I can scarcely remember a performance where so many conflicting thoughts raced through my mind as happened Thursday night during the Met Orchestra’s “bleeding chunks” of Wagner’s Ring at Carnegie Hall. On one hand, superb Wagnerians Christine Goerke and Stefan Vinke soared through duets and solos from Siegfried and Götterdammerung magnificently supported by the sterling orchestra, but the complicated subtext prevented me from entirely enjoying the evening. Read more »
Bayreuth’s most recent production of Tannhäuser was set to be retired. So of course they captured the 2014 performances for posterity and released it on video. The DVD has the typical Bayreuth package—it’s well-filmed, with a fairly steady camera that often pans out to full-stage shots instead of the using the new HD technique of constant close-ups. Good job, Bayreuth film crew.
The production by Sebastian Baumgarten is however the type of regietheater that’s not a rethinking or reconstruction, but just a hot mess. The first clue that the director might have been a little too high on his own ideas is the fact that the pre-curtain time AND intermissions are staged. Yes, that’s right, Baumgarten apparently thought his ideas were such treasures that he expected the audiences to not pee during a five-hour opera. I have no idea how this actually played in the house and whether everyone really stayed put during intermissions but this is how it’s presented in the video. Read more »
Our dear friends over at Opera Depot are slashing prices in half on all their recordings of Tristan und Isolde in honor of the music drama’s 150th anniversary. And there’s a free “Liebestod” compilation download too!
Mariusz Trelinski will direct Tristan und Isolde for Metropolitan Opera in a production that will premiere there on opening night 2016.
When Richard Wagner reached into the past and revised Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide, he went beyond the accepted boundaries of tinkering and more or less created a new work that’s fomented aesthetic debates ever since.
To some, Anne Schwanewilms will always be the soprano in the slinky black dress who replaced Deborah Voigt at Covent Garden a decade ago.
The finer performances of Tristan und Isolde have a way of sounding like a four-hour improvisation, the fruit of a single moment of inspiration that makes one forget how emotionally manipulative and painstakingly crafted the music really is.
Marek Janowski’s survey of Wagner operas on PentaTone so convincingly captures the pulse and dramatic flow of many of the works that the music-making at times sounds almost effortless.
The experience of watching Wagner’s final opera Parsifal is frequently elevated to a spiritual occurrence, and productions have historically emphasized the religious dimension of the opera’s core themes of redemption and the dangers of temptation.