Stefan Herheim’s production of Parsifal for Bayreuth is the regie Holy Grail—a production that completely fulfills the promise and purpose of Regietheater. Read more »
Hans Neuenfels‘ new staging of Lohengrin for Bayreuth is the grimmest version of this work I’ve seen. Not that this opera is all bright lights and lollipops, but he gave us a particularly dark take on the work, motivated, in part, by Wagner’s writings at the time of the opera’s composition. Read more »
Fertilization; birth; growth; decay. Eating; digestion; defecation; fermentation; biogas recovery; food production. Wagner’s Tannhäuser is a meditation on the relentless, repetition of cycles that define our existence and man’s insistence on the possibility salvation despite all the biochemical evidence to the contrary. Read more »
Our Doyenne demonstrated her omniscience once again by sending me a DVD of Rimsky Korsakov’s Le Coq d’Or (Zolotoy Petushok) to review. I’m with musicologist Richard Taruskin who stated that Rimsky Korsakov was “perhaps the most underrated composer of all time” (and I’m sure his editor insisted on including the “perhaps”).
The ENO was filled with ghosts last week. Spectral, possibly illusory figures fleetingly materialized in the Internet chatrooms that provide the setting for much of Nico Muhly’s new opera Two Boys, and brutal boarding school memories came back to troubled life in director Christopher Alden’s dark take on Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The world has come to an end and we are at the end of the world, the collapsed ruins of a bridge that can no longer be crossed. There is no greenery; the few trees that are left are dead and being chopped down for fuel. Shell-shocked survivors wander through this hellscape, fighting over the scraps of whatever is left. This is the milieu of director Calixto Bieito’s Parsifal seen at the Stuttgart Staatsoper on Sunday March 20.
Opera is about the possibility of transformation. An unassuming woman can walk in through the theater’s stage door and emerge on stage as fiery princess capable of making the walls rattle. Alas, these transformations inevitably fail to stick. Every Turandot must hang up her crown; every Elektra must put down her ax one final time. All performers must live with the regret of no being able to perform. Still must it not be better to have been able to perform and then regret what one can no longer be than to never to have tried? This question is at the [...]
In the summer of 2007, at the height of the heated speculation and public debates over who would succeed Wolfgang Wagner as the head of the Bayreuth Festival, his daughter, Katharina Wagner presented a new production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the festival, replacing the mind-numbingly boring one by her father (his third at Bayreuth). It’s hard not to see this production as an audition for the job of General Manager; in fact, Katharina and her half sister Eva Wagner-Pasquier were named as co-managers of the festival the following year.