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