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.