27 July 2009

Bayreuth Backstage - Photos by Enrico Nawrath

Bayreuth Festival's official photographer, Enrico Nawrath, has taken photographs from the hidden world behind the scene.

The book includes a foreword by Katharina Wagner. It is available from the Online Store at Bayreuther-festspiele.de

More info will follow shortly.

Barenboim kehrt zurück?

According to Gesellschaft der Freunde von Bayreuth via Festspiele.de Daniel Barenboim will return to Bayreuth on 19 August with his West-Eastern Orchestra.

25 July 2009

Bayreuth Festival 2009 opens today

Today the Bayreuth Festival 2009 opens with the Christoph Marthaler production of Tristan und Isolde. No newcomers there, but elsewhere we see some new names: Christian Franz has returned to Bayreuth to sing Siegfried (as he did 2001-2004); the Wolfgang Schmidt (the Siegfried in the Kirchner/Rosalie Ring) will sing both Mimes, Ain Anger makes his Bayreuth debut as Fafner, Alan Titus replaces Franz Hawlata and will sing Hans Sachs in Katharina Wagners controversial production.

24 July 2009

Hélène Grimaud concert in Villa Wahnfried today

Hélène Grimaud will perform in Villa Wahnfried today, the day before the official opening of the 2009 Bayreuth Festival. Grimaud is performing exclusively for the international charity project Kindercamp Villa Sans Souci. With this charity event Hélène Grimaud is embarking on a series of concerts and cultural events devoted to the Kindercamp Villa Sans Souci initiative. The concert is given to a limited number of 80 guests who are all dedicated to supporting children and young people with life-threatening illnesses.

19 July 2009

Waltraud Meier Recital Tomorrow

Tomorrow Waltraud Meier will give a recital at Nationaltheater during the Munich Opera Festival 2009. Joseph Breinl will accompany her on the piano. Unfortunately I will not have the opportunity to be present.


Franz Schubert
Wehmut (op. 22, D 772)
Die Forelle
Gretchen am Spinnrad
Der Erlkönig

Richard Strauss
Wie sollten wir geheim sie halten
Die Nacht

Vier letzte Lieder

10 July 2009

In fernem Land - many versions on Wagneropera.net

On the Themes section of Wagneropera.net, I have started to collect versions of Lohengrin's Grail narrative, In fernem Land (Act 3 of Lohengrin). My personal favourite is Sandor Konya, who is unsurpassed when it comes to expressing the tragedy of Lohengrin's destiny. Konya is THE Lohengrin as a tragic hero. Sandor Konya sang Lohengrin at Bayreuth in 1958, 59, 60 and 1967.

A wonderful, but highly eccentric, version is Ivan Kozlovsky's Gralserzählung. I must confess I had never heard him before I heard this on YouTube. Hearing Lohengrin in Russian is a treat in itself, and Kozlovsky sings both beautifully and with a very personal approach, which I like.

In fernem Land - many versions

08 July 2009

New issue of The Wagner Journal

The Wagner Journal is out with a new issue, featuring:
  • "Style and Sonority in Wagner String Performance" by David Milsom
  • "Reflections on Phrasing and Expressive Gesture in Wagner Singing" by Simon Trezise
  • "‘Enthüllet den Gral’: Towards a Methodology of Historical Wagner Recordings" by Roger Allen
  • "Gesamt Werk Kunst: A Few New Thoughts" by Keith Warner

Reviews include
  • Anti-Romantic Ring Bears Fruit in Orange County. Katherine Syer, drawing on a conversation with Achim Freyer, introduces the new Los Angeles cycle; Simon Williams reviews the first two instalments
  • A Holländer for the Credit Crunch. Tash Siddiqui is impressed by the new production at Covent Garden
  • Strings Attached. Barry Millington reports on contrasting productions of ‘Lohengrin’ in Berlin and London
Also of great interest: David Breckbill examines the complex artistry of Knappertsbusch

The cover photo shows Klaus Florian Vogt as Lohengrin in the production by Stefan Herheim at the Staatsoper, Berlin.

The Wagner Journal
Subscriptions here

07 July 2009

Anne Evans recommends Wagner

Wagneropera.net asked some Wagnerians to recommend Wagner productions on CD or DVD. This is what celebrated Brünnhilde and Isolde, Dame Anne Evans, recommends:

1. Tristan und Isolde (DVD)
Jean-Pierre Ponnelle / Daniel Barenboim.
René Kollo, Johanna Meier, Matti Salminen.
2. Der fliegende Holländer (DVD)
Harry Kupfer / Woldemar Nelsson.
Lisbeth Balslev, Simon Estes, Matti Salminen.
3. Tristan und Isolde (CD)
Carlos Kleiber, Staatskapelle Dresden (DGG, 1982).
René Kollo, Margaret Price, Brigitte Fassbaender, Kurt Moll, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
4. Der Ring des Nibelungen (CD)
Herbert von Karajan. Berliner Philharmoniker.
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Jon Vickers, Helga Dernesch, Jess Thomas
5. Szenen aus Götterdämmerung (CD)
Thomas Beecham / London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Frida Leider, Emanuel List, Fritz Soot, Herbert Janssen, Kerstin Thorborg. (Preiser 90266)

Read all the recommendations on Wagneropera.net


Deutsche Oper's Wagner Explosion

Deutsche Oper normally present an average of 15 performances of wagner operas each year, but the next season it will be 30 performances of different Wagner productions.

First Deutsche Oper start with the "Wagner-Wochen" (Wagner Weeks) from 22 November (Tristan) till 21 February (meistersinger). During this period Deutsche Oper will present almost all Wagner operas and a premiere of Rienzi which has never been produced at Deutsche Oper since its foundation in 1912.

The 2 Ring Cycles (Goetz Friedrich production) start on april 17th - conducted by the new general music director Donald Runnicles .

Matti Salminen's Birthday Today

Matti Salminen as King Marke in Chereau's Tristan

It is the one and only Matti Salminen's birthday today. What a stage presence that man has! He can make an otherwise dull performance shine just by being present on the stage.

Matti Salminen was born 7 July 1945.

Matti Salminen at Bayreuth

06 July 2009

Lohengrin - new production by Richard Jones in Munich

Richard Wagner: Lohengrin. A new production by Richard Jones.
Musical direction: Kent Nagano
Much ado about Jonas Kaufmann as Lohengrin before the premiere yesterday. Other singers: Anja Harteros (Elsa) and Michaela Schuster as Ortrud.

05 July 2009

Dress rehearsals at Bayreuth

Dress rehearsals at Bayreuth Festival 2009

17. Juli Tristan
18. Juli Rheingold
19. Juli Walküre
20. Juli Meistersinger
21. Juli Siegfried
22. Juli Parsifal
23. Juli Götterdämmerung

No tickets are available!

Bayreuth Festival 2009

04 July 2009

New Lohengrin at Bayerische Staatsoper Tomorrow

Tomorrow 5 July is the premiere of the new Lohengrin production by director Richard Jones at Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich.

Richard Jones' earlier Wagner productions include Der fliegende Holländer at De Nederlandse Opera, Der Ring des Nibelungen at Royal Opera House, Das Rheingold and Die Walküre at Scottish Opera.

Kent Nagano will conduct, and the cast will include Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann, Christof Fischesser, Wolfgang Koch, Michaela Schuster and Evgeny Nikitin.

There will also be an audio-visual live broadcast on Max-Joseph-Platz. Admission free.

Updated 6 July: See video from the premiere of Richard Jones' Lohengrin production at Bayerische Staatsoper in München