26 October 2014

The Wagner Journal: November 2014 issue

The November 2014 issue (vol.8, no.3) of The Wagner Journal, now available, contains the following feature articles:

• 'Kundry’s Baptism, Kundry’s Death' by Christopher Wintle
• 'Timely Timelessness: Regietheater at Bayreuth in the 1970s' by Simon Williams
• 'Wagner Manuscripts at the British Library' by Nicolas Bell



Plus reviews of:
  • the Frank Castorf Ring in Bayreuth
  • Der fliegende Holländer in Copenhagen
  • Tristan und Isolde in Lübeck and Florence
  • a concert performance of Götterdämmerung in Leeds
  • CDs of a solo disc by James Rutherford and of Wagner's edition of Gluck's Iphigenia in Aulis
  • Stefan Herheim's Die Meistersinger, Parsifal directed by Romeo Castellucci and Wolfgang Wagner on DVD, together with Joachim Herz's pioneering Der fliegende Holländer
  • New books on Wagner and Freud by Tom Artin, Wagner and Manet by Therese Dolan, Schultze und Müller's satirical take on the Ring and The Cambridge History of Music Performance, ed. Colin Lawson and Robin Stowell

08 October 2014

MARK BERRY: AFTER WAGNER

MARK BERRY: AFTER WAGNER
Histories of Modernist Music Drama from Parsifal to Nono


A Special Offer: Save 25%
Click here for the publisher's flyer and discount code: http://boybrew.co/9781843839682flyer

This book is both a telling of operatic histories ‘after’ Richard Wagner, and a philosophical reflection upon the writing of those histories. Historical musicology reckons with intellectual and cultural history, and vice versa. The ‘after’ of the title denotes chronology, but also harmony and antagonism within a Wagnerian tradition. Parsifal, in which Wagner attempted to go beyond his achievement in the Ring, to write ‘after’ himself, is followed by two apparent antipodes: the strenuously modernist Arnold Schoenberg and the æstheticist Richard Strauss. Discussion of Strauss’s Capriccio, partly in the light of Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron, reveals a more ‘political’ work than either first acquaintance or the composer’s ‘intention’ might suggest.

Then come three composers from subsequent generations: Luigi Dallapiccola, Luigi Nono, and Hans Werner Henze. Geographical context is extended to take in Wagner’s Italian successors; the problem of political emancipation in and through music drama takes another turn here, confronting challenges and opportunities in more avowedly ‘politically engaged’ art. A final section explores the world of staging opera, of so-called Regietheater, as initiated by Wagner himself. Stefan Herheim’s celebrated Bayreuth production of Parsifal, and various performances of Lohengrin are discussed, before looking back to Mozart (Don Giovanni) and forward to Alban Berg’s Lulu and Nono’s Al gran sole carico d’amore. Throughout, the book invites us to consider how we might perceive the æsthetic and political integrity of the operatic work ‘after Wagner’.

After Wagner will be invaluable to anyone interested in twentieth-century music drama and its intersection with politics and cultural history. It will also appeal to those interested in Richard Wagner’s cultural impact on succeeding generations of composers.

MARK BERRY is Lecturer in Music at Royal Holloway, University of London.

06 October 2014

Washington National Opera announces casting for Ring 2016


Washington National Opera (WNO) today announced complete casting for its first full presentation of Richard Wagner's four-part Ring cycle. Three cycles will be presented from April 30 to May 22, 2016 and will be directed by Artistic Director Francesca Zambello and conducted by WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin. Contribution packages with priority seating for The Ring are on sale now. For more information, go to WNO's Ring website.

The complete casting announcement follows the principal casting announcement this spring. WNO's Ring cycles feature two outstanding Brünnhildes. Acclaimed British soprano Catherine Foster, who has stunned audiences at Wagner's hometown festival of Bayreuth in performances of the role, will make her U.S. debut in Cycles I and II. Internationally renowned Swedish soprano Nina Stemme, whose performances as Brünnhilde were highly acclaimed in this production's San Francisco run in 2011, makes her WNO debut in Cycle III. American heldentenor Daniel Brenna, a noted interpreter of Siegfried at opera houses across Europe, takes on the role in the United States for the first time. American bass-baritone Alan Held, an experienced Wagnerian who has appeared in more than 20 WNO productions, returns to his celebrated portrayal of Wotan.

Newly announced casting highlights include the return of American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop as Fricka and American baritone Gordon Hawkins as Alberich; the WNO debut of American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World winner, as Second Norn and Waltraute; veteran Wagnerians such as American bass Eric Halfvarson as Hagen and Christopher Ventris as Siegmund; rising American stars such as soprano Meagan Miller as Sieglinde, soprano Melody Moore as Freia and Ortlinde, bass-baritone Ryan McKinny as Donner and Gunther, and contralto Lindsay Ammann as Erda, Schwertleite, and First Norn; and the Wagnerian debuts of two Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists, American soprano Jacqueline Echols as Woglinde and the Forest Bird  and American bass Soloman Howard as Fafner.

Contribution packages for The Ring, which include priority seating for performances and access to dress rehearsals, cast parties, and other special events, are on sale now. Regular subscription packages will go on sale in March 2015.