30 April 2009

A message from the younger generation

My not-exactly-Wagnerian son sent me a message via the refrigerator yesterday:

He prefers rap or hip hop or whatever it is called. Unfortunately for him, his room is next to my office, from which Wagner CDs and DVD are being played at Wagnerian volume level now and then. This was his revenge.

28 April 2009

Dusty Lohengrin at ROH

Over at Mark Berry's blog Boulezian the revival of Elijah Moshinsky's Lohengrin production at Royal Opera House has instigated a discussion that we don't see too often. The director has serious objections to Berry's review, and writes that he has tried to get ROH to scrap the production from 1977, and is dissatisfied with ROH for not getting proper time and resources to prepare the revival.

Read Berry's review and the interesting comments here

Updated with some reviews
The Telegraph
Barry Millington
The Times

24 April 2009

Berlin Staatsoper 2009/2010

Staatsoper Berlin announced the programme for next season today. This will be the last season before renovation work begins, and the company temporarily moves to Schiller Theater.

No Wagner premieres this season, but productions 2009/2010 include:
Lohengrin (Stefan Herheim). November 2009: 1, 8, 15
• Tristan und Isolde (Harry Kupfer) with live transmission at public square Bebelsplatz 29 August 2009. Entry is free. Also in March 2010: 21, 28 and April 5

Cast for Lohengrin

Musikalische Leitung Daniel Barenboim (Julien Salemkour 15 Nov)
Inszenierung Stefan Herheim
Bühnenbild Heike Scheele
Kostüme Gesine Völlm
Licht Olaf Freese
Video fettFilm (Möller | Hinrichs)
Chöre Eberhard Friedrich
Dramaturgie Alexander Meier-Dörzenbach
Heinrich der Vogler Kwangchul Youn (Christof Fischesser 15 Nov)
Lohengrin Burkhard Fritz (replacing Klaus Florian Vogt)
Elsa von Brabant Anna Samuil (replacing Dorothea Röschmann)
Friedrich von Telramund Gerd Grochowski
Ortrud, seine Gemahlin Deborah Polaski (replacing Michaela Schuster)
Der Heerrufer des Königs Arttu Kataja
Berlin Staatsopernchor

21 April 2009

Bryn Terfel role debut as Sachs at WNO 2010

Bryn Terfel will make his role debut as Hans Sachs (Meistersinger) at Welsh National Opera (Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff) on 19 June 2010. The production, directed by Richard Jones, will be conducted by Lothar Koenigs.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, all dates (NB! 2010):
June: 19, 23, 26, 29
July: 3
Also at Birmingham Hippodrome on 6+7 July

More information available at Welsh National Opera

17 April 2009

Happy Birthday, Siegfried Jerusalem!

Siegfried Jerusalem was born 69 years ago today. He is by many regarded as the best heroic tenor of his generation. Some of the highlights of his career are his Tristan in Heiner Müller's Bayreuth production and his Siegfried in Harry Kupfer's Ring, also in Bayreuth. Jerusalem currently teaches at the Nuremberg School of Music (Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg).

heiner muller tristanAt Bayreuth Siegfried Jerusalem also sang Walther von Stolzing, Lohengrin, Froh, Junger Seemann (Tristan), Parsifal and Siegmund.

Luckily Siegfried Jerusalem didn't agree with Georg Solti, who in his very peculiar autobiography Solti on Solti wrote that Jerusalen "had a lovely, lyrical voice but he should have stuck to Mozart and other, lighter repertoire". Anne Evans, who sang Brünnhilde in Harry Kupfer's Ring, is of another opinion. In an interview with Wagneropera.net she says: "The finest Heldentenor in my time was Siegfried Jerusalem and I consider myself hugely fortunate to have had the opportunity to sing with him so often."

Siegfried Jerusalem at Bayreuth

08 April 2009

Herheim triumphs with Lohengrin in Berlin

Dorothea Röschmann as Elsa in Stefan Herheim's new production of Lohengrin. Photo: Karl Forster / Staatsoper Berlin

Stefan Herheim has again created a great Wagner production, this time at Staatsoper Berlin.

Read more about my thoughts about the production on Wagneropera.net

07 April 2009

Zambello's Siegfried - Cast and Dates

Francesca Zambello's production of Siegfried at Washington National Opera:

The Cast:

Siegfried Pär Lindskog*
The Wanderer/Wotan Alan Held
Alberich Gordon Hawkins
Mime Andreas Conrad
Brünnhilde Iréne Theorin
Fafner Gidon Saks
Erda Nancy Maultsby
A Woodbird Micaëla Oeste

The performances

May 2, 2009
May 5, 2009
May 9, 2009
May 14, 2009
May 17, 2009

06 April 2009

Siegfried - An American experience

Washington National Opera opens its monumental production of Siegfried, running for five performances, May 2 to 17 at the Kennedy Center Opera House. In this new production, a company premiere conducted by Michael Güttler, acclaimed director Francesca Zambello sets Wagner’s tale within the context of the American experience, a concept The New York Times hailed as "fresh and impressive". Pär Lindskog and Iréne Theorin make their WNO debuts as Siegfried and Brünnhilde, respectively, in a cast that also features Alan Held at Wotan/The Wanderer and Gordon Hawkins as Alberich.

WNO will offer concert performances of Götterdämmerung (November 7 and 15).

03 April 2009

Berlin Lohengrin Premiere Saturday

Saturday is the premiere of the new Herheim/Barenboim Lohengrin at Staatsoper in Berlin. Both René Pape and Burkhard Fritz cancelled, and in came Kwanchul Youn and Klaus Florian Vogt.

The last weeks have been pretty hectic at Staatsoper, it seems. Daniel Barenboim didn't want to play the prelude with the curtain up. To Shirley Apthorp he says “With Wagner the whole world of the opera to come is expressed in the prelude. If the curtain is down, you create your own associations, and I think the experience is richer.” Daniele Gatti had the same objection in Bayreuth last summer. Thank heaven that Herheim won that dispute, for without the pantomime showing the death of Parsifal's mother Herzeleide the production had been less fascinating. I am sure even Barenboim would agree that the staging of the Parsifal Vorspiel at Bayreuth was necessary. Some would even say ingenious. I don't know how serious the "disagreement" between Herheim and Barenboim has been. If someone disagrees, it is often distorted in the media and interpreted as much more than it in reality is. It starts with "disagreement", later becomes "conflict" and before you can say the Lord's Prayer it is referred to as "war".

I must say I am very surprised reading about Barenboims objections. Weren't all the Vorspiels in Kupfer's Ring played to an open curtain?

A pre-production interview with dramaturg Alexander Meier-Dörzenbach on Wagneropera.net reveals that we can expect a not exactly traditional Lohengrin, with extensive use of marionettes (!), many of them obviously looking like der Meister.

Feel free to comment on the production if you are attending!

01 April 2009

Berlin Lohengrin Marionettes

The interview with Alexander Meier-Dörzenbach is now updated with photos from the rehearsals.

Off Topic: Laika

My dog Laika is preparing for the upcoming Lohengrin premiere in Berlin by catching snow balls in the garden. As you can see, spring is coming to Norway: siehe, der Lenz lacht in den Saal!