30 November 2009

Waltraud Meier: O hehrstes Wunder

There are many great Sieglindes, and one of them is Waltraud Meier. Here she is in a production at La Scala.

Who is your favourite Sieglinde? Maybe Eva-Maria Westbroek?

28 November 2009

Tom Tykwer [NOT] to direct Wagner's Ring 2013 at Bayreuth

UPDATED: Katharina Wagner says that Tom Tykwer will NOT direct the Ring at Bayreuth in 2013.
According to a well-informed source, the film director Tom Tykwer will direct the Ring at Bayreuth in 2013. 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner's birth, so this production is regarded as a special event. There will be numerous Ring productions all over the world this year.

Tykwer is also a composer of film music. His soundtrack career grew out of financial necessity. According to his Homepage he had no budget for a composer, so turned his own hand to the task. These first composing experiences led him to the "great discovery that the composition process actually begins with the scriptwriting, and that with the search for the language of the film, it finds its tone melody and harmony." Meanwhile, Tom Tykwer has put his music to all his films.

Originally motivated by putting together a soundtrack, the music now composed by Pale 3 (Tykwer/Klimek/Heil) is not only film music. And in co-operation with Xaver Naudascher, the creative process of scoring music outside the realm of cinema is sometimes a kind of liberation. "It is like with writing or painting: with a semi-elaborate computer, music you think up can be transformed immediately. The music exists, regardless as to whether or not you have any financial backing."

Tom Tykwer's motto on his Homepage is:
"I like everything that speaks to me loudly, and that gives me a vision. I don't care about the genre. It's the same for all arts, and the same for film and for music."

Tom Tykwer's filmography:
True (short film)
The Princess + the Warrior
Run Lola Run
Winter Sleepers
Deadly Maria
Epilog (short film)
Because (short film)

Tom Tykwer's Homepage
Tom Tykwer on IMDB.com

26 November 2009

Luana Devol and Louis Gentile

"O sink hernieder" from the Act 2 of Tristan und Isolde (Antwerp). Silvio Varviso conducts. Luana Devol (Isolde) and Louis Gentile (Tristan) in a Willy Decker production originally from Leipzig.

William Johns and Gwyneth Jones

Some might find this clip from 1985 showing Gwyneth Jones and William Johns as Isolde and Tristan interesting. And as a bonus you can see Waltraud Meier lurking around in the night as Brangäne.

22 November 2009

Fake (?) Waltraud Meier profile on Facebook removed

From the first day the Waltraud Meier profile on Facebook appeared I suspected that the profile was fake. The publishing of WM's private email address being the most obvious hint that this was a fake profile. As time went by and hundreds of people became "friends" with "Waltraud Meier", there never came anything to suggest that it was Waltraud Meier, her assistant or her PR agency (if she uses one) that was behind the profile.

Anyone can make a profile on Facebook. Anyone can call themself what they want, impersonating whoever they want. A lot of fake profiles have been made, and are being made every day. Many artists feel vulnerable to this situation, and dislike that their fans are being mislead. Some impersonators of pop/rock stars have even taken advantage of young fans.

My advice to anyone being more or less famous is to take control over their name/brand, not only on Facebook, but the whole Internet. This would mean having an official homepage, making a group or fan page on Facebook and make an official Twitter account. Your Twitter account can be verified. And please inform the Internet users what is real and what is fake. It would be important to make sure that there is no doubt that the information is coming from the real person.

It's all about controlling your brand (your name), and - not least - controlling the information about your brand and assure the quality of that information. Whether you see this as good marketing or just care about the information about you on the web, the solution is in your hands.

Thomas Hampson has a very professional web presence, and on his homepage he has links to his Facebook page.

Here you can report fake Facebook profiles:

Thomas Hampson on Facebook
Kirsten Flagstad Museum on Facebook
Friends of Wagneropera.net on Facebook
Berliner Philharmoniker on Facebook

Waltraud Meier as Brangäne

By many considered the best Isolde of our time, Waltraud Meier actually came to Isolde via the role as Brangäne, which she did in the 80s (also at Bayreuth one year, 1986).

Here are two short clips (unfortunately of rather poor quality) showing Waltraud Meier as Brangäne. Brangäne is a role most of us don't associate with Waltraud Meier, especially those who discovered her after her breakthrough as Isolde, but the clips are at least of historical interest. In the "Einsam wachend in der Nacht" clip you can see Gwyneth Jones (Isolde) and William Johns (Tristan).

20 November 2009

Tim Blanning on Wagner and Saxony

Wagner Society in London: Professor Tim Blanning will give a talk on Wagner and Saxony at Swedenborg Institute Hall in London on 24 November 2009.

Tickets: 01462675638

12 November 2009

Sven-Eric Bechtolf reads Wagner

Sven-Eric Bechtolf, the actor and theater and opera director, interprets Wagner's original texts for his Ring des Nibelungen.

The Box includes 8 audio-CDs and one mp3-CD. CD 9 contains the whole Ring reading (MP3).


09 November 2009

WNO Götterdämmerung (concert performance)

Unbridled greed is a principal theme of Wagner’s Ring cycle, and Wagneropera.net's Washington correspondent, Jerry Floyd, finds it ironic that the greed-induced global financial crisis caused the cancellation of this autumn’s planned series of Ring cycles by The Washington National Opera.

The troupe instead opted for two concert performances of Götterdämmerung at the Kennedy Center Opera House, featuring a number of singers originally scheduled for the complete Ring.

The first performance, on 7 November, was memorable because of sterling performances by soprano Iréne Theorin, Brünnhilde, and bass-baritone Gidon Saks, Hagen.

An additional performance of Götterdämmerung is scheduled for 15 November.

Read Jerry Floyd's WNO Götterdämmerung review here

03 November 2009

Siegfried Idyll

Visit The Berlin Philharmonic's YouTube Channel for more BP videos

Write about your Bayreuth experience

Have you ever attended the Bayreuth Festival? Which productions did you see? How was the experience?

Write a short essay on your Bayreuth experience and you may even win Festival photografer Enrico Nawrath's new book Bayreuth Backstage. Deadline 31 November 2009.

Read more here about where to send your contribution

01 November 2009

Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Meier in Tristan

Waltraud Meier can be heard as Isolde in a concert performance of Tristan and Isolde at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 5 and 7 November. Daniel Harding will conduct Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Waltraud Meier, Isolde
John Mac Master, Tristan
Mihoko Fujimura, Brangäne
Franz-Josef Selig, Marke
Michael Vier, Melot / Kurwenal

More info