The impression was sure to be tested by the last two installments in the series, Siegfriedand Götterdämmerung, which Janowski and the Berlin Radio Symphony and Chorus recorded in concert performances two weeks apart last March. Though the vocal and orchestral forces remain highly attentive to the veteran maestro’s wishes and the super audio sound vividly captures the acoustics of Berlin’s Philharmonie, the results are a bit of a let down, with overtaxed principals, occasionally underwhelming climaxes and wayward tempi. Read more »
Beneath the pageantry, the paeans to German art and the self-referential allusions to the creative process, Die Meistersinger is a story about a community and human qualities like love, friendship, envy and hatred. One can get absorbed in Wagner’s multilayered portrait of medieval Protestant life or just connect with the straightforward narrative about two young lovers and the older man trying to help them. Read more »
The abrupt withdrawal of Katharina Wagner from an abridged seven-hour Ring cycle she was to direct at the Teatro Colón last year prompted no shortage of scorn and Schadenfreude. It also triggered a salvage operation by director Valentina Carrasco and a creative team that synced half-cooked designs with a patchwork musical score over six weeks to get the show off on time.
Much of the backstage drama is chronicled in a new 93-minute documentary by German producer Hans Christoph von Bock, The Colón Ring: Wagner in Buenos Aires, that may actually surpass the staged production for making the cycle accessible to general audiences. It’s a feel-good celebration of pluck, moxie and improvisation, form-fit to a Glee-like narrative, that’s free of judgments about what’s frankly an artistically dubious project. Read more »
The curious things about accepted wisdom is that sometimes it’s correct.
Marek Janowski’s second recorded Ring cycle began on an off note, with a Rheingold that was fleet and lucid but failed to impress in the important musical moments.
Between Fidelio and Der Freischutz there was “Romantische Oper,” a type of musical drama descended from medieval mystery plays in which ghosts, gnomes and other “invisibles” get entangled in the lives of unsuspecting people.
Could Marek Janowski do for Wagner what the early music movement did for the Baroque and Classical repertory?
Wagner is becoming an important calling card for Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre.