08 October 2014


Histories of Modernist Music Drama from Parsifal to Nono

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This book is both a telling of operatic histories ‘after’ Richard Wagner, and a philosophical reflection upon the writing of those histories. Historical musicology reckons with intellectual and cultural history, and vice versa. The ‘after’ of the title denotes chronology, but also harmony and antagonism within a Wagnerian tradition. Parsifal, in which Wagner attempted to go beyond his achievement in the Ring, to write ‘after’ himself, is followed by two apparent antipodes: the strenuously modernist Arnold Schoenberg and the æstheticist Richard Strauss. Discussion of Strauss’s Capriccio, partly in the light of Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron, reveals a more ‘political’ work than either first acquaintance or the composer’s ‘intention’ might suggest.

Then come three composers from subsequent generations: Luigi Dallapiccola, Luigi Nono, and Hans Werner Henze. Geographical context is extended to take in Wagner’s Italian successors; the problem of political emancipation in and through music drama takes another turn here, confronting challenges and opportunities in more avowedly ‘politically engaged’ art. A final section explores the world of staging opera, of so-called Regietheater, as initiated by Wagner himself. Stefan Herheim’s celebrated Bayreuth production of Parsifal, and various performances of Lohengrin are discussed, before looking back to Mozart (Don Giovanni) and forward to Alban Berg’s Lulu and Nono’s Al gran sole carico d’amore. Throughout, the book invites us to consider how we might perceive the æsthetic and political integrity of the operatic work ‘after Wagner’.

After Wagner will be invaluable to anyone interested in twentieth-century music drama and its intersection with politics and cultural history. It will also appeal to those interested in Richard Wagner’s cultural impact on succeeding generations of composers.

MARK BERRY is Lecturer in Music at Royal Holloway, University of London.

06 October 2014

Washington National Opera announces casting for Ring 2016

Washington National Opera (WNO) today announced complete casting for its first full presentation of Richard Wagner's four-part Ring cycle. Three cycles will be presented from April 30 to May 22, 2016 and will be directed by Artistic Director Francesca Zambello and conducted by WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin. Contribution packages with priority seating for The Ring are on sale now. For more information, go to WNO's Ring website.

The complete casting announcement follows the principal casting announcement this spring. WNO's Ring cycles feature two outstanding Brünnhildes. Acclaimed British soprano Catherine Foster, who has stunned audiences at Wagner's hometown festival of Bayreuth in performances of the role, will make her U.S. debut in Cycles I and II. Internationally renowned Swedish soprano Nina Stemme, whose performances as Brünnhilde were highly acclaimed in this production's San Francisco run in 2011, makes her WNO debut in Cycle III. American heldentenor Daniel Brenna, a noted interpreter of Siegfried at opera houses across Europe, takes on the role in the United States for the first time. American bass-baritone Alan Held, an experienced Wagnerian who has appeared in more than 20 WNO productions, returns to his celebrated portrayal of Wotan.

Newly announced casting highlights include the return of American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop as Fricka and American baritone Gordon Hawkins as Alberich; the WNO debut of American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World winner, as Second Norn and Waltraute; veteran Wagnerians such as American bass Eric Halfvarson as Hagen and Christopher Ventris as Siegmund; rising American stars such as soprano Meagan Miller as Sieglinde, soprano Melody Moore as Freia and Ortlinde, bass-baritone Ryan McKinny as Donner and Gunther, and contralto Lindsay Ammann as Erda, Schwertleite, and First Norn; and the Wagnerian debuts of two Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists, American soprano Jacqueline Echols as Woglinde and the Forest Bird  and American bass Soloman Howard as Fafner.

Contribution packages for The Ring, which include priority seating for performances and access to dress rehearsals, cast parties, and other special events, are on sale now. Regular subscription packages will go on sale in March 2015.

27 July 2014

Bayreuth Festival the next years

Tristan und Isolde
Katharina Wagner (stage director)
Eva-Maria Westbroek (Isolde)
Steven Gould (Tristan)
Christian Thielemann (conductor)

Jonathan Meese (stage director)
Andris Nelsons (conductor)

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Barrie Kosky (stage director)
Philippe Jordan (conductor)
Michael Volle (Hans Sachs)
Johannes Martin Kränzle (Beckmesser)
Klaus Florian Vogt (Stolzing)
Krassimira Stoyanova (Eva)

Alvis Hermanis (stage director)
Christian Thielemann (conductor)
Anna Netrebko (Elsa)

Tobias Kratzer (stage director)

Der Ring des Nibelungen
Christian Thielemann (conductor - probably)

04 July 2014

The Wagner Journal, July 2014 issue is out

The Wagner Journal: July 2014 issue

The July 2014 issue (vol.8, no.2), now available, contains the following feature articles:
  • 'Spinning the Yarn: Intertextuality in Wagner's Use and Reuse of his Songs in his Operas' by Malcolm Miller
  • 'Richard Wagner and the "Zurich Writings" 1849–51: From Revolution to Ring' by Hilda Meldrum Brown
  • ‘Wagner's Acquittal', in which Joachim Köhler retracts his claim that Wagner was a forerunner of the Holocaust
  • ‘Reckoning up the Ring: A Mathematician's Diary of Bayreuth 1876' by Patrick Carnegy, discussing the journal kept by Alfred Pringsheim, father-in-law of Thomas Mann, on his 1876 visit to Bayreuth
  • Joseph Horowitz on Artur Bodanzky and the golden age of Wagner at the Met
Plus reviews of:
  • Tannhäuser and Parsifal in Berlin
  • Der fliegende Holländer in Copenhagen
  • Das Liebesverbot in Leipzig
  • Guy Cassiers' Milan Ring and the Met Parsifal with Jonas Kaufmann on DVD
  • new books on Wagner by David Trippett, Eva Rieger, Na'ama Sheffi and Joachim Köhler

The Wagner Journal is a periodical that seeks to examine Wagner and his works from a variety of perspectives – musicological, historical, literary, philosophical and political – and to illuminate the unique appeal of this endlessly fascinating composer. The journal aims to bring the questions surrounding the theory and practice of staging and performing Wagner to a wider audience, in that way furthering our understanding of his operas as theatre.
In addition to feature articles, reviews of live performances, books, CDs and DVDs, The Wagner Journal periodically offers new translations of Wagner's prose works, many of which are available only in William Ashton Ellis's notoriously idiosyncratic renderings.
The Wagner Journal appears three times a year (March, July and November) and is published both in print form and online. Individual articles are also available for downloading. The journal is published and distributed independently.
For a free introductory (electronic) copy, e-mail thewagnerjournal@btinternet.com

18 June 2014

Richard Wagner bust at Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes, Palermo

Richard Wagner, Hotel des Palmes, Palermo

A bust of Richard Wagner in the foyer of Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes (aka Hôtel des Palmes), Palermo, Sicily. Richard Wagner and his family arrives at the hotel on 5 November 1881. Here he orchestrated Parsifal Act 3.

Read more on Wagneropera.net: Wagner in Sicily

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wagneropera.net

16 June 2014

Richard Wagner in Sicily 1881–1882 - part 1

Hôtel des Palmes - now: Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes, Palermo, Sicily

Richard Wagner and his family arrived at Hôtel des Palmes (now: Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes) in Palermo on 5 November 1881. Here he orchestrated Parsifal Act 3.

Read more on Wagneropera.net: Richard Wagner in  Sicily

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wagneropera.net

30 May 2014

Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes in Palermo

During his stay in this hotel in 1881-82, Wagner orchestrated Parsifal Act 3...

Richard Wagner arrived at Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes in Palermo on 5 November 1881.

Homepage Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes

15 April 2014

Longborough Festival Opera - Royal Philharmonic Music Award

Longborough Festival Opera's 2013 Ring Cycle has been shortlisted in the Opera and Music Theatre category of the RPS (Royal Philharmonic Society) Music Awards. The RPS Music Awards presented in association with BBC Radio 3, are the highest recognition for live classical music and musical excellence in the UK. Awards, in thirteen categories, are decided by independent panels consisting of some of the music industry’s most distinguished practitioners. The awards honour musicians, composers, writers, broadcasters and inspirational arts organisations.

This year’s RPS Music Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in 2013. Awards in 13 categories are chosen by eminent independent juries from the music profession and are unique in the breadth of musical achievement they span, from performers, composers and inspirational arts organisation to learning, participation and engagement. This year’s awards are for achievement in the UK during 2013. Winners will be announced at the RPS Music Awards ceremony on Tuesday 13 May, with a special RPS Music Awards programme broadcast on the BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 18 May at 10 pm.

Longborough’s 2013 Ring Cycle
Conductor: Anthony Negus
Director: Alan Privett
Designer: Kjell Torriset
Lighting Designer: Ben Ormerod

Longborough Festival Opera is the first privately owned opera house to have staged a full-length production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. A new production of Tristan und Isolde in 2015 will be followed by Tannhaüser, Lohengrin, Parsifal and Die Meistersinger vonm Nürnberg in future years. Since 1998, alongside core repertoire, Longborough Festival Opera has steadily built its commitment to the works of Richard Wagner, starting with the CBTO Vick/Dove arrangement of Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Longborough Festival Opera

01 March 2014

The March 2014 issue of The Wagner Journal is out

The March 2014 issue of The Wagner Journal (vol.8, no.1) is out. Here is a brief description of the contents:

Feature articles:
  • 'Transformation at Tribschen: How a French Literary Trio Became a Wagnerian Musical Trio' by Heath Lees, describing the visits of Judith Gautier and friends to the Wagners in 1869/70
  • 'Tracking Träume: The Sources and Sounds of Wagner's Wesendonck Lied' by Peter Bloom on the interlocking of the Wesendonck Lieder and Tristan und Isolde
  • 'Wagner Tenors and the Quest for the "Ideal" ' by David Breckbill
  • 'Strange and Forbidden Fruits: A report on the conference at Leeds University' by Tash Siddiqui

Plus reviews of:
  • Parsifal at Covent Garden and the Lyric Opera, Chicago, the Ring in Melbourne and a gruelling Wagnerian extravaganza in Lille
  •  the Ring recorded under Franz Konwitschny at Covent Garden in 1959 and at the Metropolitan, New York, under Erich Leinsdorf in 1961–2
  • The Rienzi directed by Jorge Lavelli in Toulouse
  • Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer and Dietsch's Le Vaisseau fantôme conducted by Marc Minkowski; Gergiev's Das Rheingold with René Pape as Wotan; CDs of Wagnerian piano arrangements
  • new books on Wagner by Martin Geck, Paul Dawson-Bowling and Raymond Furness, and a compilation of Walter Widdop material edited by Michael Letchford
Subscribe or buy here

03 December 2013

The Life and Work of Richard Wagner - Barbican 12th January 2014

"The Life and Work of Richard Wagner"
12th January 2014, 4pm
Barbican, Cinema 1

A newly restored silent landmark of the first feature-length film to be made about the composer Richard Wagner with an original piano score composed and performed by Jean Hasse.

For more information and booking, please visit:

The Life and Works of Richard Wagner

26 October 2013

Frank Castorf's Ring at the Bayreuth Festival 2013

Lance Ryan as Siegfried in Frank Castorf's Ring at Bayreuth

As part of the 200th anniversary celebrations of Richard Wagner’s birth, the Bayreuth Festival has staged a new production of the Ring - by the artistic director of Berlin's Volksbühne, Frank Castorf.  Castorf, who clearly had very limited rehearsal time, takes an essentially non-Wagnerian view of the work. The result is a provocative, irritating yet fascinating production that could best be described as an 'imploded'  work of art. I find Castorf’s distinctly  unmusical approach to Wagner is fundamentally problematic. There are few signs, if any, that the director is able to relate to Wagner’s music, with the exception perhaps of his seemingly ironic efforts to trivialise the central scenes and climaxes. The production is both fascinating and irritating.

Read more about Frank Castorf's Ring production 2013 on Wagneropera.net

29 August 2013

Salzburg Marionette Theatre: The Ring at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Salzburg Marionette Theatre
Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen performed by Salzburg Marionette Theatre.

Salzburg Marionette Theatre will perform a compressed, two-hour version of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Friday, December 13th, and Saturday, December 14th at 6:30 pm.

More information here

More Wagner productions in 2013