24 January 2008

Waltraud will sing Sieglinde in Oslo August 20 2008

Waltraud Meier is scheduled to sing Sieglinde in a concert performance of Die Walküre, act 1, in Oslo on August 20, according to Waltraud Meier's homepage. Daniel Barenboim will conduct the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. This will take place in the new opera house in Oslo.

On one of the best opera blogs available, Mostly Opera, Waltraud Meier's schedule for the next years can be seen.

Waltraud Meier's homepage
Norwegian National Opera

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13 January 2008

Das Rheingold – the ending

The ending of Das Rheingold: The gods are moving in to Walhall while the Rhinemaidens are lamenting the gold that was stolen from them. Clip taken from the famous Centenary Ring that was staged by Patrice Chéreau and conducted by Pierre Boulez, recorded in Bayreuth in 1980. It ran from 1976 to 1980. Donald McIntyre is wonderful as Wotan. This Ring made a star of Heinz Zednik (Loge/Mime). This production caused a major riot because it was so revolutionary, hard to understand today.

Director Patrice Chéreau's production of Tristan und Isolde has recently opened at La Scala.

Loge: Heinz Zednik
Wotan: Donald McIntyre
Fricka: Hanna Schwarz
Froh: Siegfried Jerusalem
Donner: Martin Egel
Freia: Carmen Reppel
Conductor: Pierre Boulez
Stage director: Patrice Chéreau

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12 January 2008

1970: Nilsson and Windgassen rehearsing in Bayreuth

Birgit Nilsson and Wolfgang Windgassen rehearsing in Bayreuth for Tristan und Isolde in 1970. A very nice and interesting clip, which is made four years after they recorded the opera with Karl Böhm conducting in what is now a legendary recording.

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10 January 2008

Zednik, Weikl and Hofmann in Tristan (1981)

I apologize for the quality, but fans of Leonard Bernstein, Heinz Zednik, Bernd Weikl and Peter Hofmann will appreciate this archive footage from the recording of Tristan und Isolde in 1981.

I saw Bernd Weikl as Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg during the summer festival in Munich one year after this recording was made. What a wonderful Sachs he was in those days! When I think of it, the cast couldn't have been much better, with Lucia Popp as Eva, Peter Schreier as David, René Kollo as Walther, Kurt Moll as Pogner and the hilariously funny Hans Günter Nöcker as Beckmesser.

The three acts of the opera were performed two times each in the Herkulessaal in Munich and then polished, thus making the recording a mixture of live and studio recording.

Tristan (Peter Hofmann) is on his death bed. His friend Kurwenal (Bernd Weikl) and a shepherd (Heinz Zednik) are talking as they are awaiting Isolde's arrival.

Heinz Zednik, otherwise a master of irony and comedy, shows another side here, singing the shepherd with beautiful sincerety.

This clip contains the wonderful melancholic solo passage played by the shepherd (English horn).

The finished product should IMHO be in every wagnerians CD collection:

Read more about Leonard Bernsteins recording of Tristan und Isolde
English horn (cor anglais)
Heinz Zednik (Wikipedia)
Bernd Weikl (Wikipedia)
Peter Hofmann (Wikipedia)
Leonard Bernstein (Wikipedia)

The text from this opening scene of Tristan und Isolde, act 3:

Eine andre Weise
hörtest du dann,
so lustig, als ich sie nur kann.
Nun sag auch ehrlich,
alter Freund:
was hat's mit unserm Herrn?

Laß die Frage:
du kannst's doch nie erfahren.
Eifrig späh,
und siehst du ein Schiff,
so spiele lustig und hell!

Öd und leer das Meer!

Die alte Weise ---
was weckt sie mich?


Wo bin ich?

Ha! Diese Stimme!
Seine Stimme!
Tristan, Herre!
Mein Held, mein Tristan!

Wer ruft mich?

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08 January 2008

Leonard Bernstein recording Tristan und Isolde in Herkulessaal

This is a rare footage from one of the concert performances Leonard Bernstein did of Tristan und Isolde (Isolde's Liebestod) in Herkulessaal in Munich in 1981. Bernstein preferred in later years to record from live performances. The opera was recorded from independant concerts of each act, held with some months in between. From two of the concerts (of each act) the main material for the recording was made, with two days of remake and corrections.

Read more about Bernstein's recording of Tristan und Isolde on Wagneropera.net

07 January 2008

Siegfried's Horn Call by Annamia Eriksson

This video shows Annamia Eriksson playing Siegfried's horn call (from the opera Siegfried). This horn call wakes up Fafner, the dragon. The video is part of a promo for a production of the Ring at the Royal Swedish Opera. Annamia Eriksson plays the part very well, with rich nuances.

I like these kind of promotional stunts from opera companies. It is surprisingly few that show creative powers to reach out to the audience (and potential audience). Wake up, lads - it's 2008.

You can read more about Annamia Eriksson at Kammarensemblen.com.
A English horn solo from Tristan und Isolde can be heard in this clip

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Heinz Zednik in Bayreuth

The character tenor Heinz Zednik is one of the most remarkable Wagner interpretors that we have seen in Bayreuth. Although only doing minor roles, his strong scenic presence and interpretative skills contributed to the great success of the Centenary Ring (1976-80).

It was another great character tenor that recommended him for Bayreuth: Gerhard Stolze. Heinz Zednik did his first Bayreuth performances in 1970, as Ulrich Eisslinger (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) and 4. Knappe (Parsifal). The next year he sang Steuermann (Der fliegende Holländer), 2. Edler (Lohengrin) and 4. Knappe (Parsifal).

It was first in 1972 he was asked to sing Mime in Das Rheingold and Siegfried. Zednik owned the role as Mime in Siegfried from 1972 to 1980. With the Centenary Ring, he reached his peak as a Bayreuth star, making remarkable interpretations as Loge in Das Rheingold and Mime in Siegfried all the five years the Chéreau Ring was being played.

The Chéreau/Boulez Ring was first a great scandal, but became one of the greatest successes in the history of the Bayreuth Festival. At curtain fall of the last Götterdämmerung of this production, there was a 85 minutes long ovation.

Heinz Zednik has for more than 40 years been a part of the ensemble at Wiener Staatsoper.

Heinz Zednik's performances in Bayreuth
Heinz Zednik: Mein Opernleben