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Tristan und Isolde: 11, 000 Years Old And Counting

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 31 May 2021 | 3:23:00 pm

The Ain Sakhri Lovers

It takes little for us to shoehorn another story to become one involving Wagner's work. It's also not that difficult, given how much Wagner used mythic archetypes in his work. But as we emerge from lockdown, hopefully, (as to is this site) and places we love reopen, we are taken again to, one of many, a fascinating artefact found in the British Museum. 

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3 Months Of Online Wagner Events With The Wagner Society: April to July 2021

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 28 March 2021 | 4:32:00 pm

In these very strange times, various organisations have turned to the internet to continue their work. No less so, than the Wagner Society Of London. While it remains impossible to meet up, they have lead the way here, with a constant stream of online, Zoom events with famous singers and conductors together with lectures. This continues at least until July. All highly recommended.  If you wish to join any of these events or lectures a nominal charge of £5, for members or £10 for none members is made.

For more information visit the Societies webpage here
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You Have Four Days To Watch Göteborgsoperan's Siegfried Premier, Free Online

Written By The Wagnerian on Saturday 27 March 2021 | 10:25:00 pm

We have been lucky enough to catch Daniel Brenna's wonderful Siegfried, live, a few years ago and cannot recommend anything he appears in enough - and this production has much else to recommend it. Provided free by Göteborgsoperan

The film was shot at the Gothenburg Opera in December 2020. The role as the Wanderer (Wotan) is played in act one and two by Fredrik Zetterström and in act three by Anders Lorentzson.

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Post Lockdown, ENO To Begin New Ring Cycle

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 14 March 2021 | 1:46:00 pm

We, shall be looking at this closely, especially if it is as good as ENO seems to think

Directed by Richard Jones and conducted by Martyn Brabbins, The Valkyrie will form the first part of a complete Ring Cycle over the next five years.

English National Opera (ENO) is to bring Wagner’s Ring Cycle to the London Coliseum, starting with The Valkyrie this Autumn, subject to any further lockdown restrictions. Directed by the award-winning Richard Jones, and marking the first time in more than 15 years since ENO last staged The Ring, all four parts of The Ring Cycle will be staged at the London Coliseum over five years. Rhinegold will premiere in 2022/23 followed by a reprise of The Valkyrie, and new productions of Siegfried and Twilight of the Gods in 2024 and 2025 consecutively. The Metropolitan Opera is co-producing.

The Valkyrie will be an unparalleled theatrical experience, which will plunge the audience into a thunderous storm of human emotion. Jones – who has won 8 Olivier Awards and has had a long and enduring relationship with the ENO – will direct an incredible cast who will rehearse in Covid-secure bubbles. Martyn Brabbins, ENO’s Music Director, will conduct the award-winning ENO Orchestra. The production will be designed by Stewart Laing; with Adam Silverman as Lighting Designer, Sarah Fahie as Movement Director and Akhila Krishnan as Video Designer. ENO have commissioned a new English language translation from John Deathridge.

The Ring feels extraordinarily of the twenty-first century yet mythological at the same time. How can love and empathy exist in a world of vaulting egos vying for infinite power?

Annilese Miskimmon, Artistic Director, ENO said: “It is thrilling to announce this new ENO Ring Cycle, starting with Valkyrie this Autumn. Richard Jones’s theatrical vision is designed to be emotionally and narratively gripping both for long-time Wagner-lovers and for those seeing this amazing opera for the first time. This epic story of a rebellious warrior maiden who defies the gods in defense of humanity combines myth with modernity alongside some of the most powerful and recognisable operatic music ever written. An unmissable experience for opera lovers old and new, we are delighted to welcome them all to the London Coliseum to join us at the beginning of this Wagner journey through the complete Ring over the next 5 years.”

Richard Jones, Director, said: “The Ring feels extraordinarily of the twenty-first century yet mythological at the same time. How can love and empathy exist in a world of vaulting egos vying for infinite power? Produced by two of the worlds’ great opera companies I can’t imagine a more pertinent operatic response to the times we find ourselves in.”

Stuart Murphy, CEO, English National Opera said: “There is no greater mark of ENO’s ambition than to stage Wagner’s Ring Cycle as we return to the London Coliseum stage following the pandemic. It is fantastic to be doing so with the brilliant Richard Jones. We can’t wait to welcome those new to Wagner into ENO’s auditorium and take them on an unforgettable and thrilling journey.”

Martyn Brabbins, Music Director, ENO said: “Innovation and vibrant theatricality will be front and centre of the new ENO Ring Cycle. With meticulous musical preparation and a cast of the very best singing actors we will bring Wagner’s extraordinary music vividly and beautifully to life. Our aim is to create as powerful, as immediate and as moving an experience as Wagner imagined.”

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Watch Now, Full Documentary: Pierre Boulez - Emotion and Analysis

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday 14 February 2021 | 5:01:00 pm

Pierre Boulez and the Berliner Philharmoniker rehearsing and performing Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra

The conductor Pierre Boulez (1925 - 2016) best described his relationship with the music of composer Béla Bartók (1981-1945) as a “sympathy between musicians”. The Frenchman has been involved with the music of the Hungarian composer for over five decades. Bartók and Boulez belong to the 20th century’s most influential artists. A key work of Bartók is the Concerto for Orchestra, which was premiered in Boston in 1944. The Film „Emotion and Analysis“ follows Pierre Boulez in his rehearsals of this composition with the Berlin Philharmonic. 

The documentary provides a fascinating look into the methods of the great master of modern music. The rehearsals take place in the spectacular setting of the monastery Mosteiro dos Jeronimos in Lisbon which was also the location of the annual European Concert of the Berlin Philharmonic for the year 2003. Pierre Boulez explains in a series of interviews the historical origins of Bartók’s late work, his own personal style of interpretation and his role as conductor as well as his love of composing. 
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Watch Now, Full Documentary: The Colón Ring: Wagner in Buenos Aires

It was an ambitious project: staging Richard Wagner's powerful music drama, the Ring Cycle, in a single day. To honor Richard Wagner's 200th birthday in 2012, Latin America's famous opera house, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, hosted this one-of-a-kind production with abridged versions of the individual operas cut down to seven hours. 

The documentary film "The Colón Ring - Wagner in Buenos Aires," directed by Hans Christoph von Bock, follows each step of this challenging project. Those steps include considerable behind-the-scenes drama - itself worthy of a Wagnerian opera - that accompanied the production. Original director Katharina Wagner quit, as well as the original conductor and some of the cast, and it looked as if the production was doomed. But the film shows how the new director, Valentina Carrasco, got things back on track, allowing Wagner's vision of "The Ring of the Nibelung" to emerge as a Gesamtkunstwerk and an all-encompassing live theatre experience.

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Bayreuth To Get, At Last, Its First Female Conductor.

A new production of the The Flying Dutchman, to premiere during the 2021 season, will be directed Russian director Dmitri Tcherniakov and conducted by Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv. The 42-year-old conductor will be the first woman to take the podium since the festival was founded in 1876. The role of Senta will be performed by the Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian. The festival's managing director, Heinz-Dieter Sense, is firmly convinced the show will go on next year, even if the fight against the coronavirus continues.

Although Lyniv and Tcherniakov are debutants in Bayreuth, they are by no means strangers to the classical music scene. In their home countries, the Ukraine and Russia, as well as abroad, the conductor and opera director have earned numerous accolades. Nevertheless, both describe the invitation to Bayreuthas a career high point. Tcherniakov and Lyniv have previously worked together on productions at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.

Edit: Orginal photo, featured Lola Kirke from her role in "Mozart In The Jungle". We can only blame a webmaster clearly missing said series. Apologies. 

Oksana Lyniv: 'Wagner would be proud'

Lyniv was born into a family of musicians in Brody in western Ukraine. Her teachers at the Music Academy in Lviv advised her against persuing a career in conducting, saying it was not suitable for women. Instead, they recommended she learn to play the flute. Yet Lyniv remained set on her dream of conducting and eventually prevailed. She won third prize at the conducting competition in Bamberg, Germany in 2004 and thus had the chance to continue her studies in Dresden.

From 2008 to 2013 she was the associate chief conductor of the Odessa Opera House, where she made a name for herself conducting the orchestra through daring premieres, including an opera by Ukrainian baroque composer Dmitry Bortiansky. The young conductor continued her career in Western Europe as assistant to Kirill Petrenko at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. In 2017, she became the first woman to take up the post of General Music Director in Graz, Austria

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Bayreuth 2021 To Go Ahead And How To Get Tickets

At least we hope it will. Will include sections outdoors this year. You will have a very short window to buy, we suspect very limited tickets, online on June 6th.

In addition to the new production of “Der fliegende Holländer” (7 performances), there will be revivals of the productions of “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” (6 performances) and “Tannhäuser” (6 performances). A special feature of this year’s festival will be two concerts under the musical direction of Andris Nelsons and one concert under the musical direction of Christian Thielemann. In special children's version of  “Tristan and Isolde,” Stephen Gould will take on Tristan, The playing order, as well as full cast information, can be found at

With the “Ring 20.21”, a multimedia project of the Bayreuth Festival, realized by BF Medien, a composition commissioned and sponsored by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, the Festival is preparing a special event: Three performances of “The Valkyrie” in the Festspielhaus will be framed by commissioned works in various artistic genres, which will mirror, comment on, continue or experience in a new way all parts of the “Ring of the Nibelung”. 

A musical theatre for “Das Rheingold-Immer noch Loge”, which reveals a few surprises, opens in the Festspielpark with a composition by Gordon Kampe based on the libretto by Paulus Hochgatterer, staged and realized with puppets by Nikolaus Habjan. None other than action artist Hermann Nitsch will create “Die Walküre”, and in a multimedia work (Jay Scheib) the audience can put themselves in the shoes of “Siegfried”. An installation by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota will conclude the cycle in the Festival Park with a work of art for “Götterdämmerung” that is as delicate as it is overwhelming and visionary. 

There will be no advance ticket sales for the 2021 season for all customers this year, which would normally have taken place in the fall. The order form will be sent in the coming weeks to the affected customers of the 2020 season who have waived their right to a refund. On Sunday, June 06, 2021, there will be an online instant purchase on our website. This ticket sale will then be available to all registered customers so that you will still have the chance to purchase tickets for the Festival in the 2021 season.

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Opera Meets Film: Yuki Mishima’s ‘Patriotism’ & Wagner’s ‘Tristan und Isolde

We really can recommend all of this series from David Salazar. We have included the full short film below.

Yukio Mishima’s “Patriotism” is arguably one of the finest cinematic adaptations of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde.”

The 28-minute short silent film tells the story of Lieutenant Takeyama, a member of the palace, and his wife Reiko as they commit seppuku when Takeyama is ordered to kill his fellow mutineers. The film, set in the Noh theatre, is underscored throughout by Leopold Stokowski’s Symphonic Synthesis of “Tristan und Isolde.”
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Opera Meets Film: How ‘Promising Young Woman’ & ‘Tristan und Isolde’

We enjoyed this. Suggested.

Opera Meets Film” is a feature dedicated to exploring the way that opera has been employed in cinema. We will select a film section or a film in its entirety and highlight the impact that utilizing the operatic form or sections from an opera can alter our perception of a film that we are viewing. This week’s instalment features Emerald Fennell’s debut feature “Promising Young Woman.”
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Is Richard Wagner the Most Controversial and Influential Composer Ever?

 We didn't choose the title, indeed edited it. Ignore some of the inanities of the introduction then read Alex Ross attempt to bring some clarity to the usual tropes. The interviewer warms up well as it continues, also. 

We talked to New Yorker music critic Alex Ross about his new book on the German composer, who has helped shape everything from James Joyce’s Ulysses to Star Wars.

By Cat Zhang

Imagine an episode of Billy on the Street in which the game show’s irascible host, the comedian Billy Eichner, hounds New York City pedestrians with questions related to the 19th-century composer Richard Wagner. “Miss, for a dollar,” he booms, interrupting a frazzled accountant in the midst of eating a croissant. “Do gay people care about Richard Wagner?” The woman lowers the pastry, slowly brushing the crumbs from her mouth. “Who?” “Richard Wagner,” Eichner huffs, gesticulating impatiently. “The opera guy? You know, Tristan and Isolde, the Ring cycle, Parsifal?” “Oh,” the woman replies tentatively. “Wasn’t he a Nazi?”

Wagner, who died in 1883, was one of Hitler’s favourite composers. His “Rienzi" overture blared at annual Nazi Party rallies, and his combination of pan-German nationalism, socialism, and antisemitism—well-documented in his 1850 essay “Jewishness in Music,” published initially under a pseudonym—is said to be a precursor to Nazi ideology. A 1940 article in the New York Times deemed him the “first totalitarian artist.”

But as Alex Ross emphasizes in his voluminous new book, Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music, there is a deeper debate over who gets to claim Wagner, politically and otherwise. In his early years, Wagner was affiliated with the left—the anarchists, the communists—and forced to flee Germany for his role in the 1849 uprising in Dresden. “You’re left with this divided legacy,” Ross tells me over the phone. Further complicating the story is the composer’s outsized impact on radical figures: philosophers and Black theorists, Soviet film directors and science-fiction novelists. The anarchist Emma Goldman allegedly remarked that Wagner’s music helped women release “the pent-up, stifled and hidden emotions of their souls.” Late 19th-century gay-rights campaigners construed him as a kind of ally; the author Hanns Fuchs classified him as a “spiritual homosexual.”

Ross’s book, then, is not so much about Wagner as it is his enduring influence on non-musicians: how his legacy has been translated and contested across identities, time periods, and artistic mediums. “He was really perceptive about how culture uses myth, and how the same patterns are replicated in one tradition after another,” Ross says. So while Beethoven or Bach may claim more influence over music, Wagner’s impact on neighbouring arts—like novel-writing, architecture, and painting—remains unparalleled. “Wagnerian” is still used as a descriptor for seemingly anything, from Travis Scott surfing on a bird to the quality of Bruno Mars’ sex. The many warring interpretations of Wagner, says Ross, reveal as much about the composer as they do ourselves.

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The Meaning Of The Ring?

There are, as many interpretations of the Ring as there are CDs. Tom Service thinks that at least he knows what it's not about - maybe: 

It’s a question that has taxed musicians, philosophers, politicians and audiences ever since its sensational premiere in 1876 in a specially built theatre in Bayreuth, a temple to the ego and ambition of its creator, Richard Wagner: what does the Ring cycle mean?

Is it an exercise in futility, as the mid-20th-century musical satirist Anna Russell says, in which you end up in the final bars of The Twilight of the Gods exactly where you started four operas earlier, with the same Rhinemaidens, the same river, the same gold? Or is the Ring a philosophical discourse on the limits of power and the limitlessness of love? Or a creation myth that contains its own destruction in the conflagration of the Gods and Brünnhilde’s suicidal immolation on the funeral pyre of her lover, the tainted hero Siegfried?

No one has found a universally accepted verdict. Yet what hasn’t been achieved in 144 years of countless books and treatises, Radio 3 listener Robert Boot attempted in just 10 words: ‘Gods homeward headed’ – that sums up the first Ring opera, Das Rheingold; ‘Close relations wedded’ – that’s Die Walküre, as Siegmund and Sieglinde consummate their incestuous love; ‘Auntie bedded’ – the third opera, Siegfried, since Brünnhilde and Siegfried are aunt and nephew through Wotan, the leader of the Gods; ‘Hero deaded’ – that’s the trajectory of The Twilight of the Gods.

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