“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? Though the distinguished maestro is smart enough not to stake any claims of authenticity, his generally fleet, lean-sounding and gracefully shaped interpretations provide a stimulating perspective on works that often invite interpretive overkill. Read more »
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.
“Now that it has become apparent that Robert Lepage‘s production of the Ring at the Met is a fiasco (too soon? Nah.)… well, anyway, since arguably the production is a dreary, unworkable, overpriced mess whose primary (perhaps only) virtue is that it actually hasn’t killed anyone yet, and since, let’s face it, the Machinecentric show turned out to be so mind-bogglingly expensive (all those Sunday tech rehearsals with stagehands being paid, no doubt, in solid platinum ingots!), something has to be done. In this article, I intend to propose that ‘something’.” Our Own JJ gets prescriptive at Musical America. (Image based on photos by Ken Howard)