Those among the cher public who did not find enough Wagner in their Christmas stockings (or who are still reeling from the recent ROH travesty they called a Bühnenweihfestspiel) will be pleased to hear that our good friends at Opera Depot are currently offering a free download of Parsifal conducted by Hans Knappertsbusch at the 1963 Bayreuth Festival.
“Is Parsifal, then, a religious artwork, or is it a work ‘about’ religion? Unsurprisingly, the answer turns out to be: both. More profoundly, however, the very material of Wagner’s drama may be understood to lie in exploring the relationship between the two tendencies.” This week, an anti-canard: words of wisdom from the always fascinating Boulezian.
The curious things about accepted wisdom is that sometimes it’s correct. Take the case of Herbert von Karajan, a conductor whose early work is often considered more powerful and spontaneous (and less self-indulgent) than the stuff on his later recordings. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in his 1952 live Tristan und Isolde from Bayreuth, a bracing account with Ramon Vinay and Martha Mödl that in almost every way surpasses his widely praised 1972 studio version with Jon Vickers and Helga Dernesch. Read more »
Could Marek Janowski do for Wagner what the early music movement did for the Baroque and Classical repertory?
Finally some video of Stefan Herheim‘s Salome production shows up on YouTube.
As with all good myths, certainly all the myths at the heart of Wagner’s operas, the juggling of symbols and archetypes and themes in Parsifal opens the piece to a great variety of interpretations.
Like the hero of Parsifal, who finds the Holy Grail after a lifetime of frustrated wandering, the Met’s audience was finally rewarded for its patience.
Wagner is becoming an important calling card for Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre.
Leave it to a cat to transform a Wagner festival into the Jellicle Ball.
Certain opera productions become the stuff of legend as much for the circumstances surrounding the performance as for the musical results.