Cher Public


La Cieca it would be both fun and appropriate to get an early start celebrating one of this year’s two major 200th birthdays, that of Richard Wagner, and what better way to kick up our heels than with a parterre competition?

To celebrate the Meister’s anniversary, La Cieca invites you to create, in the comments section for this post, a “virtual festival” offering a complete cycle of Wagner’s 13 operas, music dramas and stage-consecrating festival plays. You should list major casting, conductor and stage director for each work.

You are invited to offer rationales for any or all of your choices, because you know if there’s anything La Cieca’s Blue Ribbon Panel loves, it’s rationales. The Panel will select the most fabulous Festspiele of them all, whose creator will receive Wagner: Complete Operas (Limited Edition), a 43-disc set from Deutsche Grammophon.

All entries must be date-stamped prior to midnight on Friday, January 11, and the decision of your doyenne’s panel is, as always, utterly final.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Die Meistersinger -- Domingo’s first Sachs

    • Clita del Toro

      QPF, you made me lose my dinner!

    • derschatzgabber

      Bravo QPF. Now you have me wondering what I would find more distressing. Domingo on stage as Sachs, or on the podium conducting Meistersinger.

      Perhaps someone with more time on their hands can dream up an entire festspiele with Domingo singing a major baritone role in each opera.

    • Can’t be worse than Fischer-Dieskau’s which incidentally is part of the offered prize Wagner box.

      • kennedet

        What an awful comment to make about one of the greatest singers who ever lived.

        • aronocity

          Dieskau is one of the greatest singers who ever lived, but his voice was not that fit to bass-baritone roles. He did them proficiently, but they did not have that bass-baritone sound, thus putting off many opera fans.

          • kennedet

            You are correct.I forgot Sachs was bass-baritone. He was truly a lyric-baritone and I am surprised he accepted the role.

          • warmke

            Fischer-Dieskau accepted the role because he felt he had artistic ideas that could be brought to it; Domingo was simply singing most roles because he was a proficient sigh-reader and an ambitious world record seeker. I also find the modestly named “superconductor” has placed one of the more ridiculous comments about Wagner singing on here, but it’s an open forum.

          • kennedet

            Thanks, warmke. It’s difficult, sometimes to be objective about your favorite singer. Your explanation helps tremendously.

  • Rowna

    From the Dutch Treat to Parts of a Fall, I couldn’t even begin to imagine completing this task, but since one of the objectives of this is for amusement, I would suggest that we hire Quentin Tarantino to oversee the project. And I know this is off topic, but “Django Unchained” would make a great opera.

    • Orlando Furioso

      Rowna, La Cieca said “13,” so make sure you include the three before the Dutch thingy.

      • Rowna

        Orlando -- Right you are! However, I could barely rattle off the cast of characters in the standard operas -- so how the heck are we to know who are in those other 3? Anyone who can quickly tick off the 8 Walkyries gets kudos from me. I am passing on this quiz and will just wait for all the clever parterrians to post their entries. I am totally unable to compete with these word meisters :)

      • Orlando Furioso

        I’m not much more up on those early ones, but pages of online info are now easy to find — not like when I was in grad school and we had to translate Das Liebesverbot for ourselves because nobody had any info about it.

        I will have to think hard about devising a rationale that will stand out in a crowd.

        • Camille

          Be of good cheer, for anyone capable of translating Das Liebesverbot for himself already stands out, even in THIS crowd.

          • armerjacquino

            “Act I Scene I: A Room in the Duke’s Palace.

            DUKE VINCENTIO



            My lord.

            DUKE VINCENTIO

            Of government the properties to unfold,
            Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse;
            Since I am put to know that your own science
            Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice
            My strength can give you: then no more remains,
            But that to your sufficiency as your Worth is able,
            And let them work. The nature of our people,
            Our city’s institutions, and the terms
            For common justice, you’re as pregnant in
            As art and practise hath enriched any
            That we remember. There is our commission,
            From which we would not have you warp. Call hither,
            I say, bid come before us Angelo.”

            And so on… Easy!

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      Inglorious Basterds would make a truly fantastic opera! Love to see John Releya get scalped.

      • shoegirl

        Brilliant, Quanto Fainy! You made me laugh out loud.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Don’t forget to revive the Wagner version of Norma

    • Quanto Painy Fakor

      Yes, I know it’s not a version -- just an additional aria for Oroveso.

      • grimoaldo

        “In 1847 Richard Wagner presented a revised version of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide at the court of Dresden. Wagner edited, re-scored and revised the opera significantly including adding a different ending and some other passages of his own composition.”

        • Quanto Painy Fakor

  • phoenix

    eeeeee -- how about something a little more creative -- and easy -- all I can offer Cieza is a question re: Rationale (of course) -- do the celebrants in this virtual production have to actually be alive at the moment -- and do they also need any experience in the business? In order words, how virtual does this crap have to be?

    • grimoaldo

      If the great opera houses of the world cannot cast Wagner adequately today, how am I supposed to?
      Ummm….put Jonas Kaufmann in everything, and , uh………
      that’s it.

      • oedipe

        On the contrary, I think it’s RELATIVELY easy to cast Wagner adequately today. It’s just that people know much more about Wagner than they know about, say, Berlioz, so they are more demanding and care more in the case of Wagner.

    • Orlando Furioso

      I’d like a ruling on this too. I was envisioning a time- and globe-traveling sort of thing. (Oops, now I went and spilled the beans.)

    • This is up to you. I think it is in your best interest to be consistent. That is to say, if you are doing a festival featuring the stars of Vienna State Opera in the 1940s, you can’t have Joyce DiDonato singing Wellgunde.

      • ianw2

        Well there goes my Aloysia Weber is Eva to Stuart Skelton’s Walther concept.

      • MontyNostry

        But the big question would be whether Joyce could manage Wellgunde without transpositions.

  • Feldmarschallin

    Ok here my picks:
    Tetralogie: Almodovar since I find him the closest to Rainer Werner Fassbinder that we have today and always wished to have had a Ring by him, conductor Thielemann with Ryan, Herlitzius, Terfel, Diener, Kerl, Vermillion, König and Koch (Alberich)

    Tristan: Herheim (one of the few Wagners he hasnt done yet), Petrenko, Westbroek and Stemme sharing the role, Seiffert, Lang, Pape and Nikitin

    Lohengrin: Kusej (love his work), Petrenko, Kaufmann, Schwanewilms, Herlitzius, Koch, Pape

    Tannhäuser: Warlikowski (since he made a gay themed Onegin I can only imagine what he would do with the most sensual of Wagner operas especially with the first act ballet and second act group of competing singers, Kaufmann (debut), Garanca (debut), Harteros, Gerhaher, Salminen

    Holländer: Breth (after her Lulu and Wozzeck and then Traviata, let her have a go at early Wagner, also always good to have a woman in the mix as well), conducted by Maris Janssons Terfel/Reuter, Harteros (debut), Kerl and Youn.

    Parsifal: Castrop, was thinking of importing the Herbeim production but then thought of him being the only one who could perhaps do something on the same level, Abbado would be perfect for this most sublime of operas. Cast Gröissböck, Denoke, Goerne, Ventris, Nikitin.

    Meistersinger: Tscherniakov (imagine what he would do with the chorus after having seen the Invisible City) Thielemann with Volle, Kühmeier and Kleiter sharing the role of Eva both making debuts, Vogt, Gröissböck.

    Rienzi: Bieto Ph. Jordan, Melton, Gould, Schuster

    For Liebesverbot I would have Neuenfels do the Regie and for Die Feen Konwitschny. Nagano can conduct both. Ensemble of Bayerische Staatsoper with a few guests such as Pieczonka as Ada and Amber Wagner as Druella and possibly Johann Reuter.

    • phoenix

      Sounds like the winner to me -- every one of your Festival performances lures me!

    • damekenneth

      Feldmarschallin, VERY WELL DONE! But have you not left out Die Feen? (Btw, I believe it’s on this season at Staatsoper, Wien.)

      Also, no room for Stephen Gould? He was quite good in the Staatsoper’s new production of Ariadne last month, though not nearly as wonderful as Kauffman in the role, and had to wear a kind of floor length robe over the cat pajamas that were so fetching on the dear Jonas.

      • Feldmarschallin

        Dame, I do have Gould down for Rienzi and also have Liebesverbot. Those leopard print pants looked so hot on Jonas. Was very happy that Opera used that picture for their cover a few months back. I hope he will do a few performances of Ariadne here which is the very handsome Carsen production. I see that they are doing it again next season so there is hope. I only have dates but no names. This year we have Pieczonka and Westbroek (Festspiele) as Ariadne. Gould was excellent as der Kaiser in Salzburg.

  • In 2006, the city of Vienna invited Peter Sellars to stage a festival celebrating the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. Called “New Crowned Hope”, after a Masonic formula used by Mozart in one of his letters, this Mozart festival was unlike any other:

    “Artists from diverse cultures in the fields of music drama, dance, film, concerts, visual arts, and architecture were invited to develop new projects responding to the themes of these three works: Magic and transformation, truth and reconciliation, and ceremonies for the dead. Projects at the interface of art and social action including refugees and homeless populations are evolving in The Next Vienna. The Tables of New Crowned Hope recognizes farmers and chefs as artists and will affirm and extend Vienna’s role in the organic food movement, leading towards a sustainable future. The future that was the intensely heartfelt focus of Mozart’s aspirations during his last days on earth has become our present.”

    Sellars’ Mozart festival was not a rehash of the composer’s life and times, but an attempt to demonstrate the composer’s universality by situating his work and dreams within a contemporary, global context. Sellars commissioned work from filmmakers from Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Thailand, and Ethiopia and brought forth new operas by John Adams and Kaaja Saariaho on decidedly non-Mozartian subjects. Lemi Ponifasio’s Mau Dance Theatre presented a Maori take on “Requiem.”

    In that spirit, I tried to envision a Sellars’-managed Wagner Festival. The title for the Festival will be “Luft! Luft! Mir erstickt das Herz!” Wagner’s works will be set to drift among the Global Trade Winds. To upend traditional teleologies, the operas will be presented in reverse alphabetical order. Because of the very particular demands placed on the performers for this series of new productions, cast lists are all TBA.

    Tristan und Isolde -- Lars von Trier, who employed Wagner’s music so stunningly in Melancholia begins the festival by producing Tristan und Isolde in his signature Dogma 95 style. The performance will take place in a large rehearsal room (limited seating available, but hand-held cameras will transmit the performance live to a plaza outside the building). Stage areas will be marked off by masking tape. Wagner’s orchestral phantasmagoria is replaced by a single rehearsal piano. Singers appear in everyday clothes, though the leads gradually strip down to their underwear over the course of the evening. Tristan and Isolde are innocents beset at every turn by the world’s cruelty and degradation. Supernumeraries will fling filth at them during the performance. Encumbered with the dreck of the world, they yearn for transcendence.. As Tristan, then Kurwenal, then Isolde die, their caked bodies are hosed off and purified by the archangel Raphael.

    The Malagasy Tannhauser – A boisterous Tannhauser created by Madagascar director Raymond Rajaoanrivelo (whose other credits include the classic Tabataba and the music documentary Mahaleo). Venus here is Rasoalao, the Vazimba goddess of the underworld, the hunt and protector of wild animals. Her sister Ravola, Vazimba goddess of domesticated animals, stands watch over Elisabeth. As in the Iboniamasiboniamanoro epos, The Great Echo guides Tannhauser on his quest for redemption. Performers of Hiragasy (the nearly operatic mix of dance, music, and storytelling of the highlands) and members of the more westernized, genteel Troupe Jeannette help contextualize the musical and emotional duality of Tannhauser’s world.

    The Telugu Ring– Who better to direct Wagner’s complex epic of gods, giants, nymphs, humans and dwarves than K Raghavendra Rao, the Andhra Pradesh director steeped in the great tradition of Telugu devotional films. (Those unfamiliar with this Tollywood legend watch a trailer to his recent film Shirdi Sai). Upending the traditional park-and-bark legacy of Wagner performance, K Raghavendra will collaborate with Bollywood dance diva Farah Khan to devise kinetic choreography for some of the tetralogy’s most thrilling moments, such as Siegmund and Sieglinde’s love duet and the Ride of the Valkyries. Though colorful and lively, K Raghavendra’s Ring will get its emotional punch from its historical examination of India’s caste system. Wagner’s Nibelungen are here represented by the “untouchable” Dalits, who throughout this production are silent but omnipresent. The collapse of Valhalla and the ruin of the Gibichung palace finally free the Nibelungen from the oppressive yoke of gods and humans. The ostensibly cursed ring brings liberation.

    The Yellow-River Rienzi -- Nobody today does pageantry better than Zhang Yimou, filmmaker, orchestrator of the 2008 Olympic opening ceremony and occasional opera director. Flying daggers and hidden dragons abound in this vigorous retelling of the toppled tribune set during China’s Yellow Turban Rebellion. Wagner completists will be delighted to learn that the ballet The Rape of Lucretia, often omitted from contemporary productions, is here restored and danced by members of The Number One Beijing Opera Troupe. With its popular revolts, conspiratorial oligarchs and corrupting power – might this historical opera actually prophesy China’s near future?

    The Butoh Parsifal – Returning Parsifal to its Buddhist roots, the team of Eiko and Koma will stage Parsifal in the achingly slow, death-obsessed butoh style. As is typical in the butoh tradition, singers will perform naked. Never fear, for traditional Wagner singers will be right at home here: the body in butoh dance relishes its own unloveliness, its own decay. Characters for sin, guilt, redemption and innocence will be painted on the singers bodies. General Pauses in the music will be vastly magnified so that Wagner’s lengthy score is itself enveloped in silence. The performance will last approximately 10 hours long, without intermission. Christian Thielemann will conduct.

    (to be continued)

    • The Caracas Meistersinger -- “Kinder, schaft neues!” is taken quite literally in Peter Sellar’s new version of Die Meistersinger, set in Venezuela’s famous educational institution El Sistema. The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra will be in the pit. Parts on stage will be triple- and quadruple-cast so that the young singers can take on the heavier roles usually assigned to much older performers. Sellars’ patented system of hand-gestures is a natural complement to the opera’s many technical discussions of music, such as David’s catalogue of Lied-weise, as well as its many high-flying poems. Social tensions of present-day Caracas are manifest in the form of Walther von Stolzing, an anti-Chavez revanchist. During the opera’s final scene, emissaries from North American, European and Asian symphonies gather round to pay tribute to La Sistema. “Ehret eure Deutsche Meister” never sounded so benign.

      The Sanikiluaq Lohengrin -- Wagner’s romantic opera about faith betrayed is given a dark reinterpretation in this version set on the remote Belcher Islands of Hudson Bay. There an episode of religious mania led to the massacre of several Inuit in 1941. As one newspaper account tells it, “With the white man came gun, boats and religion, and the tragic story of the religious murders began. Half-learned biblical stories became mixed up with shamanistic myths… During an excessively long and rugged winter, one of the hunters suddenly had the revelation that he was Christ. Shortly afterwards, one of the band members, a young girl who expressed doubt, was killed by enthralled Belcher Islanders…” In this Lohengrin, representatives of the old Inuit order, Ortrud and Telramund, seem helpless to prevent the transformation of society engineered by newly-arrived Christian knight Lohengrin. But unspeakable horror is unleashed on the small community at the end of the opera, when Elsa question’s Lohengrin’s legitimacy -- the disappointed knight kills her and several others before assigning a national deputation to reign in his stead. Director TBA, as it is expected that Peter Sellars will mentor three young Inuit artists who will each direct an act of the opera.

      The Tunis Liebesverbot – Wagner’s Shakespearean comedy is set in present-day Tunisia, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Friedrich, the newly-installed Islamic regent, has declared a war on public displays of love, of places of pleasure, and anything else that might offend his puritanical sensitivities. Isabella, who previously had led a devoutly cloistered existence, is so dismayed by the cruelty and hypocrisy of the Regent that she becomes a reporter for Al-Jazeera. Lotfi Achour, who examined the sex lives of the Arab World in his recent “Hobb Story: Instructions for Love in Tunisia”, and who has been a voice for freedom in post-revolution Tunisia, directs.

      El Guarani Volador -- Sailing down the Rio Paraguay in 1968, the Wandering Dutchman lands in a very peculiar German refugee colony. One of their young members, the selfless Senta is fascinated by the Ancient Guarani and with the secret history that binds his past with hers. As Senta learns about the atrocities committed by her family in decades past, the Paraguayan Nasty Girl becomes a social pariah. Her self-sacrifice, a gesture of atonement, becomes the first step towards that community’s Vergangenheitsbewältigung. Paz Encina directs, Daniel Barenboim will conduct.

      Die Feen– Wagner’s rarely-heard first opera is produced in conjunction with Los Angeles’ Deaf West Theater. A motto by Voltaire runs across the top of the proscenium: “Across the proscenium runs Voltaire’s words: “In love silence is better than speech, Silence has its own eloquence which is more expressive than words.” The roles of the immortal, but somewhat cruel and arrogant, fairies will be cast with normal opera singers. The roles of humans, however, will be cast by deaf actors employing sign language (their lines will be doubled by singers in the pit) The most controversial stroke of this new production is in Act 3: Arindal’s lyre song, which is to rescue the petrified Ada, will only be “spoken” in American Sign Language. The orchestra and pit-tenor will fall completely silent for this number. It is their very muteness which will melt the heart of the fairy overlords and effect a reconciliation between the two societies.

      • aronocity

        I kind of like the shedding of clothing in Tristan und Isolde.

      • oedipe


        I would love to get a subscription to your whole season, it sounds very exciting!

      • grimoaldo

        Where else but parterre could one find something like this?
        I love it!

      • Often admonished

        you deserve the meagre prize

        but please tell me, what are you on?

    • lorenzo.venezia

      OMG, Croche! No. This is TOO funny. You need your own cable channel!! Bravissiimo!!

  • marshiemarkII

    Oh, I am LOVING every minute of that DG advert for the 43 CD set!!!!!!!!!!! The greatest Wagner Singers….. and the first name to appear…. well why, the greatest herself!

    • Nerva Nelli

      Let me guess, MM II… April Cantelo?

      • Camille

        Amy Shuard, Nerva.

    • marshiemarkII

      But April Cantelo didn’t even sing Wagner. Wasn’t she a HW Henze specialist?
      You need to do better next time Dea Tremenda (I suggest you remember the dear Eszter Kovacs or even better the Ute Vicious :-) )

      • Nerva Nelli

        Marshie, I think you need to stop dilating on your Alsatian Ewig-Weibliche and take a look at the cast lists for the LIEBESVERBOT and DIE FEEN on that DG set: Miss Cantelo is in both of them!

        She did sing in BOULEVARD SOLITUDE but by no means was she a “Henze specialist”; she made a delightful record of 18th century Shakespearean songs and is quite appreciable as Hero on the first Colin Davis recording of BEATRICE ET BENEDICT, with fellow British Wagnerians Josephine Veasey and John Mitchinson.

      • marshiemarkII

        Uh, you really got MMII on that one :-)
        But the only recordings I have are the Sawallisch with Linda Esther Gray, Anderson and Studer,for Die Feen, and Sabine Hass for the other one. Not familiar with those BBC Brit concoctions. Ms Davis nee Cantelo was cuckolded by the Sir though, no? and by a Persian (!?!?!?!?!) nanny.

        Now the Alsatian Ewig Weibliche is only half Alsatian. On the father side, namely Behrens, is solidly Sachsen.

        I am still LOVING the beautiful advert that DG put together though, very classy, wouldn’t you agree Dea Tremenda? The Greatest Singers…. over the background picture of the greatest Brunnhilde in Zu Neuen Taten, and then the name… gorgeous!!!!!!!

        • Nerva Nelli

          Picture and name are phenomenal. pity about the middle voice, but… :)

          Just on a linguistic level, I don’t believe that a woman can be “cuckolded” per se, outside of the realm of figurative language and (perhaps sex toys). But I take your meaning. When is Citizen Lebrecht going to offer the waiting world a tome on WOMANIZING CONDUCTORS, or even just WOMANIZING BRITISH CONDUCTORS??

          • MontyNostry

            Lebrecht wants the world to think he is a serious musical journalist, so he wouldn’t be that blatant. And the tome would probably have to mention Mahler in the title, since his is the only **music** he seems ready to volunteer an opinion about, as opposed to spouting opinions **around** music. Now, Alma was a ‘manizer’, wasn’t she, so that might give him something to work with. (His other obsession seems to be the French popular singer Barbara. I know next to nothing about her, so I don’t know what opportunities she opens up.)

    • Feldmarschallin

      Woúld that be Leider or Flagstad or Schorr or Melchior perhaps?

    • Sempre liberal

      The first name to appear is Margaret Price, right? Aside from singing Isolde (superbly) in studio, did she sing much Wagner?

      Why she is listed before Ms. Behrens I’ll never know.

      • marshiemarkII

        Oh my God Cara Sempre, I looked again and ORRORE, you are right, Mme Price does come first……. by microseconds of course, and the reigning Brunnhilde should always be the first, prima inter pares!!!! And quite frankly the list is rather incomplete, no Christa Ludwig???? even Jessye Norman? Mattti Salminen? Brigitte Fassbaender?
        Strange list indeed!

      • Nerva Nelli

        “Why she is listed before Ms. Behrens I’ll never know.”

        Perhaps because Margaret Price’s was a voice any sane person would care to hear on a recording?

        • Sempre liberal

          Dearest Nerva,
          I love Margaret Price, but I’m not sure I’d have listed her first among Wagner singers.
          (Plus, I already have her Isolde!)

        • marshiemarkII

          And this sublime singing is a voice you wouldn’t want to hear in a recording, Nerva?

  • rysanekfreak

    The entire summer of 2013, the Metropolitan Opera will present its Richard Wagner Festival, the anti-Bayreuth Festival if you will.

    Die Feen

    David Alden will stage. Fabio Luisi will conduct. It will be staged as a backstage performance of Les Sylphides as viewed from the wings of the Paris Opera. All the women will be in white tutus. All of the men will be in tights with huge codpieces.

    The entire 2011 cast of the Frankfurt production will be cut-and-pasted to New York, since, it is hoped, they will still know their parts.

    Feenkönig: Alfred Reiter
    Ada: Tamara Wilson
    Zemina: Anja Fidelia Ulrich
    Farzana: Juanita Lescarro
    Arindal: Burkhard Fritz
    Lora: Brenda Rae
    Morald: Michael Nagy
    Drolla: Christiane Karg

    conducted by Sebastian Weigle.


    Bart Sher will be asked to stage this as a madcap cartoonish comedy. Lots of commedia dell-arte masks. Lots of confusion. Since nobody of international stature wants to bother learning the music, the entire cast will be students from Julliard. Surprisingly enough, this will turn out to be the big hit of the Festival: standing room only, riots in the lobby as patrons scuffle for tickets, demands for an HD telecast.


    This will be the extra-long version as once performed by the BBC. No cuts. All extra music restored. When the long lunch and supper intermissions are factored in, the entire performance will clock in at nine hours.

    It will be staged by Robert Wilson, all slo-mo and static. An attempt at a live horse in Act Three will be scuttled because the horse will be moving too rapidly. Instead, a life-sized horse statue made of white fiberglass will be used and will be pushed around by stagehands.

    Brian Hymel as Rienzi
    Nina Stemme as Irene
    Nadja Michael as Adriano

    Conducted by Daniel Oren.

    Flying Dutchman

    This will be staged by Lars von Trier. It will be totally in black and white with 50 shades of gray. No color. No intermissions. Real ship sails. Real spinning wheels. Real rocky crags. Real herrings. Eric and Daland will both commit suicide after Senta jumps.

    Bryn Terfel as the Dutchman
    Ricarda Merbeth as Senta
    Stefan Vinke as Eric
    Eric Halfvarson as Daland
    Stephanie Blythe as Mary

    Valery Gergiev will conduct.


    Francesca Zambello will set this one in outer space. Venus is actually on Venus. The singing hall is a giant space ship. The trip to Rome and back is actually a long space flight from the moon to Rome and back to the moon. The men clunk around in bulky spacesuits. Venus wears sheer flimsy curtains. Elizabeth wears sexy Barbarella outfits.

    Tannhauser = Johan Botha
    Elizabeth = Eva Marie Westbroek
    Venus = Karita Mattila
    Wolfram = Bo Skovhus

    Conducted by Christian Thielemann.


    Franco Zeffirelli will be asked to stage this Lohengrin in one of his monumental de-mothballed Aida productions. We will have pyramids, a Sphinx, palm trees, camels and elephants. Elsa will be sung in blackface. Lohengrin will be dressed as Radames with a chariot instead of a swan. Ortrud will be dressed as Amneris. The entrance to the church at the end of Act Two will involve four hundred supers parading across the stage in seemingly-endless procession. An early plan to have the opera sung in Italian will be abandoned at the last minute, which will prove a huge problem for at least one of the stars.

    Alagna as Lohengrin
    Netrebko as Elsa
    Voigt as Ortrud
    Gagnidze as Telramund
    Reylea as The King

    Placido Domingo will conduct.

    Tristan und Isolde

    This will be an ultra-conservative staging by David McVicar with everything looking like Maxfield Parrish paintings. Lots of Prince Valiant costumes. Lots of flowing draperies and lush forests. Lots of scrims.

    Ben Heppner will be announced as the Tristan. Torsten Kerl will eventually take over the role.
    Anja Kampe as Isolde
    Falk Struckman as Kurneval
    Elina Garanca as Brangaene
    Mika Kares as King Marke

    Pierre Boulez will conduct.

    Die Meistersinger

    The opera will be set on a chessboard. Each character will be a chess piece. Sachs will be the white king, Beckmesser the black king. Eva is the white queen. Magdalena is the black queen.
    Walter is a white knight. David is another white knight. It makes no sense, but it will be visually diverting. The riot at the end of Act Two will be staged as a toddler shaking up the board and throwing the pieces around. This chessboard concept is the only idea the director (Mark Lamos) has, so it will have to be stretched beyond infinity. It won’t work for the general populace, but critics will love it.

    Rene Pape as Sachs
    Marcello Giordani as Walter
    Irene Theorin as Eva
    Peter Mattei as Beckmesser

    Daniele Gatti will conduct.

    The Ring

    This will be a slight reworking of a previous Ring tried out without success on Parterre. It will be the Ring set in Hollywood, where Wotan is constructing his gigantic Vahalla Studios. Baz Luhrmann will rework the original Ken Russell staging.

    The Rhinemaidens will be three starlets tossing a golden beachball around a pool.
    The gold will eventually be refashioned as an Oscar. Everyone wants that Oscar. This is the dominant theme of the entire Cycle—the quest for an Oscar!

    The entry into Valhalla at the end of Rheingold will feature several classic 1920s luxury cars driving through the gates of the newly-built Valhalla Studios as the paparazzi snap away. Fricka (Stephanie Blythe) will resemble Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond.

    Walkure will be about the filming of Visconti’s The Damned.

    Brunhilde will be Bette Davis (sung by Susan Bullock)
    Sieglinde will be Norma Shearer (sung by Amber Wagner)
    Siegmund will be Humphry Bogart (sung by Gary Lehman)
    Wotan will be Orson Welles (sung by Thomas Hampson)

    Siegfried will be about a young Olympic swimming champ who is being groomed to film a superhero movie. In a controversial move, an actual teenboy swimming champ from Germany will mime the role while Jay Hunter Morris sings his part from the pit. Mime will not mime his role. He will be sung by Gerhard Siegel. Eric Owens will steal the show again as Alberich. Ewa Podles as Erda.

    Gotterdammerung will be about the filming of a zombie-apocalypse movie. The zombies will destroy Valhalla Studios. The entire Cycle will be so horrible that people will be begging for a return of Robert Lepage’s Machine.

    Daniel Barenboim will conduct.


    Luc Bondy will stage this lurid Parsifal-in-a-gay-Manhattan-bathhouse circa 1984 production. Amfortas is dying of AIDS. Kundry is a glamorous drag queen. The Flowermaidens are not-so-glamorous drag queens. There will be lots of male full-frontal nudity. James Valenti will try his first Parsifal. Phillipe Jaroussky will be Kundry. Hvorostovsky as Amfortas. John Tomlinson as Guernemanz. James Levine will conduct. The Met will finally admit that all its singers are fully-miked and over-amplified.

    It will go down in Met annals as a night of total “boos and booze” that will climax the ill-fated Wagner Festival. The Millo Pole will acquire an extra glaze of dried semen. Pearls will be dramatically clutched by those who will want to know why a Verdi Festival (with 1950s production values) was not presented instead.

    • Very entertaining (though the mix of dead-on casting and funny casting threw me for a loop). How sensible to have Venus actually be on Venus. Love it. Best thing I’ve read all day.

      • MontyNostry

        I think the Hollywood Rheingold is a brilliant idea. Has it ever been done like that?

        • Camille

          Not Hollywood, but the Zambello San Francisco Ring had gold miners or something like that and was set in the Wild West. Guess it was la Fanciulla meets the Gold Dust Twins.

          Lotsa fun! The only time in my life I enjoyed Das Rheingold.

    • Clita del Toro

      Rysanekfreak, love your Parsifal. I want to be in the front row! Full-frontal miking?
      Please, I don’t want to see a nude Hampson.

      • marshiemarkII

        It’s supposed to be tiny, no? Clitissssssima adoree

        • Clita del Toro

          My Marsh-Mallow, Tiny or not, I don’t think so! lol

          • marshiemarkII

            Clitisssima adoree, talking about tiny and its antonym, did you ever see Bernd Weikl as Don Fernando in Fidelio? I believe it was during the magnificent performances when the sublimest pair ever (Vickers and you know who!) sang in 1980. Bernd, young and very southernly sultry Austrian, all burning eyes and black curly hair, would wear the tightest possible pants, and the queens would line up to buy the most expensive opera glasses going, and then just swoon in the final scene, and not from the most sublime music sang by the most sublime pair :-)

          • marshiemarkII

            sUng ugggh

            Those in close up, MMII was eyes closed listening to the heavenly singing :-), said that it was the stuff of legends…….

          • Nerva Nelli

            Not to be a pedant (ha!), MM II, but Herr Weikl’s eye-catching (c.f. also Giacomo Aragall in the ESCLARMONDE LP booklet) turn as Don Fernando was in 1978, for three shows only, with Boehm leading Miss Behrens in one of her finest Met appearances, opposite not Vickers but the still under-appreciated James King. Moll, Auger (in her only Met role) and the late lamented James Atherton were assets; Siegmund Nimgsern decidedly not so.

          • marshiemarkII

            There you go Dea Tre, MMII fuzzy memories are playing havoc today……

            Re: Aragall Esclarmonde booklet, yesssssss he was my high-school dirty little secret in lieu of porn! As was James King Siegmund booklet picture, and Franco’s Trovatore cover!!!!!!!!!!

            The greatest Behrens sang Tosca with Aragall in Munich, and said that he was even more gorgeous in real life!!!!!!!!!!!! Helas never saw him live.
            But did manage to see Franco, aged 54 and still GORGEOUS, in Romeo skin-tights, on stage and off :-)

          • Nerva Nelli

            I saw/heard Aragall late in the game, a San Fran Pinkerton w/the divoon Diana Soviero (1989) and he still looked and sounded very good.

        • Well, he has big hands…

          • Clita del Toro

            Hmmm, that’s a plus.

    • mountmccabe

      This is all amazing but I really want to see that Walkure.

    • Camille

      Favoloso, Rysanekfreak.
      How in the name of g-d did you come up with all this?
      Oh right, you have been this way before.


    • damekenneth

      This, Rysanekfreak, was hilarious and brilliant! Bravo(a)!

    • Clita del Toro

      Rysanekfreak, I also love this:

      “Gotterdammerung will be about the filming of a zombie-apocalypse movie. The zombies will destroy Valhalla Studios. The entire Cycle will be so horrible that people will be begging for a return of Robert Lepage’s Machine.”

      My additional touch: As Valhalla Studios burn, the entire cast will return, each lightly strapped to the slats of the Machine. The Machine will begin to whirl wildly out of control and catapult all cast members into the Family Circle.

      • marshiemarkII

        LOVE IT!!!!!! Clitissssima adoree. Brilliant as always :-)

        • Clita del Toro

          Marshie dearest, I am glad you like it!

      • Camille

        They should rightfully be catapulted into parterre boxes, non?

  • marshiemarkII

    And very interesting how they end the advert with an ad for the ONLY Ring worth having, instead of the current one (they must have given up already :-( ).

    DGG must be, and better be, eternally thankful to the late and greatest Cynthia Wood, who anonymously gave the money for that telecast, with the condition that it be with the greatest Brunnhilde of the day (and of eternity). It must have been the spirit of her old friend, the greatest Dr Karl Boehm who gave her the inspiration……..

  • Buster

    My celebration would be having a HIP Wagner festival -- put together by Marc Minkowski. The festival takes place in Bayreuth, but at the Margravial Opera House. The size of this theatre will necessitate small scale, intimate stagings, and small period instruments orchestra’s, which will be ad hoc ensembles consisting of both professionals, and students. Minkowski himself will conduct Flying Dutchman, and the Ring, and will hand-pick HIP conductors for the other operas. Mireille Delunsch will be Brünnhilde, Charles Castronovo Siegfried, Stéphanie d’Oustrac Fricka and Waltraute, Olga Peretyatko Senta (in the original, higher lying version), Anna Caterina Antonacci Elsa, Annick Massis Elisabeth, Charlotte Margiono Venus and Ortrud, Jadwiga Rappé Erda, Sophie Karthäuser Sieglinde, Christina Landshamer Eva, countertenors for David, Loge and Mime. Wotan will be a debut for Jean-François Lapointe. Forrest bird: Eva Lind. Kundry Simone Kermes. Staged by Simon McBurney.

    • Feldmarschallin

      Buster I absolutely adore the early Nacht in Venedig. Wittrisch and Schmitt-Walter take the prize but the conducting is spot on. Speelter isnt far behind Schwarzkopf who still is the best Annina in my book. Two nights ago I watched the DVD which is also a lot of fun if the singers arent up to the levels of the early version or the EMI. But Welitsch is alone worth the price of the DVD. Of course the filming is very dated but still I am glad to have at least one version on DVD.

      • Buster

        Glad you love it too. It is really a lost art, doing operettas like that. These performances were often played ensuite for months, which must explain the impeccable timing of everyone concerned. I have moved up to Wiener Blut now, and love the Stolz recording best thus far, with a gorgeous Hilde Gueden, and a very funny Probiermamsell from Wilma Lipp. I am also comparing Lustige Witwe recordings right now, and again Hilde Gueden and Stolz coming up as the best one of the (dreary) lot. Which Lustige Witwe do you like best?

        • Feldmarschallin

          I like the early Schwarzkopf with Gedda, Kunz and Loose under Ackermann. I will try the Güden after your great recommendation of Eine Nacht. I like Güden anyway and have many of her things. Yes no one could do it like they did in those days. There are very few who have the charm and then also one needs to have it very well rehearsed otherwise it falls apart. Ackermann was great as a conductor for these things.

          • Buster

            Thanks, you really do like Schwarzkopf a lot! I am less fond of her oversophisticated, I could not be vulgar even if I wanted to approach, but will listen again. On Schwarzkopf and Wiener Blut: she was signing records once, in Amsterdam, and the shopowner had put on her Four Last Songs recording. When Schwarzkopf entered the store, she demanded it to be taken off immediately (“much too depressing!”), and to replace it by Wiener Blut, “the best thing I ever recorded!”

          • Feldmarschallin

            Well there are certain singers that have spoilt me in certain roles. Callas in all her major roles is one and Schwarzkopf is another althought as the Marschallin I find Lehmann equally good but totally different. Ditto for Maria Reining. I also just got a new recording of Fledermaus which I have only listened to once but it didn’t do much for me the first time. Anders, Schelm, Streich und Fricsay. Will give it another try but doesn’t come close to Clemens Krauss.

        • Feldmarschallin

          Buster you also MUST get two recordings. One are selections by Tauber and Schöne on Nimbus and the other is highlights of Lehar from 1929-1940 with Schmidt, Eisinger, Anders, Rautawaara, Wittrisch, Dermota, Glawitsch and the blood young Schwarzkopf. That last recording is on Telefunken Legacy.

          • Buster

            Thanks a lot for those tips FM! Love Lotte Schöne -- I have that Preiser box with her sensational Liu arias, and lots of operetta stuff (Zeller!), but I don’t know that Nimbus disc, nor the Telefunken Lehar. Fritzi Massary’s Lehar is great too, very peppy.

          • Gualtier M

            Buster I have that Nimbus cd of Schoene -- I like both her and Tauber but the sonics are weird. These are electric recordings that Nimbus did the acoustic ambisonic process on. The reverb that adds some life to acoustic recordings on Nimbus make it sound like Richard and Lotte are singing in a shower stall or Turkish bath. I would stick to Preiser and the Schoene set on Preiser has all those operetta selections on it.

            Just a note -- I enjoy Nimbus recordings though I suspect they are not really echt. Particularly acoustically recorded sopranos benefit from the extra oomph on the high acoustic and the voices seem to be floating in a room rather than squeaking off of worn shellac.

          • Feldmarschallin

            Yes Gualtier is right the Preiser Schöne has the same operetta selections that the Nimbus has. Just checked them both and if you have the one no need for the other really. I just like to have the operetta highlights together with Taubers on the Nimbus. Schöne might have sung the best Liu arias ever. There certainly is much else to recommend on her Preiser like Despina and one of the best Ach ich fühls which in my opinion is only bettered by Tiana Lemnitz. But it is almost difficult to decide. In that very high catergory is the young Seefried unter Furtwängler.

          • Bill

            Feldmarschallin -- I have 6 versions of “Ach ich Fuehls” with Seefried -- the 1944 version of the opera conducted by Boehm (with Kunz and Dermota) on Preiser which is only the second half of the opera which was taped in
            Vienna, the first part having been lost.
            Then the 1947 version of the aria with Krips,
            the 1949. 1950 and 1951 taped Salzburg performances under Furtwaengler and the 1950 complete (without dialogue) Karajan Zauberflote on EMI. There may be others floating around but Seefried’s last Pamina was at Salzburg in 1963. She was my favorite
            Pamina in her prime -- but Lemnitz as recorded
            is absolutely wonderful as well. I have not heard Lotte Schoen’s version but she was immensely popular in Vienna in a variety of roles.

            Almost all the great Vienna sopranos sang in
            (or recorded) operetta. della Casa as well,
            and Jurinac was wonderful as the Grafin Maritza as taped in Hamburg. Gueden the preferred Rosalinda at the Staatsoper.
            Schwarzkopf had the style as recorded but
            occasionally seemed mannered but then that
            was the style and still is in Budapest and Vienna. Welitsch had a wonderful flair, supposedly Eszter Rethy tremendous elan -- and both Welitch and Seefried sang operetta character parts at the Volksoper when their operatic careers had finished (and they
            were also marvelous together in Die Regiment’s Tochter which, when sung in German with
            Reri Grist, Arlene Auger or Patricia Wise in the title role seemed almost more an operetta than an opera. Indeed, maybe it is an operetta. Later Janowitz and Popp were
            enchanting as well in operetta and most of the sobrettes -- Lipp, Rothenberger, Streich,
            Loose, Renate Holm were splendid in various
            operetta roles. No idea what Jeritza sounded like in that one Met Fledermaus circa 1951 but it must have been quite an event.

          • Nerva Nelli


            Here is Lotte Schoene’s famous 1928 Pamina aria:

            Best not to think of what trials of fire Mme. Lemnitz would have subjected Schoene to, had she had the chance.

          • Buster

            Thanks, all -- interesting info. I never bought Nimbus cd’s, but am curious to hear one now.

            Renate Holm, with the gorgeous Margit Schramm, are the last two operetta greats I really care about. In the Everding interview Renate Holm talks with so much love about Stolz, wonderful!

            She talks with less affection about Krips. She was hired to sing Blondchen on his seond Entfuhrung, and had to sing through the role five of six times with him, on the morning she had to record it in the studio. That was too much for her, and she could not do it after singing it so often in a row, and had to be replaced at the very last moment (by Lucia Popp):

          • Buster


  • Krunoslav

    To follow up on Gualtier’s praise for Elizabeth Bishop’s high B flats, I was interested to note that later this month she is doing a Wagner concert for North Carolina Opera in which she’ll be singing from Sieglinde and Isolde ( nothing other mezzos like Matzenauer and Meier haven’t done before, but…) Bishop was very good indeed in her Met Venuses. Jay Hunter Morris and Peter Volpe also take part.

    Here’s from the press release:


    RALEIGH, N.C.— North Carolina Opera will open its 2012-2013 season on Jan. 27, 2013 at 3 p.m., with a concert of the music of Richard Wagner , in honor of the bicentennial of the composer’s birth, in Meymandi Concert Hall in Duke Energy Center in Raleigh. The concert will include favorite selections from several of Wagner’s most popular operas, including Act I of Die Walküre, in what is thought to be the first performance from Wagner’s Ring Cycle in the Triangle, Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walküre, as well as excerpts from Die Meistersinger, Tristan und Isolde and The Flying Dutchman.

    Internationally acclaimed talent will perform, including tenor Jay Hunter Morris, who sings the famously difficult role of Siegfried in Wagner’s Ring Cycle with the Metropolitan Opera; Elizabeth Bishop, who has sung leading Wagner roles at the Metropolitan Opera and San Francisco Opera, as Sieglinde; and Metropolitan Opera bass Peter Volpe as Hunding. NCO Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Timothy Myers will lead 80 members of the North Carolina Opera Orchestra. The two-hour performance will be sung in German with English supertitles.

    The Wagner program will include the following, in the order in which they will be presented: Prelude to Die Meistersinger, “Mögst du, mein Kind” from The Flying Dutchman, “Fanget an!” from Die Meistersinger, Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walküre, “Mild und leise” from Tristan Und Isolde, Intermission and Act I of Die Walküre.

    Tickets are $27 to $85, and are on sale now by calling the North Carolina Opera Box Office at 919-792-3850, filling out the form available at or going to

    • warmke

      Bishop always was a Jugendlich, even early on, the voice is so similar to MJ Wray’s in weught and color (although nothing of her level) that is was expected she’d take this repertoire on and do something of interest, At this point, there’s not so much of interest: there are a large number of second string Sieglindes.

      • Camille

        As I suspected. Thanks for the confirmation.

        Much of the declamatory sections, and there was a lot of that, got lost as it was not projected with the requisite strength.

    • Bianca Castafiore

      Kruno, I must have missed Gualtier’s post? What did he say about the Troyens?

      • Gualtier M

        Bianca, here is what I wrote on another blog:

        “Bishop last night was quite impressive. All in all, Susan Graham is more accomplished,individual and beautiful in the role. But Bishop has two things over Graham -- she can hit the B flats in “Chers Tyriens” very securely and she has
        more heft in the declamatory passages.

        I was also glad to hear Hymel who has developed an attractive dark color in the middle register which used to be hollow and wooden. The top was always fantastic. Nice not to be obliged to tune out the tenor line in “Nuit D’Ivresse et D’Extase” as I was forced to with Giordani.

        In response to Camille -- yes Bishop looks rather matronly but I actually think that Graham is older than her by a few years -- Graham is in her early fifties whereas Bishop is probably mid to late forties. So both ladies are cougars when paired with Hymel.

        • Bianca Castafiore

          Grazie, Gualtier. I’m sorry to miss the Troyens this decade, but I am allergic to a certain Cassandre. I’ve seen Bishop 3 times now and she has always been impressive and competent (Iphigenie, Fenena and Norn).

          • Gualtier M

            Really Bianca, you can take John Yohalem’s advice and just skip Acts I and II and show up a little before 8 p.m. (or 1:45 for the matinee) and catch the Carthage acts. No Lil’ Debbie after Act II except that she will probably show up as the Ghost of Cassandre in Act V for the HD (Edyta Kulczak was doing the spectral chores for her after opening night).

            A couple more tidbits -- Debbie actually is singing in tune and the nagging aunt quality is not there. But she just sounds like an empty toned washed out lyric soprano with no color or power. Actually she sounds small and pretty in places -- I wonder if she could do Mimi or Donna Anna except that the top is sort of pushed and effortful now.

            Bishop to me has always sounded like a mezzo-soprano and Margaret Jane Wray like a short soprano. I think Didon (though Camille informed me that both Cassandre and Didon are listed as mezzo-soprano in the original score) has a higher almost falcon tessitura. In Didon’s Act III address to the Carthagineans, you can hear Bishop lightening her tone at the beginning to give it height. Also the French language kind of lends itself to a lighter, narrower tonal production. I thought Bishop was sympathetic and commanding in “Adieu, fière cité” but Graham broke my heart there.

          • Camille

            Yes, seconded herewith, Bianca Dearie. Do NOT cheat yourself of the opportunity of hearing Monsieur Hymel, and frankly, povera Debbie didn’t sound that bad in the recreation room AKA List Hall.

            Gualtier, you Veal Seduttore you, that is the Bärenreiter urtext score to which I made reference. NOW, in the Choudens score, which is currently languishing in the Juilliard Bookstore at $71.95 for each bookend, I do not know how they are categorized, but I would suspect it would be in similar fashion. One never knows, so see and or go there yourself and see. My old and ancient Kalmus scores may say a monkey may sing Dindon.

            One thing I LURVE about the French is that they allow low voices in females and women over forty to be Seeeeexxxxxy, inasmuch as they are admittedly able to be ~~ thinking of Angela now, who is fearlessly facing Le Divorce at the purported age of 47.

            Didon ALS “Cougar” works very well, as far as I am concerned, as after all, she has been widowed for seven or eight years, so unless she was married at age 18, well, she could very well be the proverbial woman of a certain age. That would explain as well how readily she LEAPS upon the funeral pyre, as she knows if Enee leaves her there is very little chance of another Trojan coming down the pike. The problem with Bishop was that she did not, upon her entrance in the Saturday performance, promenade in a sufficiently QUEENLY manner! Any one of you dears would have been able to have shown her a thing or three.

            By the next performance her confidence had increased to the point she made a much more secure impression upon her entrance. One can certainly not blame her, for g-d only knows what rehearsal she had, if any, She DID seem to know the stage directionals down cold.

            The problem is, however, If you are a QUEEN, you are a QUEEN all the way, from your first entrance to your last dying day, Most certainly, MarshieMarkII will back me up on this one.

            bisous —
            Camille in transit tomorrow so she wishes all the parterriat a happy chat!

          • marshiemarkII

            Mille Baci a Te CammiBelle del Universo!

          • Bianca Castafiore

            Grazie, carini…

            Regarding cougars, marshie, did you know our own CamilleBelle is one????? She snagged none other than the most eligible young (virgin) bachelor out there!!!!!!!!


            Gualtier, I have not seen Graham yet, since Bishop went on for her in the Iphigenie, but my recollection is that she’s better than the short-topped and rather pedestrian MJ Wray (whom I saw as Ortrud — can’t recall who she was covering at the time). Unfort. I’ll not be able to catch the last Troyens this time so I’ll have to wait another 10 years…

            Mille baci at te, carini.

          • marshiemarkII

            Bianchisssssima, CammiBelle is teh only Cougar I’ll always love! now if you talk about that overweight Russian mezzo with the bloated face, ugggggggggh

            Actually, in the other thread I was talking about Bernd Weikl ca 1980, now that was the Ildar of his day, dark, sultry and so handsome. Now we must wonder if Ildar is equally otherwise God-gifted :-) :-) :-)

          • armerjacquino

            I’ve seen a couple of references to Gheorghiu’s ‘purported’ age: given that she was widely reported at the time as being 29 when she sang the first production of the ROH TRAV in 1994, I see no reason to believe she isn’t 47 now.

          • oedipe


            Intermezzo more or less admitted to having launched the rumor after reading somewhere that Gheorghiu (whom she loathes) attended “colegiul Dinu Lipatti” in Bucharest from the age of 14 on. Intermezzo concluded that Gheorghiu couldn’t possibly have attend “college” at such a young age, and that she must be 5 years older. But lo-and-behold, “colegiul Dinu Lipatti” is a bona fide high school specializing in music education (“colegiul” doesn’t mean “college” in Romanian)! Would it be asking too much if I say Intermezzo should apologize or at least recognize she made a mistake?

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    To save money on the new MET Parsifal, here is a recoridng of the pickup orchestra the MET has engaged:

  • bassoprofundo

    “George Petean (Gerard) was the savior of the afternoon. A quick look at the provided biography shows that he’s been around for quite a few years without having broken into baritone-stardom. Maybe this performance will make the phones start ringing.”

  • tornado12

    Here is my turn:

    Das Rheingold

    Wotan: René Pape
    Fricka: Veronique Gens
    Freia: Christiane Karg
    Froh: Jan Kobow
    Donner: Bryn Terfel
    Loge: Jonas Kaufmann
    Erda: Ewa Podles
    Fasolt: Georg Zeppenfeld
    Fafner: John Tomlinson
    Woglinde: Barbara Hannigan
    Wellgunde: Elina Garanca
    Flosshilde: Elisabeth Kulman
    Alberich: Michael Volle
    Mime: Klaus Florian Vogt

    Die Walküre

    Wotan: René Pape
    Brünnhilde: Evelyn Herlitzius
    Sieglinde: Anja Harteros
    Siegmund: Jonas Kaufmann
    Fricka: Veronique Gens
    Hunding: Georg Zeppenfeld
    Helmwige: Barbara Hannigan
    Gerhilde: Christina Landshamer
    Ortlinde: Christiane Karg
    Waltraute: Waltraud Meier
    Siegrune: Elina Garanca
    Rossweiße: Joyce DiDonato
    Grimgerde: Anna Larsson
    Schwertleite: Ewa Podles


    Siegfried: Jonas Kaufmann
    Mime: Klaus Florian Vogt
    Fafner: John Tomlinson
    Alberich: Michael Volle
    Wanderer: René Pape
    Brünnhilde: Catherine Naglestad
    Erda: Ewa Podles
    Waldvogel: Christina Landshamer


    Siegfried: Jonas Kaufmann
    Brünnhilde: Nina Stemme
    Gunther: René Pape
    Hagen: Georg Zeppenfeld
    Gutrune: Renée Fleming
    Waltraute: Waltraud Meier
    1. Norn: Ewa Podles
    2. Norn: Waltraud Meier
    3. Norn: Veronique Gens
    Woglinde: Barbara Hannigan
    Wellgunde: Elina Garanca
    Flosshilde: Elisabeth Kulman

    Mariss Jansons: Concertgebouw Orkest
    Stefan Herheim


    Parsifal: Bryan Hymel
    Kundry: Petra Lang
    Amfortas: Christian Gerhaher
    Gurnemanz: Georg Zeppenfeld
    Klingsor: Michael Volle
    Titurel: Matti Salminen

    Pierre Boulez: Wiener Philharmoniker
    Patrice Chereau

    Tristan und Isolde

    Tristan: Jonas Kaufmann
    Kurwenal: Günther Groissböck
    Isolde: Anja Harteros
    Brangäne: Magdalena Kozena
    König Marke: Johan Reuter
    Junger Seeman: Jan Kobow
    Hirt: Klaus Florian Vogt

    Valery Gergiev: London Symphony Orchestra
    Katie Mitchell


    Lohengrin: Piotr Beczala
    Elsa: Anja Harteros
    Telramund: Michael Volle?Ortrud: Evelyn Herlitzius
    König Heinrich: Georg Zeppenfeld
    Heerrufer: René Pape

    Claudio Abbado: Lucerne Festival Orchestra
    Katharina Wagner

    Meistersinger von Nürnberg

    Hans Sachs: Johan Reuter
    Walther von Stolzing: Klaus Florian Vogt
    Beckmesser: Christian Gerhaher
    Eva: Veronique Gens
    Magdalene: Waltraud Meier
    David: Piotr Beczala
    Veit Pogner: Georg Zeppenfeld

    Christian Thielemann: Dresdner Staatskapelle
    Dmitri Tcherniakov

    Der Fliegende Holländer

    Holländer: Michael Volle
    Senta: Barbara Hannigan (the high version of course!)
    Erik: Joseph Calleja
    Daland: Günther Groissböck
    Mary: Ewa Podles
    Steuermann: Piotr Beczala

    Marc Minkowski: Musiciens du Louvre – Grenoble
    Krysztof Warlikowski


    Tannhäuser: Jonas Kaufmann
    Elisabeth: Anne Schwanewilms
    Venus: Nina Stemme
    Hermann: Georg Zeppenfeld
    Wolfram: Christian Gerhaher
    Hirte: Christiane Karg
    Walther: Piotr Beczala

    John Eliot Gardiner: Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
    Vera Nemirova

    Die Feen

    Der Feenkönig: Georg Zeppenfeld
    Ada: Christiane Karg
    Farzana: Danielle De Niese
    Zemina: Christina Landshamer
    Arindal: Juan Diego Florez
    Lora: Diana Damrau
    Morald: Jean Francois Lapointe
    Gernot: Hanno Müller-Brachmann
    Gunther: Simon Bode
    Drolla: Marlis Petersen
    Groma: René Pape

    Kent Nagano: Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
    Nikolaus Lehnhoff


    Rienzi: Johan Botha
    Irene: Adrienne Pieczonka
    Steffano: Georg Zeppenfeld
    Adriano: Elina Garanca
    Paolo: Stephane Degout

    Nikolaus Harnoncourt: Wiener Philharmoniker
    Martin Kusej

    Das Liebesverbot

    Friedrich: Michael Nagy
    Luzio: Klaus Florian Vogt
    Claudio: Juan Diego Florez
    Antonio: Simon Bode
    Angelo: Thomas Hampson
    Isabella: Catherine Naglestad
    Mariana: Christiane Karg

    Sebastian Weigle: Frankfurter Museums- und Opernorchester
    Claus Guth

    • Feldmarschallin

      Well Gens as Fricka AND Eva is certainly interesting casting.

      • tornado12

        I know, but I want her as Fricka, I loved her as Eva, so she will be mine.

    • Buster

      Vogt will be delighted to see this! He would make a very attractive Mime. On the tall side, though.

    • oedipe

      Nah, too many francophones!

  • Feldmarschallin

    And I very much doubt also the Harteros Isolde since first a Senta would have to come and that isn’t certain yet either. I was very disappointed after she decided against singing die Kaiserin. No Kaiserin, no Isolde. And at one point there was talk about Ariadne but haven’t heard anything about that either. She is so almost obsessed about Verdi, well she is going to be finished there soon since after the Ballo I wouldn’t know what else she could do.

    • tornado12

      Do you know who Barbara Hannigan is? Coloratura, and I chose her as Senta, but… with Minkowski, so she can be heard. Also, I don’t care that most of the singers will lose their voices after my festival. I think I’ll get Abbado to the point that Harteros and Kozena will be heard…

      • Feldmarschallin

        Yes Hannigan just sang Lulu somewhere to great acclaim. Was it in Dresden? She got raves. Silja sang the higher keys as well.

        • tornado12

          It was in Bruxelles. And yes, she got raves. Just watch it, it is amazing… And I’ll see her as Matsukaze in Berlin early February!

          • oedipe

            I loved the Warlikowski Lulu (I like most everything that Warli does) and I loved Hannigan in it. As a matter of fact, Hannigan can do no wrong by me after her role in Written on Skin.

          • louannd

            Favorite Barbara Hannigan clip:

            She is apparently beloved in Amsterdam.

          • Wah! Thanks for posting this, tornado. Enjoy Matsukaze!

          • tornado12

            I would love to see these productions as they are… especially the Ring and Holländer should be life-changing performances… Also I want the Parsifal… and the Lohengrin… I want all of these performances! And I certainly will enjoy Matsukaze. I can’t wait for these performances, just watched some trailers and am terribly excited! In the meanwhile:

            Just listen to the pianissimo-b-flats by both of them…

  • Operacat’s Ultimate Wagner festival which takes place all year presents productions that represent the old and the new. Wagner’s operas are complemented with commissions and concerts. Wagner’s operas are presented in order of composition.

    JANUARY — The New Year’s Day concert opened with the Overture to DIE MEISTERSINGERS (Operacat’s favorite piece by Wagner) followed by the Wesendonck Lieder sung by Karita Mattila, THE AMERICAN CENTENNIAL OVERTURE for orchestra, the three extant excerpts from DIE HOCHZEIT, the three reconstructed excerpts from MÄNNERLIST GRÖSSER ALS FRAUENLIST, ODER DIE GLÜCKLICHE BÄRENFAMILIE (Men are more cunning than women or The Happy Bear family), and DER LIEBESMAHL DER APOSTEL for male chorus.
    — Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch’s fully staged production of DIE FEEN is based on the 1888 world premiere production in Munich (designers Brischi / Burghart) and conducted by James Conlon. Cast includes Lludmilla Monastyrska (Ada), Michael Fabiano (Arindel), Diana Damrau (Lora), Angela Meade (Drolla) and Vladimir Ognovenko (Fairy King).
    --The teenage Wagner’s turgid melodrama, LEUBALD, will be premiered as a puppet opera by composer Jorg Widman.

    FEBRUARY – LIEBESVERBOT, Wagner’s adaptation of MEASURE FOR MEASURE, will have a production by Doris Dorrie and a cast including Patricia Racette (Isabella); Stephen Costello (Luzio) Falk Struckmann (Friedrich) and conductor Jesus Lopez-Cobos.
    — James Levine conducts RIENZI in a recreation of the 1954 production by Ludwig Sievert in Augsburg, Cast: Annette Dasch (Irene), Max von Cencic (Adriano – Wagner may disapprove of the gender switching but I want to see Max in Roman garb) and Ramon Vargas (Rienzi).

    MARCH – William Kentridge’s new production of FLIEGENDE HOLLANDER visually focuses on alienation and obsession. The cast which includes Anna Netrebko (Senta), Anna Cargill (Mary), Roberto Alagna (Erik), Dmitri Hvorostovsky (the Dutchman), Ferrucio Furlanetto (Daland) will be conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.
    — Nico Muhly premieres his opera version of DIE BERGWERKE ZU FALUN (The Mines of Falun) based on a story by ETA Hoffmann which Wagner considered.

    APRIL – The Dresden TANNHAUSER (Dresden version) has a new production by Calixto Bieto. Cast: Christine Goerke (Elisabeth and Venus), Robert Dean Smith (Tannhauser) and Matthias Goerne (Wolfram); conductor, Dennis Russell Davies.
    — A concert of excerpts from the operas of Silas Pratt (1846 – 1916) who was proclaimed by Wagner himself to be “the Richard Wagner of the United States” introduces a composer who is totally unknown today.

    MAY – Wolfgang Wagner’s 1967 Bayreuth production of LOHENGRIN is revived with Latonia Moore (Elsa), Karita Mattila (Ortrud), Jonas Kaufmann (Lohengrin), Walter Holle (Telramund), Gunter Grossbieck (Heinrich) and Zelko Lucic (Herald) conducted by Phillipe Auguin.
    — On Wagner’s actual birthday (May 22), Peter Jackson / John Lassiter will present an all day showing of their uncut Pixar animated film version of the RING based largely on the design from Fritz Lang’s NIBELUNGENLIED. Cast: Angela Gheorghiu (Brunnhilde), Latonia Moore (Sieglinde), Renee Fleming (Gutrune), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Dolora Zajick (Waltraute), Jonas Kaufmann (Siegfried), Piotr Beczala (Siegmund), Gerald Finlay (Wotan), Eric Owens (Alberich), Simon Keenlyside (Gunther): conductor James Levine.
    — The month ends with DAS RHEINGOLD in a recreation of the sets for the 1876 Bayreuth production originally designed by Joseph Hoffmann / Max Bruchner with direction /choreography by Mark Morris. Cast includes Ekaterina Scherbachenko (Freia), Dolora Zajick (Fricka), Ewa Podles (Erda), Juan Diego Florez (Loge), Greer Grimsley (Wotan) and Dennis Owens (Alberich) conducted by Ivan Fischer.

    JUNE – The run of RHEINGOLD is complemented with WALKURE in a recreation of Adolph Appia’s 1924 production from Basle directed by David McVicar. Cast includes Nina Stemme (Brunnhilde), Sandra Radvanovsky (Sieglinde), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Aleksandr Antonenko (Siegmund), Rene Pape (Wotan), (Hagan) conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
    — Rene Pape will also be featured in a concert of music that Wagner composed/ reorchestrated for other operas including Marschner’s DER VAMPYR, Bellini’s NORMA, Blum’s MARY, MAX UND MICHEL, Donizetti’s FAVORITE, and more, as well as his version of Wein, Weib und Gesang by Johann Strauss II.

    JULY -- The Paris Version of TANNHAUSER recreates the 1954 Wieland Wagner production from Bayreuth. Conducted by Ivan Fischer, the cast includes Adrianne Pieczonka (Elisabeth), Anna Maria Antonacci (Venus), Gregory Kunde (Tannhauser), Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Wolfram).
    — Concert performances of Jonathan Harvey’s WAGNER DREAM will feature the Welsh National Opera cast.

    AUGUST -- Daniele Gatti conducts a revival of David Hockney’s 1987 TRISTAN UND ISOLDE directed by Stephen Pickover. Cast includes Nina Stemme (Isolde), Olga Borodina (Brangane), Aleksandr Antonenko (Tristan) and Rene Pape (Marke).
    — Stephen Hough will present the complete piano music of Richard Wagner over several concerts, including Wagner’s transcription of Beethoven’s 9th.

    SEPTEMBER – Paul Andriessen’s setting of Wagner’s proposed opera, LUTHER’S WEDDING will be multimedia. — DIE MEISTERSINGERS VON NURNBURG, in a new production by Carlus Padrissa with Fura dels Baus, is conducted by Antonio Pappano with Ekaterina Scherbachenko (Eva), Susan Graham (Magdalene), Brian Hymal (Walther), Lawrence Brownlee (David), Gerald Finlay (Sachs) and Nathan Gunn (Beckmesser ).

    OCTOBER -- Wieland Wagner’s 1951 Bayreuth SIEGFRIED, conducted by Marek Janowski, features Amber Wagner (Brunnhilde), Jay Hunter Morris (Siegfried), Neil Shicoff (Mime) and Bryn Terfel(Wotan)
    — EINE KAPITULATION, Wagner’s satirical comedy concerning the 1870 siege of Paris, has been set to music by Wolfgang Rihm.

    NOVEMBER – Stefan Herheim’s new production of GOTTERDAMMERUNG, conducted by Manfred Honeck, will feature Irene Theorin (Brunnhilde), Marina Poplovskaya (Gutrune), Sophie Koch (Waltraute), Christopher Ventris (Siegfried), Luca Pisaroni(Gunther), Hans Peter Konig (Hagen) and Gidon Saks (Alberich).
    — Oscar Straus’ DIE LUSTIGEN NIBELUNGEN provides a lighter evening in a production by David Boesch.

    DECEMBER – The new PARSIFAL will be the ultimate “How far can one go” regie production. David Alden’s production presents Parsifal as a young man in a repressed middle America Bible Belt community exploring his sexuality and ultimately accepting his homosexuality, after receiving the “sword” from Klingsor. This all-nude production includes the farm girls / flower maidens chopping the heads off live chickens and plucking them, tossing the feathers into the air as they dance. The final image will require well-rehearsed timing as Amfortas pulls out of bottom Parsifal, turns to face the audience and ejaculates to the swelling final chord. Cconducted by Christian Thielemann (the orchestra is nude as well) with Jonas Kaufman (Parsifal), Simon Keenlyside (Amfortas), Gunther Grossbieck (Gurnemanz) and Keith Miller (Klingsor). Oh. . . some pretty mezzo as Kundry.
    — For the regiephobic there will be a semistaged concert PARSIFAL with Olga Borodina, Anthony Richards, Peter Mattei, Ferrucio Furlanetto; Kurt Masur, conductor.
    — The New Year’s Eve concert finishes our festival with newly HD enhanced videos of Hans Hotter singing Wotan’s Farewell and Birgit Nilsson singing the Immolation Scene; pixar generated recreation of Melchior and Flagstad singing the second act of TRISTAN UND ISOLDE; and a live concert version of the last scene from MEISTERSINGER with Serena Farnocchia, Jonas Kaufmann, and Rene Pape.