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Cher Public

  • mercadante: Actually sounds like an extremely positive review of cast grand production allowing for eventual... 12:13 PM
  • MontyNostry: The Puccini album Pieczonka made a few years ago certainly sounded like Ariadne auf the wrong... 12:00 PM
  • armerjacquino: It’s also to do with government support, both financially and in the sale of arms. Yes,... 11:53 AM
  • kashania: I think the answer to this is quite simple. The Met is the largest and most high-profile... 11:51 AM
  • kashania: I was in London a few weeks ago and in Paris two years ago. From neither trip did I return to with... 11:43 AM
  • Daniel: “Arafat — one of the worst murderers in history.” As usual, you go for effect over... 11:30 AM
  • kashania: And Pieczonka has steadily improved in the Italian rep. She used to be one of those... 11:08 AM
  • manou: Teatro alla Scala ?@teatroallascala Matthew Polenzani sostituisce @TenorKaufmann nel Requiem di Verdi... 11:02 AM
  • kashania: Thanks, Peter! 10:55 AM
  • peter: I was referring to her Ariadne. 10:54 AM

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 and confirmed the creeping influence of film and television values on the opera world. Read more »

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.

A 2009 revival from Glyndebourne on the festival’s label does quite nicely in this regard, balancing secure and expressive singing by Torsten Kerl, Anja Kampe and Sarah Connolly with a transparent accompaniment by Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic that captures the opera’s shifting moods and the beguiling musical lines. Like Marek Janowski, the Russian maestro is less concerned with overwhelming the audience with epic sound or tragic intensity than with letting Wagner’s melodic ideas and forceful climaxes tell the story.   Read more »

The cup runneth over

Even after more than 30 years as a die-hard opera fan there are still parts of the repertoire I haven’t embraced. Benjamin Britten and myself are really only acquaintances and I’ve met Alban Berg but fear we shall never be friends. I really became an opera fan chronologically backwards starting with Puccini and ending, essentially, with Mozart and Handel. Only then came Wagner.

After distilling all those different musical styles and traditions, Wagner wasn’t really that difficult to wrap my head around, with the exception of Parsifal. I would check the score out from the library and follow along dutifully to the broadcasts waiting for the penny to drop. It was years before I finally understood the lengths of its constructive elements and how broad the expanses of melody and leitmotif were within that structure.   Read more »

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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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The opposite of canard is truth

“Is Parsifal, then, a religious artwork, or is it a work ‘about’ religion?”

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The music lovers

The curious things about accepted wisdom is that sometimes it’s correct.

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Springtime for Wagner

Could Marek Janowski do for Wagner what the early music movement did for the Baroque and Classical repertory?

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Dark side of the moon

Finally some video of Stefan Herheim‘s Salome production shows up on YouTube.

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