Just finished reading this book, to which SurprisedByBeauty
It is a very entertaining book, shedding light on Wieland Wagner
's approach to the works of his grandfather and of others (Carmen
..). Some wonderful insights are gained on some of the works, although sometimes Antoine Goléa
tries to impose his own (often far-fetched) interprations of some pieces. Before anyone asks, no, none of the shadier aspects of Wieland's biography are even hinted at (as nobody would expect, given the nature of the book and the time the interviews took place--June 1966, just 3 months before Wieland's sadly premature death).
And yes, my copy has a stamp saying "Bibliothek Winifred Wagner"
at the Deutsche Oper last Sunday was just "OK", not really memorable. Peter Seiffert
was uneven at the beginning, but displayed all his (long) experience in the rôle (he's 62) in a rather extraordinary Graalserzählung
at the end. He seemed not to know the production too well, and had trouble moving around the stage. Annette Dasch
was a touching Elsa, with some minor intonation issues in the high register at times (and an unexpected moment of hilarity happened when she fell off the bed in the Act 3 duet with Lohengrin). Wolfgang Koch
an imposing if rather rough (as usual with this singer) Telramund, and Elisabete Matos
was effective as Ortrud (although she was the only one who received some scattered boos in the final curtain calls). Günther Groissböck
filled in at the last minute as Henry the Fowler, and was superb (as was Derek Welton
--a member of the house ensemble--as the Herald).Axel Kober
didn't manage IMHO to capture the ethereal, iridiscent sound the prelude requires, but then went on to conduct a very sensitive performance, with excellent balance between pit and stage, and good dramatic thrust (while not ingoring the details of Wagner's scoring). The effect created by placing the trumpets of the introduction to scene 3 of the last act all around the theatre was very nice.Kasper Holten
's production really didn't have any very distinctive features, appeared strangely incoherent (while remaing for the most faithful to the libretto, except for a predictable twist at the end--Gottfired is returned to Brabant as a corpse), and the sets appeared simply cheap.