Cher Public

  • RudigerVT: You can be warm and friendly toward employees. But they aren’t your friends. Friends don’t pay to spend time with... 9:22 PM
  • m. croche: To be clear, I agree that “just makeup” is not an argument, but merely hand-waving away the issues. Always a good... 8:50 PM
  • Donna Anna: JIS: My favorite part of the opera, too, and one of my favorites–tu tti gabbati with the house lights up. And JL is in... 8:45 PM
  • armerjacquino: the idea that blackface is “just makeup” To be clear: blackface isn’t in any way ‘just makeup’. It has a... 8:29 PM
  • m. croche: Absent a guarantee of anonymity, I would not presume to guess what a young opera singer of color felt free to say or not say in... 8:23 PM
  • armerjacquino: Who’s saying his decision has been made ‘primarily in the face of ‘political correctness’ ?’... 8:17 PM
  • jackoh: “just as I don’t see why Sher saying ‘blackface is problematic so I won’t use it in my production’ is censorship” I don’t... 8:11 PM
  • Ruxxy: That fabulous steely tone of Llubja’s – she was a wonderful Magda 8:10 PM

Tanks a lot, but no tanks

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 »

Herrn Tristan bringe meinen Gruss

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!

Love it to death

Mariusz Trelinski will direct Tristan und Isolde for the Metropolitan Opera in a production that will premiere there on opening night 2016. (The image is from Trelinski’s production of Krol Roger at the Edinburgh International Festival, photo by Marek Grotowski.) [New York Times]

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No such Gluck

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.

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Hothouse flower

To some, Anne Schwanewilms will always be the soprano in the slinky black dress who replaced Deborah Voigt at Covent Garden a decade ago.

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Sex please: we’re British

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.

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The cup runneth over

I am grateful to Sony for this new release of the Metropolitan Opera’s latest production of Parsifal and I hope I’m not the only one who discovers what a rich experience this opera can be because of it.

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Brass ring

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.

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Critical care

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.

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Coupe de grâce

Our good friends at Opera Depot are currently offering a free download of Parsifal conducted by Hans Knappertsbusch at the 1963 Bayreuth Festival.

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