Author Topic: Wagner's Valhalla  (Read 311364 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
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Offline 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.

Offline 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!  :)
Ritter
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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
the phone rings and somebody says,
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Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline jessop

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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.

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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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.

Apropos morninglistening:



#morninglistening to #RichardWagner @WagnerFestival w/#KarlBöhm:

http://a-fwd.to/30sth7Y  on @DGclassics

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