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

06 August 2013

Herheim's Romantic Meistersinger is Met Material

Markus Werba (Beckmesser) and Michael Volle (Hans Sachs)
's wär' wohl gar ein biblisches Lied? Superlative performances by Markus Werba (Beckmesser) and Michael Volle (Hans Sachs). © Salzburger Festspiele / Forster

Stefan Herheim's long awaited production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Salzburg Festival premiered Friday last week. It was well received by the audiences, generally also by the critics.

You can watch the production online on 3sat.de

According to Washington Post, Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, was in the audience on the premiere of Herheim's “Meistersinger” and afterwards made preliminary arrangements to bring it to the Met in a future season.

The production is probably Herheim's least disturbing and most conventional so far. The action takes place in a dream Hans Sachs is desperately trying to remember and write down. The scene of the first act is Hans Sachs' giant writing-desk.

Beckmesser is neither caricatured nor demonized in this production. In fact, he is seen as another side of Hans Sachs. 

Superlative performances by Michael Volle (Sachs), Markus Werba (Beckmesser),
Georg Zeppenfeld (Veit Pogner) almost overshadowed the poor playing by the Vienna Philharmonic (booed at the end), led by Daniele Gatti (also booed), mostly lagging just enough to lose all tension and speeding up rather irrationally here and there. Gatti had no feeling for the wonderful lightness in the score, and certainly not the humour and irony that a conductor of this opera must bring out.


13 June 2013

New translation: Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft (The Artwork of the Future)

Richard Wagner's key essay Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft (The Artwork of the Future) is now available in a new translation by Emma Warner – the first since 1895.

This special issue of The Wagner Journal is available at £15, free to all subscribers of The Wagner Journal.

How to buy or subscribe

04 June 2013

World Peace Orchestra in 2013

The WPO, consisting of talented young musicians ages 15 to 22 from all over the world, promotes these themes through its annual Play for Peace concerts, which also feature prominent guest artists and other public figures. The WPO selects a different theme each year to draw public attention to specific global issues.

The first Play for Peace concert will take place in New York City at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on September 10, 2013.

Students wishing to join the World Peace Orchestra in 2013 must apply via the website at info@peaceorchestra.org

20 May 2013

Broadcast of Wagner Gala from the Semperoper Dresden

UNITEL CLASSICA broadcasts the WAGNER GALA from the Semperoper Dresden to celebrate the 200th birthday of the great composer. Music director Christian Thielemann conducts the ouvertures and great tenor scenes from Richard Wagner’s operas which were premiered in Dresden. Jonas Kaufmann, one of the most popular Wagnerian tenors of the age, will be a special guest. The concert will be broadcast live-time deferred in Europe and South Africa on May 21 and in Asia on May 22 in High Definition and with Surround Sound.


Richard Wagner (1813-1883):
Ouvertures to "Der fliegende Holländer", „Rienzi“, „Lohengrin“ and „Tannhäuser“
A Faust-Ouverture (1855 version)
"Allmächt'ger Vater" from „Rienzi“
"In fernem Land" from „Lohengrin“
"Inbrunst im Herzen" from „Tannhäuser“

Hans Werner Henze (1926-2012):
Fraternité. Air pour l'orchestre (1999)

Broadcasting times:
  • Berlin - Johannesburg Tuesday, May 21 - 22.15
  • Sofia Tuesday, May 21 - 23.15
  • Teipei - Manila - Kuala Lumpur Wednesday, May 22 - 19.15
  • Seoul - Busan - Tokyo Wednesday, May 22 - 20.15

10 April 2013

Gramophone revisit classic interviews

In celebration of Gramophone’s first issue, published 90 years ago in April 1923, Gramophone revisit a series of classic interviews from the Gramophone archive. Alan Blyth spoke to Pierre Boulez i ('Wagner used to be treated in a quite exaggerated post-Romantic way. When I conducted Parsifal at Bayreuth I didn't see why everything had to be taken at such slow tempi or with overdone dynamic contrasts – the pathos and rhetoric were just too much.' ) in November 1967, Eugene Ormandy in April 1970, Benjamin Britten in June 1970, and Leontyne Price in August 1971. In February 1979 Robin Stringer spoke to Glenn Gould.

Plus, leading critics for the magazine recall their first Gramophone review: Richard Osborne on Carlos Kleiber’s Beethoven Fifth (DG); Jeremy Nicholas on Wynton Marsalis’s All Rise conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen (Sony Classical); Rob Cowan on Brahms and Khachaturian Violin Concertos with Henryk Szeryng and the LSO under Antal Doráti (Mercury); and Edward Greenfield on Schubert’s Ninth Symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Charles Munch.

18 March 2013

Watch Der fliegende Holländer FREE on 20 April

The Bavarian State Opera will present live streams online free of charge this spring. Opera and ballet lovers from all over the world will be able to enjoy a total of seven opera performances and two ballet evenings in full and live online from Munich. The first of these were the audiovisual transmissions of Jörg Widmann's new opera Babylon, Giacomo Puccini's Turandot, Tchaikovsky's/Neumeier's The Nutcracker, Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto and Leoš Janáček's Jenůfa.

This will be followed by streams of the following opera performances: 

April 20, 2013
Richard Wagner
Der fliegende Holländer

May 11, 2013
Giuseppe Verdi

June 1, 2013
Terence Kohler

July 26, 2013
Modest Mussorgsky
Boris Godunov


13 March 2013

Royal Opera House 2013/14 Opera Season announced

The 2013/14 Season sees seven new productions on the Main Stage including new productions of Parsifal, Les Vêpres siciliennes, and Die Frau ohne Schatten to celebrate milestone anniversaries of Wagner, Verdi and Strauss respectively. Other new Main Stage productions include Don Giovanni from Kasper Holten and Manon Lescaut from Jonathan Kent.

As well as new work, the 2013/14 Season also features a host of classic productions including Turandot, Le nozze di Figaro, Faust, and Carmen.

Live cinema relays during the Season include Turandot, Les Vêpres siciliennes, Parsifal, Don Giovanni and Manon Lescaut. We are very grateful to Bank of America Merrill Lynch for supporting the Royal Opera House Cinema Season.

Star names performing at Covent Garden over the coming Season include Bryn Terfel, Anna Netrebko, Angela Gheorghiu, Simon Keenlyside, Elina Garanca and Joseph Calleja.