26 February 2009

Tim Albery with a new Dutchman at ROH

Bryn Terfel
Bryn Terfel and Anja Kampe in The Flying Dutchman at Royal opera House. Photo: Clive Barda

A new production of Der fliegende Holländer (director is Tim Albery) premiered at Covent Garden three days ago. The Daily Telegraph is most enthusiastic about it. Here are some excerpts:

Bryn Terfel's Flying Dutchman appears a haunted and weary man, who seems to know from the start that his bid to break the curse that binds him to sail the seas for eternity will fail. He starts his great monologue Die Frist ist um, The Time is up, in a chilling sotto voce, which builds to a magnificent outpouring of rage, fear, despair and a thread of hope.

In fabulously good voice, carving a majestic legato line, Terfel goes on to give a performance of the grandest Wagnerian stature and, if nothing quite matches the impact he makes in this opening scene, the fault is Wagner's, not his. The remainder of the opera is dominated by Anja Kampe's equally powerful Senta [...] she sings this killingly difficult role with thrilling abandon and intensity, etching a sharp characterisation of a neurotic obsessive on a psychologically suicidal course.

Tim Albery's admirably lucid and focused production frames these two unforgettable interpretations with an abstract but undistractingly modern setting, designed by Michael Levine. [...] The conductor Marc Albrecht makes a great success in his Covent Garden debut, sustaining a long (two and a half hours, without an interval) but deeply rewarding evening. Refusing to rush things or whip up excitement with empty fortissimo, he establishes a firm underpinning dramatic pulse and relishes the passages where Wagner lets his hair down and pays tribute to Weber's folksy charm with a catchy, lilting tune.

Read the whole review here
ROH - Dutchman web page

21 February 2009

Los Angeles Ring: premiere of Das Rheingold Today

The Los Angeles Ring opens today with the premiere of Das Rheingold. Director and designer is Achim Freyer.

James Conlon conducts an interesting cast of internationally acclaimed Wagnerians. Vitalij Kowaljow, a powerful Ukrainian bass, which I must admit I have never heard, will sing Wotan. Michelle DeYoung is making her Los Angeles Opera debut as Wotan's wife Fricka. She has previously performed the role at The Metropolitan Opera. Other members of the cast include Arnold Bezuyen as Loge (I heard him at Bayreuth last summer, and he was wonderful) and Gordon Hawkins as Alberich. Jill Grove is the earth goddess Erda, Eric Halfvarson is the giant Fafner, and Graham Clark will sing Mime.

Los Angeles Opera

Visit Bamberg

The next time you visit the Bayreuth Festival, take a trip to wonderful Bamberg. The train takes little more than one hour, and it is a great place to spend one of your days off.

See some pictures of Bamberg from 2008 here

Timetable Bayreuth-Bamberg Deutsche Bahn

15 February 2009

Bayreuth Backstage

Today the exhibition Bayreuth Backstage opens in a place called Spiekeroog near Bremen. It will show photographs by the Festival photographer Enrico Nawrath. The exhibition ends 31 March.

More info here

14 February 2009

Kasper Bech Holten recommends Wagner

Some time ago Wagneropera.net asked a selection of Wagnerians to recommend five Wagner CDs or DVDs.

This is Kasper Bech Holtens recommendations:

  1. Der Ring des Nibelungen (DVD)
    Patrice Chéreau / Pierre Boulez. Bayreuth Festival, 1980.
  2. Der Ring des Nibelungen (CD)
    Georg Solti.
  3. Tannhäuser (DVD)
    David Alden / Zubin Mehta.
  4. Lohengrin (CD)
    Rudolf Kempe (EMI). Jess Thomas, Elisabeth Grümmer, Gottlob Frick, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Christa Ludwig, Otto Wiener
  5. Der fliegende Holländer (DVD)
    Harry Kupfer / Woldemar Nelsson. Lisbeth Balslev, Simon Estes, Matti Salminen.
  6. Der Ring des Nibelungen (DVD)
    The Stuttgart Ring.

Kasper Bech Holten is Artistic Director of the Royal Danish Opera and director of The Copenhagen Ring.

Read all recommendations from other Wagnerians on Wagneropera.net


Interview with Lioba Braun

An interview with Lioba Braun has just been published on Wagneropera.net. Braun is currently singing Brangäne in the Chereau production of Tristan und Isolde in Milan. Her breakthrough came when she stepped in to sing Brangäne in the Heiner Müller Tristan at Bayreuth in 1994.

Read the interview on Wagneropera.net

11 February 2009

The Bayreuth Festival 2009 Cast

The Bayreuth Festival 2009 cast has now been published. Most notable changes are that Christian Franz returns to Bayreuth to sing Siegfried (as he did 2001-2004); the Rosalie-Siegfried Wolfgang Schmidt kehrt zurück to sing both Mimes, Ain Anger makes his Bayreuth debut as Fafner, Alan Titus will sing Hans Sachs in Katharina Wagners controversial production. Sadly Michael Volle's Munich plans collides with the Bayreuth schedule. Let us hope he will return.

Source: bayreuther-festspiele.de

01 February 2009

Weimar Ring to be released on DVD in May 2009

Weimar Ring

The Weimar Ring, directed by Michael Schulz, is scheduled for DVD release in May 2009.

The production is conducted by Carl St. Clair, who has recently assumed the title of Generalmusikdirektor of the Komische Oper in Berlin.

The director Michael Schulz is a former student of Götz Friedrich. He has recently assumed the post of General Manager (Generalintendant) of the Musiktheater im Revier in Gelsenkirchen.

According to the production company, no other Ring staging, except Chereau’s, stays so close to the text, or has so many characters who are referred to in the libretto but seldom brought to life: Grane, the Ravens, the Rams etc. This Ring is a family saga which takes place over 30 or 40 years. Hence, the Norns as children at the beginning of Rheingold, Siegmund and Sieglinde as children in the overture to Walküre, Hagen as a boy in the beginning of Walküre, and in Siegfried, and as a young man at the end of Siegfried, as well as many other innovative threads which are woven into a single tapestry which is the tetrology.

The casting is also unusual, with a deliberate exchange of roles by the ensemble stars, to emphasize different aspects of a character. There are 3 different Wotans, two different Siegfrieds, two different Alberichs. They are cast according to their psychological development from opera to opera, and to place emphasis on certain aspects of their characters in one opera over another.

deutsches nationaltheater und staatskapelle weimar