,Gunther
Amanda Majeski ,Gutrune
Mikhail Petrenko ,Hagen
Peter Kálmán ,Alberich
Michelle DeYoung ,Waltraute
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra


18 Jan 2018 at 19:30

Barbican Hall, London

Behzod Abduraimov

Wagner ,Tristan and Isolde: love death
Liszt ,Piano Sonata in B minor, S 178
Prokofiev ,Romeo and Juliet - Ten Pieces for Piano, Op.75
Behzod Abduraimov ,piano


Jan 18, Feb 01

Semperoper, Dresden


Dresden State Opera
Christian Thielemann ,Conductor
Willy Decker ,Director
Wolfgang Gussmann ,Set Designer
Frauke Schernau ,Costume Designer
Andreas Schager ,Siegfried
Gerhard Siegel ,Mime
Vitaly Kovalev ,The Wanderer
Albert Dohmen ,Alberich
Georg Zeppenfeld ,Fafner
Christa Mayer ,Erda
Petra Lang ,Brünnhilde
Tuuli Takala ,forest bird
Staatskapelle Dresden


Jan 19, 22

National Theater, Munich


Bavarian State Opera
Kirill Petrenko ,Conductor
Andreas Kriegenburg ,Director
Harald Thor ,set designer
Andrea Schraad ,Costume Designer
Simon O'Neill ,Siegmund
Ain Anger ,Hunding
Wolfgang Koch ,Wotan
Anja Kampe ,Sieglinde
Nina Stemme ,Brünnhilde
Ekaterina Gubanova ,Fricka
Daniela Köhler ,Helmwige
Karen Foster ,Gerhilde
Anna Gabler ,Ortlinde
Heike Grötzinger ,Waltraute
Helena Zubanovich ,Siegrune
Jennifer Johnston ,Rossweisse
Okka from the Damerau ,Grimgerde
Rachael Wilson ,Schwertleite
Bavarian State Orchestra
Choir of the Bavarian State Opera


Jan 20, Feb 04

Semperoper, Dresden


Dresden State Opera
Christian Thielemann ,Conductor
Willy Decker ,Director
Wolfgang Gussmann ,Set Designer, Costume Designer
Andreas Schager ,Siegfried
Nina Stemme ,Brünnhilde
Edith Haller ,Gutrune
Falk Struckmann ,Hagen
Iain Paterson ,Gunther
Albert Dohmen ,Alberich
Christa Mayer ,Waltraute
Christiane Kohl ,Third Norn, Woglinde
Sabrina Kögel ,Wellgunde
Simone Schröder ,Flosshilde, Second Norn
Okka from the Damerau ,First Norn
Saxon State Opera Choir Dresden
Staatskapelle Dresden


Sat 20 Jan 19:00

Philharmonic Hall in Gasteig, Munich

Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Brahms

Tchaikovsky ,Francesca da Rimini, Symphonic Fantasia in E Minor, Op.32
Wagner ,Wesendonck Lieder
Brahms ,Symphony no. 3 in F major, Op.90
Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
Valery Gergiev ,Conductor
Anja Harteros ,Soprano


21 Jan 2018 at 19:00

Barbican Hall, London

The Young Debussy

Wagner ,Tannhäuser: Overture
Lalo ,cello concerto in D minor
Debussy ,Première Suite d'orchester
Massenet ,Le Cid: ballet suite
François-Xavier Roth ,Conductor
Edgar Moreau ,cello
London Symphony Orchestra


25 Jan 2018 at 19:30

Grieg Hall, Bergen

Wagner, Gardner and Sibelius

Wigglesworth ,A Winter's Tale: clocks (Norwegian Première)
Wagner ,Wesendonck songs
Sibelius ,Luonnotar, symphonic poem for soprano and orchestra, op. 70
Sibelius , Symphony no. 5 in E flat major, Op.82
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Edward Gardner ,Conductor
Lise Davidsen ,soprano


Sat 27 Jan 2018 at 18:00

Royal Festival Hall, London

London Philharmonic Orchestra: 

Das Rheingold

Vladimir Jurowski ,Conductor
Matthias Goerne ,Wotan
Maxim Paster ,Lodge
Robert Hayward ,Alberich
Adrian Thompson ,Mime
Michelle DeYoung ,Fricka
Lyubov Petrova ,Freia
Matthew Rose ,Fasolt
Brindley Sherratt ,Fafner
Rowan Hellier ,Wellgunde
Sofia Fomina ,Woglinde
Lucie Spickova ,Flosshilde
Anna Larsson ,Erda
London Philharmonic Orchestra


Sun 28 Jan 2018 at 15:00

Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

The Hallé and Hallé Youth Orchestra

Wagner ,Götterdämmerung: Funeral March
Berlioz ,The Trojans
The Hallé
The Hallé Youth Orchestra
Sir Mark Elder ,Conductor
Jonathon Heyward ,Conductor


Jan 28, Feb 17, Mar 04 mat, 11, 25, 31

Opera House, Dusseldorf

New Production

Axel Kober ,Conductor
Dietrich Hilsdorf ,Director
Dieter Richter ,set designer
Renate Schmitzer ,Costume Designer
Corby Welch ,Siegmund
Sami Luttinen ,Hunding
Simon Neal ,Wotan
Elisabeth Strid ,Sieglinde
Linda Watson ,Brünnhilde
Renée Morloc ,Fricka
Josefine Weber ,Helmwige
Jessica Stavros ,Gerhilde
Katja Levin ,Ortlinde
Katarzyna Kuncio ,Waltraute
Zuzana Sveda ,Siegrune
Maria Hilmes ,Rossweisse
Katharina von Bülow ,Grimgerde
Evelyn Krahe ,Schwertleite

Jan 30, Feb 02, 06, 09, 11

Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse


Théâtre du Capitole
Claus Peter Flor ,Conductor
Nicolas Joël ,Director
Ezio Frigerio ,set designer
Franca Squarciapino ,Costume Designer
Michael King ,Siegmund
Dimitry Ivashchenko ,Hunding
Tomasz Konieczny ,Wotan
Daniela Sindram ,Sieglinde
Anna Smirnova ,Brünnhilde
Elena Zhidkova ,Fricka
Sonja Mühleck ,Helmwige
Elena Guseva ,Gerhilde
Oksana Sekerina ,Ortlinde
Pilar Vázquez ,Waltraute
Mareike Morr ,Siegrune
Ekaterina Egorova ,Rossweisse
Karin Lovelius ,Grimgerde
Daryl Freedman ,Schwertleite
Orchester National du Capitole de Toulouse


Jan 31, Feb 03

National Theater, Munich


Bavarian State Opera
Kirill Petrenko ,Conductor
Harald Thor ,set designer
Andrea Schraad ,Costume Designer
Stefan Vinke ,Siegfried
Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke ,Mime
Wolfgang Koch ,The Wanderer
John Lundgren ,Alberich
Ain Anger ,Fafner
Okka from the Damerau ,Erda
Nina Stemme ,Brünnhilde
Elsa Benoit ,forest bird 
Bavarian State Orchestra
Choir of the Bavarian State Opera

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Complete Ring Cycles: 2018. Full Listing

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday 27 December 2017 | 10:06:00 pm

What follows is a list of full Ring cycles in 2018. As always details may change, or we may have made an error. Please check with each houses website or box office before booking or making arrangements. Contact details are given for each in the listing. If we have missed a full cycle somewhere please let us know providing full details

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Opera in Depth with David Nice. Rheingold. London. Starting January 8

David tells us the part of the series that concentrates on Rheingold will run for 5 weeks and should you wish to sign-up just for this then you can do so. Although to be honest, the entire lecture series looks more than worth attending. Full details from David below. 

Opera in Depth with David Nice.

Das Rheingold and From the House of the Dead Mondays 2.30-4.30pm, starting 8 January 2018 

This January, the great Vladimir Jurowski embarks on concert stagings of Wagner's Ring operas by beginning where the composer does, in the depths of the Rhine. He plans to perform one opera a year, and we'll follow his journey with Die Walküre in 2019, Siegfried in 2020 and Götterdämmerung in 2021, with plentiful classes on each epic. Expect special visits from Wagnerian singers, conductors and directors. 

My long-term survey of all the major Janáček operas over the years comes to a conclusion with his last, and weirdest, masterpiece, based on Dostoyevsky's Siberian prison-camp memoirs. I'm delighted to report that Mark Wigglesworth has taken over conducting the first ever production at the Royal Opera from Teodor Currentzis, and he will return to the class to report about his work. 

As we move through the operas scene by scene, there will be plentiful music examples on CD and DVD, engaging the Frontline Club's excellent facilities to the full. You are also entitled to use the club room for refreshments, or simply meeting and chatting, before and after each class. 

Venue: Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2 1QJ Paddington, Edgware Road, Lancaster Gate 

Fee: £200 for the whole term of ten two-hour classes

Email: ASAP to confirm a place
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Parsifal. New Production Munich 2018. Kaufmann, Stemme, Pape, Audi & Petrenko. Video Preview

Pierre Audi's new "all star cast" production of Parsifal will premiere at Bayerische Staatsoper on 28 June, 2018. It will also be broadcast live on BR-KLASSIK. the same day. We will provide a link at the time. Full details of the production below. Includes video "preview"

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Calixto Bieito's Latest Tannhauser: Restrained, Out of Ideas Or Just A Guardian Reader?

Whatever you might think of Calixto Bieito's opera productions understated is not a word one would commonly use. Yet, that is certainly one adjective one could use for his production of Tannhauser for La Fenice in Venice last February. In one of the few English language reviews for this production, Keris Nine at the Opera Journal says basically this. Describing the production as a "...minimalist expression of this Tannhäuser ... [suggesting].. that he (Bieito) is seeking to strip back the work to its fundamental essence to see whether there's a deeper emotional truth to be found..." Certainly not something Bieitio is known for. Of course, there is another alternative, as Nine wittily, if rather cruelly, puts it "...or else he is just lazy and running out of ideas."

The colour palate certainly identifies it as Bieito - as too does its inherent "bourgeoisness". Although, this production might be better described as Petite bourgeoisie. So much so, that one feels that at any moment it will take out a subscription to the Guardian, prepare some avocado toast and drink a glass of some "craft gin".

The Venusberg is the most interesting part of the production, just sadly, not greatly interesting. No ballet in the opening, but just Venus "moping" around in what might be a grove (there are some trademark Bieto bushes) at midnight. Pagan it certainly is, but the restrained, "harmless" paganism of the urban fantasy reader who has watched the "Witches Of Eastwick" read Starhawk's famous, feminist, Wiccan book "The Spiral Dance" and burned a few candles. This is not the wild, if Christian influenced, portrayal of paganism as written by Wagner. Contemporary Paganism is a highly interesting area and if Bieito is trying to include it here then good. However, like Tannhauser, it deserves something more interesting than this.

However, it is not a "bad" production, it is just very "inoffensive", There are certainly much worse productions available. And vocally one could do much, much, worse.

Should you want to watch the production it has been made freely available by "Culturebox" and can be found below. Should you decide to risk a look, we would be curious to hear what you think, either by mail, Twitter or Facebook.



Omer Meir Wellber
Calixto Bieito.
Paul McNamara
Liene Kinča
Ausrine Stundyte
Christoph Pohl
Pavlo Balakin
Cameron Becker
Alessio Cacciamani
Paolo Antognetti
Mattia Denti
Chiara Cattelan
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Recommendation: Tannhauser: Barenboim, Pape, Seiffert, Petersen, Prudenskaya, Waltz

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday 26 December 2017 | 5:44:00 pm

I find it difficult to enjoy productions of Tannhauser on DVD, or indeed on the stage. Not because of the score, obviously, or performers, orchestra or conductors. No, the problem is directing what I consider to be one of Wagner's most difficult works to stage. It shouldn't be of course. There is "plenty going on". Yet, I find so many directors struggle to make a production visual engaging - at least to me. Despite its critics - and there are a few - I rather like Sasha Waltz's production at the Staatskapelle Berlin. Yes, perhaps a dancer and choreographer was an unusual choice, even one as esteemed as Waltz, as director for an opera - especially one of Wagner's works. Although, given the famous opening ballet perhaps less so. But it is not just in the Venusberg that her production shines. Wagner's music has a fluidity (those endless melodies- remember?) often found in the best dance or ballet music. Waltz taps (forgive the unitended pun) into this for the entirety of the production in a way I think no one else has. This is something, I feel missed by so many negative reviews. Although, this seems less so in the case of Mark Berry, who has a better understanding of Wagner than most, in his review for Seen And Heard International. (Well worth reading and to be found by clicking here as a counter to my praise)

Of course, you could also do much worse than this conductor, cast, orchestra, chorus and dancers. I know, that in the main, I enjoyed this enough to listen more than once - doing so again as I write this.  And Barenboim is one of the greatest interpreters of Wagner living today.

Have a look below and if it seems to be something you might enjoy please do go out and buy it.

Highly recommended.


Hermann, Landgrave of Thuringia – René Pape
Tannhäuser – Peter Seiffert
Wolfram von Eschenbach – Peter Mattei
Walther von der Wogelweide – Peter Soon
Biterolf – Tobias Schabel
Heinrich der Schreiber – Jürgen Sacher
Reinmar von Zweter – Jan Martiník
Elisabeth – Ann Petersen
Venus – Marina Prudenskaya
Young Shepherd – Sónia Grané
Four Pages – Julia Mencke, Konstanze Löwe, Hannah Wighardt, Anna Charin

Sasha Waltz (director, choreography, designs)
Pia-Maier-Schreier (designs)
Bernd Skodzig (costumes)
David Finn (lighting)
Jens Schroth, Jochen Sandig (dramaturgy)

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Free Digital Magazine. Gramophone: Recordings of the Year 1977-2017

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Gramophone Awards this year, Gramophone have produced a very special free digital magazine: 'Recordings of the Year 1977-2017'. The magazine features full reviews of each of the albums to have won Gramophone's top Award, the coveted Recording of the Year, since 1977. There is Wagner - if not enough for our liking of course

Says Gramophone: "We’re often asked which recordings are ‘essential’, those which should be part of any classical record collection. With the extraordinary wealth of great recordings produced over the last century, it’s almost an impossible question to answer, but the recordings in this digital magazine would form a collection that would provide several years of compelling listening. From Karajan, Rattle and Abbado in astonishing accounts of Mahler’s symphonies, to the wondrous pianism of Igor Levit, Paul Lewis, Nelson Freire and Krystian Zimerman, and exquisite chamber music from the Beaux Arts Trio and the Emerson, Pavel Haas and Ébène string quartets, Gramophone’s reviewers give deep insights and colourful descriptions of each of the albums to guide you to your next favourite recording."

Follow the link below to enjoy the digital magazine:

'Recordings of the Year 1977-2017'
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New Books: Ernest Newman A Critical Biography By Paul Watt

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 25 December 2017 | 1:25:00 pm

Wagner's most detailed biographer - despite its age, his four-volume "Life Of Richard Wagner" remains indispensable - finds himself and his work treated to an equally fine biography. Well worth your attention. 

Ernest Newman (1868-1959) left an indelible mark on British musical criticism in a career spanning more than seventy years. His magisterial Life of Richard Wagner, published in four volumes between 1933 and 1946, is regarded as his crowning achievement, but Newman wrote many other influential books and essays on a variety of subjects ranging from early music to Schoenberg. In this book, the geneses of Newman's major publications are examined in the context of prevailing intellectual trends in history, criticism and biography. Newman's career as a writer is traced across a wide range of subjects including English and French literature, evolutionary theory and biographical method, and French, German and Russian music. Underpinning many of these works is Newman's preoccupation with rationalism and historical method. By examining particular sets of writings such as composer-biographies and essays from leading newspapers such as the Manchester Guardian and the Sunday Times, this book illustrates the ways in which Newman's work was grounded in late nineteenth-century intellectual paradigms that made him a unique and at times controversial figure.

PAUL WATT is Senior Lecturer in Musicology in the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University.

See below for a preview - sadly, may not work on all smartphones. If its not working click this link

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Wagner and Paris: The Case of Rienzi (1869). Mark Everist


The French reception of Wagner is often based on the two pillars of the 1861 Tannhäuser production and that of Lohengrin in 1891. Sufficient is now known about he composer’s earliest attempt to engage with Parisian music drama around 1840 to be able to understand his work on Das Liebesverbot, Rienzi, Der fliegende Holländer, his editorial and journalistic work for Schlesinger, and his emerging relationship with key figures in Parisian musical life, Meyerbeer most notably. A clearer picture is also beginning to emerge of Wagner’s position in French cultural life and letters in the 1850s.

Wagner’s position in Paris during the 1860s, culminating in the production of Rienzi at the Théâtre-Lyrique in 1869, is however complex, multifaceted and little understood. Although there were no staged versions of his operas between 1861 and 1869, the very existence of a successful Parisian premiere for an opera by Wagner in 1869 – given that there would be almost nothing for two decades after 1870 – is remarkable in itself. The 1860s furthermore saw the emergence of a coherent voice of Wagnérisme, the presence of French Wagnéristes at the composer’s premieres all over Europe and a developing discourse in French around them. This may be set against a continuing tradition of performing extracts of Wagner’s operas throughout the 1860s, largely through the energies of Jules Pasdeloup, who – as director of the Théâtre-Lyrique – was responsible for the 1869 Rienzi as well.
These competing threads in the skein of Wagner-reception in the 1860s are tangled in a narrative of increasingly tense Franco-German cultural and political relationships in which Wagner, his works and his writings, played a key role. The performance of Rienzi in 1869 is embedded in responses to the Prussian-Austrian war of 1866, the republication of Das Judenthum in der Musik in 1869 and the beginnings of the Franco-Prussian war.

Wagner and Paris: The Case of Rienzi (1869) Mark Everist

Any search for operatic crosscurrents in the second half of the nineteenth century eventually leads to a consideration of the relationship between Wagner and Paris.  Not only does this relationship problematize the questions of institution, genre and cultural transfer that characterises any import of foreign opera into the capital, but it is overlaid with polemic, scandal, individual amour propre competing with national pride, and music reflecting events on the larger world stage. It comes as no surprise that this is a subject that has been generously treated in accounts of nineteenth-century opera, at the expense – it could be argued – of the study of indigenous French products. 2 From the earliest French texts responding to Wagner’s Eine Mitteilung an meine Freunde and his Oper und Drama in the early 1850s3 to the systematic engagement of some French composers with Wagnerian stylistic techniques in the 1890s and 1900s, 4 there is now a sufficient understanding of the subject, it might be thought, to be able to assemble a very clear idea of how the capital of the nineteenth century assimilated the composer. There seem to be two key points in the story of Wagner and Paris: the disastrous 1861 production of Tannhäuser at the Paris Opéra, and – thirty years later – the first successful production of the composer’s work there: Lohengrin in 1891.5 These two dates apparently bookend thirty years of Wagnerian silence in Paris, broken only occasionally by literary debates between Wagnéristes and less enthusiastic critics. But this received view of the Parisian reception of Wagner is marked by the almost complete absence of any account of an equally-important moment in Wagner-reception in Paris: the production of Rienzi that ran from 1869 to 1870. 6 Indeed, in the popular mythology that surrounds the understanding of the subject, the event has been ignored in favour of the production of Tannhäuser at the Paris Opéra in 1861.7 It is not hard to see why: twentieth-century German scholars were quick to identify the 1861 disaster as a Tannhäuser-Skandal as a way of explaining away the event as a largely Parisian aberration in a world in which the Wagner juggernaut had crushed most opposition. 8 And a really rather successful production of another opera by Wagner in 1869 that permitted a cooler, more sober, view of the composer in Paris, simply did not fit this historiographical trajectory

To read in full visit here. Direct Download here but please read the license notice here
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Watch Now: Waltraud Meier: I follow a voice within me (Documentary, 2008)

A portrait of the mezzo-soprano singer Waltraud Meier Presenting her on stage and in rehearsal as Didon, Ortrud, Leonore, Amneris, Sieglinde, Kundry, Marie, Komponist, Venus, Isolde, and as a Mahler lieder singer. Featuring interviews with Daniel Barenboim, Plácido Domingo, Hans Sotin, Angela Zabrsa, Jürgen Flimm, Ioan Holender, Stephan Suschke and Siegfried Jerusalem. Ever since her acclaimed début in the role of Kundry at Bayreuth in 1984 at the very latest, Waltraud Meier has been one of the top-flight Wagner performers of our time, and setting standards in the meantime in the Italian and French repertoire, too. Not only does this film document present her in a wide variety of roles but we also experience her in conversation backstage, a fascinating personality who enjoys her professional life and takes an active part in planning it. This portrait of outstanding singer is then rounded off by an enthralling live recording of Mahler's Lied von der Erde from the Cologne Philharmonie directed by Semyon Bychkow.

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Watch Now: Carlos Kleiber: Traces to Nowhere.

Carlos Kleiber was one of the legendary conductors of his time, famous for his infrequent, but supreme interpretations. He had an unusual small repertoire for a major conductor, focusing on only a few symphonies, piano concertos and operas, and demanded unusually long rehearsals. Yet he managed to pull the finest efforts from his musicians because he made them believe in the music as much as he did.
On the 11th July 2004 Carlos Kleiber got into his car and drove from Munich, via the Alps, to his holiday home in the remote Slovenian village of Konjsica. There he wrote a final letter to a friend in which he bid farewell to the world. A short time later the conductor, increasingly plagued by illness and suffering, was found dead. 

The documentary ‘Traces to Nowhere – The conductor Carlos Kleiber’, represents the first film dedicated to the enigmatic personality of the conductor. The film follows in the traces of Kleiber’s final journey and, by means of the recollections of friends and others who knew Kleiber – including the first and only interview with his sister Veronika Kleiber – portrays a conductor as renowned for his difficult personality as his brilliant work. Eric Schulz’ film contains not only impressive shots of Kleiber himself but also most illuminative statements of the said friends and companions. Featuring Veronika Kleiber, Michael Gielen, Plácido Domingo, Brigitte Fassbaender, Otto Schenk, Alexander Werner, Manfred Honeck, Otto Staindl, Klaus König, Karl Friedrich Mess, Anne Kirchbach, Martha Scherer a.o.

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Watch Now: Sir Georg Solti Great Conductors In Rehearsal. Tannhauser

Rehearsing and conducting the Overture to Tannhäuser by Richard Wagner with the Süddeutsche Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra 

Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
0:00 1st Rehearsal 
30:31 2nd Rehearsal 
43:36 Performance 

This video recording provides us with a portrait of a man whose conducting technique contrasts fascinatingly with that of other conductors in the series. Sir Georg Solti's rehearsal and performance of Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture with the Süddeutsche Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra is a fine illustration of this conductor's insistence on absolute precision, his energetic style and his close familiarity with the score.
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Lecture: Reinventing Wagner After Hitler. London. Feb 2018

A lecture by Dr. Patrick Carnegy
German Historical Institute, 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJ
6:30pm for 7pm, Thursday 15th February 2018

Dr Patrick Carnegy will argue that the significant German stage productions in the critical period from 1951 until 1982 were responses to the appropriations of Wagner for demonic ends by Hitler and the Nazis. West and East Germany, then divided, found markedly different ways for exorcizing the terrible ghosts. The common goal was to cleanse the inheritance and to build bridges between the concerns of our modern world and those of Wagner in his own time. Dr Carnegy believes these are still the driving forces behind many of the best productions of the past 30 years.

Patrick Carnegy was dramaturg of the Royal Opera House, 1988-92. Since he first visited Bayreuth in 1967 as critic for The Times, his principal research interest has been the stage history of Wagner’s works. He has contributed chapters to the ENO Opera Guides and to the Cambridge Opera Handbooks. His books include Faust as Musician: A Study of Thomas Mann’s Novel ‘Doctor Faustus’ (1973) and Wagner and the Art of the Theatre (2006, Royal Philharmonic Society Award; Special Jury Prize, George Freedley Memorial Award).

Tickets £20 including refreshments. (Limited free admission to Students, YPIA and under 30s who can join the Wagner Society (Click this link) for free and will be admitted to this event for free on proof of membership and if they have previously provided proof of status.)

Tickets are available on Wagner Society website by clicking the link above. You can pay with a credit or debit card or by PayPal. You can also register for the event and then send a cheque or bank transfer to the Society.

Venue: German Historical Institute

17 Bloomsbury Square, Holborn, London, WC1A 2NJ, United Kingdom

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A Happy, Wagnerian Christmas - Despite Much To Make It Seem Otherwise

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 24 December 2017 | 1:54:00 pm

Its been a very odd year and possibly not the best for many, Politics have split many people in at least two very large economies: the UK and USA. The result of which will have some impact on other parts of the world. In the UK's example, the rest of Europe and in the case of the USA's, the world - especially the Middle East. Although one suspects that this influence may have an even greater, much wider, effect as the next three years roll on. And this ignores the large domestic upheaval in both countries. Events in both countries - whether directly or not I shall leave to the reader - have emboldened far-right elements in both countries and indeed elsewhere. Racism, xenophobia, misogyny and the worst traits of nationalism (not everything about liking one's country is wrong of course) are once again on the rise. Not that any of these have ever gone away. For whatever reason, those that hold such views feel more comfortable to express them - and in the worst cases act upon them. 

Senior, highly prominent, politicians seem to have been grasped by a form of irrationality not seen since the 30's and 40's where "expert opinion" is not only ignored but openly derided. I think it's been a long time since I had previously heard any politician cheerfully admit to not listening to experts in an area.  And never have I seen the leader of the largest economy and military in the world have a close - and continuing - adviser who has stated he wishes to see the destruction of government. It's an odd time when the advisor to the president makes a statement that sounds like it could have been written by Wagner during the writing of the Ring: 

“Lenin, wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Steve Bannon 2016.

Or what about the following? Wagner or the president of the USA 2014:

“You know what solves it? When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell, and everything is a disaster, then you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be, when we were great.”

Poverty is on the rise. The state and many of its people seem pleased to pull the limited safety nets that exist to help the most vulnerable and poor. At the same time, a tiny percentage of cowardly terrorists seem to have proven quite successful in their aims: producing fear (at least two car accidents this year have thrown populations in Isreal and London into panic and fear of terrorism) and discord in all its manifestations.

So, it's not been an especially good year - for a lot of us. But that does not mean we should give up hope or indeed that things cannot, and will, change for the better. Politicians come and go, political movements the same.  National psyches can often spin in a new direction with extraordinary speed. And all countries have survived the most determined efforts by previous leaders to destroy those countries the rule. Empires less so but countries and people, yes. There are, should you feel the desire, little things one can do - rational argument will eventually win and public mood will grow more receptive to it. 

However, despite this, we still have things to cheer the soul on those long nights when all can seem bleak: family, friends, music, art, literature, poetry and of course WAGNER!

And so, with this in mind, we wish all of our readers a happy Christmas with, in a world of rampant commercialism and where profit rules all, a series of video concerts made freely available by the


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