03 December 2013

The Life and Work of Richard Wagner - Barbican 12th January 2014

"The Life and Work of Richard Wagner"
12th January 2014, 4pm
Barbican, Cinema 1

A newly restored silent landmark of the first feature-length film to be made about the composer Richard Wagner with an original piano score composed and performed by Jean Hasse.

For more information and booking, please visit:

The Life and Works of Richard Wagner

26 October 2013

Frank Castorf's Ring at the Bayreuth Festival 2013

Lance Ryan as Siegfried in Frank Castorf's Ring at Bayreuth

As part of the 200th anniversary celebrations of Richard Wagner’s birth, the Bayreuth Festival has staged a new production of the Ring - by the artistic director of Berlin's Volksbühne, Frank Castorf.  Castorf, who clearly had very limited rehearsal time, takes an essentially non-Wagnerian view of the work. The result is a provocative, irritating yet fascinating production that could best be described as an 'imploded'  work of art. I find Castorf’s distinctly  unmusical approach to Wagner is fundamentally problematic. There are few signs, if any, that the director is able to relate to Wagner’s music, with the exception perhaps of his seemingly ironic efforts to trivialise the central scenes and climaxes. The production is both fascinating and irritating.

Read more about Frank Castorf's Ring production 2013 on Wagneropera.net

06 August 2013

Herheim's Romantic Meistersinger is Met Material

Markus Werba (Beckmesser) and Michael Volle (Hans Sachs)
's wär' wohl gar ein biblisches Lied? Superlative performances by Markus Werba (Beckmesser) and Michael Volle (Hans Sachs). © Salzburger Festspiele / Forster

Stefan Herheim's long awaited production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Salzburg Festival premiered Friday last week. It was well received by the audiences, generally also by the critics.

You can watch the production online on 3sat.de

According to Washington Post, Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, was in the audience on the premiere of Herheim's “Meistersinger” and afterwards made preliminary arrangements to bring it to the Met in a future season.

The production is probably Herheim's least disturbing and most conventional so far. The action takes place in a dream Hans Sachs is desperately trying to remember and write down. The scene of the first act is Hans Sachs' giant writing-desk.

Beckmesser is neither caricatured nor demonized in this production. In fact, he is seen as another side of Hans Sachs. 

Superlative performances by Michael Volle (Sachs), Markus Werba (Beckmesser),
Georg Zeppenfeld (Veit Pogner) almost overshadowed the poor playing by the Vienna Philharmonic (booed at the end), led by Daniele Gatti (also booed), mostly lagging just enough to lose all tension and speeding up rather irrationally here and there. Gatti had no feeling for the wonderful lightness in the score, and certainly not the humour and irony that a conductor of this opera must bring out.


13 June 2013

New translation: Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft (The Artwork of the Future)

Richard Wagner's key essay Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft (The Artwork of the Future) is now available in a new translation by Emma Warner – the first since 1895.

This special issue of The Wagner Journal is available at £15, free to all subscribers of The Wagner Journal.

How to buy or subscribe

04 June 2013

World Peace Orchestra in 2013

The WPO, consisting of talented young musicians ages 15 to 22 from all over the world, promotes these themes through its annual Play for Peace concerts, which also feature prominent guest artists and other public figures. The WPO selects a different theme each year to draw public attention to specific global issues.

The first Play for Peace concert will take place in New York City at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on September 10, 2013.

Students wishing to join the World Peace Orchestra in 2013 must apply via the website at info@peaceorchestra.org

20 May 2013

Broadcast of Wagner Gala from the Semperoper Dresden

UNITEL CLASSICA broadcasts the WAGNER GALA from the Semperoper Dresden to celebrate the 200th birthday of the great composer. Music director Christian Thielemann conducts the ouvertures and great tenor scenes from Richard Wagner’s operas which were premiered in Dresden. Jonas Kaufmann, one of the most popular Wagnerian tenors of the age, will be a special guest. The concert will be broadcast live-time deferred in Europe and South Africa on May 21 and in Asia on May 22 in High Definition and with Surround Sound.


Richard Wagner (1813-1883):
Ouvertures to "Der fliegende Holländer", „Rienzi“, „Lohengrin“ and „Tannhäuser“
A Faust-Ouverture (1855 version)
"Allmächt'ger Vater" from „Rienzi“
"In fernem Land" from „Lohengrin“
"Inbrunst im Herzen" from „Tannhäuser“

Hans Werner Henze (1926-2012):
Fraternité. Air pour l'orchestre (1999)

Broadcasting times:
  • Berlin - Johannesburg Tuesday, May 21 - 22.15
  • Sofia Tuesday, May 21 - 23.15
  • Teipei - Manila - Kuala Lumpur Wednesday, May 22 - 19.15
  • Seoul - Busan - Tokyo Wednesday, May 22 - 20.15

10 April 2013

Gramophone revisit classic interviews

In celebration of Gramophone’s first issue, published 90 years ago in April 1923, Gramophone revisit a series of classic interviews from the Gramophone archive. Alan Blyth spoke to Pierre Boulez i ('Wagner used to be treated in a quite exaggerated post-Romantic way. When I conducted Parsifal at Bayreuth I didn't see why everything had to be taken at such slow tempi or with overdone dynamic contrasts – the pathos and rhetoric were just too much.' ) in November 1967, Eugene Ormandy in April 1970, Benjamin Britten in June 1970, and Leontyne Price in August 1971. In February 1979 Robin Stringer spoke to Glenn Gould.

Plus, leading critics for the magazine recall their first Gramophone review: Richard Osborne on Carlos Kleiber’s Beethoven Fifth (DG); Jeremy Nicholas on Wynton Marsalis’s All Rise conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen (Sony Classical); Rob Cowan on Brahms and Khachaturian Violin Concertos with Henryk Szeryng and the LSO under Antal Doráti (Mercury); and Edward Greenfield on Schubert’s Ninth Symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Charles Munch.

13 March 2013

Royal Opera House 2013/14 Opera Season announced

The 2013/14 Season sees seven new productions on the Main Stage including new productions of Parsifal, Les Vêpres siciliennes, and Die Frau ohne Schatten to celebrate milestone anniversaries of Wagner, Verdi and Strauss respectively. Other new Main Stage productions include Don Giovanni from Kasper Holten and Manon Lescaut from Jonathan Kent.

As well as new work, the 2013/14 Season also features a host of classic productions including Turandot, Le nozze di Figaro, Faust, and Carmen.

Live cinema relays during the Season include Turandot, Les Vêpres siciliennes, Parsifal, Don Giovanni and Manon Lescaut. We are very grateful to Bank of America Merrill Lynch for supporting the Royal Opera House Cinema Season.

Star names performing at Covent Garden over the coming Season include Bryn Terfel, Anna Netrebko, Angela Gheorghiu, Simon Keenlyside, Elina Garanca and Joseph Calleja.

26 February 2013

The Wagner Journal - new issue

A new issue of The Wagner Journal (editor: Barry Millington) is out. You can order your copy here: http://www.thewagnerjournal.co.uk/howtobuy.html

Heroic Gestures and Family Values in Wagner’s Ring
Arnold Whittall

The Kiss of the Dragon-slayer
Barry Emslie

Wieland Wagner’s Intellectual Path
Ingrid Kapsamer


Live Performances

Science, Sets and Symbols in Der Ring des Nibelungen David Trippett appraises the Covent Garden ‘Ring’ and an accompanying book


Tradition in Vienna, Laboratory Experiment in Bayreuth
Graeme Feggetter assesses contrasting productions of Lohengrin

Nuremberg Life and Afterlife
Roland Matthews is concerned that David McVicar’s Glyndebourne
production of Meistersinger fails to take account of its legacy


Take Five: Tristan und Isolde
David Breckbill weighs the merits of the fifth release in Janowski’s
complete Wagner project, and muses on his past and future Ring cycles

Fading Glory
Matthew Rye is doubtful about the wisdom of a highlights disc


Profession and Faith
A study of the emerging role played by Jews in the musical business
represents a welcome riposte to Wagner’s notorious essay, suggests
Jonas Karlsson

Uplifting Experiences
Alexander H. Shapiro explores the Wagnerian elements in a new study
of classical music in America’s Gilded Age

Rebel with a Cause
Life was tough for a black sheep of the Wagner family, finds
Tim Blanning

25 February 2013

The Pocket Opera Company in Nürnberg is staging Richard Wagner Singspiel

The Pocket Opera Company in Nürnberg is staging Richard Wagners Singspiel fragment “Männerlist größer als Frauenlist oder Die glückliche Bärenfamlie” (WWV 48) for the first time in a completed version this summer.

The premiere will be on 27 June in a large circus tent in the Stadtpark in Nürnberg. Further performances will take place on 29 June, 4 July and 5 July.

The production will be directed by Peter P. Pachl and conducted by Franz Killer, who also completes the score.


14 February 2013

Wagner 200 - London-based festival to celebrate the bicentenary of Richard Wagner’s birth

Wagner 200 is a wide-ranging, London-based festival to celebrate the bicentenary of Richard Wagner’s birth.

It opens on 22 May on Wagner’s 200th birthday and features events from May to December 2013 in association with leading cultural organizations including Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre, Barbican Centre, Royal Albert Hall, Kings Place, British Library, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Radio 3, The Wagner Society, Opus Arte, London Song Festival and London Jewish Cultural Centre.

Wagner 200 has a particular focus on British artists, offering a spectrum of talent from the most distinguished to the rising stars of today.

Highlights include:
  • Wagner 200th Birthday Concert (22 May) with the Philharmonia Orchestra/ Andrew Davis, and soloists Susan Bullock, James Rutherford and Giselle Allen. Preceded by an afternoon of pop-up Wagner activities on the Festival Hall terrace, balcony and foyers
  • Wagner/Liszt recitals (26–28 June) by Janice Watson/Joseph Middleton and Llŷr Williams, and a dramatised re-creation of the events surrounding the first performance of the Siegfried Idyll, starring Harriet Walter and Henry Goodman with the Aurora Orchestra and Nicholas Collon
  • Reading of the complete Ring text in English featuring John Tomlinson as Narrator/Master of Ceremonies and a company of young actors from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (9 June)
  • Three symposia on Wagner in Performance (29–30 June) featuring an international roster of Wagner experts followed by screenings of Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
  • Two events devoted to Wagner and the Jews at the London Jewish Cultural Centre (6 October and 10 December)
  • Masterclasses by Gwyneth Jones and John Tomlinson (28 May and 25 November)
  • Lectures by Keith Warner (24 April), Tim Blanning (11 July), Mike Ashman (12 September) and John Deathridge (10 October)
  • Concerts by the LSO (28 November) and BBC Symphony Orchestra (20 December)
  • Wagner the Writer study day (8 June)

06 February 2013

The Cambridge Wagner Encyclopedia to be published in August 2013

The Cambridge Wagner Encyclopedia (edited by: Nicholas Vazsonyi, University of South Carolina) is to be published in August 2013.

Richard Wagner is one of the most controversial figures in Western cultural history. He revolutionized not only opera but the very concept of art, and his works and ideas have had an immeasurable impact on both the cultural and political landscapes of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. From 'absolute music' to 'Zurich' and from 'Theodor Adorno' to 'Hermann Zumpe', the vividly-written entries of The Cambridge Wagner Encyclopedia have been written by recognized authorities and cover a comprehensive range of topics.

More than eighty scholars from around the world, representing disciplines from history and philosophy to film studies and medicine, provide fascinating insights into Wagner's life, career and influence. Multiple appendices include listings of Wagner's works, historic productions, recordings and addresses where he lived, to round out a volume that will be an essential and reliable resource for enthusiasts and academics alike.


Roger Allen, Celia Applegate, Nicholas Attfield, Matthew BaileyShea, Evan Baker, David E. Barclay, John W. Barker, Mark Berry, Peter Bloom, Dieter Borchmeyer, David Breckbill, Werner Breig, Matt Bribitzer-Stull, Stephen Brockmann, Jeremy Coleman, David Cormack, Adrian Daub, John Deathridge, James Deaville, David B. Dennis, Johanna Dombois, Márton Dornbach, Stephen C. Downes, Ulrich Drüner, Glenn Ehrstine, Barbara Eichner, Barry Emslie, Jason Geary, William Gibbons, Sander L. Gilman, Hermann Grampp, Thomas S. Grey, Kaaren Grimstad, Erling E. Guldbrandsen, Joseph Horowitz, David Huckvale, Marion Kant, Kevin Karnes, Ulrike Kienzle, William Kinderman, Helmut Kirchmeyer, Lutz Koepnick, Juliet Koss, Gundula Kreuzer, Alexis Luko, Roberta Montemorra Marvin, Lydia Mayne, Stephen McClatchie, Patrick McCreless, William Melton, Margaret Eleanor Menninger, Stephen Meyer, Margaret Miner, Ryan Minor, Yvonne Nilges, James Parsons, Sanna Pederson, Pamela M. Potter, Eva Rieger, Michael Saffle, Hannu Salmi, Daniel Sheridan, Eric Schneeman, Na'ama Sheffi, Matthew Wilson Smith, Sebastian Stauss, Anthony J. Steinhoff, Emma Sutton, Katherine Syer, Christian Thorau, Corinna Treitel, David Trippett, Ulrich Troehler, Laura Tunbridge, Hans Rudolf Vaget, Steven G. Vande Moortele, Nicholas Vazsonyi, Ray M. Wakefield, Chris Walton, Hilan Warshaw, Holly Watkins, Derek Watson, William Weber, Arnold Whittall, Simon Williams, Charles Youmans, Julian Young