26 September 2008



Herheim with best Norwegian musical achievement 2007/2008

Stefan Herheim won the prize for best Norwegian musical achievement 2007/2008 from the Norwegian Critics’ Association for his production of Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival this summer.

Eikanger-Bjorsvik Brass Ensemble plays Wagner

Eikanger-Bjorsvik Brass Ensemble are performing music written by - and inspired by Richard Wagner on Sunday 19 October at 19.00, the Grieghall foyer, Bergen.

The programme consists of Rienzi ouverture, Prelude und Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde, Grand March from Tannhäuser, Elsas prosession to the Minster among others.

The conductor is Bjorn Sagstad.

Time and place: Sunday 19 October at 19.00, Grieghall foyer, Bergen, Norway

21 September 2008

Stig Andersen - yes and no at Bayreuth

Did you know that the Danish tenor Stig Andersen got his Bayreuth debut already in 1977? Well, not as Siegfried or Siegmund, but as part of the wonderful Festival Chorus. Between 1977 and 1979 he sang in the Festspielchor in Cheréau’s Götterdämmerung and Götz Friedrich’s Tannhäuser and Lohengrin.

Stig Andersen (aka Stig Fogh Andersen) sings Siegmund and Siegfried on the recently released Copenhagen Ring on DVD - and very well too.


Smoking Kills

If Wagner had been a chain smoker, he might not have had the opportunity to make Parsifal. This is a very scientific proof showing how our beloved composer would have looked like after having made Walküre if he had been a heavy smoker:

You can check how you are going to look if you start smoking here

14 September 2008

Interview with author of "New Bayreuth"

When we were in Bayreuth this summer, my colleague Erling Guldbrandsen and I met Penelope Turing (born in 1925), author of the books New Bayreuth and Hans Hotter – Man and Artist. She has seen every production in Bayreuth since 1952 (!) and has attended the Bayreuth Festival more than 50 times (!). Her experience and perspective is so unique that my colleague and I thought it would be interesting to have her share some of her experiences and thoughts with Wagneropera.net's readers. She generously accepted our invitation to lunch at the Arvena Kongress Hotel on 7 August and talk about the festival, her views on Wieland and Wolfgang Wagner's productions and much more.

Read the interview with Penelope Turing on Wagneropera.net

06 September 2008

Puzzling bodily contact in Parsifal

Have you ever found the description of how Gurnemanz is laying Parsifal's arm around his neck and then laying his own hand around Parsifal's body a bit strange?

This detailed stage instruction in Wagner's libretto (just before they are entering the great hall of the Grail Castle) has always puzzled me. It think it has to do with the close bodily contact between the young Parsifal and the older man, being strangers to one another. I mean, I would probably find it mighty peculiar if an elderly man did the same to me before entering, say, a church to show me around.

The text says (with English translation taken from Monsalvat.no):
Er hat Parsifals Arm sich sanft um den Nacken gelegt und dessen Leib mit seinem eigenen Arme umschlungen; so geleitet er ihn bei sehr allmählichem Schreiten.
(He has gently laid Parsifal's arm around his neck and puts his own arm around his body; thus he leads him with very slow steps.)

05 September 2008

If I could choose…

If I could choose director, conductor and singers for the 2013 Ring at Bayreuth, I'd probably go for these:

Conductor: Christian Thielemann
Stage director: Stefan Herheim
Sieglinde: Eva-Maria Westbroek
Brünnhilde: Nina Stemme
Wotan: René Pape
Alberich: Andrew Shore
Mime: Gerhard Siegel

It is highly unlikely that Daniel Barenboim is interested in returning to Bayreuth to do the Ring for four years. Otherwise it would have been great to have him back.

No one would like to see Waltraud Meier back in Bayreuth more than I, but is it likely? Will she still sing Sieglinde in 2013? Is her Brünnhilde ready for Bayreuth? Will Bayreuth let her just do the Walküre Brünnhilde?

I took the best from the current Tankred Dorst Ring and added a couple of newcomers.

Or is Thielemann too conservative for Herheim?

Who would you have chosen for your Ring Dream Team?

Bayreuth 2010: Annette Dasch and Evelyn Herlitzius

AFP, referring an interview Katharina Wagner has made with the German daily Welt Online, can report the following:

Annette Dasch is to sing Elsa (new production of Lohengrin). 2010 Evelyn Herlitzius is to sing Ortrud (Stage director: Hans Neuenfels, conductor: Andris Nelson)

Sebastian Baumgarten is to produce a new Tannhäuser

Christian Thielemann
will conduct and Adrienne Pieczonka is to sing Senta in a new production of The Flying Dutchman. No director has been named.

No Ring director has been chosen yet. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck has been mention in the media, but seems out of the question.

Frau Wagner says that she is "keeping open the option of the Festspielhaus for Rienzi.

01 September 2008

Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner-Pasquier new bosses in Bayreuth

Katharina Wagner and her half sister Eva Wagner-Pasquier has been elected by the Stiftungsrat to lead the Bayreuth Festival for the next seven or so years. As a team member they have conductor Christian Thielemann.

This was highly expected as their only competitor was Nike Wagner, who - if the media coverage of her gives the right impression - seems to lack cooperative skills so important for a position like this. She has been sulking and provoking and felt overlooked and stabbed in the back for god knows how many years now. As a last desperate attempt Nike teamed up with Gérard Mortier, who will become general manager and artistic director of the New York City Opera in 2009 and planned to combine the two jobs.

Katharina and Eva's first decision should be to invite Stefan Herheim to do the Ring in 2013.

More here:
International Herald Tribune
New York Times
Süddeutsche Zeitung