13 November 2014

Does Wagner mess with our minds?

HEARING WAGNER: Does Wagner mess with our minds?
with Sir Colin Blakemore

Saturday 22 November 10:30-17:00

Birmingham Hippodrome, Patrick Centre Theatre


The emotional impact of music is undeniable, and this is nowhere more
obvious than in Romantic music such as the operas of Richard
Wagner. But can the effects of music be measured? Is this even
desirable? The Hearing Wagner event taking place at the Birmingham
Hippodrome on Saturday 22 November aims to air these and other
questions and show how psychologists and musicologists are working
together to understand better what is going on in these extraordinary
works.


Researchers from Goldsmiths University of London and the University of
Oxford in the AHRC's Transforming Musicology project have been finding
out how a live audience responds to the sensations produced over the
four operas of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. Last week,
the Mariinsky Opera from St Petersburg, under their charismatic
conductor, Valery Gergiev, performed Wagner's epic Ring Cycle at the
Birmingham Hippodrome. In the audience was a group of student
volunteers whom we'd fitted with unobtrusive yet sensitive devices
which monitored their responses to the music using a measure called
galvanic skin response (GSR) as well as changes in their heart-rate
(HR).


We'll be presenting some preliminary results from this intriguing
experiment at the Birmingham Hippodrome on Saturday 22 November as
part of the national 'Being Human' Festival. This event, hosted by the
eminent neuroscientist and Wagner fan, Sir Colin Blakemore, will
include non-technical introductions to the ways in which Wagner used
novel compositional techniques to manipulate the emotions of his
listeners, and to what we have to do to interpret the bio-physical
data from our audience members as emotional response to Wagner's
music. Members of the public will be able to try out some of the
state-of-the-art technology for themselves, and to discuss the
experiment with the research team. Alongside Sir Colin Blakemore and
the Transforming Musicology project team, the Wagner expert and editor
of English National Opera's series of Opera Guides, Gary Kahn, will
also be on hand to remind us of Wagner's dramatic career and his
continual struggle to communicate as directly as possible with his
audience.


To attend this free event at the Birmingham Hippodrome on Saturday 22
November 2014, book via EventBrite

12 November 2014

David Nice gives ten lectures on Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at Paddington’s Frontline Club

David Nice gives ten lectures on Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at Paddington’s Frontline Club 12 January – 16 March 2015, Mondays 2.30-4.30pm

David is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster on music with a special interest in Russian and late romantic composers. His last Building a Library for BBC Radio 3’s CD Review was on Parsifal. He has now explored all the major Wagner operas over 25 years of opera appreciation classes at the City Literary Institute and launched his new Opera in Depth series at the wonderful Frontline Club this term with Prokofiev’s War and Peace.

He last took students through Meistersinger five years ago at the time of Richard Jones’s revelatory new production for Welsh National Opera with Bryn Terfel making his role debut as Sachs. Now, with fast-rising Wagnerian bass-baritone Iain Paterson as the lynchpin, Jones’s production moves to English National Opera, with some rethinks promised. Richard twice visited David’s Opera in Focus classes, discussing Meistersinger and Britten’s Gloriana, and he has promised to pay another visit this time. Come and enjoy total immersion in an inexhaustibly rich and beautiful opera.

Fully illustrated with sound clips and DVD production scenes on the Frontline’s big screen. The Club has excellent facilities: you are invited to enjoy efreshments in the main room on the first floor for half an hour before and after the classes, and the restaurant is warmly recommended. There are, however, two flights of stairs to negotiate.

Venue: Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2 1QJ

Nearest tubes: Paddington, Edgware Road, Lancaster Gate

Fees: £180 per each term of ten two-hour classes

Email: david.nice@usa.net ASAP to confirm a place on this highly popular course

07 November 2014

7 November 1881: Wagner visits Monreale



R. had a restless night, since he had taken medicine, but he is looking well. He arranges his worktable in the salon, and the situation pleases him. In the afternoon we drive to Monreale. [Added on the next page, under Tuesday: "Yesterday, on the journey to Monreale, R. notices a small and very independent poodle, a favourite breed of his, and in the evening he is still thinking of the little creature, having been struck by its intelligence."] Sublime impression: "What people they must have been to build such a thing!" R. exclaims. We are enchanted by the cloisters. The valley of oranges is like a fairy tale, and when we return home we feel that nothing less than Shakespeare will do. — We begin H[enry] VI, Act I, the children showing great interest. As he reads, R. looks so wonderfully young that I have to tell him so. And when we are discussing this first act, he says, "He is the greatest of them all." — "What images!" he exclaimed as he reads Exeter's "Like captives bound to a triumphant car."
(Cosima Wagner’s Diaries)

Read more on Wagneropera.net: Wagner in Sicily

The Cathedral (Il Duomo) in Monreale, Palermo. Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wagneropera.net

05 November 2014

5 November 1881: Wagner arrives in Palermo

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

On 5 November 1881 Richard Wagner and his family arrived at Hôtel des Palmes (now: Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes) in Palermo, Sicily, to finish Parsifal.

Read more on Wagneropera.net: Richard Wagner in  Sicily
or Wondersofsicily.com

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wagneropera.net

26 October 2014

The Wagner Journal: November 2014 issue

The November 2014 issue (vol.8, no.3) of The Wagner Journal, now available, contains the following feature articles:

• 'Kundry’s Baptism, Kundry’s Death' by Christopher Wintle
• 'Timely Timelessness: Regietheater at Bayreuth in the 1970s' by Simon Williams
• 'Wagner Manuscripts at the British Library' by Nicolas Bell



Plus reviews of:
  • the Frank Castorf Ring in Bayreuth
  • Der fliegende Holländer in Copenhagen
  • Tristan und Isolde in Lübeck and Florence
  • a concert performance of Götterdämmerung in Leeds
  • CDs of a solo disc by James Rutherford and of Wagner's edition of Gluck's Iphigenia in Aulis
  • Stefan Herheim's Die Meistersinger, Parsifal directed by Romeo Castellucci and Wolfgang Wagner on DVD, together with Joachim Herz's pioneering Der fliegende Holländer
  • New books on Wagner and Freud by Tom Artin, Wagner and Manet by Therese Dolan, Schultze und Müller's satirical take on the Ring and The Cambridge History of Music Performance, ed. Colin Lawson and Robin Stowell

08 October 2014

MARK BERRY: AFTER WAGNER

MARK BERRY: AFTER WAGNER
Histories of Modernist Music Drama from Parsifal to Nono


A Special Offer: Save 25%
Click here for the publisher's flyer and discount code: http://boybrew.co/9781843839682flyer

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

2015
Tristan und Isolde
Katharina Wagner (stage director)
Eva-Maria Westbroek (Isolde)
Steven Gould (Tristan)
Christian Thielemann (conductor)


2016
Parsifal
Jonathan Meese (stage director)
Andris Nelsons (conductor)


2017
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)


2018
Lohengrin
Alvis Hermanis (stage director)
Christian Thielemann (conductor)
Anna Netrebko (Elsa)


2019
Tannhäuser
Tobias Kratzer (stage director)


2020
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