Author Topic: Wagner's Valhalla  (Read 349783 times)

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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2180 on: November 14, 2017, 12:08:44 PM »
The gods are residing in a cheap motel?  :laugh:  Okay, I suppose that makes sense. They can't really afford the price of Valhalla so better temporary accommodations are out of the question ;D

Seriously, it is an impressive set. Unfortunately, I was only able to see about half the photos. There's a bug somewhere; I kept being recycled to an earlier image rather than completing the slideshow.

Sarge

The Rheingold is a Route 69 meets The Sopranos kind of affair. First year I saw it, I was baffled and confused and annoyed. When I saw the whole thing, I was amazed in the end. Wrote about it rather extensively here (incl. pix):

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2015/08/05/the-2015-bayreuth-festival-ring-das-rheingold/#6a1426ad12c8
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2015/08/06/the-2015-bayreuth-festival-ring-die-walkure/#4854f8db440c
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2015/08/07/the-2015-bayreuth-festival-ring-siegfried/#2eb48a985360
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2015/08/08/the-2015-bayreuth-festival-ring-gotterdammerung/#535492501d25
(plus Tristan)

Online ritter

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2181 on: November 15, 2017, 12:26:37 AM »
Last night, a most interesting talk by Mark Berry, a Wagner scholar, on the Ring Cycle directed by Frank Castorf, which appeared for the 4th time (?) at Bayreuth this year. If there is any justice, this production by Serbian designer Aleksandar Denić will make it to DVD. The excerpts were pretty extraordinary, both vocally and scenically.

Check out the photos on the designer's website. The sample below is from Das Rheingold.

http://aleksandardenic.com/theatre.html

--Bruce
The production was given from 2013 to 2017, the usual 5-year run accorded to Bayreuth productions over the past several decades. Next year, there'll be 3 performances of Die Walküre (the weakest link of the production IMHO) in isolation, conducted by Plácido Domingo. I fail to get the point of this break away from festival tradition. 

I (with my two children)  saw this whole Ring live in Bayreuth in 2014--conducted by Kirill Petrenko--, and was bowled over. Yes, it is sometimes chaotic, it is sometimes confusing, but the strength of Frank Castorf's theatrical language and the imposing (and at times intensely beautiful) sets by Aleksandar Denić made for a thrilling experience in the theatre, and shed some wonderful fresh insights on the work.

IIRC, Mark Berry (whose "boulezian" blog I follow with interest) was horrified when he first saw the production, and then on the following year it "clicked" for him and he raved about it. I can understand this happening, since the approach is so revolutionary it can shock at first sight. But, it is executed with supreme technical expertise, and many (but certainly not all) of the ideas it develops are most interesting.

I think it has the capacity to become a "classic". A video recording of it (under the baton of Marek Janowski) must exist, as it was broadcast live on (IIRC) Sky TV in 2016, but I have read nothing of a release on DVD. It would be criminal not to do so, but the Festival apparently has already vetoed the release of another of its best productions ever, Stefan Herheim's Parsifal, so one never knows...
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 12:53:32 AM by ritter »
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2182 on: November 15, 2017, 02:03:23 AM »
The production was given from 2013 to 2017, the usual 5-year run accorded to Bayreuth productions over the past several decades. Next year, there'll be 3 performances of Die Walküre (the weakest link of the production IMHO) in isolation, conducted by Plácido Domingo. I fail to get the point of this break away from festival tradition. 

Unfathomable, really. As you say, it's the weak link (incredibly conventional, after that Rheingold) of the production. And Domingo, the  Harvey Weinstein of classical music, is an inept conductor... The very thought of hearing his Walkuere after Petrenko's or even Janowski's... Yikes!

Quote
I (with my two children)  saw this whole Ring live in Bayreuth in 2014--conducted by Kirill Petrenko--, and was bowled over. Yes, it is sometimes chaotic, it is sometimes confusing, but the strength of Frank Castorf's theatrical language and the imposing (and at times intensely beautiful) sets by Aleksandar Denić made for a thrilling experience in the theatre, and shed some wonderful fresh insights on the work.

Neat. I know I felt a strange sense of accomplishment after the Goetterdaemmerung. In 2014 and 2015, the production was at its peak. In 2016, they had a totally new cast, except for a few peeps, and Castorf and his team were not thrilled about that, obviously. I hope that there's a tape of either of those years. You must have had two crocodiles at the Alexanderplatz, correct? I had three; they multiply and every year it's one more. :-)

Quote
IIRC, Mark Berry (whose "boulezian" blog I follow with interest) was horrified when he first saw the production, and then on the following year it "clicked" for him and he raved about it. I can understand this happening, since the approach is so revolutionary it can shock at first sight. But, it is executed with supreme technical expertise, and many (but certainly not all) of the ideas it develops are most interesting.

"Wagner scholar" is going perhaps a bit far... but he does write a lot about music and he certainly is opinionated. And of course explicitly political in the most predictable of ways, for a modern day classical music writer. Appreciate his writings on music most of the time, but very tedious when he mixes the two.

Quote
I think it has the capacity to become a "classic". A video recording of it (under the baton of Marek Janowski) must exist, as it was broadcast live on (IIRC) Sky TV in 2016, but I have read nothing of a release on DVD. It would be criminal not to do so, but the Festival apparently has already vetoed the release of another of its best productions ever, Stefan Herheim's Parsifal, so one never knows...

The Sisters -- Katharina esp., since Eva's been booted -- didn't like the Herheim production. Which is insane, because I think there's across-the-board agreement among opera lovers and Wagnerians in particular, that it is one of the best productions of any opera ever. And by ever, I'm limiting myself to the recorded age, of course. It's simply the best, most intelligent, most elaborate, most moving thing I ever saw and I never expect to see anything better. And I've seen some terrific stuff in my time.

Online ritter

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2183 on: November 15, 2017, 03:17:26 AM »
...
You must have had two crocodiles at the Alexanderplatz, correct? I had three; they multiply and every year it's one more. :-)
Yes, two crocodiles it was... What a scene! And Siegfried cavorting with the woodbird and ignoring Brünnhilde in the final duet... hilarious and, at the same time, food for thought...
Quote
"Wagner scholar" is going perhaps a bit far... but he does write a lot about music and he certainly is opinionated. And of course explicitly political in the most predictable of ways, for a modern day classical music writer. Appreciate his writings on music most of the time, but very tedious when he mixes the two.
He has written a couple of books that look interesting (but are very expensive). But yes, he does ramble about politics sometimes. Still, I share many views and tastes with him (chief among them, of course, our mutual admiration for the work of Pierre Boulez). In any case (just to make sure), my comments were about Castorf's Ring, not Mr. Berry's blog.  ;)

Quote
The Sisters -- Katharina esp., since Eva's been booted -- didn't like the Herheim production. Which is insane, because I think there's across-the-board agreement among opera lovers and Wagnerians in particular, that it is one of the best productions of any opera ever. And by ever, I'm limiting myself to the recorded age, of course. It's simply the best, most intelligent, most elaborate, most moving thing I ever saw and I never expect to see anything better. And I've seen some terrific stuff in my time.
A big +1 to this (as you and I have discussed in the past). That mirror, oh, that mirror!  :)
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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2184 on: November 15, 2017, 01:09:44 PM »
Yes, two crocodiles it was... What a scene! And Siegfried cavorting with the woodbird and ignoring Brünnhilde in the final duet... hilarious and, at the same time, food for thought...

Yes. Siegfried QUITE uncomfortable with that date; doesn't really know what he's supposed to do. Instead of a romantic highlight, in comes the silly. Quite good - and quite fitting to the music, really.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2185 on: November 15, 2017, 01:37:56 PM »
Wrote about it rather extensively here (incl. pix)

Thanks, Jens.

Sarge
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ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2186 on: November 15, 2017, 03:26:36 PM »
Yes. Siegfried QUITE uncomfortable with that date; doesn't really know what he's supposed to do. Instead of a romantic highlight, in comes the silly. Quite good - and quite fitting to the music, really.

It really seems like a sensible choice then. Siegfried is one of the biggest idiots in any opera, and without question the most naïve...........
But also he has no knowledge of how to be 'romantic' or what it is to fall in love (mistaking it for fear, which he also does not know)....and his lack of interest in Brünnhilde is pretty much the entire plot of Götterdämmerung, so I guess that makes sense too.

I have always wondered how on earth anyone could save the utter nonsense of the ending of Siegfried, so I am ever more curious to see what this production did.

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2187 on: November 15, 2017, 07:08:12 PM »
Unfathomable, really. As you say, it's the weak link (incredibly conventional, after that Rheingold) of the production. And Domingo, the  Harvey Weinstein of classical music, is an inept conductor... The very thought of hearing his Walkuere after Petrenko's or even Janowski's... Yikes!


I've never heard Domingo as conductor...but it might be interesting to hear Walkure under the baton of someone who has had the experience of singing it.

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2188 on: November 15, 2017, 10:38:38 PM »
I've never heard Domingo as conductor...but it might be interesting to hear Walkure under the baton of someone who has had the experience of singing it.

If you have a pretty liberal definition of what "interesting" means, perhaps. Having suffered through a good bit of Domingo-conducting myself, I can safely state that my curiosity has been sated.  ;)

Used to get into minor trouble in DC with WETA 90.9-listeners when I would recommend opera dates on their blog specifically for when he wasn't conducting. Because people travelled to hear Domingo in any capacity, of course.

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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2189 on: May 22, 2018, 09:49:25 AM »
So quiet here in Valhalla! So is this the main Wagner thread?

I came across some very fine renditions of Wagner's the Wesendonck Lieder!
Any recommendations of singers that bring wonder to these pieces beyond Régine Crespin?

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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2190 on: May 22, 2018, 11:27:29 AM »
I came across some very fine renditions of Wagner's the Wesendonck Lieder!
Any recommendations of singers that bring wonder to these pieces beyond Régine Crespin?

I'd recommend another classic: Janet Baker, Boult conducting



I also like Studer/Sinopoli and Ludwig/Klemperer


Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
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Mahler, you ought to go see it.
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2191 on: May 22, 2018, 01:18:35 PM »
I'd recommend another classic: Janet Baker, Boult conducting



I also like Studer/Sinopoli and Ludwig/Klemperer


Sarge

And I'd second your recommendations, well at least as far as Baker/Boult and Ludwig/Klemperer go. I don't know the Studer/Simopoli version but she is not a singer I generally get on with.



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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2192 on: May 22, 2018, 01:59:33 PM »
I'd recommend another classic: Janet Baker, Boult conducting



I also like Studer/Sinopoli and Ludwig/Klemperer


Sarge

Thanks Sarge! I do like Janet Baker, but haven't heard her singing Wagner at all.
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2193 on: May 22, 2018, 02:12:42 PM »
Thanks Sarge! I do like Janet Baker, but haven't heard her singing Wagner at all.

She's full of surprises. She even recorded a wonderful Waldtaube in Schoenberg's Gurrelieder.

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Bayreuth 2018
« Reply #2194 on: September 01, 2018, 11:02:23 AM »
Just wanted to share some impressions of my visit to the Bayreuth Festival this year. This was my fourth visit to the Green Hill, after 1979 (when I was in my mid-teens)—the Boulez/Chéreau Ring, Parsifal, the Dutchman and Lohengrin—, 2012—the Stefan Herheim production of Parsifal—, and 2014—the K. Petrenko/Castorf Ring—.

This visit confirmed my view of the Festival: it strives for artistic excellence, and both the chorus (led now by Eberhard Friedrich) and orchestra are of the highest level. Many (usually those who’ve never been to it) criticise (or ridicule) what they perceive is thought of as a “Wagnerian pilgrimage” of sorts, for either “insiders” or (mainly German) members of the jet-set. Not at all: IMHO, what makes Bayreuth so special—apart from the unique features of the Festspielhaus itself and the aforementioned highest artistic standards—is the felicitous conjunction of two concepts: i) the festival as a place dedicated to “the festive performance of the works of Richard Wagner” (as stated in Siegfried Wagner’s testament), and ii) the festival as a workshop or laboratory (“Werkstatt Bayreuth” was Wolfgang and Wieland Wagner’s phrase).

It would be too long (and test the reader’s patience) to review all four performances I attended in detail. My two children and I saw Parsifal, Tristan and Meistersinger, and were then joined by my partner for the Dutchman on the last evening. Uwe-Eric Laufenberg’s production of Parsifal works much better seen live than on DVD. It has a strong and well developed Konzept, underpinned at moments by striking images, but also is over-cluttered at times. The Good Friday scene was slightly cliché-ridden, and yet very touching. Semyon Bychkov led quite wonderfully (I had already seen him conduct Parsifal here in Madrid, but this was vastly superior), and the cast was uniformly strong (with Günther Groissböck’s noble Gurnemanz standing out).

Tristan was less appealing to me. Katharina Wagner’s production is—as my son pointed out—very faithful to the ideas underlying the work, or rather, it develops some of them to the extreme. Possibly the third act is the most successful. Christian Thielemann, of course, knows the work and the unique acoustics of the venue backwards, and delivers a strong, very strong performance. Yet, I really do not admire his approach: a Luftpause here (that lasts a couple of seconds more than it should), an accelerando or ritardando there, appear to me relatively facile resources that at times distort the music’s form and natural flow. Vocally, things were again strong, even if both leads were a bit unsubtle (particularly Stephen Gould in his—admittedly fiendishly difficult—role).

Meistersinger was a performance to savour, and one which i am sure I’ll remember for a long time to come. Barrie Kosky’s production is thought-provoking, beautiful to watch, and great fun. Yes, it requires good previous knowledge of the piece and about Wagner and his entourage, it can be slightly over-the-top at times (Sachs, Walther and David are all Wagner lookalikes—and there’s other extras dressed as Wagner onstage as well), but it tackles quite cleverly and elegantly issues that are worth addressing, and is technically superb. Philippe Jordan did an excellent job, keeping things moving forward with panache at all moments (this longest of operas went by like a breeze) and brought out all the riches of this contrapuntal feast beautifully. Michael Volle’s Sachs and Johannes Martin Kränzle’s Beckmesser are both portrayals for the ages (vocally and scenically), Walther von Stolzing suits Klaus-Florián Vogt’s unique and considerable talent like a glove, and the Pogner, David, Magdalena and the mastersingers were all  first-rate. Only Emily Magee’s Eva (she had already sung the role on the Green Hill under Barenboim as far back as 1997) was not quite in the same league.

A scene from Act I (set in Wahnfried—notice the three Wagner figures onstage  :D):


Our final performance was the Dutchman in the Jan-Philipp Gloger production (in its last outing), ably conducted by Axel Kober. Of course, the Dutchman is a bit of a step backwards after the three “big” work’s on the previous evenings, but this was enjoyable as well (but not that memorable).

And then, in perfect summer weather, walking up from the town to the theatre, the fanfares on the front balcony before  each act, the 1-hour long intermissions (where you can walk the gardens and dine on a Franconian Bratwurst from the sausage kiosk), the very special configuration of the theatre (uncomfortable festures notwithstanding), and the walk back down at the end, all make this an experience like few others,  :)

Next year there’s a new Tannhäuser (conducted by Gergiev and staged by Tobias Kratzer). It’ll presumably run for five years. Let see if I apply (and am awarded) tickets sometime and so will have seen all 10 works of the “Bayreuth canon” at the Festspielhaus.  ;)

Well, even this came out too long  :-[. If you’ve made it to here, thanks for reading!  8)
« Last Edit: September 01, 2018, 10:01:08 PM by ritter »
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Bayreuth 2018
« Reply #2195 on: September 01, 2018, 01:45:50 PM »
Well, even this came out too long  :-[. If you’ve made it to here, thanks for reading!  8)

Thank you for writing!
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline Madiel

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2196 on: September 01, 2018, 03:17:56 PM »
I'm not that much of a Wagnerite, but I found that interesting. So thanks for writing.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Offline GioCar

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2197 on: September 01, 2018, 08:26:27 PM »
I am a (almost  ;)) perfect Wagnerite, and I greatly enjoyed your report. Thank you, Rafael.



Offline motoboy

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2198 on: September 07, 2018, 05:12:28 AM »
I wonder ar Amazon's suggestions when I was looking at Solti's studio Ring here:

Offline JBS

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2199 on: September 07, 2018, 03:49:20 PM »
I wonder ar Amazon's suggestions when I was looking at Solti's studio Ring here:

My first ever purchase on Amazon was Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde.
Amazon immediately suggested I purchase albums by Korn and a death metal band whose name I don't remember and maybe never knew.