26 December 2010

Said about the Bayreuth Festival

  • Hans Hotter on Bayreuth: It was the main point of interest when one was being interviewed
  • René Kollo (1995) on the decaying festival: Bayreuth ist vom Sender, der neue Impulse in die Welt gab, zum Empfänger geworden.
  • Waltraud Meier/Edo De Waart: The orchestra is very loud.
  • Andrew Shore on Bayreuth
  • Penelope Turing on the New Bayreuth style: Any operahouse putting on a new production of one of the operas is judged, acclaimed or condemned, according to its apparent conformity to the Bayreuth conception.
  • Sir Adrian Boult (1912): the theatre was dusty (curtains included), props shoddy, mise-en-scène prehistoric
  • Graham Clark on performing in Bayreuth: The audience reaction to performances in Bayreuth is extreme with wild and prolonged applause and cheering and also vociferous booing.
  • Eduard Hanslick, 1876: "a major artistic undertaking belongs in a major city"
  • Sebastian Weigle on conducting at the Bayreuth Festival
  • Stefan Herheim: there’s nothing to match the Festival when it comes to producing in a focussed and efficient way. Everyone working at Bayreuth sacrifices their summer holidays to be part of something special, something that you just don’t experience as a normal worker at a normal opera house in a normal season. Everyone is there to act and sing Wagner, in Wagner's own house. It’s considered an honour to take part, and all are experts in their own field. And for me, this is exactly where the real importance of the Festival lies. Here, more than anywhere else, everything that you have prepared yourself for, everything you say and do really counts.
  • Wolfgang Wagner on the Festival House

13 December 2010

Tannhäuser at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Tannhäuser has returned to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in a new production by Tim Albery. On Wagneropera.net Mark Berry reviews the premiere, being especially positive towards the conductor and the cast:

"Above all," Mark Berry writes, "this return to the Royal Opera House of Tannhäuser proved a musical triumph. Semyon Bychkov’s conducting was superior even to that of his Lohengrin last year. He generally took his time, but the score never dragged, given that Wagner’s long line was ever secure – bar the odd occasion when abruptness cannot quite be ironed out of the score. Climaxes were sparing and therefore all the more powerful when they came. Perhaps most importantly of all, the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House was on superlative form. Brass onstage and off were weightily impressive without brashness. The woodwind choir evoked a Middle Ages that may never actually have existed, but certainly did in Wagner’s imagination. As for the strings, one might well have thought them from Vienna, so beautiful was their sheen. Equally fine was the chorus and extra chorus, properly weighty of tone without undue sacrifice to verbal meaning; Renato Balsadonna had trained them very well."

Read Mark Berry's review of the ROH Tannhäuser on Wagneropera.net

Tannhäuser – Johan Botha
Elisabeth – Eva-Maria Westbroek
Venus – Michaela Schuster
Wolfram von Eschenbach – Christian Gerhaher
Hermann, Landgrave of Thuringia – Christof Fischesser
Biterolf – Clive Bayley
Walther von der Vogelweide – Timothy Robinson
Heinrich der Schreiber – Steven Ebel
Reimar von Zweter – Jeremy White
Shepherd Boy – Alexander Lee

Tim Albery (director)
Michael Levine (set designs)
Jon Morrell (costumes)
David Finn (lighting)
Jasmin Vardimon (choreography)
Maxine Braham (movement)

Royal Opera Chorus and Extra Chorus (chorus master: Renato Balsadonna)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Semyon Bychkov (conductor)

Royal Opera House: Jette Parker Young Artists Programme

The Jette Parker Young Artists Programme supports the artistic development of young professional singers, conductors, directors and répétiteurs. The Young Artists are an international group of outstanding professionals at the start of their career who have undertaken formal training and have already worked with professional companies. the Young Artists are not students but contracted salaried employees of the Royal Opera House.

09 December 2010

Cosima Wagner: Diaries, 9 December 1879

"There is no pleasure in looking at the outside world, and my constant prayer is that I may succeed in keeping R. in his element by concealing the realities of life from him as much as possible."

Cosima Wagner: Diaries, 9 December 1879

29 November 2010

New production of Parsifal at the Royal Theatre La Monnaie in Brussels

A new production of Parsifal will premiere at the Royal Theatre La Monnaie in Brussels 27 January 2011. Hartmut Haenchen, who conducted the infamous Paris production by Krysztof Warlikowski (the one using a clip from Rosselini's film ”Germany Year Zero”), will conduct a cast led by Swedish superstar Anna Larsson making her role debut as Kundry. According to some commentators, Haenchen's Parsifal reading in Paris was the fastest ever.

Stage director is Romeo Castellucci.

Principal singers

Amfortas Thomas Johannes Mayer
Titurel Victor von Halem
Gurnemanz Jan-Hendrik Rootering
Parsifal Andrew Richards
Klingsor Tómas Tómasson
Kundry Anna Larsson

Royal Theatre La Monnaie

See Wagner Calendar 2011 for more Wagner productions

25 November 2010

The Wagner Journal on Lohengrin and Wagner's anti-semitism

The Wagner Journal has two important features currently on its website: a dramaturgical analysis by Edward A. Bortnichak and Paula M. Bortnichak of the new Bayreuth Festival production of Lohengrin by Hans Neuenfels, addressing the production from a sociological perspective, and an online debate between Barry Emslie and Mark Berry on the thorny issue of anti-semitism in Wagner's works.

Also available via the website is a free introductory copy of The Wagner Journal.

23 November 2010

Allison Denise Oakes Wins The Lauritz Melchior International Singing Competition 2010

Winner of the Lauritz Melchior International Singing Competition 2010 was Allison Denise Oakes. She also won the Orchestra Prize and the Public's Prize. Total prize sum was 38.500 Euros for all three.

27 October 2010

Moshinsky's ROH Lohengrin moves to Chicago

The dusty Lohengrin production by Elijah Moshinsky from Royal Opera House Covent Garden is now moving to Chicago Lyric Opera.

Wagnerian superstars like Johan Botha (one of the best singing Lohengrins today), Emily Magee (see Peter Konwitschny's Lohengrin production on DVD), Michaela Schuster (Ortrud) and Georg Zeppenfeld (Herald - last seen in this role at Bayreuth this summer in Hans Neuenfels' Lohengrin "rat production") join forces with Sir Andrew Davis and the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

February 11, 16, 20, 25
March 1, 5, 8

Mark Elder / Hallé Orchestra: concert version of Die Walküre 15 & 16 July 2011

Manchester International Festival presents a new collaboration with the Hallé and The Bridgewater Hall; Wagner's Die Walküre supported by a specially commissioned dramatic prologue 'The Madness of An Extraordinary Plan: A Guide to Wagner's Ring Cycle'.

Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé return to Wagner's Ring Cycle with a concert version of Die Walküre. This follows their 2009 presentation of Götterdämmerung, which won the 2010 Gramophone Opera Award. This most enduring of operas will be performed at The Bridgewater Hall, which has arguably the UK's finest orchestral acoustic.

Friday 15 July 2011, 7.30pm (with a 20 minute interval)
The Madness of an Extraordinary Plan and Act I

Saturday 16 July 2011, 3.30pm (with a 75 minute interval)
Act II and Act III

Cast and more on Wagneropera.net

Mark Elder photo by Sheila Rock

21 October 2010

Parsifal in Tallinn, August 2011

Tickets for the performances of Richard Wagner’s opera Parsifal on 25–28 August 2011, performed within the frameworks of European Capital of Culture Tallinn 2011 and Nargen Festival, are now available. The opera, staged in Noblessner Foundry, is performed for the first time in Estonia.

The music director is Arvo Volmer, stage director Nicola Raab (Germany), designer Robert Innes Hopkins (England) and lighting designer David Cunningham (Scotland).

Soloists: Richard Decker (U.S.A), Roman Sadnik (Austria), Manfred Hemm (Germany), Irmgard Vilsmaier (Germany), Eike Wilm Schulte (Germany), Rauno Elp, Martin Winkler (Austria), Mart Laur, Priit Volmer, etc. The enlarged size of the orchestra and chorus, altogether more than two hundred people, makes it one of the grandest classical music projects within the past years.

The ticket price range is 290–790 EEK. In addition, a limited number of exclusive tickets are available that ensure you the best place in the venue and a catering service by Estonian National Opera Catering during the intermission. More info at www.opera.ee

Performances 25, 26, 27, 28 August 2011

14 October 2010

The Wagner series kicks off with Der fliegende Holländer in Berlin

With Richard Wagner’s opera Der Fliegende Holländer, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (RSB) and Marek Janowski begin their series featuring concert performances of the ten most important of Wagner’s works for the stage on November 13, 2010.

An international elite of Wagner singers including, among others, Matti Salminen, Nina Stemme, Albert Dohmen, Christian Elsner, Ricarda Merbeth, Robert Dean Smith and Stephen Gould will be performing at the Berlin Philharmonie between November 2010 and May 2013.

Under the direction of Marek Janowski, the RSB will also perform the operatic works Parsifal (April 8, 2011) and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (June 3, 2011) together with the Rundfunkchor Berlin during the 2010/11 season. It is the objective of the RSB’s principal conductor and artistic director, Marek Janowski, to convey to the audience the high musical quality of Wagner’s compositions in the absence of scenic interpretation, focusing on the music alone.

Season 2011/12
The concert cycle will be continued in 2011/12 with Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde and Lohengrin. The performance of the complete opera tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen during the 2012/13 season marks the highpoint of the series, in honor of Richard Wagner’s 200th birthday.

12 October 2010

Opera Australia - Ring cycle in Melbourne in 2013

Opera Australia has officially announced details of its Ring cycle in Melbourne in 2013, Opera Magazine reports. Three complete cycles will be given in November and December, before the co-producing Houston Grand Opera takes over the production for its first-ever Ring; it plans to present the operas over the course of four seasons, beginning in 2014.

The Melbourne production team will be led by the conductor Richard Mills and director Neil Armfield, and the cast will include Susan Bullock as Brünnhilde, Juha Uusitalo as Wotan, Gary Lehman as Siegfried and John Wegner as Alberich. This will be the biggest production in Opera Australia’s history. The project has already won the company the largest donation in its history; $5 million has been pledged by one of the city’s leading philanthropists, the Lonely Planet co-founder Maureen Wheeler.

11 October 2010

New TV music channel: CLASSICA

Classical music lovers in the Germany can now receive the TV music channel CLASSICA through Unitymedia, the country’s second-largest cable platform. The channel, which offers a rich selection of recent, outstanding operas and concert productions as well as legendary interpretations of great musical works, can be seen as of Tuesday 5 October on Unitymedia DigitalTV HIGHLIGHTS und DigitalTV ALLSTARS both in High Definition with Surround Sound as well as in SD (Standard Definition) quality.

CLASSICA broadcasts classical music 24 hours a day and covers the range from Baroque, Classical and Romantic to contemporary music, from operas, ballets and concerts to chamber music and recitals, and from classical “evergreens” to rarely played works. What all productions have in common is their exquisite interpretation ensured by the artistry of conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta, Christian Thielemann, Gustavo Dudamel, Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Carlos Kleiber; vocal stars such as Anna Netrebko, Elīna Garanča, Cecilia Bartoli, Jonas Kaufmann, Plácido Domingo; and soloists such as Anne-Sophie Mutter, Lang Lang and Arcadi Volodos. The recordings were made at prestigious cultural institutions such as the Salzburg Festival, the Bavarian State Opera, the State Opera “Unter den Linden”, Berlin, the State Opera in Vienna, the Dresdner Semperoper, the Palau de les Arts “Reina Sofía” in Valencia, the Berliner Philharmonics and the Musikverein Vienna. The productions always boast the highest technical quality available at the time of recording; this is currently High Definition 1080i with Surround Sound.

CLASSICA was founded in Germany over ten years ago and has since become available as UNITEL CLASSICA in many countries around the world. Today, CLASSICA or UNITEL CLASSICA can be received on many platforms in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and South Africa. In Germany CLASSICA has been available to date on Sky and as HD channel in the program of Kabel Baden-Wuerttemberg.

CLASSICA is part of Jan Mojto’s UNITEL, one of the largest and most long-established producers of classical music worldwide. With more than 1,100 titles, the UNITEL catalogue ranks among the very top audiovisual collections of classical music.

Information on Unity’s digital program can be obtained under www.unitymedia.de, for further information on CLASSICA’s program offering see www.unitelclassica.com.

02 October 2010

Opernwelt: Stefan Herheim "Director of the Year" for Rosenkavalier at the Stuttgart Opera

Stefan Herheim at the Norwegian National Opera. Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wagneropera.net

The Norwegian director Stefan Herheim has been honoured by the magazine Opernwelt as "Director of the Year" for his production of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier at the Stuttgart Opera House. Among the five performances selected by Opernwelt to be the most important of the last season, Staatsoper Stuttgart is represented with two more new productions in addition to Herheim's Rosenkavalier: Calixto Bieito's Parsifal and Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito's production of Leos Janacek's Katja Kabanova.

19 September 2010

New Metropolitan Ring: Das Rheingold Premieres 27 September

James Levine and director Robert Lepage join forces to create what The Metropolitan Opera describes as a "groundbreaking new Ring". Das Rheingold will premiere on Monday 27 September.

Robert Lepage brings cutting-edge technology to the new Ring, using spectacular optical effects. Time will show if the effects enhance the experience or lives its own life and distracts the public, like the circus Ring in Valencia.

Bryn Terfel is singing his first Wotan at the Met. He is leading a cast that includes Gerhard Siegel as Mime and Hans-Peter König (both well known from Bayreuth).

Levine, who has conducted every complete Ring cycle performed by the Met since 1989, has been sidelined in recent years due to health problems. The lates reports says thet he is fit for fight now. According to Levine, “The Ring  is one of those works of art that you think you know, but every time you return to it, you find all kinds of brilliant moments that hadn’t struck you with the same force before.”

According to the director Robert Lepage, “The Ring is about change. I try to be extremely respectful of Wagner’s storytelling, but in a very modern context. We’re trying to see how in our day and age we can tell this classical story in the most complete way.”

Conductor:  James Levine
Freia: Wendy Bryn Harmer
Fricka: Stephanie Blythe
Erda: Patricia Bardon
Loge: Richard Croft
Mime: Gerhard Siegel
Wotan: Bryn Terfel
Alberich: Eric Owens
Fasolt: Franz-Josef Selig
Fafner: Hans-Peter König

09 September 2010

08 September 2010

Meistersinger at Bayreuth 2010

Klaus Florian Vogt (Walther) and Michaela Kaune(Eva).
Photo Enrico Nawrath/Bayreuther Festspiele
My reactions after seeing Katharina Wagner's Meistersinger production for the second time are totally schizophrenic.

I have immense respect for her completely new interpretation and the way she carries it out - even though this is far from what Richard Wagner intended. Making Beckmesser develop into a hero and Hans Sachs into a monster is fresh, thought-provoking and stimulating. The production was also a historical necessity coming at a time when Bayreuth announced a more open-mindedness to research into the Festival's dark past.

At the same time, I must admit that most of what is happening in the production before "Wach auf!" in Act 3 really is pushing me to the limit. It is simply not good. For me the production gets interesting 30 minutes before the end.

Am I being unfair? Too positive? Too negative?

Read my thoughts on the production on Wagneropera.net and please leave your comment here

Bayreuth 2010: Warum lebt der Mensch?

Totally nonsense, and made from unused footage. No Oscar is expected.

04 September 2010

Tannhäuser Returns to London

Semyon Bychkov. Photo: Sheila Rock
Tannhäuser, "Wagner's great battle of the sensual and the spiritual" returns to The Royal Opera in London just before Christmas. A new production by Tim Albery puts Tannhäuser back in the repertory after an absence of more than twenty years. Semyon Bychkov, who may be one of the finest Wagner conductors today, will return after stunning performances of Lohengrin last year. Johan Botha – one of the most acclaimed Wagner voices in the world today – sings the lead role.

Michaela Schuster, who did a wonderful Ortrud in Stefan Herheim's "marionette" Lohengrin in Berlin, will sing Venus and Eva-Maria Westbroek, who many will know as Sieglinde in Die Walküre from Bayreuth, will sing Elisabeth. According to ROH, the production combines striking imagery of the two worlds set apart, from the indulgence and abandon of the Venusberg to the privation and sincerity of the Wartburg. What exactly this means, we will have to wait and see, but obviously the visual aspect of the production is important.

The Royal Opera, Covent Garden
Conductor: Semyon Bychkov
Director: Tim Albery
Sat 11 Dec 2010 (premiere)
Wed 15 Dec 2010
Sun 19 Dec 2010
Wed 22 Dec 2010
Mon 27 Dec 2010
Thu 30 Dec 2010
Tannhäuser: Johan Botha
Elisabeth: Eva-Maria Westbroek
Venus: Michaela Schuster
Wolfram von Eschinbach: Christian Gerhaher
Herrmann, Landgrave of Thuringia: Christof Fischesser
Biterolf: Clive Bayley
Walter: Timothy Robinson
Heinrich: Steven Ebel
Reinmar: Jeremy White
Set designs: Michael Levine
Costume designs: Jon Morrell
Lighting design: David Finn
Choreography: Jasmin Vardimon

More info on roh.org.uk

27 August 2010

Tankred Dorst's Ring exits - being vociferously booed

Tankred Dorst's production of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Bayreuth Festival is now history. The last Götterdämmerung was performed on 25 August 2010 with a marvellous Lance Ryan as Siegfried and a Festival orchestra I have never heard better. From day 1 this has been Christian Thielemann's Ring, and the orchestra has responded with better playing for each year. The quality of the singer-actors (to the extent that acting was necessary in this Ring), on the other hand, has varied. For me the highlights has been Eva-Maria Westbroek's Sieglinde, Arnold Bezuyen's Loge, Gerhard Siegel's Mime, Lance Ryan's Götterdämmerung-Siegfried, Johan Botha's Siegmund (best enjoyed with closed eyes), Kwangchul Youn's Hunding and - of course - Andrew Shore's outstanding Alberich.

The director, Tankred Dorst, has received massive criticism, both from the press and the merciless Bayreuth audience. It's not even a secret that some of the principle singers has had very little regard for the production. To me the worst thing about this Ring was the helpless and amateurish stage instructions. More often than not, the only instructions the singers seem to have received was how to move to be faced toward the auditorium when it was their time to sing. Two years ago I heard an interview with Dorst where he said that he wasn't interested in the criticism his Ring production had received. That is the most serious flaw about this Ring - it was not developed to reach an acceptable level during the years it was on the programme.

That a Bayreuth production has flaws the first year is to be expected, but the wonderful thing about the festival concept is the opportunity the stage director has to constantly refine it for each year. Dorst refused to use this opportunity. As a consequence Dorst was vociferously booed when he came out before the curtain after the last performance. I am not sure that he was prepared for that. One would think that the Bayreuth audiences would show the old man some mercy on the funeral day of his Ring, but no. Even though I find this behaviour inappropriate and even unacceptable on the day of the final performance, I find it just as unacceptable that the director's team didn't do more with the material they had to their disposal. I actually cannot think of one scene in this whole Ring production that inspired me to think about what this drama is all about.

A postcard production, some called the Dorst Ring. And that is what it was. Some of the sets were really beautiful: the Rhine, the Nibelheim with its treasure vault, the final scene of Die Walküre. These images will live, but the production is best forgotten as soon as possible. It is a scandal that Die Walküre is scheduled to be released on Bluray/DVD later this year instead of the groundbraking Parsifal production that is now even being admired by lots of people who don't like Regietheater at all.

If you got more out of this Ring than I did, or you have any other comments, please leave a comment below!

23 August 2010

Vogt replaces Kaufmann and sets new applause record for 2010

Fanfare before Lohengrin Act 3 at the Bayreuth Festival 2010.

Klaus Florian Vogt replaced Jonas Kaufmann in the Neuenfels "rat production" of Lohengrin on 22 August and set new applause record for 2010 with 35 minutes.

It's old news now, but Kaufmann will not return to the Green Hill next year. Klaus Florian Vogt will replace him and sing both Walther von Stolzing and Lohengrin.

22 August 2010

Crazy Days in Bayreuth

Crazy days here in Bayreuth. After five performances on five days, I will now "rest" for one day before Siegfried. The stay so far has been wonderful: Fantastic Lohengrin and Parsifal, Meistersinger gets interesting from "Wach auf!", Rheingold was very good (not the production, though), Act 1 of Walküre was marvellous with Johan Botha, Edith Haller and Kwangchul Youn, who all got thunderous applause from the Bayreuth audience.

With their last two new productions, Herheim's Parsifal and Neuenfels' Lohengrin, Bayreuth is back on the music theatre world map.

Tonight Klaus Florian Vogt will replace Jonas Kaufmann as Lohengrin. Vogt will also be singing the part next year here in Bayreuth.

17 August 2010

Tribute to Sir Charles Mackerras in the new issue of Opera

Lord Harewood, Dame Janet Baker, Dame Anne Evans and Rodney Milnes pay tribute to Sir Charles Mackerras in the new issue of Opera.

14 August 2010

Perversion for profit - the World is going under

This is very off topic again, and I apologize sincerely for that, but I have to show you this American propaganda film from 1965 called "Perversion for Profit". It it a warning to us all, and leaves no doubt that watching nude people will corrupt you and make you vulnerable for the communist masters of deceit. It is in the good Wagnerian tradition showing that the World is going under. Enjoy.

Disco Dancing Instructional Video from Finland

Some of you guys may need to relax from Wagner from time to time. Maybe disco dancing is the right thing for you. Here's an instructional video, made by a man from Finland.You gotta appreciate this.

31 July 2010

Free Wireless Internet Connection in Bayreuth

Here you can connect to the web in Bayreuth at no cost:
  • Café Schnittchen, Bahnhofstrasse
  • McDonald's Maximilian Straße 
  • McDonald's am Bahnhof (Railway Station)
List will be updated with your information. Please leave info in comment.

    Penelope Turing dies aged 85

    Penelope Turing, Bayreuth Festival expert, traveller, author, critic and lecturer died this morning in London, 85 years old.

    Opera, especially Richard Wagner, has been a major influence in her life. Turing is the author of New Bayreuth", first published in 1969. This book is an important source to the post war productions at the Bayreuth Festival.

    Her biography on Hans Hotter was first published in 1983, and each year she gave courses in Britain on Wagner’s operas and on the new post war style at Bayreuth.

    Turing is one of the very few persons that has seen every single production at the Bayreuth Festival since the Second World War, and she has reported from the Bayreuth Festival almost every year since 1952. Her last Bayreuth visit was in 2009, which she was covering for The Stage. Although faltering health has restricted her travelling lately, she had planned to see the new Lohengrin production, and she was perfectly aware that this visit would have been her last.

    I met Turing for the first time during the Festival in Bayreuth in 2008. We attended the same performances, and it was impossible not to be moved by this tiny old woman who had severe difficulties walking, but was friendliness herself, very British, and with a wonderful sense of humour and irony. We talked during the one hour intermissions, eating Wurst with mustard, and she was happy to share her Bayreuth experiences with Wagneropera.net's readers in an interview that Erling E. Guldbrandsen and I did with her at the Arvena Kongress Hotel that summer.

    Just five days before she died we spoke on the phone. She told me she had to cancel her Bayreuth trip this year, and it was obvious that she was very weak when we spoke. She laughed out loud, though, when I told her about the rats in the new Lohengrin production at Bayreuth. The creativity of the Regietheater productions she never really liked, but even though she did not approve of the new New Bayreuth, her lifelong love for the Bayreuth Festival, and her appreciation of the work done by the people at the Bayreuth Festival, never died.

    Dedication in "New Bayreuth".

    30 July 2010

    San Francisco: Richard Wagner's "The Ring of the Nibelung" in Summer 2011

    In June and July of 2011, San Francisco Opera will present three complete cycles of Wagner's "The Ring of the Nibelung" ("Das Rheingold," "Die Walküre," "Siegfried," "Götterdämmerung"). While the cycles are only available by subscription as a four-opera series, single tickets are available for the production-premiere performances of "Siegfried" (Sunday, May 29, 1pm) and "Götterdämmerung" (Sunday, June 5, 1pm).

    "Ring" Director Francesca Zambello was recently appointed general and artistic director at Glimmerglass Opera, the summer opera festival in Cooperstown, N.Y.

    Zambello has worked at many of the world's major opera houses. Her staging of this past summer's "Die Walküre" received raves from critics and audiences, according to the San Francisco Opera press release.

    "Ring" Festival 2011
    Beginning this September, a diverse array of cultural and educational institutions will present lectures and symposia, exhibits, musical performances, film screenings and other events throughout the Bay Area for audiences who desire to connect with the work in new and compelling ways.

    Learn more here

    The World of Wagner's "Ring"
    The World of Wagner's "Ring"--A Composer's View Hosted by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music
    Composer Conrad Susa ("The Dangerous Liaisons," "The Love of Don Perlimplin") will serve as guide in an examination of the power and scope of Wagner's great "Ring" cycle. Those who are familiar with Susa's charming style will relish his reverent - and irreverent - insights. Come explore these vast structures in a journey through sagas and mystery, a journey into your own soul.

    Photo: Cory Weaver

    27 July 2010

    To what extent does Wagner’s anti-semitism impinge on his music dramas?

    Nobody denies that Wagner was an anti-semite. But was his anti-semitism expressed in the works themselves? The issue has been much debated over the past two decades, but has resurfaced once again recently, not least with the new production by Richard Jones of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for Welsh National Opera, performed also at the BBC Proms.

    The Wagner Journal asked Barry Emslie, author of Richard Wagner and the Centrality of Love  (Boydell & Brewer, 2010) and Mark Berry, who reviewed Emslie's book in the latest issue of the journal, to debate the subject.

    To what extent does Wagner’s anti-semitism impinge on his music dramas?

    Read their discussion on thewagnerjournal.co.uk

    26 July 2010

    Hans Neuenfels: Lohengrin at the Bayreuther Festspiele

    The 99th Bayreuth Festival was opened on Sunday 25 July with the usual unwagnerische procession of so-called prominent people. A completely disgusting circus.

    The Festival opened with a new production of Lohengrin by German music theatre's enfant terrible, Hans Neuenfels. Judging from the radio broadcast, there were two names that deserve a special  mentioning: Jonas Kaufmann as the near perfect Lohengrin and the conductor Andris Nelsons.

    Reviews (to be updated)
    Please leave links to other reviews in the commentary field, and they will be included above!


    23 July 2010

    Valencia Rheingold wins the Echo Klassik prize

    Berlin music label C Major Entertainment`s DVD and Blu-ray production Das Rheingold from The Ring Cycle has been awarded with the Echo Klassik prize for best DVD production of the year. Performed by the Catalonian theatre group La Fura dels Baus under the direction of Carlus Padissa from the Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia" in Valencia, the spectacular stage production of the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana`s musical performance, led by Zubin Mehta, was recorded by the Munich production company UNITEL in collaboration with ZDF/3Sat, ZDF Theatre Channel and CLASSICA. It is sold worldwide by C Major Entertainment via its classical music distribution partner Naxos. The Valencian production of The Ring Cycle has already won the German Record Critics Award and the Diapason d`Or Diamant in France.

    19 July 2010

    Broadcasts from the Bayreuth Festival 2010

    Here are the dates for the Bayreuth Festival 2010 broadcasts from Bayerischer Rundfunk:

    25 July 15.57: Lohengrin (live)
    27 July 17.57: Das Rheingold (live)
    03 Aug 18.05: Die Walküre (recorded 28 July)
    07 Aug 18.05: Parsifal (recorded 29 July)
    10 Aug 18.05: Siegfried (recorded 30 July)
    14 Aug 18.05: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (recorded 2 Aug)
    17 Aug 18.05: Götterdämmerung (recorded 1 Aug)

    via Intermezzo

    Bayerischer Rundfunk

    18 July 2010

    Cornered by Kirsten Flagstad at the Kirsten Flagstad Museum

    Cornered by Kirsten Flagstad at the Kirsten Flagstad Museum in Hamar (approx. 100 km from Oslo). The Museum is located in Hamar's oldest house, in which Kirsten flagstad was born 12 July 1895.

    The museum opened for the public in 1985, when the official opening ceremony was carried out by the Minister of Culture on the 90th anniversary of her birthday.

    Kirsten Flagstad’s family, her many close friends and especially the Flagstad Association have all generously contributed with presents and donations to create a museum rich in artefacts, photos and documents.

    30 June 2010

    The Wagner Journal

    The Wagner Journal Volume 4 Number 2 is on its way out to desperately waiting subscribers.

    The issue features:
    • Tannhäuser: The Rhetoric of Opposition in Wagner’s Romantic Operas (Arnold Whittall)
    • Liszt on Lohengrin (or: Wagner in absentia): Part 2 (translation from The Monthly Musical Record edited by david trippett)
    • Designs on the Ring - Patrick Carnegy unravels the mystery surrounding Josef Hoffmann’s original sketches
    • Bernhard Loeser and the Berlin Premiere of Die Meistersinger (Jonas Karlsson)

    • Soup, Soap and Salvation. Erling E. Guldbrandsen assesses a radical new approach to Tannhäuser
    • Red Ring for Paris. The first complete cycle at the Opéra for half a century gets under way (Mark Berry)
    • Grim Tale Told with Dark Humour. Simon Williams is enthralled by the final instalment of the Los Angeles Ring
    • Back to Berlin. Mark Berry appraises three Wagner revivals at the Deutsche Oper

    On the front cover illustration, the gods prepare to ascend the rainbow bridge to Valhalla at the end of Das Rheingold. The scene is as imagined in oils by the Viennese landscape painter Josef Hoffmann, whom Wagner had commissioned to design the Bayreuth premiere of the Ring in 1876.

    11 June 2010

    John Treleaven and Linda Watson criticize Achim Freyer's L.A. Ring

    John Treleaven (Siegfried) and Linda Watson (Brünnhilde) have criticized director Achim Freyer's production of Der Ring des Nibelungen in Los Angeles as artistically flawed and physically dangerous, Los Angeles Times reports. They also have spoken up about their backstage skirmishes with the idiosyncratic auteur.

    John Treleaven has been hurt twice during stand-alone productions of "Siegfried" and "Götterdämmerung". The culprit is the severely raked, or angled, stage that forces singers to perform as if on the side of a slope. The rake is among the steepest ever used by the company.

    Linda Watson, who will sing Brünnhilde in the Dorst / Thielemann Ring at Bayreuth this summer, called the set the "most dangerous stage I've been on in my entire career."

    Los Angeles Timesa article

    28 May 2010

    Die Feen at Lyric Opera of Los Angeles

    Lyric Opera of Los Angeles (LOLA), a non-profit performing arts organization, will present the rare and first-completed opera by Wagner entitled “Die Feen” (The Fairies) during five performances starting on June 11, 2010. The performances will take place at the Pasadena Playhouse as part of the Ring Festival LA’s scheduled events. The Ring Festival features the participation of more than 50 arts institutions around Los Angeles that will produce exhibitions, concerts, and educational programming related to Wagner and his music.

    Laura Sage, Executive Director and founder of Lyric Opera of Los Angeles expressed her enthusiasm for the upcoming production, “We are honored to be chosen as an official Partner with Los Angeles Opera in the Ring Festival. Through this partnership and our dedication to producing quality performances, we will continue to fulfill our mission to bring lesser-known operatic works to the stage. Die Feen will be an outstanding production that all attendees of the Ring Festival can enjoy.”

    Wagner wrote the early opera “Die Feen” (The Fairies) in 1833 when he was just 20 years old. This rare work, composed in three acts, was his first completed opera and remained unperformed during his lifetime. Since then, the world has come to know “Die Feen” through occasional performances mainly in Germany. The opera has never been staged in the US and will now receive its first US audience at Lyric Opera of Los Angeles’ June 11 performance.

    The production of “Die Feen” will showcase top local performers and orchestral musicians, including many who return year after year to work with Lyric Opera of Los Angeles. The performances will take place at the Pasadena Playhouse

    About Lyric Opera of Los Angeles

    Founded in 2002, Lyric Opera of Los Angeles (LOLA) brings lesser-known operatic works back to the stage. LOLA is known for its West Coast and staged premieres of works such as “Der Vampyr” by Heinrich Marschner, the chamber operetta “Cendrillon” by Pauline Viardot, “Goyescas” by Enrique Granados, “Abu Hassan” by C.M. von Weber, “Rita” by Donizetti, “Manon Lescaut” by Daniel Francois Esprit Auber, and “Un Giorno di Regno” by Giuseppe Verdi. Their 2010/2011 season will bring about the U.S. Premiere (possibly a World premiere, as there have not been any performances in over 100 years) of “Le Philtre” by D.F.E. Auber, and the other “La Boheme” by Leoncavallo. In 2009, LOLA was selected as an official Partner of the Los Angeles Opera for the 2010 Ring Festival and will be presenting Wagner’s first completed opera “Die Feen” (The Fairies) in June 2010. This work has never been staged in the United States.

    Pasadena Playhouse:
    June 11 - 7:30pm
    June 12 - 7:30pm
    June 17 - 7:30pm
    June 19 - 7:30pm
    Tickets and more information at tix.lyricoperala.org

    More on LOLA and the Festival can be found at www.lyricoperala.org and at www.laoperaring.com, or by calling 877-LOLA-OPERA. Follow Lyric Opera of Los Angeles on Facebook at www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2221811277 and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lyricoperala

    Lyric Opera of Los Angeles 

    L.A. Ring cycles begin tomorrow

    Tomorrow Los Angeles Opera sets off with its three complete Ring cycles of Achim Freyer's production.

    DAS RHEINGOLD Saturday 5/29/10 7:30 PM
    DIE WALKÜRE Sunday 5/30/10 6:00 PM
    SIEGFRIED Thursday 6/3/10 6:00 PM
    GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG Sunday 6/6/10 5:00 PM

    DAS RHEINGOLD Tuesday 6/8/10 7:30 PM
    DIE WALKÜRE Thursday 6/10/10 6:00 PM
    SIEGFRIED Sunday 6/13/10 12:00 PM
    GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG Wednesday 6/16/10 6:00 PM

    DAS RHEINGOLD Friday 6/18/10 7:30 PM
    DIE WALKÜRE Sunday 6/20/10 12:00 PM
    SIEGFRIED Wednesday 6/23/10 6:00 PM
    GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG Saturday 6/26/10 5:00 PM

    Review of Das Rheingold
    Recordings of Der Ring des Nibelungen
    Der Ring des Nibelungen on DVD

    Stephen Fry at the Bayreuth Festival

    Stephen Fry goes to Bayreuth for BBC to dive into the mixed emotiones he has for Richard Wagner and his music. He discusses how political history has unavoidably stained the reputation of Wagner, a hero to the Nazi regime whose music nonetheless remains a towering achievement. On his journey, Fry also goes to Villa Wahnfried, Villa Wesendonck in Zurich and meets Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, a cellist and survivor of Auschwitz, at her home in London. But the highlight is undoubtedly when he visits the Bayreuth Festival.

    Stephen Fry concludes the programme with an advise to try to listen to Wagner's music for those who haven't already done so. I have no difficulty agreeing with Fry's final words:

    "I still believe, as firmly as I believe anything, that his work is important and is on the side of the angels. It is fundamentally good."

    24 April 2010

    Twitter Opera Plot Contest

    The #operaplot contest on Twitter starts on Monday: summarize the plot of an opera in 140 characters - the Twitter maximum - or less.

    How it works
       - Anyone can enter. Contestants must have a Twitter account.
       - The idea is to summarize the plot of an opera in 140 characters- the
       Twitter maximum - or less.
       - Each tweet must carry the #operaplot tag, so everyone can follow along.
       - Contestants can enter up to 10 times.
       - 5 winners will be chosen by Jonas.  They will each get to choose a
       prize out of the pool in a randomly selected order.
    full rules and FAQ here

    OPERAPLOT 2010 - The Lowdown
    Dates: 9am EST Monday 26th April to midnight EST Friday 30th April.
    Judge: Jonas Kaufmann
    Headlining House: Opera Theatre Company  based in Dublin is offering two tickets to their Marriage of Figaro production in May, 3 nights hotel stay and up to 1000€ towards flights.

    Other participating houses
    full details here
    (updated as new houses join)

    Atlanta Opera, De Nederlandse Opera, Edmonton Opera, English National Opera, Fort Worth Opera Festival, Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, Minnesota Opera, Opera Australia, Opera San Jose, Portland Opera, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Scottish Opera, Seattle Opera, Vancouver Opera,

    Other prizes
    Universal has put CD and DVD sets of Wagner, Haydn and Mozart into the pool.  In addition to be fantastic in their own right, these prizes help solve the problem of opera houses not being especially portable....a bit of
    a snag in a global competition.  Tickets for the Vancouver aren't very useful to a winner living in Atlanta.

    Top 5 from 2009
    •  @leboyfriend – There was a young lady called Fricka Who . . . who . . . *snore* 'Wake up -- it's over.' It's good, I just wish it were quicka.  [The Ring]
    •  @wordsmusic  – Here's my castle. Are you afraid? No, I'm going to open all those damn doors! Are you afraid? No, let me in! Who's that? Oh shit. [Bluebeard]
    • @musicbizkid  – Let me get this straight: unfathomable treasure if I betroth my loopy daughter to a ghost? Deal. She'll meet you by the fjord. [The Flying Dutchman]
    • @DrGeoduck  – Who wants to live forever? Me! No, wait, i changed my mind. *dies* [The Makropolus Case]
    • @voxdixit  – Monk: Repent, courtesan! (Meditation) Courtesan: Okay! Monk: Wait, there is no God after all! Courtesan: Too late, I'm dead! [Thais]

    12 April 2010

    Wolfgang Wagner

    Yesterday, there was an event held at the Bayreuth Festival Theatre commemorating the life and works of Wolfgang Wagner.

    27 March 2010

    Calixto Bieito with a new Parsifal at Stuttgart Opera

    Tomorrow Calixto Bieito's production of Parsifal premieres at Stuttgart Opera House.

    According to the Stuttgart Opera's Homepage, Bieito is inspired by Cormac McCarthy's novel "The Road". Bieito confronts his Parsifal "with the ruins of our civilization". The novel's protagonists, a father and son, wander through a post-apocalyptic America, that after a catastrophe is deserted and desolate.

    The designer Gschwender Susanne has created a destroyed, ash-covered landscape in which the only remains of a bygone civilization are the ruins of a highway bridge.

    Parsifal will be played 28 March (premiere) and the following dates in April: 01, 05, 11, 25.

    Stuttgart Opera's Homepage

    Conductor: Manfred Honeck
    Stage director: Calixto Bieito
    Cast: Christiane Iven, Yuko Kakuta, Diana Haller, Julia Borchert, Petra van der Mieden, Tina Hörhold, Agata Wilewska, Michaela Schneider; Gregg Baker, Stephen Milling, Andrew Richards, Claudio Otelli, Matthias Hölle, Heinz Göhrig, Mark Munkittrick, Torsten Hofmann, Hans Kittelmann


    25 March 2010


    Richard Wagner: Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods) / Ben Heppner (Siegfried) · Katarina Dalayman (Brünnhilde) · Simon Halsey, chorus master · Rundfunkchor Berlin · Sir Simon Rattle, conductor · Berliner Philharmoniker / Recorded at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, July 2009

    22 March 2010

    Wolfgang Wagner Dies at 90

    Wolfgang Wagner died Sunday.

    Wolfgang Wagner (30 August 1919 - 21 March 2010) devoted his whole life to the Bayreuth Festival and the works of his grandfather Richard Wagner. He was the son of Siegfried Wagner, and was best known as the leader the Bayreuth Festival, first together with his brother Wieland Wagner from 1951 to 1966  and then alone until he retired in 2008 and his daughter Katharina Wagner took over with Eva Wagner-Pasquier.

    Obituaries here

    09 March 2010

    Herheim's Tannhäuser in Oslo a major achievement

    Stefan Herheim seduces the Norwegian audiences to applaud their own escapism in a spectacular new production of Tannhäuser at The Norwegian National Opera in Oslo. Tannhäuser is split between the comforting world of one-dimensional escapist opera productions (Venusberg) and the narrow-minded religious world of those who have seen the Light, here: The Salvation Army.


    The production quotes Herheim's other Wagner projects (Parsifal at Bayreuth and Lohengrin in Berlin) on several occasions, making the three productions a unity, exploring many of the same themes.

    The cast is of very high quality lead by two superb tenors in the title role (Gary Lehmann and Scott MacAllister) and the rising star Elisabet Strid as Elisabeth, the so-called Personenregie is superbly detailed and the fast transforming scene changes are spectacular. The production is a major achievement for the Norwegian National Opera. And it is simply not possible to avoid it if you are interested in music theatre. Unfortunately all 9 performances are sold out...

    There will be more on the production on Wagneropera.net later

    Videos with some short clips from  rehearsals and dress rehearsals (sorry, only in Norwegian):


    New issue of The Wagner Journal

    The Wagner Journal is out with a new issue.

    • Nicholas Vazsonyi writes about Wagner and the making of a brand: Wagner®
    • Christopher Wintle ponders the achievements and intentions of Christof Loy in his new Tristan production at Covent Garden
    • Mark Berry goes to Leipzig to rediscover Peter Konwitschny’s schoolroom Lohengrin
    • David Breckbill hails the Thielemann cycle as one of the finest ever recorded
    • Jonathan Burton acclaims a definitive study of the Wagner tuba
    ...and lots more.

    Subscribe at The Wagner Journal Homepage

    06 March 2010

    Premiere of Herheim's Tannhäuser today

    Today is the premiere of Stefan Herheim's production of Tannhäuser at the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo. Judging from the press photos, it will not be boring. And, as one can see, the Salvation Army plays an important role.

    Music critics from all over Europe will attend.

    01 March 2010

    Park Studio: RING

    During the period between March 29 and April 8, approximately twenty high school students from Santa Monica will learn about Richard Wagner's seminal work, Der Ring des Nibelungen. Park Studio will explore the symbolism of the ring in the opera - power, greed, desire - and extend parallels in today's culture. Students will participate in Ring cycle discussions with SMMoA's educators, collaborating artists, and guest speakers. They will have a backstage tour of LA Opera and see a dress rehearsal of Götterdämmerung. Finally, with the help of environmental artist Gordon Bowen and his Arts ReFoundry Atelier, students will interpret the meaning and power of the ring, casting their own original bronze ring sculptures. Bowen's foundry is completely made from recycled materials. The final exhibition of the students' bronze works at SMMoA will be titled "Park Studio: RING" and will be on view from May 15 to August 21, 2010.

    The Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA) is a kunsthalle, a non-collecting museum that presents exhibitions and programs that foster diversity, innovation, and discovery in contemporary art. Through partnerships and collaborations, the museum is able to connect to a wide range of information and knowledge that enhances the life of the mind and the spirit.

    For over 10 years, Park Studio has provided formative experiences for teens. Through transformative experiences of art making and collaboration with established artists and organizations, participants gain access to ideas and opportunities that have the potential to shape their adult lives.

    Asuka Hisa, Director of Education, Santa Monica Museum of Art, is a Los Angeles native. She received her B.A. from Barnard College in New York and her National Diploma of Art from the École des Beaux Arts in France. Before joining the Santa Monica Museum of Art in 1998, she was an art educator with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and has worked with youth and art in France. She became the museum's Director of Education in 2000. Ms. Hisa is the Board President of the Museum Educators of Southern California a member of Art Table. In 2003, she received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture. In 2007, she was appointed to the Arts Commission of the City of Santa Monica.

    23 February 2010

    Bayreuth Festival 2010 cast announced

    The Bayreuth Festival 2010 cast has been announced on the Bayreuther Festspiele Homepage.

    The unpleasant Sachs role in Katharina Wagner's Meistersinger sees a replacement once again. Now James Rutherford is replacing Alan Titus (who last year replaced Franz Hawlata). Missed will the wonderful Sieglinde by Eva-Maria Westbroek be, although Edith Haller should be a good replacement. Johan Botha's Siegmund will certainly be a popular face among those who are more concerned with voice than allround music theatre skills. He replaces Endrik Wottrich, who says goodbye for good to Bayreuth. The disgraceful plans of video filming this Walküre instead of Parsifal have not, according to our sources, been changed during the cold winter.

    Bayreuth veteran Eric Halfvarson replaces Hans-Peter König as Hagen in Götterdämmerung, the best of the four productions of Tancred Dorst's highly forgettable Ring production.

    As already mentioned here on the Wagner blog, Susan Maclean will replace Mihoko Fujimura as Kundry in Herheim's Parsifal production, and Lance Ryan will replace Christian Franz as Siegfried.

    Klaus Florian Vogt doesn't betray Katharina - his Walther is one of the highlights of the current Bayreuth festivals, although Katharina's interpretation of the character is not a favourite among the conservative elements in Bayreuth. A highlight this year will also most certainly be Jonas Kaufmann in the Neuenfels Lohengrin.

    The cast of Hans Neuenfels' new production of Lohengrin is:
    Lohengrin Jonas Kaufmann
    Heinrich der Vogler Georg Zeppenfeld
    Elsa von Brabant Annette Dasch
    Friedrich von Telramund Lucio Gallo
    Ortrud Evelyn Herlitzius
    Der Heerrufer des Königs Samuel Youn
    1. Edler Stefan Heibach
    2. Edler Willem van der Heyden
    3. Edler Rainer Zaun
    4. Edler Christian Tschelebiew

    Samuel Youn has a wide Wagner repertoire, singing (or having sung) Wotan, Kurwenal, Gunther, Hagen, Amfortas, Klingsor, Biterolf, Holländer, Donner. At Bayreuth he has previously sung 2. Gralsritter (2004-2007), and Reinmar von Zweter (2005 and 2007).

    Bayreuth Festival 2010 info here

    Wagner Weeks at Deutsche Oper Berlin 2010

    Deutsche Oper Berlin has just finished the Wagner Weeks – with a sold out performance of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg under the musical direction of general music director Donald Runnicles.

    Deutsche Oper Berlin had 30.377 visitors for six Wagner productions and a total of 18 Wagner performances starting 22 November, 2009. That means 91% of all seats were sold, the new production of Rienzi even reached 100%.

    With Richard Wagner the cycle of four important composers for large scale operas has come to an end. Since 2006/07 the Deutsche Oper Berlin presented first Puccini, then Verdi in 2008 and last year Richard Strauss.


    18 February 2010

    Lance Ryan to sing Siegfried at Bayreuth 2010

    Lance Ryan will sing Siegfried in the Tancred Dorst production of Der Ring des Nibelungen at Bayreuth this summer. Lance Ryan will also sing the role in Cologne in June, in Shanghai (expo 2010) in September, in Strasbourg in Feb 2011, in Frankfurt 2011/12, in München 2012, in Berlin 2012, at La Scala 2012, in Florence 2013. This has been confirmed by Lance Ryan's agent.

    Lance Ryan also sings Siegfried on the Valencia Ring on DVD/Bluray.

    There will also be other cast changes: Endrik Wottrich is leaving Bayreuth for good, he says, and Johan Botha will replace him as Siegmund. Since acting skills are not required in the postcard production by Tancred Dorst, this will be a fine replacement. As mentioned before, Susan Maclean will replace Mihoko Fujimura as Kundry in Stefan Herheim's Parsifal production.

    Lance Ryan's Homepage
    Bayreuth Festival 2010

    12 February 2010

    James King as Siegfried

    James King was asked to learn Siegfried Act 3 by Leonard Bernstein on short notice before the Wagner concert Bernstein held in Vienna in 1985.

    The programme of the concert consisted of Die Walküre (ending) and Act 3 of Siegfried.

    The clip above is from the scene when Siegfried discovers Brünnhilde (and that she is not a man).

    05 February 2010

    Los Angeles Activities

    In April, the County of Los Angeles Public Library presents German Opera Tales in partnership with LA Opera. This fun, high energy show tours to various libraries for free family performances. The "opera pals," four professional opera singers, perform musical moments from such German opera stories as Wagner's Das Rheingold, Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel, and Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio in celebration of LA Opera's Ring cycle and the Ring Festival LA.

    On April 16, Los Angeles Educational Partnership' Humanitas program will come to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to present a multi-media student arts festival in partnership with LA Opera. Students and teachers from more than 30 LAUSD schools will collaborate with Los Angeles artists to explore Wagner's Ring cycle through visual art, fashion, spoken word, music, film and other art forms.

    The Los Angeles Public Library presents the "We Tell Stories" play Rhine's Gold on April 24, at the Central Library. The award-winning children's storytelling troupe has produced this original children's play based on Richard Wagner's opera, Das Rheingold. After its debut, it will tour to various libraries in Los Angeles.

    The Music Center of Los Angeles County's Pillow Theatre is a free performance series designed specifically for families with children ages 3 through 6, with interactive visual arts workshops following each performance. Pillow Theatre brings German Opera Tales to the Grand Hall of Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on May 1, for two performances at 10 and 11:15 am. Little ones will be introduced to wonderful stories and melodies of some of the most beloved German operas, including Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel, Wagner's Das Rheingold, and Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio.

    Symphony in the Glen will present a concert "Union in Partition: The Case of Wagner v. Mendelssohn," that will take puckish delight in presenting both Richard Wagner's Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin and Felix Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Maestro Arthur B. Rubinstein and the orchestra, joined by the Independent Shakespeare Company and a children's chorus, will transform Griffith Park into Shakespeare's Athenian forest.

    The Young Musicians Foundation takes the stage at the Broad Theatre on January 31, at 4pm presenting Act II of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. They will also perform a concert at UCLA's Royce Hall on June 5.

    Ute Vinzig

    Dramatic soprano Ute Vinzig as Brünnhilde in the Wagner concert Leonard Bernstein did with the Vienna Philharmonic in Vienna, 1985.

    Finding reliable info about Vinzig has proved to be difficult. Do you know anything about her?

    No 2013 Ring director named yet

    Katharina Wagner says that Tom Tykwer definitely will not direct the 2013 Ring at Bayreuth. According to her, the name is not ready for publication yet. Tom Tykwer did not want to comment on the rumours when they were first posted on the Wagner blog.

    Interview with Katharina Wagner here

    03 February 2010

    Adrienne Dugger and Bayreuth agreement

    Adrienne Dugger and Bayreuth has finally reached an agreement about payment after the singer was sent home from the 2008 Festival, according to DPA (via Festspiele.de). A few weeks before the 2008 Festival started, the Festival stated that Dugger had withdrawn of "personal reasons", which is the Bayreuth Festival's way of saying that they (Christian Thielemann) did not want her to sing Brünnhilde in the Thielemann/Dorst Ring. The Ring was recorded that summer and recently released on CD with Linda Watson as Brünnhilde.

    31 January 2010

    Stefan Herheim on Daniele Gatti, preludes and tempi

    In this first of a series of interviews with Norwegian director Stefan Herheim, Herheim tells about his collaboration with Daniele Gatti, Gatti's choices of tempo and phrasing, fast vs. slow Parsifals and staging Preludes. Herheim sees Preludes as the opening of the door to the world of the opera performed that evening.

    It was not easy to convince the conductor (neither Gatti in Bayreuth nor Barenboim in Berlin) that there should be a scenic action during the Prelude to Act 1 of Parsifal and Lohengrin. In the interview Herheim talks about this.

    You can also read about the conductor's choice of musical tempi. The tempi means a lot to the instruction of singers and to Herheim's famous battery of stage decorations moving up and down, in and out of the stage during the drama. How would a faster Parsifal affect his Bayreuth production?

    Stefan Herheim on working with Daniele Gatti, the choice of tempi and the staging of preludes

    30 January 2010

    Stephen Fry on Richard Wagner

    Updated: Stephen Fry in Bayreuth

    According to BBC, Stephen Fry explores his passion for Richard Wagner in a documentary coming soon on BBC4. The documentary was filmed behind the scenes during the Bayreuth Festival last year. According to the brief notice from BBC, Stephen Fry "attempts to disentangle the music he loves from its indelible associations with the Nazis".

    29 January 2010

    Lohengrin in Tampere, Finland

    Wagner's Lohengrin in a production by Danish director Kasper Holten will soon be performed at Tampere Opera, Finland. The premiere in Tampere Hall will be 10 March 2010.

    Musical director Jan Latham-König
    Stage director Kasper Holten
    Set and costume designer Steffen Aarfing
    Light designer Jesper Garde Kongshaug
    Chorus master Heikki Liimola

    Kirsi Tiihonen, soprano (Elsa von Brabant)
    Helen Lokuta, mezzo soprano (Ortrud)
    Endrik Wottrich, tenor (Lohengrin)
    Jukka Rasilainen, baritone (Friedrich von Telramund)
    Jaakko Ryhänen, bass (Heinrich der Vogler)
    Jaakko Kortekangas, baritone (The King's Herald)

    Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra
    Tampere Opera Choir

    Wed 10 March at 6.30 pm Premiere
    Fri 12 March at 6.30 pm
    Sun 14 March at 3 pm
    Tue 16 March at 6.30 pm
    Thu 18 March at 6.30 pm
    Sat 20 March at 3 pm

    Sung in German, subtitles in Finnish
    Duration of the performance c. 3 hours 40 min. including two intermissions

    Tickets 65/92/105 €
    senior citizens 60/87/100 €
    students 50/77/90 €
    15-35 persons 59/83/95 €
    36-80 persons 55/78/89 €
    more than 80 persons 52/74/84 €

    Produced by Tampere Hall - more info here

    17 January 2010

    The Building Stage with a stage version of The Ring Cycle

    The Building Stage, a theater company In Chicago, USA, are currently in final preparations of their most recent project, The Ring Cycle. The Ring Cycle is a stage adaptation of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. The Building Stage version of this epic will run approximately six hours to tell the entire story in a single evening and features incidental music especially composed for the production. Some of them music is based on Wagnerian themes, according to Milan Vydareny, a member of the Board of Directors of The Building Stage.

    The Building Stage website

    02 January 2010

    The HeArt Project

    The HeArt Project, a program for teenagers in alternative high schools, came to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on December 4 to remix the Ring. Guided by professional artists, HeArt Project teens have been examining Richard Wagner's epic since the start of the school year, asking questions such as how can contemporary youth culture and new technologies re-imagine Wagner's vision in the 21st century? Can 21st-century innovation and technology illuminate connections to the grand visions of the past? Can the epic struggles of ancient myth be re-configured for an accelerated globalized culture? Students have been reflecting on these concepts while creating their own artwork. These works were displayed and discussed on December 4.

    Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky recently said, "Ring Festival LA will engage Los Angeles in opera, but also embrace a larger discussion through our world-class arts and cultural institutions. It will educate the public about the life and times of Richard Wagner and examine the man and his work in all of its challenging and controversial aspects. We can all be proud that so many diverse organizations are joining together in this incredible effort."

    It is important that young people are a part of the examination, and the HeArt Project's December workshop is an early of example of what is yet to come when the Festival gets underway on April 15, Barry Sanders, leader of Ring Festival LA, writes in a press release.