28 November 2008

Barenboim Met debut today with Tristan

Daniel Barenboim is making his Metropolitan Opera debut today with Tristan und Isolde.

Barenboim's responsibilities in Chicago, Bayreuth, and Berlin has made a Metropolitan debut impossible until now.

The cast includes Katarina Dalayman as Isolde, Michelle DeYoung as Brangäne, Peter Seiffert as Tristan, Gerd Grochowski as Kurwenal a René Pape as the cuckolded King Marke.

24 November 2008

Concertgebouw Best Orchestra in the World

A panel of leading international critics has ranked Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra no 1, defeating orchestras like Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Bavarian Radio Symphony.

It is the magazine Gramophone who has asked eleven critics to rank the best orchestras in the world. The panel included three British critics from the Gramophone, two Americans, two Asians and one each from Le Monde (France), Die Welt (Germany), De Telegraaf (the Nether-lands) and Die Presse (Austria).

These are the best orchestras, according to Gramophone's critics:

1 Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
2 Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
3 Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
4 London Symphony Orchestra
5 Chicago Symphony Orchestra
6 Bavarian Radio Symphony
7 Cleveland Orchestra
8 Los Angeles Philharmonic
9 Budapest Festival Orchestra
10 Dresden Staatskapelle
11 Boston Symphony Orchestra
12 New York Philharmonic
13 San Francisco Symphony
14 Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra
15 Russian National Orchestra
16 Leningrad Philharmonic
17 Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
18 Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
19 Saito Kinen Symphony Orchestra
20 Czech Philharmonic

21 November 2008

No Munich Dutchman on DVD

Are you also hoping for a DVD release of Peter Konwitschny's Munich production of Der fliegende Holländer? Well, unfortunately it seems that we will have to manage without, since there are no plans of releasing it on DVD, according to the Press Office at Bayerische Staatsoper.

20 November 2008

Happy Birthday, René Kollo!

Happy Birthday, René Kollo! I heard you as Walther during the Münchener Opernfestspiele in 1982 (!). I love your Tristan in Ponnelle’s Tristan at Bayreuth.

17 November 2008

Financial Crisis Hits Wagner in Washington

General Director of Washington National Opera Plácido Domingo has announced that the scheduled Ring cycle will be postponed until the financial climate becomes more positive.

“Postponing the Ring protects the long-term financial health of the company and ensures that WNO will continue the legacy of artistic excellence that is central to our mission. Washington National Opera is committed to presenting our audiences with the world’s great artists and international productions and, by being fiscally responsible, we ensure that future,” stated Mark Weinstein, WNO Executive Director.

Das Rheingold and Die Walküre has already been produced.

Read all about it on Washington National Opera's homepage

14 November 2008

Katharina Wagner in Tragic Autobahn Drama

Katharina Wagner managed to maneuver the car safely to a stop when the driver of the car suddenly died of a heart attack Thursday night. The driver, Stefan Müller, a 32 year old lawyer for the Bayreuth Festival, was Katharina Wagner's "best friend", Festival spokesman Peter Emmerich said. She was unable to resuscitate her friend.

Der Spiegel and every other newspaper has more

Winifred Wagner and Wagner Cars

Winifred Wagner interview on DVDWinifred Wagner was the first woman in Bayreuth to get the driver's license. She advised Siegfried Wagner to buy a car, but he was reluctant because he didn't want to be dependent on a chauffeur. Obviously the thought that he could drive the car himself didn't occur to him. Well, Winifred got the license, and Siegfried didn't mind being dependent on her for driving around.

The first car they got, was a Presto (in 1924). The next car was a Horch (with 9 seats). Winifred says it was "so to say a police car". Then the family went over to Mercedes (a choice I can fully understand, being a fan of old Mercedeses). And at the time Winifred was interviewed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg (Winifried Wagner und die Geschichte des Hauses Wahnfried von 1914-1975) she had a Volkswagen.

You can order Winifried Wagner und die Geschichte des Hauses Wahnfried von 1914-1975 and other Syberberg DVDs at Syberberg.de:

The Leipzig Holländer Back in Business

The second performance of Michael von zur Mühlen's controversial production of Der fliegende Holländer at the Oper Leipzig will be tomorrow, Friday 14 th November.

The violent video clips which were added just a moment before the premiere started will not be shown. The press office say that they will be showing the performance as it was at the general rehearsal.

James Johnson was scheduled to sing the Holländer part, but after the premiere he refused to sing in the production any more, obviously not being comfortable with Michael von zur Mühlen's concept.

Wolfgang Brendel, is going to sing the title part in all the next performances which will be shown as scheduled.

The Holländer performances at the Oper Leipzig can be seen:

14.11.08, 18:00
19.11.08, 19:30
10.12.08, 19:00
20.12.08, 19:00
03.01.09, 19:30
16.04.09, 19:30
24.04.09, 18:00
31.05.09, 18:00

13 November 2008

Chéreau Tristan on DVD is not discontinued by the manufacturer

I have received e-mails from people asking about the Amazon.com message regarding Chéreau's Tristan on DVD. On Amazon.com it says: "This item has been discontinued by the manufacturer."

A spokesman for EMI and Virgin Classics say that the US release date probably is different, and that this explains the message on Amazon.com.

If you can't wait, you get the 3 DVDs practically for free at Amazon.co.uk. Play.com doesn't seem to be interested in selling it. Amazon.de does not have it yet.

12 November 2008

Chéreau's Tristan out on DVD now

Waltraud Meier's extraordinary performance as Isolde in Patrice Chéreau's production of Tristan und Isolde from Teatro alla Scala is now out on DVD. At Amazon.co.uk it costs only £10.49. No I am not kidding. It is practically free. I got my copy today. At Amazon.com no other information than "This item has been discontinued by the manufacturer.This item has been discontinued by the manufacturer." is given. This must be a mistake. Anyway, it is available at Amazon.co.uk.

Is this the best Tristan on DVD?

02 November 2008

Stockholm Ring on Swedish TV

The Complete Stockholm Ring is to be broadcast on Swedish TV this autumn

SVT2 Saturday 18 October kl 19.45: Das Rheingold
SVT2 Saturday 8 November kl 19.40: Die Walküre
SVT2 Saturday 29 November kl 19.35: Siegfried
SVT2 Saturday 20 December kl 19:00: Götterdämmerung