29 March 2009

Final Schenk Rings at Metropolitan

This spring is your last chance to experience "Otto Schenk's landmark production" of Der Ring des Nibelungen, as the Metropolitan Opera calls it. I have one or two reservations about the "landmark" statement, but if I had been over there, I sure would have liked to see it live. It is of course available on DVD.

RING CYCLE 1
Rheingold, Das - Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 1:00 PM
Walküre, Die - Saturday, April 11, 2009 - 12:00 PM
Siegfried - Saturday, April 18, 2009 - 12:00 PM
Götterdämmerung - Saturday, April 25, 2009 - 12:00 PM

RING CYCLE 2
Rheingold, Das - Monday, April 27, 2009 - 8:00 PM
Walküre, Die - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 6:30 PM
Siegfried - Thursday, April 30, 2009 - 6:00 PM
Götterdämmerung - Saturday, May 2, 2009 - 6:00 PM

RING CYCLE 3
Rheingold, Das - Monday, May 4, 2009 - 8:00 PM
Walküre, Die - Tuesday, May 5, 2009 - 6:00 PM
Siegfried - Thursday, May 7, 2009 - 6:00 PM
Götterdämmerung - Saturday, May 9, 2009 - 6:30 PM

If you want to experience Iréne Theorin, who recently made her Met debut, your first opportunity is Die Walküre 11 April. The cast is great. This could be a wonderful evening:

Conductor: James Levine
Brünnhilde: Iréne Theorin
Sieglinde: Waltraud Meier
Fricka: Yvonne Naef
Siegmund: Johan Botha
Wotan: James Morris
Hunding: John Tomlinson

The cast for Siegfried in the same cycle 18 April:
Conductor: James Levine
Brünnhilde: Iréne Theorin
Erda: Jill Grove
Siegfried: Christian Franz
Mime: Gerhard Siegel
Wanderer: James Morris

27 March 2009

Klaus Florian Vogt to replace Burkhard Fritz as Lohengrin



Klaus Florian Vogt will replace Burkhard Fritz as Lohengrin in Stefan Herheim's new production at Staatsoper Berlin.

This is the second major cast change for this production after René Pape was replaced by Kwanchul Youn.

Unfortunately I have never heard Fritz, so I do not know what is lost by his withdrawal. But I know what we get: a wonderful Lohengrin - with a soft, almost melancholic voice. It is a voice you just want to sink into and let yourself be drowned by, to use a metaphor appropriate for a Wagner lover. I was fortunate to hear Klaus Florian Vogt as Walther in Katharina Wagner's Meistersinger at Bayreuth last summer, and it was certainly one of the highlights of that summer. No need to say that the Bayreuth audience adored him. You will of course know Vogt from the DVD from Baden-Baden as Lohengrin in Nikolaus Lehnhoffs production. I don't mean any disrespect to Burkhard Fritz, but this change makes me very glad indeed.

23 March 2009

Waltraud Meier will not sing Brünnhilde

Waltraud Meier as Isolde in Heiner Muller's Bayreuther Tristan

Waltraud Meier has decided not to include Brünnhilde into her repertoire, according to her agent at Hilbert Artists Management.

She will continue singing Sieglinde, which she will also do in the production at La Scala in autumn 2010.

As first noticed by Mostly Opera, Brünnhilde disappeared from Meier's schedule on her agent's homepage some time ago, and when the cast for the new Cassiers/Barenboim production at La Scala of the Ring was announced, Nina Stemme was cast as Brünnhilde.

With Meier's decision not to sing Brünnhilde, we will probably miss the most moving and beautifully sung Walküre Act 3 and especially the lines "War es so schmählich, was ich verbrach" and "Der diese Liebe mir in's Herz gehaucht" - ever.

Waltraud Meier's Homepage

16 March 2009

Parsifal and Kundry reborned – Kiseljov's Parsifal in Brno



I have received information about a pantomime production of Parsifal in Brno and would like to share it with you:

"Vladimir Kiseljov, the 25 years-old Czech director, stage designer and President of Richard-Wagner-Society Brno, had on 20. April 2008 in the theatre Reduta Brno in Czech republic fulfilled his dream – to show on stage his concept of the whole Richard Wagners Parsifal as a pantomime – initiation mysterium.

The performance was consulted and recommended by Hans Schavernoch and is probably the first realisation of whole Wagners Parsifal as a pantomime on the complete recording of Wagners score played from 6 loudspeakers around audience, which create in some places of this stage mystery an effect of voices from the heaven, slowly moving up above the audience. This staging presented two actors of Parsifal (1. young and 2. reborned "Erlöser" in Act 3) and 3 actresses of Kundry, because we see them in long time distance in the circulation of their incarnations, till they together at the end became an ideal one being of the "Erlöser", which is only Parsifal and Kundry together, after their near-Tantric ritual of reaching the Grail – state of mind. Salvation comes after the fullfilling of lost capability of live and love of at least two beings together, which through their compassion and love, cojuction of the oposit men and women principles brings salvation to the whole world.

The hidden philosophic intentions of Wagners drama are shown on the stage with gestures and situations, which go not only descriptive to saying of characters- many times we see a counterpoint between what they say, and what they realy think and do. We see mixture of Hindu mudras and gnostic-christian gestures in rituals, which would like to reborn the forgotten rituals of old. But with no provocation or vulgarity, only with humility, which comes from a conection of Wagners "Parsifal" and his Hindu-drama "Die Sieger".

Light in this performance breaths close with Wagners music, shows living unity with the dramatic hearth of Wagners Parsifal. The audience can almost touch the actors, no long distance between actors and audience, which can create sense of farness of the action an his theme. More about this perfomance you may find on www.kiseljov.ic.cz under "Parsifal ND Brno".

Next actions of the Richard-Wagner-Society Brno are exhibitions of paintings and performances of Vladimir Kiseljov, which are inspired and acompanied by Wagners, Bruckners and Rimsky-Korsakovs Music and interpretation of those musical works from sight of philosophy, music and visual dramatic art.

Those actions také place in Brno, Praha, Ostrava, Jihlava (as a part of international music festival Mahler Jihlava 2009) and other cities of Czech republic. One of the actions is a performance, when Vladimir Kiseljov live in front of an audience with music relizes his wall-paintings of Wagners Parsifal – on 22. 6. 2009 in „Galery of Critics“- Adria Palace in the centre of Praha. Other actions of Wagners Society of Brno you will find on www.wagnerbrno.cz.