GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Opera and Vocal => Topic started by: Greta on April 07, 2007, 07:09:57 PM

Title: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Greta on April 07, 2007, 07:09:57 PM
Where to start?  ;D

This thread is dedicated to the one and only Wilhelm Richard Wagner (1813-1883), my favorite composer, who incited my lifelong passion for classical music.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9d/RichardWagner.jpg)

My first Wagner recording was a collection of overtures in a Laserlight Masters of Classical Music set, my first classical CDs ever. At turns, it represented the utmost joy, despair, and passion, love at first sight for me. At 13, I came across Der Ring des Nibelungen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Ring_des_Nibelungen) (the Ring cycle) broadcast on TV and was spellbound. It was overwhelming that someone could create such a thing, as if it had dropped down from another planet fully formed.

Soon I was checking out librettos and biographies from the library, and dreamed of visiting the real Valhalla of Bayreuth (pronounced "Bai-royt") - I had become a full-fledged Wagnerite. Each successive work I heard cemented my affection. His sheer ambition was awe-inspiring, shown in the grand scale of his works and the concepts of Gesamtkunstwerk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gesamtkunstwerk) and the Bayreuth Festspielhaus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayreuth_Festspielhaus). He's certainly a polarizing figure biographically, but I find his scandalous life and writings very interesting. Shocking at times, though personally I separate the man from the music. The effect he left on those who came after him is indelible.

Though I have gravitated toward modern music in recent years, I come back to his music again and again, and it never fails to transport me. Not necessarily the greatest composer, but to me, the one whose work most sings to my soul.

6 Favorite Operas (because I just couldn't do 5!):

Tristan & Isolde
Siegfried
Der Fliegende Hollander
Die Walkure
Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
Tannhauser


6 Favorite Single Pieces (even harder):

Der Fliegende Hollander - Overture
Tristan & Isolde - Prelude & Liebestod
Die Meistersinger - Prelude to Act III
Siegfried - Idyll
Tannhauser - Overture

Richard Wagner Links

Richard Wagner at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Wagner)
Kristian Evensen's Richard Wagner Web Site (http://www.trell.org/wagner/)
There are a huge amount of great Wagner resources on the web and
Kristian's Links page is a wonderful collection of all the best
Kristian's Wagner Links (http://www.trell.org/wagner/links.html)

Welcome all Wagner lovers to the Valhalla!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brian on April 07, 2007, 07:52:14 PM
Tristan & Isolde - Prelude & Liebestod
Of course, Wagner himself called it the Liebestod und Verklarung. I suspect that term will never return to use, though, even though it makes vastly more sense (since when does a Love-Death sound consoling?).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on April 08, 2007, 01:32:44 AM


  Hello Greta, I too am a very big fan of Wagner's music.  Truelly a unique composer, and easily the greatest musical dramatist of all time.  He combines four elements so well:

1) Leitmotifs
2) Large orchestras
3) Epic storytelling
4) and above all music with remarkable hypnotic power

  I am trying very hard to get tickets to see the Ring Cycle which will be performed in its entirety in London this fall.  Tickets went on sale last November and have been sold out since  :( !

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: val on April 10, 2007, 04:02:02 AM
From a great Wagner fan:

Parsifal above all.

Then, Tristan.

The Ring, but assuming that the inspiration is not always at its best.

Lohengrin, a remarkable masterpiece.

The Flying Dutchman, in special the first act, and the Meistersinger (for the music, not the text)


And ... sorry, but I don't like much Tannhäuser.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on April 10, 2007, 04:37:23 AM

And ... sorry, but I don't like much Tannhäuser.

   But Val the overture to Tannhausser is among the most beautiful peices of music I have ever heard. Granted Tannhauser is hardly Wagner's best opera but it has very fine moments indeed.  I have Solti's Tannhauser and love it very much, which recording do you have?


   marvin 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: val on April 11, 2007, 12:52:03 AM
Quote
marvinbrown

   But Val the overture to Tannhausser is among the most beautiful peices of music I have ever heard. Granted Tannhauser is hardly Wagner's best opera but it has very fine moments indeed.  I have Solti's Tannhauser and love it very much, which recording do you have?

I also have the Solti version. I must aedmit that the overture is far from being one of my favorites. To me the best moment of the opera is Tannhäuser's monologue of the 3rd act, "Inbrunst im Herzen". I have it in a superb version of Lauritz Melchior, the best tenor in Wagner that I ever heard.

   
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on April 12, 2007, 02:38:20 PM
Big Wagner fan here.

I also discovered him when I was a teenager.

I'm travelling to Wellington in September to hear the NZSO perfrom a concert of Wagner Overtures/Preludes. We're literally planning a holiday around a Wagner concert  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Don Giovanni on April 14, 2007, 03:38:27 AM
I think it was Bernstein who said that Tristan und Isolde was "the central work of all music history, the hub of the wheel...". Personally, I adore Tristan - just listening to it is one of the best musical experiences of my life.

Is it as important as Berstein thought?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on April 14, 2007, 06:57:56 AM
I think it was Bernstein who said that Tristan und Isolde was "the central work of all music history, the hub of the wheel...". Personally, I adore Tristan - just listening to it is one of the best musical experiences of my life.

Is it as important as Berstein thought?

  I too love Tristan und Isolde, it is a real masterpiece demostrating Wagner's hypnotic power.  It is a very significant piece of work because of the Tristan chord which ushered in atonality in music and paved the way for Shoenberg and Alban Berg, It is  easily the most ultra-romantic opera ever written.  Whether it is the central work of all music history or not I do not know, but it ranks right up there with Wagner's Ring and Bach's St. Mathew Passion, Beethoven's Nine Symphonies and Mozart's Paino Concertos as a contender for the title.......Tristan will always remain my favorite opera.

   (By the way my favorite recording and what I consider the ultimate recording is Furtwangler's recording with Kristen Flagstaad as Isolde on EMI Great Recordings of the Century...this I believe is a MUST HAVE for any opera collection)


   marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Greta on April 14, 2007, 08:03:56 AM
I discovered Tristan also when I was the same age as Don Giovanni, and felt the same way about it. I still do!

Tristan's Prelude & Liebestod, a textbook example of building unresolved tension into a mindblowing release, holds a very special place, considered as one of the greatest moments in all music to me.

You'll come to know and recognize the "Tristan chord", and recognize that famous first statement of a sixth and two half-steps, they can be spotted making appearances in later' composers works.

In just a couple of weeks in Houston, I'll be going to an all-Wagner concert and I'm so excited! They just posted the program and I'm most looking forward to hearing several selections from Lohengrin, and especially Die Meistersinger, both of which I have never heard live. No Tristan this time though. ;) But the Der Fliegende Hollander overture more than makes up for it!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: lukeottevanger on April 14, 2007, 10:37:30 AM
You'll come to know and recognize the "Tristan chord", and recognize that famous first statement of a sixth and two half-steps, they can be spotted making appearances in later' composers works.

...and earlier ones.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Don Giovanni on April 14, 2007, 12:00:43 PM
I have the Bohm recording which I adore.

I can't really think of many pieces that are as important as Tristan - The Rite of Spring is the only one that instantly comes to mind (besides those that marvinbrown listed)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on April 15, 2007, 05:34:23 AM
Was inititated into the Ring cycle last week, and am watching it in its entirety again this week (Levine's Met DVD).

Prior to this, I was mostly familiar with Tristan und Isolde, as well as the "hits" (you know!).


The "Ring..." is a stunning victory of Art, in my opinion, as is Tristan...Wagner is one of my favorite composers.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on April 15, 2007, 05:50:31 AM
Was inititated into the Ring cycle last week, and am watching it in its entirety again this week (Levine's Met DVD).

Prior to this, I was mostly familiar with Tristan und Isolde, as well as the "hits" (you know!).


The "Ring..." is a stunning victory of Art, in my opinion, as is Tristan...Wagner is one of my favorite composers.

   I am glad that you have added Wagner to your list of favorite composers.  Haffner you should definitely check out Meistersingers von Nurnberg and Parsifal both superb operas and not to be missed. The overture of Meistersingers always lifts my spirits and MY God the congregation chorus at the beginning of that opera.....I shouldn't say any more or I'll ruin it for you  :-X.

  PS: Two days ago I ordered the Levine Ring Cycle DVD and I can't wait to see it.
   marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on April 15, 2007, 07:02:28 AM
   I am glad that you have added Wagner to your list of favorite composers.  Haffner you should definitely check out Meistersingers von Nurnberg and Parsifal both superb operas and not to be missed. The overture of Meistersingers always lifts my spirits and MY God the congregation chorus at the beginning of that opera.....I shouldn't say any more or I'll ruin it for you  :-X.

  PS: Two days ago I ordered the Levine Ring Cycle DVD and I can't wait to see it.
   marvin




I'm hoping to score the Gotz Friedrich "Lohengrin" dvd soon.

The Levine dvd is just fine. The final chapter, Gotterdamerung, is at times exceptionally moving and epic. I can't say I'm totally wild about Siegfried Jersusalem's stage performance skills, but otherwise this rendition has really helped me get deeper into Wagner's music.

The work as a whole portrays the result of an extraordinarily protracted effort of focused genius. It seemed to showcase exactly where Central European culture tends to go, art reflecting life...and pushed it further.

Watching the Ring was very much what many today would could my "vista-expanding" experience.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on May 19, 2007, 04:57:13 PM
I'm new to this board and glad to discover a page devoted to my favorite composer. At the relatively old age of about 60, seven years ago, after a lifetime of listening spent mostly with Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, Wagner suddenly hit me with force of a lightning bolt. I reeled with ecstasy as I devoured recordings of his operas one after another. Tristan, in the famous Bohm version, had me in thrall for several weeks during which I ate, drank and breathed nothing else, even listening to it on a CD Walkman on the elliptical trainer at the gym, turning the volume higher to drown out the rap and rock music on the speakers. My wife thought I had gone insane, as for months I would speak of nothing but Wagner. This extreme and crazy obsessiveness has settled down to steady love.

I still think of him as the greatest musician in history, with the power to radically revitalize a person's existence. Two orchestral passages from The Ring are my current favorites: Wotan's Farewell to Brunnehilde, and Siegfried's Funeral Music. What irony that an opera composer should revolutionize the symphony, both orchestra and form, as well as the opera.  Who else could do it? Who else can cause the heart to leap with joy as high, explore depths as hidden, wrench the emotions almost out of their moorings? The Funeral Music: the most powerful of movements ever, or at least equal to the most powerful. I get chills down my back just writing about it. Next to this, most other music is "mere;" prelude or postlude.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 20, 2007, 08:44:30 AM
I'm new to this board and glad to discover a page devoted to my favorite composer. At the relatively old age of about 60, seven years ago, after a lifetime of listening spent mostly with Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, Wagner suddenly hit me with force of a lightning bolt. I reeled with ecstasy as I devoured recordings of his operas one after another. Tristan, in the famous Bohm version, had me in thrall for several weeks during which I ate, drank and breathed nothing else, even listening to it on a CD Walkman on the elliptical trainer at the gym, turning the volume higher to drown out the rap and rock music on the speakers. My wife thought I had gone insane, as for months I would speak of nothing but Wagner. This extreme and crazy obsessiveness has settled down to steady love.

I still think of him as the greatest musician in history, with the power to radically revitalize a person's existence. Two orchestral passages from The Ring are my current favorites: Wotan's Farewell to Brunnehilde, and Siegfried's Funeral Music. What irony that an opera composer should revolutionize the symphony, both orchestra and form, as well as the opera.  Who else could do it? Who else can cause the heart to leap with joy as high, explore depths as hidden, wrench the emotions almost out of their moorings? The Funeral Music: the most powerful of movements ever, or at least equal to the most powerful. I get chills down my back just writing about it. Next to this, most other music is "mere;" prelude or postlude.



   Its GREAT to have another Wagner fan join GMG, WELCOME chaszz.   Its never too late to enjoy Wagner's operas (muisc dramas) nor too early (I fell in love with his music at the age of 32).  Seigfreid's FUNERAL MARCH is truelly one of the major highlights of the Ring Cycle just like Wotan's Farewell to Brunnehilde.  I also love the heroic music of Seigfreid's sword forging scene, the three question exchange between Mime and Wotan as well as the Reinmaden's Rheingold leitmotif.  Like you Wagner's music moves me more more than the music of any other composer.  Tristan und Isolde is my favorite opera.  ACT 3 of that opera is the most emotional music I have ever heard.   

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on May 20, 2007, 01:19:52 PM
   Its GREAT to have another Wagner fan join GMG, WELCOME chaszz.   Its never too late to enjoy Wagner's operas (muisc dramas) nor too early (I fell in love with his music at the age of 32).  Seigfreid's FUNERAL MARCH is truelly one of the major highlights of the Ring Cycle just like Wotan's Farewell to Brunnehilde.  I also love the heroic music of Seigfreid's sword forging scene, the three question exchange between Mime and Wotan as well as the Reinmaden's Rheingold leitmotif.  Like you Wagner's music moves me more more than the music of any other composer.  Tristan und Isolde is my favorite opera.  ACT 3 of that opera is the most emotional music I have ever heard.   

  marvin

Thank you for your warm welcome, Marvin. I look forward to many exchanges on the subject of the man who is in my opinion not only the greatest musician in history, but a fair bidder for the title of the greatest artist in any medium in history.

Tristan is also my favorite opera; for me it is the long love duet in Act II, combined with the 'Liebestod' closing the opera which is its natural sequel, that counts as my deepest thrill in this amazing work, which the Master tossed off while resting in the middle of composing The Ring, as a relative trifle, easy to mount and perform(!), to earn some money! And also of course to express and immortalize his longing for his adulterous lover Mathilde Weisndonck. And in the process backhandedly began the concept of expanded tonality which utterly changed music, and which concept he never at all mentioned, not even once, in his long voluminous bookshelf of prose writings on music and nearly every other subject! And which opera killed the first tenor who sang it! You couldn't make this stuff up!

One question: why is Verdi your avatar? 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on May 20, 2007, 01:30:34 PM
Well, I'm just begining to get into the Wagner operas and it looks like its going to be a lifelong journey  ;) I'm chipping away at The Ring and highlights from the other operas which will act as 'signposts' when I dive into the operas proper.

The Wagner movie was great.

The Met/Levine Ring cycle sounds great too, and I think, a good way to start getting into the ring as opposed to sitting down with the long operas. A good way to begin to get a 'handle' on the massive work.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 20, 2007, 01:47:08 PM
Thank you for your warm welcome, Marvin. I look forward to many exchanges on the subject of the man who is in my opinion not only the greatest musician in history, but a fair bidder for the title of greatest artist in history.

One question: why is Verdi your avatar? 

    Look forward to it too.  Why Verdi as my avatar? Because Verdi is my other love interest.  He epitomizes Italian Opera (rivalling Mozart in my opinion) as Wagner epotimizes German opera.  Some interesting facts: both Verdi and Wagner were born the same year 1813, both were rivals but never met.  Somehow I believe they  had great respect for each other.  Both Verdi and Wagner had a sense of drama and could convey powerful emotions through their music.  Both wrote one hit opera after the next.  Verdi's mature operas are true masterpeices (Otello, Aida, Falstaff, Rigolleto, Don Carlo,  La Traviata to name a few) as are Wagner's (The Ring Cycle, Tristan und Isolde, Meistersingers, Parsifal, Tannhauser even Lohengrin and The Flying Dutchman).  I own a little under 50 operas, 11 from Wagner and 10 from Verdi (my collection is lop-sided   :)) 


    I will change my avatar to something related to Wagner some day in the near future  :)

   marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 20, 2007, 02:10:43 PM
Well, I'm just begining to get into the Wagner operas and it looks like its going to be a lifelong journey  ;) I'm chipping away at The Ring and highlights from the other operas which will act as 'signposts' when I dive into the operas proper.

The Wagner movie was great.

The Met/Levine Ring cycle sounds great too, and I think, a good way to start getting into the ring as opposed to sitting down with the long operas. A good way to begin to get a 'handle' on the massive work.

   The MET/Levine is the only DVD recording I have of the Ring Cycle.  While some people will tell you that it is not perfect I personally found much in it that was attractive:

    1) the stage setting
    2) the costumes
    3) the special effects (I won't tell you what they are for fear of ruining the experience)
    4) it had James Morris as Wotan and Jessye Norman as Sieglinde

    The stage setting is true to Wagner's intent. This is not a modern adaptation.  While the the Solti  Ring Cycle (audio cd) has the ideal cast vocally this set is IMHO a good place to start. 

  marvin   
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on May 20, 2007, 02:16:18 PM
   The MET/Levine is the only DVD recording I have of the Ring Cycle.  While some people will tell you that it is not perfect I personally found much in it that was attractive:

    1) the stage setting
    2) the costumes
    3) the special effects (I won't tell you what they are for fear of ruining the experience)
    4) it had James Morris as Wotan and Jessye Norman as Sieglinde

    The stage setting is true to Wagner's intent. This is not a modern adaptation.  While the the Solti  Ring Cycle (audio cd) has the ideal cast vocally this set is IMHO a good place to start. 

  marvin   

Yes, thats a major factor for me. I'm very interested to view this.  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on May 20, 2007, 04:09:40 PM
Is this from that Levine/Met DVD set?

http://youtube.com/watch?v=IzjI0opkaIk
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on May 20, 2007, 05:53:57 PM
Yes it is.  :-[
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on May 20, 2007, 06:01:01 PM
Yes it is.  :-[

Yes, I've just bought it at Amazon and noticed the cover images were the same.

I've been putting off buying it for a year but the time is right!

I think the visual aspect will help with the understanding of the saga. Listening to vocal highlights recently was a bit daunting.

Are they tears of joy or sadness?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on May 20, 2007, 06:13:45 PM
You noticed?  ;)

Tears of sadness, but I do not want to diminish your enjoyment of your first visual meeting with Wagner's Ring. My very first meeting too was with raven-winged helmets and wolf skin clad Siegfrieds, but I was only six years old. By now I have discovered many different ideas of how to present this monumental Gesamtkunstwerk, and it makes me sad to see the ancient Met Ring still getting so much attention.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on May 20, 2007, 06:25:58 PM
Aha.

I guess the Wagner journey is a long one so I understand what you're saying.  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on May 20, 2007, 06:33:48 PM
That's the spirit and that's the right attitude for starting this fascinating journey. Yes, the Met is basic, a bit on the primitive side, but if you were to start it with the latest concept production, it might make you stop your exploration. Have a great journey, Solitary Wanderer; you won't be too solitary because many Wagner friends here at GMG are ready and willing to help and guide, if guidance you seek.  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Michel on May 21, 2007, 01:28:41 AM
The tone of your post is a little sick, but I agree, I think Wagner is great.

I am suprised you didn't mention Parsifal - it is my favourite opera of his, and one of my favourite operas of all.

Incidently, I was walking about in London yesterday and came across this place:  ;D

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=parsifal+road&sll=51.554968,-0.192626&sspn=0.006471,0.020084&ie=UTF8&ll=51.554968,-0.19284&spn=0.006471,0.020084&z=16&iwloc=addr&om=1
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on May 21, 2007, 04:17:47 AM
    Look forward to it too.  Why Verdi as my avatar? Because Verdi is my other love interest.  He epitomizes Italian Opera (rivalling Mozart in my opinion) as Wagner epotimizes German opera





Me too, Marvin! Verdi was for me the height of Italian Opera. Mozart was of course very close, but alot of times I get the impression that his German operas were better than the Italian. The Verdi works that you mentioned are simply more dramatic and "Italian". Again, this is my opinion.

I consider Mozart, Wagner, and Verdi to be literal Wonders of the World.





Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on May 21, 2007, 04:19:10 AM
Yes, thats a major factor for me. I'm very interested to view this.  :)



I got the Levine DVD Ring as a whole (NEW!) from Newbury Comics for just over $75.oo. Believe me, it was worth every penny.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on May 21, 2007, 04:21:18 AM
You noticed?  ;)

Tears of sadness, but I do not want to diminish your enjoyment of your first visual meeting with Wagner's Ring. My very first meeting too was with raven-winged helmets and wolf skin clad Siegfrieds, but I was only six years old. By now I have discovered many different ideas of how to present this monumental Gesamtkunstwerk, and it makes me sad to see the ancient Met Ring still getting so much attention.




I agree. Youtube can spoil things...it's more exciting just buying the whole dvd set and loving the Wonder of it all, no preconceptions, just being totally Open.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on May 21, 2007, 04:22:39 AM
That's the spirit and that's the right attitude for starting this fascinating journey. Yes, the Met is basic, a bit on the primitive side, but if you were to start it with the latest concept production, it might make you stop your exploration. Have a great journey, Solitary Wanderer; you won't be too solitary because many Wagner friends here at GMG are ready and willing to help and guide, if guidance you seek.  :)






JA! I'm with you! That's what this board is for, right?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Michel on May 21, 2007, 05:00:59 AM
Have you ever heard of quoting more than one thing in one post; you have instantly wrecked this thread with a load of posts.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: karlhenning on May 21, 2007, 05:04:49 AM
The tone of your post is a little sick, but I agree, I think Wagner is great.

I am suprised you didn't mention Parsifal - it is my favourite opera of his, and one of my favourite operas of all.

I haven't yet done aught more than listen to some of (mostly) the instrumental music to this;  for the most part, I think it some of the best Wagner I've heard!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on May 21, 2007, 05:07:02 AM
Have you ever heard of quoting more than one thing in one post; you have instantly wrecked this thread with a load of posts.




Oh dear.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Michel on May 21, 2007, 05:23:46 AM
I haven't yet done aught more than listen to some of (mostly) the instrumental music to this;  for the most part, I think it some of the best Wagner I've heard!

Karl,

Listen to the final scene!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 21, 2007, 06:37:28 AM
Oh dear.

Yep, now you've done it, Andy! Might as well just go ahead and lock this thread down. It's obviously, and completely, ruined  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on May 21, 2007, 06:59:23 AM
Yep, now you've done it, Andy! Might as well just go ahead and lock this thread down. It's obviously, and completely, ruined  ;D

Sarge




ZOUNDS
!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 22, 2007, 02:41:43 AM



I consider Mozart, Wagner, and Verdi to be literal Wonders of the World.


  Looks like you found yourself another Triumvirate Andy  :)!!!  I remember when you were telling me about "Andy's Triumvirate" consisting of Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn.  What's the common link you ask? Answer: MOZART of course (a testament to that GREAT man's GENIUS ) 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 22, 2007, 04:15:13 AM
Yes, I've just bought it at Amazon and noticed the cover images were the same.

I've been putting off buying it for a year but the time is right!

I think the visual aspect will help with the understanding of the saga. Listening to vocal highlights recently was a bit daunting.

Are they tears of joy or sadness?

   Solitary Wanderer my only advice to you is to forget about the highlights cds you have of the Ring and to  "dive" right in to the complete staged production of the Ring (Just like I did  0:)).  That Ring Cycle is an ocean of melody (leitmotif) and drama, a magnificent work of art that should be experienced from start to finish .  To ease the experince think of the Ring as a movie with one REMARKABLE score.   Write back if you need a life jacket.....everybody is here to help.

  PS: Don't forget the popcorn  ;) !

   marvin 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on May 22, 2007, 05:23:53 AM
  Looks like you found yourself another Triumvirate Andy  :)!!!  I remember when you were telling me about "Andy's Triumvirate" consisting of Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn.  What's the common link you ask? Answer: MOZART of course (a testament to that GREAT man's GENIUS ) 

  marvin




Absolutely, Marvin! Mozart slays me each time I take a rest from his music and then go back to it. Many aren't aware that much of his greatest music can be found in his String Trios and Duos. k266 sounds to me like sweetest resignation, and of course the Divertimento k563 is desert island material for me!

As you probably already know,many of the vocal parts Wagner wrote for his characters have their influences from Mozart's Magic Flute and Don Giovanni.

Wouldn't it have been fabulous to have heard Wagner's arrangement of Don Giovanni!!!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on May 22, 2007, 07:23:28 AM



Absolutely, Marvin! Mozart slays me each time I take a rest from his music and then go back to it. Many aren't aware that much of his greatest music can be found in his String Trios and Duos. k266 sounds to me like sweetest resignation, and of course the Divertimento k563 is desert island material for me!

As you probably already know,many of the vocal parts Wagner wrote for his characters have their influences from Mozart's Magic Flute and Don Giovanni.

Wouldn't it have been fabulous to have heard Wagner's arrangement of Don Giovanni!!!

It would also be quite interesting to hear Wagner's arrangement of Beethoven's Ninth for larger orchestra. I can't find a recording of it. Does anyone know of one?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on June 03, 2007, 04:17:14 AM
What is your favorite Wagner aria, whether for one or more vocalists?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 04, 2007, 02:32:48 AM
What is your favorite Wagner aria, whether for one or more vocalists?

I've a nostalgic attachment to O du, mein holder Abendstern from Tannhäuser: my grandfather enjoyed singing it, accompanying himself at the piano. It may be the first bit of Wagner I ever heard.

My favorite, though, is Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond from Act I Scene 3 of Die Walküre.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on June 04, 2007, 06:19:15 AM
If ACD were still with us he could clarify the question, often asked, if Winterstürme is a true aria. Some experts even state that Wagner never wrote any arias. Maybe it depends on the musicological definition of what constitutes an aria.  ???
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 04, 2007, 06:32:06 AM
Strictly speaking Wagner never wrote an aria, or an opera either. Aria and opera are Italian terms, and Wagner hated Italian opera.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on June 04, 2007, 06:46:36 AM
Point well made - and taken!  ;D

Would you then please tag a name on to those pieces of singing, accompanied by an orchestra?  :-\
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 06:51:07 AM
Strictly speaking Wagner never wrote an aria, or an opera either.

But did he not write operas before he devised the term "music drama"? (Which maybe he borrowed from Italian sources, dramma per musica and all that.)

Though of course, revisionism was a favorite pastime of Wagner's . . . .
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on June 04, 2007, 06:52:01 AM
Strictly speaking Wagner never wrote an aria, or an opera either. Aria and opera are Italian terms, and Wagner hated Italian opera.

Are we throwing Rienzi (to say nothing of the early works Die Feen and Das Liebesverbot) out? I think most musicologists, and Wagnerians, would have to agree that those are operas - strictly speaking. In fact, I thought that the transition from grand opera to music-drama happened over the Holländer-Tannhäuser-Lohengrin sequence (c. 1840-1850).

But did he not write operas before he devised the term "music drama"? (Which maybe he borrowed from Italian sources, dramma per musica and all that.)

Though of course, revisionism was a favorite pastime of Wagner's . . . .

Ah, leave it to Karl to beat me to the punch. Well, my answer has a nice pedantry to it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 04, 2007, 06:52:44 AM
Point well made - and taken!  ;D

Would you then please tag a name on to those pieces of singing, accompanied by an orchestra?  :-\

I haven't got a clue ;D These have grown to be known as Siegmund's Wooing Song or Wotan's Farewell.


But seriously they are different from traditional Italian arias. One thing I can think of is that in Italian arias time totally freezes (think Caro Nome from Rigoletto). In pieces like Wintersturme or Elisabeth's entrance in Tannhauser there is still action going on when the singing is going on. So the piece is part of the action, which is different from Italian arias.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 06:53:13 AM
Ah, leave it to Karl to beat me to the punch. Well, my answer has a nice pedantry to it.

 ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 06:53:33 AM
Would you then please tag a name on to those pieces of singing, accompanied by an orchestra?  :-\

Wubba-wubba?  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 04, 2007, 06:54:35 AM
Are we throwing Rienzi (to say nothing of the early works Die Feen and Das Liebesverbot) out? I think most musicologists, and Wagnerians, would have to agree that those are operas - strictly speaking. In fact, I thought that the transition from grand opera to music-drama happened over the Holländer-Tannhäuser-Lohengrin sequence (c. 1840-1850).

Ah, leave it to Karl to beat me to the punch. Well, my answer has a nice pedantry to it.

Well, I do not consider Rienzi and the other two "operas" works of the Wagner I enjoy. However one chooses to characterize them I don't really care one way or another 0:)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 06:55:30 AM
Well, I do not consider Rienzi and the other two "operas" works of the Wagner I enjoy. However one chooses to characterize them I don't really care one way or another 0:)

Beside the point. You agree that he wrote them?  ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on June 04, 2007, 06:57:37 AM
Well, I do not consider Rienzi and the other two "operas" works of the Wagner I enjoy. However one chooses to characterize them I don't really care one way or another 0:)

Well, they're not Bayreuth canon, but they're still Wagner.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 04, 2007, 06:58:44 AM
Beside the point. You agree that he wrote them?  ;D

Maybe Matilda wrote them?

Anyway I rarely listen to anything before the Ring.
Duchman and Lohengrin are pretty good but nothing special. Tannhauser is just a trainwreck altogether. I have no clue what THAT opera is about.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on June 04, 2007, 07:01:37 AM
Maybe Matilda wrote them?

Anyway I rarely listen to anything before the Ring.
Holländer and Lohengrin are pretty good but nothing special. Tannhäuser is just a trainwreck altogether. I have no clue what THAT opera is about.

I think it's about the pope's staff flowering.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 07:03:36 AM
Maybe Matilda wrote them?

You're working on a sequel to The Da Vinci Code, aren't you?  8)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on June 04, 2007, 07:10:12 AM
Maybe Matilda wrote them?

I thought Mathilde only wrote very boring Lieder? - Leaving, going for a hair cut and when I return maybe we got this settled, but it sure is entertaining!  :D

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 04, 2007, 08:19:14 AM
Interesting discussion but...I understood what Chaszz meant, and wanted, and I answered him.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on June 04, 2007, 08:22:58 AM
Wubba-wubba?  ;D ;D ;D



Well, Karl isn't being very specific. There is the wubba-wubba as the overall ensemble. But there is also the male and female duetti (the "dubba trubba"), the piccolo section ("baby bubba"), and of course the cross-dressing baritone called "Hell-of-a-Hubba-Bubba".
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 08:36:54 AM
The wubba-wubba about which we can be specific, is not the true wubba-wubba :-)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on June 04, 2007, 09:05:27 AM
Flash of ingenuity while getting my hair cut: We can't the Winterstürme and Abendstern be classified as a Lied?. After all, we do have the Preislied in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and, as far as I know, Wagner gave it this title. Or was this Cosima's interfering brainstorm?  :-\
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on June 04, 2007, 09:16:18 AM
The wubba-wubba about which we can be specific, is not the true wubba-wubba :-)





AAAhhhh...I see now, great Grasshoppa! (I'll try not to say nuthin' to the Big Bloppa 'bout this, chile).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: karlhenning on June 04, 2007, 11:09:32 AM
Thought I was on the Favorite Funk thread for a moment there . . . .
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Yasser on June 04, 2007, 11:27:04 AM
Strictly speaking Wagner never wrote an aria, or an opera either. Aria and opera are Italian terms, and Wagner hated Italian opera.

Where did you get this from? Wagner was influenced by Bellini and declared Rossini to be a genius.

Yasser
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 04, 2007, 12:08:24 PM
Where did you get this from? Wagner was influenced by Bellini and declared Rossini to be a genius.

Yasser

Really? He also thought Verdi was a hack and not much of a composer.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on June 04, 2007, 04:22:11 PM
As Sarge guessed, I meant aria in the wider, inexact sense of a soloist, or soloists, accompanied by orchestra. My favorite is the quintet from Meistersinger, followed closely by the Spring Song from Walkure.

As for Lohengrin and Tannhauser, I personally love them both. For me its the music that counts most. Both of these have some very glorious music. As a matter of fact, the musical inspiration in Lohengrin rarely if ever flags from beginning to end.

 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on June 04, 2007, 04:44:09 PM
As Sarge guessed, I meant aria in the wider, inexact sense of a soloist, or soloists, accompanied by orchestra. My favorite is the quintet from Meistersinger, followed closely by the Spring Song from Walkure.

As for Lohengrin and Tannhauser, I personally love them both. For me its the music that counts most. Both of these have some very glorious music. As a matter of fact, the musical inspiration in Lohengrin rarely if ever flags from beginning to end.

 

If Wagner never wrote another note after Lohengrin, he would be considered a very good composer already, probably on the same plateau as Bellini, Rossini, and Donizetti. It is what he did AFTERWARDS that makes him almost super-human. Tannhauser, Dutchman, and Lohengrin all contained some wonderful music, but none displayed the sort of out-of-nowhere genius that came afterwards. It is almost impossible to comprehend how far Wagner progressed from Lohengrin to Rheingold. Lohengrin is almost Italian-like with its sweeping arches of melody. With Rheingold everything is more direct, more angular, and more organic. To me the jump from Lohengrin to the Ring Cycle is tantamount to Beethoven going from the second to third symphonies, or Sibelius going from the 2nd to 3rd symphonies, or Shostakovich going from his third to fourth symphonies. You never see it coming.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Yasser on June 05, 2007, 09:55:29 AM
Really? He also thought Verdi was a hack and not much of a composer.

So how does that translate into "Wagner hated Italian Opera"?

Yasser
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on June 05, 2007, 07:22:07 PM
If ACD were still with us he could clarify the question, often asked, if Winterstürme is a true aria.

He might not be here as a registered member of GMG but there are other channels of communication with old friends, helpful friends, to be specific. I won't bore you with who stated this and who replied thusly, but pass on the information I have received in ref. to the latest discussion.

There is no recording of Wagner's orchestral arrangement of Beethoven's Ninth for the simple reason, he never wrote one.

Next: Winterstürme is indeed an aria, a simple-form aria and Wagner has warned the singers to not sing it as an aria because it might destroy the dramatic import. Why he wrote an aria and did not want it to be sung as aria, this question has no known answer.

Next: Stage works Wagner wrote before Das Rheingold are all operas, loaded with arias etc.

And yes, Wagner held all Italian operas in deepest contempt, but he rather liked Bellini's Norma and Rossini's Il Barbière. Wagner was not influenced by Bellini and never declared Rossini to be a genius.


To get correct answers to questions re. Richard Wagner, all one has to do is consult an expert. Who, BTW. has proved me wrong more than once and I always appreciated learning about one of my favorite composers from a knowledgeable source of everything Wagnerian.  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 06, 2007, 03:12:27 AM
Next: Winterstürme is indeed an aria, a simple-form aria and Wagner has warned the singers to not sing it as an aria because it might destroy the dramatic import. Why he wrote an aria and did not want it to be sung as aria, this question has no known answer.

Next: Stage works Wagner wrote before Das Rheingold are all operas, loaded with arias etc.

Which fully justifies my choice of music and answer to Chaszz. Apparently I'm as much of a Wagner expert as the sainted ACD...which doesn't surprise me: I've been studying the composer and his music since I was 13...45 years now. I should start a blog  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Yasser on June 06, 2007, 04:20:35 AM

And yes, Wagner held all Italian operas in deepest contempt, but he rather liked Bellini's Norma and Rossini's Il Barbière. Wagner was not influenced by Bellini and never declared Rossini to be a genius.


To get correct answers to questions re. Richard Wagner, all one has to do is consult an expert. Who, BTW. has proved me wrong more than once and I always appreciated learning about one of my favorite composers from a knowledgeable source of everything Wagnerian.  :)

Excuse me, but who made ACD THE expert in Wagner? His views are just one man's views, not an authority. I have never claimed any expertise in Wagner, all I have done so far is writing what I know about this composer. FYI, he did declare Rossini to be a genius, unlike what ACD or anyone else claims:

http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0027-4666%2819070401%2948%3A770%3C231%3ACM%28%3E2.0.CO%3B2-4&size=LARGE&origin=JSTOR-enlargePage

Read the paragraph that starts with "As they came away Wagner acknowledged..."

I thought this was an open-minded forum where we can share our knowledge and passion for opera, not some sort of new feeds from so-called experts.

Yasser
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on June 06, 2007, 04:51:20 AM
Indeed it is an open-minded forum and I am sharing my information received from a person I respect and whose in depth study of Wagner I am familiar with.   ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on June 06, 2007, 07:15:04 AM
It seems to me that there is no foremost expert on Wagner anywhere. The disagreements this composer is likely to arouse among music lovers are legion and admit of no complete expertise. Whether or not he satirized Jews in his operas will be a point of contention down the ages to come. In general, the primary sources, such as Mein Leben and Cosima's Diaries, are open to possibilities of bending the truth, and reminiscences of other people are open to the possibilities of faulty remembrances. So I don't admit of any complete expert, and the refutation of the above point on Rossini is a good example of a so-called expert who makes a blanket statement (Wagner never said Rossini was a genius) and happens to be mistaken.

It is no surprise that the referenced ACD causes disputes even in his absence. I wonder why he is no longer here - did he wear out his welcome by his crude behavior as he has on so many music forums? His habit of calling those with whom he disagrees 'idiots' does little positive to reflect on his presumptive expertise.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on June 06, 2007, 07:51:01 AM
I wonder why he is no longer here

No need to wonder. It was the gentleman's personal decision to delete his membership at GMG.  :)

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on June 06, 2007, 09:07:10 AM
In the liner notes of one of her recordings, Jane Eaglen specifically singled out Bellini as a composer admired by Wagner who also influenced him (Wagner)  - specifically regarding his (Bellini's) long arches of melodies.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on June 06, 2007, 12:16:48 PM

http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0027-4666%2819070401%2948%3A770%3C231%3ACM%28%3E2.0.CO%3B2-4&size=LARGE&origin=JSTOR-enlargePage

Read the paragraph that starts with "As they came away Wagner acknowledged..."

IYasser

Oh let's continue, please, I enjoy this thread because I received a reply to the above link from ACD:

"The person who linked that fragment of a magazine article should learn that
1) a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and 2) never bet the farm on
quotes taken out of context.

The sentence in that magazine article that reads, "And he [Wagner] added a
few words of Rossini's genius as a composer...," are not Wagner's words, but
the words of Herbert Thompson, the author of the magazine article.
Thompson's source is a small volume entitled, _Richard Wagner's Visit to
Rossini & An Evening at Rossini's in Beau-Sejour_, written and published in
1906, some 46 years after the fact, by one, Edmond Michotte.  Michotte quotes
Wagner as saying as they left Rossini's apartment:

"What mightn't he (Rossini) have produced if he had been given a strong,
complete musical education?  Especially if, less Italian and less skeptical,
he had felt inside him the religion of his art.  There can be no doubt that
he would have taken off on a flight that would have raised him to the highest
peaks.  In a word, he is a genius who was led astray by not having been well
prepared, and not having found the milieu for which his high creative
abilities had designed him."

Notice the conditional tense throughout.  IOW, a carefully worded,
left-handed compliment, complete with 19th-century excess in the wording."

Answers my doubts about the linked publication. - And I thank ACD for helping me out here. Still wish he were here though!  :(

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Yasser on June 06, 2007, 12:38:15 PM
Oh let's continue, please, I enjoy this thread because I received a reply to the above link from ACD:

"The person who linked that fragment [...]


Sorry Uffe, but I have no desire to respond to such posts when I am being refrerred to as "The person who". Only if ACD wants to respond to me directly and do it respectfully by using my name.

I enjoy your posts and always look forward to your recommendations when it comes to operas on DVD and I hope I can still read your personal opinions here more and more.

Anne,

Thank you for your post regarding Bellini.

Yasser
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on June 06, 2007, 01:02:54 PM
You're welcome, Yasser.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 25, 2007, 01:11:09 PM
I discovered Tristan also when I was the same age as Don Giovanni, and felt the same way about it. I still do!

Tristan's Prelude & Liebestod, a textbook example of building unresolved tension into a mindblowing release, holds a very special place, considered as one of the greatest moments in all music to me.

You'll come to know and recognize the "Tristan chord", and recognize that famous first statement of a sixth and two half-steps, they can be spotted making appearances in later' composers works.

In just a couple of weeks in Houston, I'll be going to an all-Wagner concert and I'm so excited! They just posted the program and I'm most looking forward to hearing several selections from Lohengrin, and especially Die Meistersinger, both of which I have never heard live. No Tristan this time though. ;) But the Der Fliegende Hollander overture more than makes up for it!

Heres the line-up for my September Wagner concert!

NZSO

Friday 7 September 6.30pm WELLINGTON Town Hall Ticketek 
 
PROGRAMME
Die Meistersinger Prelude
Lohengrin Prelude (Act 1)
Tristan und Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod
The Flying Dutchman Overture
Tannhaüser Overture
Gotterdammerung: Immolation Scene


FEATURED ARTISTS
Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor
Margaret Medlyn Soprano

 :)

 

 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 25, 2007, 01:26:50 PM
It would also be quite interesting to hear Wagner's arrangement of Beethoven's Ninth for larger orchestra. I can't find a recording of it. Does anyone know of one?

I have a recording of Wagners piano & choral arrangement of Beethovens 9th ???
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 25, 2007, 01:32:46 PM
At this stage a fave 'moment' is Donners horn call when summoning the thunder in scene.4. of Das Reingold.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 25, 2007, 01:45:28 PM
I'm having an intense Wagner week as I dive into the complete Ring cycle for the first time.

So I'm listening to this;

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lGefabD1L._AA240_.jpg)

and this

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/21S1XC3Q70L.jpg)

and this

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AKKRH9MPL._AA240_.jpg)

while reading this

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0500281947.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg)

and watching this!

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

I've also recently read this;

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51600P3RCHL._AA240_.jpg)

and

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0486237796.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg)

and the two P.Frank Russell graphic novel adaptations :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: m_gigena on July 25, 2007, 04:55:09 PM
I'm having an intense Wagner week as I dive into the complete Ring cycle for the first time.



Me too. Tomorrow I'll listen to the last act of Gotterdammerung and I will have finally listened to the whole Ring, for the first time.
I got the only Ring I have last year (From the Bayreuth Festival in 1952, conducted by Joseph Keilberth), and played some parts as background music while studying then. My objective for the current winter holydays was to listen to the whole ring in detail, with the libretto and translations in hand, and I'm very happy because I'm about to complete it.

I like this Keilberth cycle very, very much, and I don't feel like listening to other sets now. After some google searches I found out that many people list Keilberth's '52 as one of the finest sets available.
I'm getting the famous Solti set, Furtwangler's from 1950 at La Scala, and Keilberth's 1953 at Bayreuth (as I said, I don't feel like trying other sets right now, but I may intend that in the future, and I want to be prepared then).

Do you have any suggestions for more Ring cycles? (or valid reasons for me to abort any of the listed current downloads; aside copyright infringement considerations)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 25, 2007, 05:01:57 PM
I'm having an intense Wagner week as I dive into the complete Ring cycle for the first time.

So I'm listening to this;

and this

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AKKRH9MPL._AA240_.jpg)


Yuck, no self-respecting Wagnerian will listen to that garbage. It is an insult to Wagner dumb down to appeal to the lowest denominator.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 25, 2007, 05:04:27 PM
Yuck, no self-respecting Wagnerian will listen to that garbage. It is an insult to Wagner dumb down to appeal to the lowest denominator.

Fair enough.

Personally I found it to be an excellent entry point to such a massive work. Especially as I had an issue with opera singing prior to that. Its lead me to the main operas and provided 'signposts' as I listen.

 :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: grandma on July 25, 2007, 05:31:31 PM
"(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AKKRH9MPL._AA240_.jpg)"


SW,

When a friend helped me begin to appreciate The Ring, first he had me listen to Maazel's Ring Without Words; then he had me buy a Ring Highlights CD.  There are many.  I chose the one conducted by Solti.

Wagner uses voices in his operas as other instruments in an orchestra.  The singers do not sing melodies (for the most part - there are exceptions) as we've come to expect in other composers' operas.  One of the easiest ways to understand what I am trying to say, is to listen to the music without the singers (The Ring Without Words CD).  Then listen to the same music with singers.  (You'll need to purchase the highlight CD.)

By listening to the CD's in this order, you will understand how Wagner uses voices in his music.  First, you will have heard the music without voices, then with voices.

My experience was that I came to enjoy the music without the voices and didn't see any necessity to add the singers.  But once I listened to the singer version, I was amazed how much the voices added to the listening experience, and didn't want to go back to the "incomplete" Ring Without Words.  Hope this helps.

Wagner is worth every effort you have to make to learn his music.  If you have trouble, let us know.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: grandma on July 25, 2007, 05:43:24 PM
Me too. Tomorrow I'll listen to the last act of Gotterdammerung and I will have finally listened to the whole Ring, for the first time.
I got the only Ring I have last year (From the Bayreuth Festival in 1952, conducted by Joseph Keilberth), and played some parts as background music while studying then. My objective for the current winter holydays was to listen to the whole ring in detail, with the libretto and translations in hand, and I'm very happy because I'm about to complete it.

I like this Keilberth cycle very, very much, and I don't feel like listening to other sets now. After some google searches I found out that many people list Keilberth's '52 as one of the finest sets available.
I'm getting the famous Solti set, Furtwangler's from 1950 at La Scala, and Keilberth's 1953 at Bayreuth (as I said, I don't feel like trying other sets right now, but I may intend that in the future, and I want to be prepared then).

Do you have any suggestions for more Ring cycles? (or valid reasons for me to abort any of the listed current downloads; aside copyright infringement considerations)

Go to the Canadian amazon web site.  If it is still available, you will find James Levine's Ring for about $40.  It is cheap these days in Canada in honor of the first Canadian Ring being performed this year in Canada.  At Amazon US and amazon UK the price is higher.  There is no libretto with this.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 25, 2007, 06:46:59 PM
While I'm not sure that the orchestral versions of stuff Wagner didn't intend to be purely orchestral bothers me, as his idea of Gesamtkunstwerk intended for you to get, in David Bowie's words, the gift of sound and vision. If we're fudging with recordings, then it's really just a matter of degrees off beam.

That having been said, despite some fabulous recordings of Der Ring (such as Janowski, Barenboim, Böhm, and Boulez - all depending on how conservative or liberal a Wagnerian you are), the best recording for a first experience is Georg Solti's set. Hands down. Keilberth's 1955 Bayreuth set on Testament (though recorded by Decca) is a close runner-up. The also-rans all have some issues - ranging from minor to pretty serious - that make them less-than-ideal for a first experience.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 26, 2007, 02:05:28 AM
I'm having an intense Wagner week as I dive into the complete Ring cycle for the first time.

So I'm listening to this;

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lGefabD1L._AA240_.jpg)

and this

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/21S1XC3Q70L.jpg)

and this

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AKKRH9MPL._AA240_.jpg)

while reading this

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0500281947.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg)

and watching this!

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

I've also recently read this;

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51600P3RCHL._AA240_.jpg)

and

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0486237796.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg)

and the two P.Frank Russell graphic novel adaptations :)

  WOW....and here I was thinking I was obsessed with Wagner  :).  I will second PSmith08 recommendation of the Solti Ring.  I have the Solti Ring and it is truly remarkable (so powerfull).  Glad to hear that you are getting involved so intimately with the Ring Solitary Wanderer.  Its a psychological thriller with a remarkable symphonic score.  Getting into the story, plot characters is the best way to appreciate this masterpiece.  It took Wagner over 20 years to compose- astonishing!!!!

  PS: make sure you also check out Die Meistersingers, Tristan und Isolde, and Parsifal- they are all treasure troves of drama, beautiful music and visual delights.
 
  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 26, 2007, 05:28:43 AM
"(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AKKRH9MPL._AA240_.jpg)"


SW,

When a friend helped me begin to appreciate The Ring, first he had me listen to Maazel's Ring Without Words; then he had me buy a Ring Highlights CD.  There are many.  I chose the one conducted by Solti.

Wagner uses voices in his operas as other instruments in an orchestra.  The singers do not sing melodies (for the most part - there are exceptions) as we've come to expect in other composers' operas.  One of the easiest ways to understand what I am trying to say, is to listen to the music without the singers (The Ring Without Words CD).  Then listen to the same music with singers.  (You'll need to purchase the highlight CD.)

By listening to the CD's in this order, you will understand how Wagner uses voices in his music.  First, you will have heard the music without voices, then with voices.

My experience was that I came to enjoy the music without the voices and didn't see any necessity to add the singers.  But once I listened to the singer version, I was amazed how much the voices added to the listening experience, and didn't want to go back to the "incomplete" Ring Without Words.  Hope this helps.

Wagner is worth every effort you have to make to learn his music.  If you have trouble, let us know.


  Reflecting back on my very first encounters with Wagner and the Ring Cycle.....I never went through the various stages to listening to the Ring without words (I did not even know this existed) , and reading books etc.  My style was more Kamakazi- sink or swim- now in hindsight (thats always 20/20) I wish I had taken the time and done it in stages.  If I can offer some advice- a few things to pay attention to:

  1) Know the characters
  2) Have a good grasp of the plot and interaction between characters
  3) Pay attention to how the music associates itself with each character or object (leitmotif)
  4) Pay attention to how the music associates itself with the occuring and recuring events or actions (again leitmotif)
  5) Use 1)-4) above to experience the DRAMATIC effect- I like to turn the lights down low, get some popcorn and watch the Levine Ring on my large screen TV  ;D !!!  Hey- wasn't that Wagner's intention all along!!!

  Best of luck Solitary Wanderer and keep us posted as to how you get on- Enjoy!

  marvin
 
 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: m_gigena on July 26, 2007, 06:29:17 AM
What about this one?

(http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B00000424H/ref=dp_image_0/102-3286311-2011368?ie=UTF8&n=5174&s=music)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 26, 2007, 08:10:35 AM
What about this one?

(http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B00000424H/ref=dp_image_0/102-3286311-2011368?ie=UTF8&n=5174&s=music)


  You mean this one Manuel ? :

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NZEV35HNL._SS500_.jpg)


  Though I am not familiar with this Introduction Recording, I can tell you that the covers are identical to the COMPLETE Solti Ring Cycle that I own.  But aren't you better off investing in the COMPLETE Solti recording as opposed to an Introduction?  The Solti Ring Cycle from which this Introduction recording is taken is OUTSTANDING!!!  Perhaps somebody else on this forum can comment on this particular Introduction recording?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: m_gigena on July 26, 2007, 08:17:09 AM

  You mean this one Manuel ? :

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NZEV35HNL._SS500_.jpg)


Yes. That one.

What I could get from the Amazon samples is that this set is not about loosen excerpts, but motifs are exposed and explained (as in the BBC Discovering music files).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: grandma on July 26, 2007, 09:02:05 AM
Yes. That one.

What I could get from the Amazon samples is that this set is not about loosen excerpts, but motifs are exposed and explained (as in the BBC Discovering music files).


  1)  The Deryk Cooke recording was made to help people find the motifs in Wagner's Ring.  I didn't use it though I have it.  With the help of several books and Solti's Das Rheingold and multiple listenings, I finally found the 22+ motifs of Das Rheinegold (I figured if I started at the beginning Wagner couldn't get too complicated yet).  It is worth the effort to know them as it makes the music more interesting.

It would be nice if some of the experts around here would listen to Solti's Ring and give everyone the timings for the motifs on the Cd's.

  2)  There is also a disc that plays on one's computer (in mono) that displays the music (Solti's version), shows the motifs as one listens to them.  There may be more features that I have forgotten.  Does anyone know the title?  I am not home and can't remember it at the moment.  When it first came out, it cost $100.  It may be out of print now.  Can anyone else give the title?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on July 26, 2007, 09:59:01 AM

  2)  There is also a disc that plays on one's computer (in mono) that displays the music (Solti's version), shows the motifs as one listens to them.  There may be more features that I have forgotten.  Does anyone know the title?  I am not home and can't remember it at the moment.  When it first came out, it cost $100.  It may be out of print now.  Can anyone else give the title?

The Ring Disc: An Interactive Guide to Wagners Ring Cycle

Amazon.com lists one new copy available for $75.00 from one of their sellers:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000001A3A/ref=dp_olp_2/102-5423591-3069720 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000001A3A/ref=dp_olp_2/102-5423591-3069720)

I don't have it.  My first Ring recording was Furtwängler's RAI cycle on LPs, which came with a single-LP intro to the cycle identifying the motifs and playing excerpts from the recording.  I probably listened to it once, but mostly used Ernest Newman's book on the Wagner operas, which (for the post-Rienzi operas), is a great intro to the works, with info on the sources and compostion each work, followed by a synopsis with musical examples of the leitmotifs:

http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Operas-Ernest-Newman/dp/0691027161/ref=sr_1_1/102-5423591-3069720?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185476047&sr=1-1
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brewski on July 26, 2007, 10:23:42 AM
If this has already come up, I apologize, but by any chance does anyone know of an online source for Wagner's leitmotifs?  (E.g., similar to this great reference (http://www.ccarh.org/publications/data/humdrum/tonerow/) for Berg, Schoenberg and Webern's tone rows on Themefinder.)

Edit: just found this one (http://www.trell.org/wagner/motifs.html#leitmotifs) which is pretty good.  But open to other suggestions, too.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 26, 2007, 10:33:31 AM
If this has already come up, I apologize, but by any chance does anyone know of an online source for Wagner's leitmotifs?  (E.g., similar to this great reference (http://www.ccarh.org/publications/data/humdrum/tonerow/) for Berg, Schoenberg and Webern's tone rows on Themefinder.)

Edit: just found this one (http://www.trell.org/wagner/motifs.html#leitmotifs) which is pretty good.  But open to other suggestions, too.

--Bruce

This site (http://www.trell.org/wagner/motifs.html) has a nice introduction to the major Leitmotiven, but it is by no means complete. The rwagner.net site is more complete, but has distracting MIDI samples with no explanation.

It is clearly not what you asked for, but the libretti for Daniel Barenboim's Bayreuth Ring have the texts and then the Leitmotiven in the margins. The recording, too, is very good - orchestrally, vocally, and sonics-wise. It is idiosyncratic at points, but is a solid second choice.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brewski on July 26, 2007, 10:56:42 AM
Oh thanks (for both suggestions).  Appreciate the info on that Barenboim set (which might entice me to get it). 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 26, 2007, 11:02:24 AM
Oh thanks (for both suggestions).  Appreciate the info on that Barenboim set (which might entice me to get it). 

--Bruce

Sure thing.

I had some of the original releases of the Barenboim Ring, and when I learned that the reissue set would have the original libretti, I was most pleased. Often, the reissues just have track listings and a couple essays. It might be a "bargain" set, but it is anything but shoddy in packaging and accompanying materials. The interpretations, too, if you like Barenboim, are splendid.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brewski on July 26, 2007, 11:08:28 AM
I had some of the original releases of the Barenboim Ring, and when I learned that the reissue set would have the original libretti, I was most pleased. Often, the reissues just have track listings and a couple essays. It might be a "bargain" set, but it is anything but shoddy in packaging and accompanying materials. The interpretations, too, if you like Barenboim, are splendid.

Yes, I agree: I hate it when reissues cut corners like that, and especially with libretti (and extensive notes in general).  I mean, it's not as if consumers down the line would be a) less interested in these, or b) necessarily have them in their libraries already. 

I've only heard Barenboim once in Wagner, in an excerpt with Chicago a few years ago (and can't recall what it was at the moment).  I recall liking it, though.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: karlhenning on July 26, 2007, 11:13:20 AM
Was it Barenboim who defied the unwritten law, and performed Wagner in Israel?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 26, 2007, 11:25:02 AM
Was it Barenboim who defied the unwritten law, and performed Wagner in Israel?

Yes, as an encore. He made some effort to make it palatable to the audience and the nation, but still caught a lot of flak for it. I understand his point, but there are some doors better left closed.

Yes, I agree: I hate it when reissues cut corners like that, and especially with libretti (and extensive notes in general).  I mean, it's not as if consumers down the line would be a) less interested in these, or b) necessarily have them in their libraries already. 

I've only heard Barenboim once in Wagner, in an excerpt with Chicago a few years ago (and can't recall what it was at the moment).  I recall liking it, though.

--Bruce

The big companies do tend to skimp on the peripherals, for the most part, but the "boutique" labels really do offer a lot of bang for the buck. One, of course, is Testament.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 26, 2007, 01:02:48 PM
Yes. That one.

What I could get from the Amazon samples is that this set is not about loosen excerpts, but motifs are exposed and explained (as in the BBC Discovering music files).


Yes, it is an introduction to the motifs with a fascinating spoken dialogue by the very informed Deryck Cook. I listened to some more of it last night and found it very helpful :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 26, 2007, 01:05:59 PM
Listened/viewed these two last night.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lGefabD1L._AA240_.jpg)

Die Walkure Act.1.

&

(http://www.trell.org/wagner/images/dggring.jpg)

Die Walkure Act.1.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 26, 2007, 01:37:13 PM

I don't have it.  My first Ring recording was Furtwängler's RAI cycle on LPs,

  Hello Wendell_E, Furtwangler's RAI Cycle was my first Ring as well. But I bought mine on cd, although mine did NOT come with a single cd intro identifying the leitmotifs (hmm...I wonder why they removed it??).  Its an old recording and sound suffers especially the brass section- but I find Furwangler the ideal conductor for Wagner.  Considering what he had to work with, the Orchestra Sinfonica and Chorus of Radio Italia and not exactly a stellar cast either, I'd say he did a damn good job.  Some people argue (present company included) that his pace, tempo and overall understanding of the Ring is "better" or "more suitable" than Solti, Karajan and the rest.  But sound in comparison to Solti et. al do not make the RAI cycle the ideal choice for a beginner- Solti remains my favorite overall.  (Allow me to add a side point here:  I highly recommend the Furtwangler Recording of Tristan und Isolde with Kristen Flagstad on EMI Great Recordings  of the Century (Remastered)- a marvellous recording and arguably the ideal recording!!!)

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: grandma on July 26, 2007, 02:39:04 PM
The Ring Disc: An Interactive Guide to Wagners Ring Cycle

Amazon.com lists one new copy available for $75.00 from one of their sellers:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000001A3A/ref=dp_olp_2/102-5423591-3069720 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000001A3A/ref=dp_olp_2/102-5423591-3069720)

I don't have it.  My first Ring recording was Furtwängler's RAI cycle on LPs, which came with a single-LP intro to the cycle identifying the motifs and playing excerpts from the recording.  I probably listened to it once, but mostly used Ernest Newman's book on the Wagner operas, which (for the post-Rienzi operas), is a great intro to the works, with info on the sources and compostion each work, followed by a synopsis with musical examples of the leitmotifs:

http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Operas-Ernest-Newman/dp/0691027161/ref=sr_1_1/102-5423591-3069720?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185476047&sr=1-1

Thanks, Wendell

That was the disc I was trying to remember.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 26, 2007, 02:40:38 PM
Thanks, Wendell

That was the disc I was trying to remember.

I've had that disc on my Wish List for some time. Maybe I should... ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: grandma on July 26, 2007, 02:57:03 PM
I've had that disc on my Wish List for some time. Maybe I should... ;)

If you cannot read music or play it, I would definitely get it.  Sheet music does me no good because I cannot read it; I must hear it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: grandma on July 26, 2007, 03:15:29 PM
I agree that Solti is the best recording for beginners.  Later they can choose other versions.

I think the recommended Keilberth Ring is the 1955 version.

I agree with Marvin that the Furtwangler Tristan und Isolde is my favorite version.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 26, 2007, 03:37:06 PM
I agree that Solti is the best recording for beginners.  Later they can choose other versions.

I think the recommended Keilberth Ring is the 1955 version.

I agree with Marvin that the Furtwangler Tristan und Isolde is my favorite version.

Really, Keilberth's entire Decca stereo output from the 1955 Festspiele (Der Ring des Nibelungen and Der fliegende Holländer) is worth the effort and expense required to acquire it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Steve on July 26, 2007, 04:04:54 PM
I've just recently acquired the Böhm recordings of Der Ring des Nibelungen, and am enjoying them handsomely. They make for an interesting contrast with the more formulaic Solti disks.  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: m_gigena on July 26, 2007, 06:16:27 PM

I think the recommended Keilberth Ring is the 1955 version.

Do you think it is better than his 1952 and 1953 sets?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 26, 2007, 06:18:56 PM
This is the only set I have so far.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lGefabD1L._AA240_.jpg)

The price was incredibly good.

The performers all sound up to it so far [I'm only up to disc.5.].

I believe it was the first digital recording of the Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: m_gigena on July 26, 2007, 06:26:12 PM
This is the only set I have so far.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lGefabD1L._AA240_.jpg)

The price was incredibly good.

The performers all sound up to it so far [I'm only up to disc.5.].

I believe it was the first digital recording of the Ring.

Join OperaShare, you can download dozens of Rings there (including the Keilberths I mentioned, some live Solti... a lot, really)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: grandma on July 26, 2007, 07:12:10 PM
Do you think it is better than his 1952 and 1953 sets?

I have not heard his 1952 and 1953 sets but do have the 1955 and enjoy it.  I bought the 1955 because it was so highly praised.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 26, 2007, 08:07:37 PM
Do you think it is better than his 1952 and 1953 sets?

Without doubt. The sound on the 1955 set is such that it alone recommends the set. That, though, is too glib of a dismissal.

The 1952 set suffers from uneven casting in a big way, such as Bernd Aldenhoff and Max Lorenz as Siegfried. Lorenz was a goner in 1950 for Furtwängler. You do get Hermann Uhde as Wotan in the '52 Rheingold, so that is a benefit - though Hotter is more (infelicitous as it is) godlike. In 1953, Regina Resnik is not Gré Brouwenstijn, though she's competent-enough. Mödl is a fine Brünnhilde, though I marginally prefer Varnay. I'm sorry to keep carping on this, but Wagner needs good sound to work - otherwise it's just too much of a stretch. While the 1952/3 sets have decent mono, especially in the better transfers, you're going to have a hard time convincing me that the Decca stereo isn't darned good for 1955, and would be pretty good for some time after that.

Still, it does come down to preference. If there's a casting choice in the earlier sets that does it for you, then go for it. Uhde as the 1952 Rheingold Wotan would be pretty close to a deal-maker for me.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 27, 2007, 01:28:16 PM
(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

Watched Die Walkure Act.2. last night.

I'm enjoying each act more and more as I go along.

I think Sarge said that he considered Scene.1. from Act.2. to represent the 'heart' of the entire cycle.

I also like Marvins description of the Ring as 'a psychological thriller with a symphonic soundtrack'.

Its epic stuff indeed.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: david johnson on July 28, 2007, 01:10:51 AM
wagner has never been a favorite of mine, but i've always enjoyed the music.  i just tend to listen to other stuff first.
love the 'dutchman' w/franz konwitschny/berlin staatskapelle!

dj
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 28, 2007, 03:56:08 AM
I just want to greet my fellow Wagnerians.

My favourites: all of the mature dramas (Ring, Tristan, Meistersinger, Parsifal). But the first three 'romantic operas' are not to be sneezed at.

Absolute high points for me are: Third Act of 'Die Walküre', Second Act of 'Tristan' , and the Third Act of 'Parsifal'.

Wotan's scene with Brünnhilde is the single most moving thing Wagner ever wrote, I think; the love music from 'Tristan' is the most bewitching and ecstatic; and the final act from Parsifal - in its sense of fulfilment, tranquility, reaching of wholeness - ranks among the greatest achievements of the human mind, on a par with, for instance, Shakespeare (and I'm thinking especially of the close of 'A Winter's Tale', which has the same mystery, elevation, solemnity and mysticism).

As far as recordings go - I always liked Solti's Ring, but Karajan is, to me, unbeaten in 'Das Rheingold'; the Böhm and Furtwängler 'Tristan' are superb; Karajan is very good in 'Meistersinger'; as far as 'Parsifal' is concerned, I don't have a clear favourite, yet.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 28, 2007, 04:49:00 AM
Am I being repetitive by advocating listening to, or watching, performances of Wagner conducted by very much alive and active maestros?

A quick survey of my DVD collection lists:

Franz Melser-Möst Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Armin Jordan Tristan und Isolde
Kent Nagano Parsifal
Claudio Abbado Lohengrin
Hartmut Haenchen Der Ring des Nibelungen
Kent Pappano Der Ring des Nibellungen

The old and long dead conductors deserve their glory and laurels, now how about giving your time and attention to new and very exciting, talentend musicians!  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on July 28, 2007, 05:47:29 AM
The old and long dead conductors deserve their glory and laurels, now how about giving your time and attention to new and very exciting, talentend musicians!  ;)

Well, as I type this I'm listening to the live broadcast from Bayreuth of Die Walküre, conducted by Thielemann. 


Kent Pappano Der Ring des Nibellungen
???  ;D

I do have the Lohengrin and Parsifal DVDs you mention, another Parsifal (Armin Jordan conducting and acting the role of Amfortas in Syberberg's film), and the Met Ring and Tristan, conducted by Levine.  Oh, and the Bayreuth Fliegende Holländer, conducted by Woldemar Nelsson.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: m_gigena on July 28, 2007, 06:57:52 AM
Kent Pappano Der Ring des Nibellungen

Is that Kent Nagano and Antonio Pappano's unknown son? (provided they could somehow manage to have descendents).  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 28, 2007, 07:02:27 AM
Well, as I type this I'm listening to the live broadcast from Bayreuth of Die Walküre, conducted by Thielemann. 
???  ;D


Pray tell, my friend, where is that broadcast? I tried BBC3 and of course they have The Proms. My local classical station, KING FM does not broadcast Bayreuth! Forget about the local NWPR, they insist on giving precedence to the old man on Lake Woebegone!

Wendell, please rescue me! Thank you!  :-*
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on July 28, 2007, 07:13:13 AM
Pray tell, my friend, where is that broadcast? I tried BBC3 and of course they have The Proms. My local classical station, KING FM does not broadcast Bayreuth! Forget about the local NWPR, they insist on giving precedence to the old man on Lake Woebegone!

Wendell, please rescue me! Thank you!  :-*

They're playing it on several stations.  I'm listening on Bartók Radio (Hungary), but switched to Bayern 4 Klassik for the intermission, since my German's a lot better than my Hungarian.

Here's a page with a schedule of upcoming Bayreuth broadcasts and re-broadcasts, with cast lists and links for listening:

http://www.operacast.com/bayreuth07.htm (http://www.operacast.com/bayreuth07.htm).

The Fricka-Wotan scene's just beginning.

Our public radio station here in Mobile, WHIL-FM, dropped opera entirely almost a year ago.  I'm really grateful to Al Gore for inventing the Internet!   ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 28, 2007, 07:18:41 AM
My Saviour!  :-*  :-*  :-*

I forgot all about Bartok, even though I bookmarked it long ago! But I didn't have the Bavarians. Shall remedy it!  ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 28, 2007, 10:55:55 AM
The new Trinity at Bayreuth: Thielemann - Watson - Dohmen.  ::)

Incredibly beautiful, spine-tingling and whatever praising words in the dictionary. The incredible power and beauty of Dohman's last words: Wer meines Speeres Spitze fürchtet, durchschreite das Feuer nie! left me almost breathless and so moved me tears started rolling down my cheeks.

There have been a number of Bayreuth Rings I have listened to, - and the last few forgettable!  :-[ but this one is a winner again. Needed one! - Wendell_E, have you recovered? Any thoughts you want to share? -
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 28, 2007, 11:24:28 AM
I tuned in to Das Rheingold yesterday, though I overslept for Die Walküre, and I thought it not bad. Thielemann did a pretty good job, though - as was pointed out to me - he took a big, unmarked rallentando for the "new idea" motif, where Wagner writes, "Wie von einem grossen Gedanken ergriffen, sehr entschlossen." Looking at the score, Wagner sets Mäßig bewegt as the tempo from the "Rainbow bridge" on down the line - i.e., to the conclusion of the music-drama. In fact, for the "new idea" bit, Wagner wrote, "sehr energisch," while - at the same time - he goes from 3/4 to C. In other words, I don't think Wagner wanted things slowed down much - if at all - for this moment. We are in Mäßig bewegt, or - more or less - Allegro moderato, and Thielemann downshifts in such a way that mucks with Wagner's clear and literal intent. In other words, Thielemann is slowing things down in a big way, where Wagner was being careful not to let things get so slow.

I'm not too wrapped around the axle about it, though, as such an unmarked rallentando is the sort of thing Hans Knappertsbusch would have done - though probably in a bit more of an intelligent way. Thielemann is making good progress.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 28, 2007, 12:22:25 PM
PSmith08 You are aware of the rebroadcasts of all the operas, so you can catch the ones you missed because of oversleeping!  ::)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 28, 2007, 01:15:33 PM
Really, Keilberth's entire Decca stereo output from the 1955 Festspiele (Der Ring des Nibelungen and Der fliegende Holländer) is worth the effort and expense required to acquire it.
I had a chance to sample some of the Keiberth 1955 cycle today at Barnes and Nobles and one thing that annoys the hell out of me is how LOUD the audience was. I mean, come on, shut up already. All the hemming and sighing in addition to the coughs and sneezes. Karl Boehm's cycle is also live at Bayreuth and they had the good common sense to shut their big fat mouths for the most part. And the stereo is certainly nothing to write home about, certainly not as good as some of Reiner's mid to late 1950's RCA recordings. You get pretty much the same cast in the 1953 Krauss Ring which has been nicely remastered lately into excellent mono sound. So is it worth spending about $200 for the Keilberth right now? I think not. BUT I think if the price drops to under  $100 it would be worth a try.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on July 28, 2007, 01:36:09 PM
The new Trinity at Bayreuth: Thielemann - Watson - Dohmen.  ::)
There have been a number of Bayreuth Rings I have listened to, - and the last few forgettable!  :-[ but this one is a winner again. Needed one! - Wendell_E, have you recovered? Any thoughts you want to share? -

I'm mostly thinking "I wish I didn't work on Saturdays so I could have devoted my full attention to it".   :D

What I was able to hear was pretty wonderful, though.  I missed Wotan's farewell, though.  I left work just as he was singing his "Keiner wie sie"s, and by the time I got home, got the computer booted up and the radio station on-line, I was just in time to hear the final applause. 

Yeah, definitely better than what I've heard from Bayreuth Rings in recent seasons.  Hope it holds up for the 2nd half.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 28, 2007, 01:45:40 PM
PSmith08 You are aware of the rebroadcasts of all the operas, so you can catch the ones you missed because of oversleeping!  ::)

I am aware of the rebroadcast schedule, but I'm also looking more forward to Adam Fischer's Parsifal than a Thielemann Ring.

I had a chance to sample some of the Keiberth 1955 cycle today at Barnes and Nobles and one thing that annoys the hell out of me is how LOUD the audience was. I mean, come on, shut up already. All the hemming and sighing in addition to the coughs and sneezes. Karl Boehm's cycle is also live at Bayreuth and they had the good common sense to shut their big fat mouths for the most part. And the stereo is certainly nothing to write home about, certainly not as good as some of Reiner's mid to late 1950's RCA recordings. You get pretty much the same cast in the 1953 Krauss Ring which has been nicely remastered lately into excellent mono sound. So is it worth spending about $200 for the Keilberth right now? I think not. BUT I think if the price drops to under  $100 it would be worth a try.

That's an opinion, to be sure, but if we're talking about mono sets live from Bayreuth - forget Clemens Krauss, his 1953 Ring is a one-off set. If I recall correctly, 1953 was the only time Krauss did the Ring at Bayreuth; even then, he shared the performances with Joseph Keilberth. Hans Knappertsbusch's 1956 cycle (on M&A or, with the Festspiele imprimatur, Orfeo) is the one to get. Knappertsbusch was about as perfect a Wagner conductor as you could hope to find - after Furtwängler. In fact, until the 1955 Ring was released, I probably would have pointed to Knappertsbusch's as "the 'Golden Age' Ring."

I'm just going to disagree, and say: Keilberth has far too much going for it to pass it over, at any reasonable price, in favor of anyone but Knappertsbusch. If the latter set weren't available, then Krauss would be a contender. With Hans Knappertsbusch, though, competing - almost anything is a non-starter.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: m_gigena on July 28, 2007, 05:40:38 PM
I just got this

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/413WMR4KWXL._AA240_.jpg)


It's amazing! I only listened to two or three tracks so far, and yet I've fallen in love. The overture to Der fliegende Holländer is playing right now...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 28, 2007, 05:49:52 PM
It's amazing! I only listened to two or three tracks so far, and yet I've fallen in love. The overture to Der fliegende Holländer is playing right now...

That Klemperer set is, on balance, one of the best overtures-and-preludes sets on the market. I'm generally a fan of Klemperer, but his EMI Wagner output - this and Holländer, as I recall - is just very good.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 29, 2007, 01:16:08 PM
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

Die Walkure Act.3.

I'm loving this more and more with each Act :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 29, 2007, 01:40:09 PM

I'm just going to disagree, and say: Keilberth has far too much going for it to pass it over, at any reasonable price, in favor of anyone but Knappertsbusch. If the latter set weren't available, then Krauss would be a contender. With Hans Knappertsbusch, though, competing - almost anything is a non-starter.

I didn't say I was going to pass it over. Archivmusic already offers the complete set for about $170. You wait a couple of years and it is almost guaranteed to drop even more in price from aftermarket sellers. If you were to buy it in installments as they come out you would pay about $70-80 for each of the last three parts and abouth$40-50 for Rheingold. It pays to be patient.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 30, 2007, 12:29:58 PM
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

Last night it was Siegfried Act.1.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: m_gigena on July 30, 2007, 04:31:26 PM
SW, you may want to take a look at this http://allenbdunningmd.com/RingThemes.htm
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 30, 2007, 04:35:03 PM
SW, you may want to take a look at this http://allenbdunningmd.com/RingThemes.htm

Thanks for the link. I had a quick look and it looks very detailed. I will endeavour to spend some time with it later :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 30, 2007, 11:34:11 PM
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

Last night it was Siegfried Act.1.


  Aahh....now this is the reason why I love Wagner so much.  Seigfried is easily my favorite of the 4 operas of the Ring Cycle.  Look out for the 3 question exchange between Mime and Wotan (disguised as the Wanderer) and of course the Sword (Notung) Forging Scene.  These two scenes I keep playing over and over and over again......  powerfull music indeed!!!


  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 31, 2007, 02:20:11 AM

  Aahh....now this is the reason why I love Wagner so much.  Seigfried is easily my favorite of the 4 operas of the Ring Cycle.  Look out for the 3 question exchange between Mime and Wotan (disguised as the Wanderer) and of course the Sword (Notung) Forging Scene.  These two scenes I keep playing over and over and over again......  powerfull music indeed!!!


  marvin

You like that? Personally I think that is one of Wagner's least inspired creations. It is just not musicially very interesting and quite repeititive. It is already a very long Act and the forging makes it just about interminable. That, Amfortas miserables solo in Act III of Parsifal, and the Wotan/Bruenhilde exchange in Act II of Die Walkuere are some of my least favorite Wagner moments. I can't even listen to those anymore.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 31, 2007, 02:35:37 AM
You like that? Personally I think that is one of Wagner's least inspired creations. It is just not musicially very interesting and quite repeititive. It is already a very long Act and the forging makes it just about interminable. That, Amfortas miserables solo in Act III of Parsifal, and the Wotan/Bruenhilde exchange in Act II of Die Walkuere are some of my least favorite Wagner moments. I can't even listen to those anymore.

  Oh dear...the sword forging scene has some really remarkable music PW.  Hmmm....well to each his own.  I am curious though PW what are your favorite scenes of the Ring? (Don't worry I love all of the Ring so I will not crticize your taste  ;) ...but I am curious what do you like?)

  marvin
  PS: By the way I agree that the Amfortas solo in Act III is not among my favorite Wagner moments.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 31, 2007, 02:53:33 AM
  Oh dear...the sword forging scene has some really remarkable music PW.  Hmmm....well to each his own.  I am curious though PW what are your favorite scenes of the Ring? (Don't worry I love all of the Ring so I will not crticize your taste  ;) ...but I am curious what do you like?)

I like Rheingold, all of it, just great drama, fast and furious. I LOVE Act I of Die Walkuere, there is nothing remotely like it in all of opera, especially from Du bist der Lenz on. Of course the final 20 minute of so of Walkuere is truly remarkable also. Siegried I am not too high on, just too many dead spots. The entire first Act is relatively lackluster, not Wagner at his most inspired. It has a tired feel to it. Act III is truly amazing though. The entire Gotterdammerung is quite good although I can't stand the Norn scene or the beginning of Act I where Gunther, Hagen and Gutrune chat away endlessly.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 31, 2007, 06:16:59 AM
I like Rheingold, all of it, just great drama, fast and furious. I LOVE Act I of Die Walkuere, there is nothing remotely like it in all of opera, especially from Du bist der Lenz on. Of course the final 20 minute of so of Walkuere is truly remarkable also. Siegried I am not too high on, just too many dead spots. The entire first Act is relatively lackluster, not Wagner at his most inspired. It has a tired feel to it. Act III is truly amazing though. The entire Gotterdammerung is quite good although I can't stand the Norn scene or the beginning of Act I where Gunther, Hagen and Gutrune chat away endlessly.

  LOL...the three Norns do sound like endless chatter but I find rather interesting how they read about the past present and future as they are weaving the rope of destiny.  Rheingold is good throughout and consistent.  I think Die Walkure is also consistently good.  Gotterdammerung has some areas that are a bit drawn out, my least favorite scene is in ACT 1 the hall of the Gibichungs, as Hagen tries to persuade cunningly Gunther and Gutrune to take Brunnhilde and Siegfried as spouses respectively. I am also left wondering whatever happens to Alberich at the very end of the Ring Cycle, Wagner never really addresses his fate??

  marvin 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 31, 2007, 06:28:03 AM
  LOL...the three Norns do sound like endless chatter but I find rather interesting how they read about the past present and future as they are weaving the rope of destiny.  Rheingold is good throughout and consistent.  I think Die Walkure is also consistently good.  Gotterdammerung has some areas that are a bit drawn out, my least favorite scene is in ACT 1 the hall of the Gibichungs, as Hagen tries to persuade cunningly Gunther and Gutrune to take Brunnhilde and Siegfried as spouses respectively. I am also left wondering whatever happens to Alberich at the very end of the Ring Cycle, Wagner never really addresses his fate??

  marvin 

I suppose Alberich got washed away also. But he is a pretty damn good swimmer as shown in Rheingold so he is probably alive and well. Act I in the hall of Gibichung is actually not THAT long, probably 15 minutes or so before Siegfriend arrives but somehow it seems to last an hour. The Norn scene is totally useless. Is the opera not LONG enough without that scene?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 31, 2007, 06:55:42 AM
I am also left wondering whatever happens to Alberich at the very end of the Ring Cycle, Wagner never really addresses his fate??

  marvin 

Various directors handle it differently in the theater. Harry Kupfer solved it very simply at Bayreuth: nothing happened to him. If you haven't seen that production, I won't spoil the specifics for you.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 31, 2007, 09:37:17 AM
The Norn scene is totally useless. Is the opera not LONG enough without that scene?

Have to disagree with you there, sorry! Nothing, not one word, not one note is useless in any of the late Wagner works. The scene with Norns tells you all about what happened to Wotan before Alberich takes a swim in Das Rheingold. Try an attentive listening to the words, and if you can't understand the lady's enunciation, maybe you find the libretto. The first Norn too asks the question you asked: "...weisst du was aus ihm ward? . . . referring to Alberich's fate. No, she doesn't have the answer either because just then the rope loses it's tension and gets cut.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 31, 2007, 09:52:35 AM
Have to disagree with you there, sorry! Nothing, not one word, not one note is useless in any of the late Wagner works. The scene with Norns tells you all about what happened to Wotan before Alberich takes a swim in Das Rheingold. Try an attentive listening to the words, and if you can't understand the lady's enunciation, maybe you find the libretto. The first Norn too asks the question you asked: "...weisst du was aus ihm ward? . . . referring to Alberich's fate. No, she doesn't have the answer either because just then the rope loses it's tension and gets cut.

Of course she doesn't have the answer, they are just three blabbering motormouths.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 31, 2007, 10:04:48 AM
May I be to bold and recommend you get yourself this book:

http://www.powells.com/biblio/17-9780714836508-0

It would be of tremendous help for you to better understand Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 31, 2007, 11:16:08 AM
Have to disagree with you there, sorry! Nothing, not one word, not one note is useless in any of the late Wagner works. The scene with Norns tells you all about what happened to Wotan before Alberich takes a swim in Das Rheingold. Try an attentive listening to the words, and if you can't understand the lady's enunciation, maybe you find the libretto. The first Norn too asks the question you asked: "...weisst du was aus ihm ward? . . . referring to Alberich's fate. No, she doesn't have the answer either because just then the rope loses it's tension and gets cut.

One-hundred-and-ten percent correct. Wagner is establishing an inexorability to the conclusion: The string of fate has broken, it is indeed the end of the Gods. If you read the text, you will see that Wotan has pretty much fouled every nest, including causing the end of Fate. He destroys der Welt-Esche and prepares the destruction of Walhall and the Gods. Not only do the Norns explain everything that came before, they lay the groundwork for everything that comes after.

The prelude is pretty much necessary for understanding that which comes after. Waltraute's monologue doesn't make as much sense without it, and the finale certainly doesn't work so well - why would Brünnhilde send Loge to Walhall? - without it. Lis was right: there is not a single throwaway note, word, or phrase in mature Wagner.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on July 31, 2007, 12:01:09 PM
Isn't it at Siegfried Act 3 that Wagner, after taking time to write Die Meistersinger and Tristan und Isolde, resumes his writing of the Ring after a long absence?

I think some people agree that act 3 is better.  Maybe Wagner knew he needed a break and took it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on July 31, 2007, 12:37:07 PM
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

Watched Siegfried Act.2. last night.

Enjoying reading the various comments here.

I'll offer more thoughts once I've seen the whole thing. Bearing in mind that this is my first Ring experience and that I'm just over half way through. I'm liking all of it but at this stage Die Walkure Act.3. stands out. I liked Siegfried Act.2. more than Act.1. although I thought the Dragon/Fafner and the bickering between Alberich and Mime a little too cute.

Overall though very minor criticisms as I'm loving the whole thing; its mind-blowing :o
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on July 31, 2007, 12:47:04 PM
SW,

I am so glad that you are enjoying the Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on August 01, 2007, 05:13:08 AM
II can't stand the Norn scene or the beginning of Act I where Gunther, Hagen and Gutrune chat away endlessly.

Sir, you are in dire need of reading more what Der Ring des Nibelungen is all about! Try this one:

http://www.allaboutopera.com/opera_resources.php?opera_ndx=336

Good Luck!  8)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 01, 2007, 06:44:57 AM
One-hundred-and-ten percent correct. Wagner is establishing an inexorability to the conclusion: The string of fate has broken, it is indeed the end of the Gods. If you read the text, you will see that Wotan has pretty much fouled every nest, including causing the end of Fate. He destroys der Welt-Esche and prepares the destruction of Walhall and the Gods. Not only do the Norns explain everything that came before, they lay the groundwork for everything that comes after.

The prelude is pretty much necessary for understanding that which comes after. Waltraute's monologue doesn't make as much sense without it, and the finale certainly doesn't work so well - why would Brünnhilde send Loge to Walhall? - without it. Lis was right: there is not a single throwaway note, word, or phrase in mature Wagner.

You are trying to make sense of the libretto and plot of the Ring? It is one complete mess if there ever was one. For awhile I have been trying to put a timeline for things and I have a problem with the following: How long did Siegfried stay on the Rock and how long did Bruennhilde stay on the Rock after Siegfriend left until Siegfried comes back as Gunther.

It appears to me that Siegfried only stayed with Bruennhilde for a night (listening to the duet anyway) and spilled a mea culpa as to why he didn't satisfy her sexually (reading between the lines). You would think a horny youth like him would stay awhile longer for a hottie like a Valkyrie. So the fact that he is LEAVING right away makes no sense.

Now how long does he go wandering on the Rhine? Obviously long enough for "stories" about him (and Bruennhilde in general) to reach the ears of the Gibichung trio. How long would that be, a few months at least right? Considering in those days news travels at the pace of a horse's gait at the most. Now during this time Bruennhilde presumably STAYS in her cave and DOES NOTHING !!! What does she eat? She is mortal right? She has to eat right? What does she do all day. It is a ROCK surrounded by fire, there is nobody and nothing there ! Doesn't she get bored ??? This also makes no sense. From the opera you can deduce that a few months is probably a low estimate. Before Siegfried gets stabbed in tbe back by Hagen he wanted to sing about his "youthful days". Now to me that must be at least 3-5 years ago. Now he couldn't possibly have stayed at the Gibichung Hall after bringing Bruennhilde over for THAT long (they would have found a way to killed him by then) so that must imply he went wandering on the Rhine for a few years at least. All this while Bruennhilde is vegetating on a ROCK. C'mon, let's get real here.

Another thing, the chatty Norns say that Wotan, after having his cane shattered by Siegfried, gathered all the gods in Valhalla, piled wood around the house and wait for his end. This lasts from the end of Siegfried to the end of Gotterdammerung which by my estimate has to be at least a few months. So he sat around for months, if not years ! Does that make any sense?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on August 01, 2007, 07:04:48 AM
What a hopeless case you are; I feel sorry for you having such a closed mind and insisting you know better than Richard Wagner. Do me a personal favour: Restrain yourself from making further derogatory remarks about this masterpiece because you might scare away other people seriously seeking for intelligent information about Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on August 01, 2007, 07:11:17 AM
What a hopeless case you are; I feel sorry for you having such a closed mind and insisting you know better than Richard Wagner. Do me a personal favour: Restrain yourself from making further derogatory remarks about this masterpiece because you might scare away other people seriously seeking for intelligent information about Der Ring des Nibelungen.





I wonder if Perfect Wagnerite had an inner demon that he attempted to expel with that post. If so, I hope now his obvius love-hate relationship with The Ring... is back at peace.

I guess I mean that I think PerfectWagnerite is in awe of The Ring ... just as much as anyone here. Maybe the music more...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Harry on August 01, 2007, 07:22:20 AM
What a hopeless case you are; I feel sorry for you having such a closed mind and insisting you know better than Richard Wagner. Do me a personal favour: Restrain yourself from making further derogatory remarks about this masterpiece because you might scare away other people seriously seeking for intelligent information about Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Well he did scare me away, I can tell you! ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 01, 2007, 07:24:15 AM
What a hopeless case you are; I feel sorry for you having such a closed mind and insisting you know better than Richard Wagner. Do me a personal favour: Restrain yourself from making further derogatory remarks about this masterpiece because you might scare away other people seriously seeking for intelligent information about Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Derogatory remarks ? I LOVE the Ring, I have more recordings of it than I have fingers. There are parts of it that I am convinced Wagner was under divine guidance when he wrote it. All that doesn't answer the question: what the heck did Bruennhilde do for months or years alone on a rock? Do I have to worship each and every note that he wrote and ignore some of the obvious inconsistences and nonsensible plots?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: m_gigena on August 01, 2007, 07:48:00 AM
You are trying to make sense of the libretto and plot of the Ring? It is one complete mess if there ever was one. For awhile I have been trying to put a timeline for things and I have a problem with the following: How long did Siegfried stay on the Rock and how long did Bruennhilde stay on the Rock after Siegfriend left until Siegfried comes back as Gunther.

It appears to me that Siegfried only stayed with Bruennhilde for a night (listening to the duet anyway) and spilled a mea culpa as to why he didn't satisfy her sexually (reading between the lines). You would think a horny youth like him would stay awhile longer for a hottie like a Valkyrie. So the fact that he is LEAVING right away makes no sense.

Now how long does he go wandering on the Rhine? Obviously long enough for "stories" about him (and Bruennhilde in general) to reach the ears of the Gibichung trio. How long would that be, a few months at least right? Considering in those days news travels at the pace of a horse's gait at the most. Now during this time Bruennhilde presumably STAYS in her cave and DOES NOTHING !!! What does she eat? She is mortal right? She has to eat right? What does she do all day. It is a ROCK surrounded by fire, there is nobody and nothing there ! Doesn't she get bored ??? This also makes no sense. From the opera you can deduce that a few months is probably a low estimate. Before Siegfried gets stabbed in tbe back by Hagen he wanted to sing about his "youthful days". Now to me that must be at least 3-5 years ago. Now he couldn't possibly have stayed at the Gibichung Hall after bringing Bruennhilde over for THAT long (they would have found a way to killed him by then) so that must imply he went wandering on the Rhine for a few years at least. All this while Bruennhilde is vegetating on a ROCK. C'mon, let's get real here.

Another thing, the chatty Norns say that Wotan, after having his cane shattered by Siegfried, gathered all the gods in Valhalla, piled wood around the house and wait for his end. This lasts from the end of Siegfried to the end of Gotterdammerung which by my estimate has to be at least a few months. So he sat around for months, if not years ! Does that make any sense?

You don't make any sense. Why don't you sell your Wagner recordings at Ebay and use the income to purchase the awful movie "The Ring of the Nibelung"? I think it's more at your level. You may even like it.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on August 01, 2007, 10:23:37 AM
You are trying to make sense of the libretto and plot of the Ring? It is one complete mess if there ever was one. For awhile I have been trying to put a timeline for things and I have a problem with the following: How long did Siegfried stay on the Rock and how long did Bruennhilde stay on the Rock after Siegfriend left until Siegfried comes back as Gunther.

It appears to me that Siegfried only stayed with Bruennhilde for a night (listening to the duet anyway) and spilled a mea culpa as to why he didn't satisfy her sexually (reading between the lines). You would think a horny youth like him would stay awhile longer for a hottie like a Valkyrie. So the fact that he is LEAVING right away makes no sense.

Now how long does he go wandering on the Rhine? Obviously long enough for "stories" about him (and Bruennhilde in general) to reach the ears of the Gibichung trio. How long would that be, a few months at least right? Considering in those days news travels at the pace of a horse's gait at the most. Now during this time Bruennhilde presumably STAYS in her cave and DOES NOTHING !!! What does she eat? She is mortal right? She has to eat right? What does she do all day. It is a ROCK surrounded by fire, there is nobody and nothing there ! Doesn't she get bored ??? This also makes no sense. From the opera you can deduce that a few months is probably a low estimate. Before Siegfried gets stabbed in tbe back by Hagen he wanted to sing about his "youthful days". Now to me that must be at least 3-5 years ago. Now he couldn't possibly have stayed at the Gibichung Hall after bringing Bruennhilde over for THAT long (they would have found a way to killed him by then) so that must imply he went wandering on the Rhine for a few years at least. All this while Bruennhilde is vegetating on a ROCK. C'mon, let's get real here.

Another thing, the chatty Norns say that Wotan, after having his cane shattered by Siegfried, gathered all the gods in Valhalla, piled wood around the house and wait for his end. This lasts from the end of Siegfried to the end of Gotterdammerung which by my estimate has to be at least a few months. So he sat around for months, if not years ! Does that make any sense?

Derogatory remarks ? I LOVE the Ring, I have more recordings of it than I have fingers. There are parts of it that I am convinced Wagner was under divine guidance when he wrote it. All that doesn't answer the question: what the heck did Bruennhilde do for months or years alone on a rock? Do I have to worship each and every note that he wrote and ignore some of the obvious inconsistences and nonsensible plots?

Why does it matter? Really. Why? Would knowing what Brünnhilde did for the "months or years" you posit she spent alone on the rock help the story along? Would it make the drama better? Worse? I have a secret for you: Richard Wagner is the boss when you're watching or listening to Der Ring des Nibelungen. That man - one man - created a world in his mind, in a poem, in music, and - finally - in the theater. It's his world. If Richard Wagner did not think it necessary to give us a blow-by-blow account of the lives of the main characters, then it probably was and is not necessary. Such speculation and worrying has no place in his world. You might want such knowledge, but you're only a visitor. Wagner's dramatic instincts, especially in the mature works, are so finely-tuned (perfect, I daresay) that he knew what was best and necessary. He discarded the rest. Wagner's sense of drama was so perfect that his mistakes turned out to be great things. Siegfried is supposed to be the tragic hero of Der Ring, but Wotan enters that role and marches into not only Walhall but the pantheon of great tragic heroes (Oedipus, Prometheus, Orestes, et al.) Siegfried becomes a bit of a simpleminded clod, and Wotan becomes a perfect tragic hero. Some mistake!

I have another secret: Wagner is telling a story. One story. The biggest story ever conceived. He set it to some of the most beautiful, dramatic, and perfect music yet written. What Brünnhilde ate in the cave is not part of that story. You are looking at grains of sand, as Wagner is saying, "Look up here at a - no, the - cosmic drama." This attitude fulfills, in a perverse way, the conclusion to Harry Kupfer's Bayreuth Götterdämmerung - everyone (except for a couple of children and Alberich) is watching TV as the end of the gods happens. No-one notices, as they're all too busy with their own thing. I say this sincerely: turn off the TV, stop trying to outguess the last universal creative genius of West (there have, do not worry, been specific creative genii since Wagner - just no one universal genius), and take the story for what it's worth.

You ask if you have to worship each and every note, despite his inconsistencies. Once you see that those "inconsistencies" are yours, not his, you will want to worship each and every note he wrote - insofar as your religious tradition will allow.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 01, 2007, 10:46:22 AM
You don't make any sense. Why don't you sell your Wagner recordings at Ebay and use the income to purchase the awful movie "The Ring of the Nibelung"? I think it's more at your level. You may even like it.



Ebay, no way. When I die all my CDs will go to the local library so many more people can enjoy them.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on August 01, 2007, 12:34:13 PM
Well he did scare me away, I can tell you! ;D ;D ;D

Please, Sir, don't let him do that! PerfectWagnerite is posting his inane, immature and immaterial questions to cover up his total lack of understanding of even one solitary moment of this masterpiece under discussion.  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on August 01, 2007, 12:40:28 PM
Last night watched:

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

Siegfried Act.3.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: m_gigena on August 01, 2007, 01:01:40 PM
Ebay, no way. When I die all my CDs will go to the local library so many more people can enjoy them.

Then, as you don't seem to be able to reach the Ring's plot you can either:
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on August 01, 2007, 01:06:51 PM
SW,

I am so glad that you are enjoying the Ring.

Yes Anne :)

It really is an amazing work of art and I'm already looking forward to viewing it from the begining again.

The good news thats theres 6 more Wagner operas waiting for me to discover them :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on August 01, 2007, 01:24:08 PM
Then, as you don't seem to be able to reach the Ring's plot you can either:
  • Die right now,
  • Give your recordings away while you are still alive to someone who will appreciate them better.

Eh. He could always keep them, let Wagner do his thing, and appreciate Der Ring des Nibelungen on Wagner's own terms.

I like that solution the best.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: m_gigena on August 01, 2007, 03:09:35 PM
Eh. He could always keep them, let Wagner do his thing, and appreciate Der Ring des Nibelungen on Wagner's own terms.

I like that solution the best.

I think I should have added one of those funny emoticons to make my post appear humorous.


Here it goes...




:)





Done.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on August 02, 2007, 04:55:18 AM
Why does it matter? Really. Why? Would knowing what Brünnhilde did for the "months or years" you posit she spent alone on the rock help the story along? Would it make the drama better? Worse? I have a secret for you: Richard Wagner is the boss when you're watching or listening to Der Ring des Nibelungen. That man - one man - created a world in his mind, in a poem, in music, and - finally - in the theater. It's his world. If Richard Wagner did not think it necessary to give us a blow-by-blow account of the lives of the main characters, then it probably was and is not necessary. Such speculation and worrying has no place in his world. You might want such knowledge, but you're only a visitor. Wagner's dramatic instincts, especially in the mature works, are so finely-tuned (perfect, I daresay) that he knew what was best and necessary. He discarded the rest. Wagner's sense of drama was so perfect that his mistakes turned out to be great things. Siegfried is supposed to be the tragic hero of Der Ring, but Wotan enters that role and marches into not only Walhall but the pantheon of great tragic heroes (Oedipus, Prometheus, Orestes, et al.) Siegfried becomes a bit of a simpleminded clod, and Wotan becomes a perfect tragic hero. Some mistake!

I have another secret: Wagner is telling a story. One story. The biggest story ever conceived. He set it to some of the most beautiful, dramatic, and perfect music yet written. What Brünnhilde ate in the cave is not part of that story. You are looking at grains of sand, as Wagner is saying, "Look up here at a - no, the - cosmic drama." This attitude fulfills, in a perverse way, the conclusion to Harry Kupfer's Bayreuth Götterdämmerung - everyone (except for a couple of children and Alberich) is watching TV as the end of the gods happens. No-one notices, as they're all too busy with their own thing. I say this sincerely: turn off the TV, stop trying to outguess the last universal creative genius of West (there have, do not worry, been specific creative genii since Wagner - just no one universal genius), and take the story for what it's worth.

You ask if you have to worship each and every note, despite his inconsistencies. Once you see that those "inconsistencies" are yours, not his, you will want to worship each and every note he wrote - insofar as your religious tradition will allow.

  PerfectWagnerite I have to agree with PSmith08 on this one.  It is irrelevant how long Brunhilde spent on that rock.  This is a work of fiction, time has no meaning.  I doubt if it was Wagner intention for his operas to be micro-analyzed this way.  I usually try to avoid over-analyzing the plot of the Ring (although I was curious as to Alberich's fate and Lis was kind enough to point me in the right direction)- try to take the plot of the Ring with a grain of salt so to speak  ;), you will enjoy it a lot more!!!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on August 02, 2007, 12:33:00 PM
(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

Watched Twilight of the Gods Prelude & Act.1. [1st half] last night.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brewski on August 02, 2007, 12:40:50 PM
(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

Watched Twilight of the Gods Prelude & Act.1. [1st half] last night.

You're in the home stretch!  Hope you have something suitable to celebrate at the end.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on August 02, 2007, 12:51:14 PM
You're in the home stretch!  Hope you have something suitable to celebrate at the end.

--Bruce

Yes, it will feel like an achievement :)

I'm enjoying it more and more as I go along.

I'm looking forward to discovering his other music dramas.

Watching them on dvd is definately the way to experience them; opera is intended as a visual medium as much as an audio one.

I'm a true believer now ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brewski on August 02, 2007, 12:56:40 PM
Watching them on dvd is definately the way to experience them; opera is intended as a visual medium as much as an audio one.

Absolutely!  This is why I get impatient with some opera productions, in which the singing has been given a disproportionate amount of attention, while other elements have been neglected.  (If I want to go to a concert - i.e., no visuals - then I'll go to one.)  But when the music, sets, costumes, lighting and direction all work together it's magic.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on August 02, 2007, 01:01:05 PM
Absolutely!  This is why I get impatient with some opera productions, in which the singing has been given a disproportionate amount of attention, while other elements have been neglected.  (If I want to go to a concert - i.e., no visuals - then I'll go to one.)  But when the music, sets, costumes, lighting and direction all work together it's magic.

--Bruce

Yes, magical is a good word to use. The sets, costumes and drama just add to the wonderful singing and music.

Its really quite a sublime experience 0:)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: m_gigena on August 02, 2007, 05:04:42 PM
Yes, it will feel like an achievement :)

I'm enjoying it more and more as I go along.

I'm looking forward to discovering his other music dramas.

Watching them on dvd is definately the way to experience them; opera is intended as a visual medium as much as an audio one.

I'm a true believer now ;)

I compiled the information from the whole website I posted a few days ago in a PDF file (I had it printed and now looks like a book; one of the problem of living in the third world is that real books about The Ring are not available here). @SW, if you are interested I can send you the file.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on August 02, 2007, 05:20:12 PM
One more Götterdämmerung! I spent this afternoon watching a DVD of the 1997 production at Bayreuth, conducted by James Levine. It's the one directed by Alfred Kirchner who, together with his costume designer - whose name unfortunately I have not been able yet to discover! - shocked me seeing the most unusual, truly fantastic - as in Fantasy! - costumes. So often I hear and read the word Eurotrash - an American invention, BTW. - but I immediately discarded this classification. The Ring is a play, an opera, ergo clothing all the actors in creative and unusual costumes fits perfectly. I rather have them wearing pure fertile mind creations than an ordinary business suit.

This short video gives you a glimpse of what I am talking about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM30aq3nWT8
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on August 03, 2007, 12:52:59 PM
(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

Watched Twilight of the Gods Act.1. 2nd half last night.

Its a powerful moment when 'Gunther' takes off the tarnhelm to reveal Siegfried.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on August 03, 2007, 01:38:16 PM
(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

Watched Twilight of the Gods Act.1. 2nd half last night.

Its a powerful moment when 'Gunther' takes off the tarnhelm to reveal Siegfried.

  Wait 'till you get to the end of Twilight of the Gods (Gotterdammerung)  ;) !

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on August 04, 2007, 12:08:20 PM
  Wait 'till you get to the end of Twilight of the Gods (Gotterdammerung)  ;) !

  marvin

Nearly there!

Watched Gotterdammerung Act.2. last night.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

Great scene with the Vassels chorus and the plotting for Siegfrieds Tod.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on August 04, 2007, 09:16:08 PM
Whoa! I stopped watching this thread for a long time, because it was frozen at page 5 [at "You're welcome, Yasser"] for several months. But it is sure lively now...

A few comments for the people who are relatively new to Wagner:

Do not neglect Lohengrin and Tannhauser. Some devotees make a big deal about the difference between these 'operas' and the mature later 'music dramas' and important differences there may be. But I listen to Wagner primarily for the music and the music in these two is simply wonderful, scene after scene of inspired melody and variation. They both well repay attentive listening. 

Thielemann's conducting IMO puts him in the top rank of Wagner conductors of all time. We are lucky to live while such an important Wagner conductor is alive. A huge prize will be his Ring recording which I hope and expect the fading titans of the record industry will somehow find the wherewithal to record and release.  (As an aside, the masters of the record industry remind me of the gods of Valhalla awaiting their deaths.)

A terrific Wagner conductor to explore is Karl Muck, who worked at Bayreuth in the generation right after the composer's death. His limited recordings consist of some excellent tracks from 1927, with sound that is simply astounding for the time, now reissued on CDs. There is an Act III of Parsifal that is truly great. He seems to me to be very tuned into Wagner's intentions and mystique, perhaps because he was there near the beginning.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on August 04, 2007, 09:44:43 PM
Ah, Karl Muck. Really one of the great ones. In addition to Parsifal, there are some other recordings - all of which are astonishing for their fleet tempi. Of all my versions of, for example, the Siegfried-Idyll, Muck comes in the fastest at 17:34. Compare that to Celibidache's 23:47 or Glenn Gould's 24:32. Only Otto Klemperer (18:00) comes close to Muck. That's fast.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on August 05, 2007, 05:04:46 AM

Thielemann's conducting IMO puts him in the top rank of Wagner conductors of all time.


Have you had a chance to listen to the webcast of this year's Bayreuth Ring with Thielemann conducting? Mind blowing! I have listened to a lot of the Trauermarsch but his tops them all. Yes, is it's a tad longer but every note is chiseled clean and perfectly by the outstanding musicians at Bayreuth under his direction.

For a comparison I listened to Levine conducting it and it's mushy, fuzzy and maudlin.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on August 05, 2007, 08:06:23 AM
Have you had a chance to listen to the webcast of this year's Bayreuth Ring with Thielemann conducting? Mind blowing! I have listened to a lot of the Trauermarsch but his tops them all. Yes, is it's a tad longer but every note is chiseled clean and perfectly by the outstanding musicians at Bayreuth under his direction.

For a comparison I listened to Levine conducting it and it's mushy, fuzzy and maudlin.


I was unable to listen to this Ring, but another member has kindly offered to send me download links of recordings of it. I await them fervently.

I also hope he'll conduct Wagner sometime soon at the Met or elsewhere on the East Coast where I can attend and hear him in person. It's as if Muck, Furtwangler or one of the other immortal Wagner conductors were walking among us!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on August 05, 2007, 08:33:05 AM
Whoa! I stopped watching this thread for a long time, because it was frozen at page 5 [at "You're welcome, Yasser"] for several months. But it is sure lively now...

A few comments for the people who are relatively new to Wagner:

Do not neglect Lohengrin and Tannhauser. Some devotees make a big deal about the difference between these 'operas' and the mature later 'music dramas' and important differences there may be. But I listen to Wagner primarily for the music and the music in these two is simply wonderful, scene after scene of inspired melody and variation. They both well repay attentive listening. 


  Yes I totally agree that Lohengrin and Tannhauser are not to be neglected.  Although it is difficult to neglect Lohengrin..... well with the very popular "here comes the bride" melody from Elsa's marriage to Lohengrin.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on August 05, 2007, 08:47:06 AM

I was unable to listen to this Ring,

And if the mail is late or you are having problems with your friend's URL's, those performances are being repeated. Scroll down a bit and you'll find it.

http://www.operacast.com/bayreuth07.htm

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on August 05, 2007, 01:02:25 PM
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WP0TM96NL._AA240_.jpg)

Watched Gotterdammerung Act.3. last night.

Finished!

Well, the complete Ring cycle was an awesome experience. Epic, dramatic, exciting, moving...etc.

It was great for me to hear where various orchestral pieces that I've been listening to for years, like Entry of the Gods into Valhalla, Ride of the Valkyries, Forest Murmurs, Siegfried's Rhine Journey and the Funeral March, fitted into the whole drama. I loved the Mets staging of it; the sets and costumes were incredible.

I'm keen to re-watch it again ;)

But I'll explore some of Wagner's other music dramas first :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 05, 2007, 01:50:43 PM
Quote from: Solitary Wanderer link=topic=113.msg65066#msg65066  I loved the Mets staging of it; the sets and costumes were incredible.

[/quote

Unlike most other Eurotrash performances of this work, the Met had the budget to stage the work properly instead of using fake costumes that are frankly embarassing.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on August 05, 2007, 03:04:35 PM
SW,

Glad you liked it.  I enjoy the way Wagner takes a long time to wind down the music.  I need every minute to come back to earth after that terrific journey.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on August 05, 2007, 03:10:09 PM
SW,

Glad you liked it.  I enjoy the way Wagner takes a long time to wind down the music.  I need every minute to come back to earth after that terrific journey.

Yep, loved every minute of it. Wish I'd discovered it 20 years ago :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on August 05, 2007, 03:26:26 PM


Unlike most other Eurotrash performances of this work, the Met had the budget to stage the work properly instead of using fake costumes that are frankly embarassing.

May I ask you if you have seen in it's entirety, not single photos or even uTube, the productions of Pierre Audi in Amsterdam; the 1976 Patrice Chéreau Bayreuth production; any Jürgen Flimm Ring; how about the Harry Kupfer production, the one from Bayreuth, or the revised one in Berlin?  ???
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 06, 2007, 05:16:15 AM
May I ask you if you have seen in it's entirety, not single photos or even uTube, the productions of Pierre Audi in Amsterdam; the 1976 Patrice Chéreau Bayreuth production; any Jürgen Flimm Ring; how about the Harry Kupfer production, the one from Bayreuth, or the revised one in Berlin?  ???

I have seen the awful Boulez/Chereau (who hasn't). They made us watch that garbage when I took an opera class in college. I would not wish that on anybody. Yes I have seen 10-15 minutes clips at a time on Youtube of some of the others. I don't even know which production they are but they are equally awful. There is one when after Donner struck his hammer he falls flat on his back, and the Heda Hedo was sung like "Celeste Aida". There is another one where I actually watched in the store for a good 20 minutes because it happened to be on. The one where Bruennhilde woke up looking like she is a mental patient waking up in an asylum. I can't imaging watching any of these for 15 hrs.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on August 06, 2007, 05:30:20 AM
Thank you for your opinion, which turned out exactly as I expected it would.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on August 06, 2007, 06:18:57 AM
Article on Wagner in the London Times. A good summation of some of the reasons for his importance and continuing popularity at a time when the classical music establishment in general is worried about becoming irrelevant. When some of the uninitiated read and digest it. it may help make it even harder to get tickets to the perfromances!

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article2181464.ece
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: David Zalman on August 06, 2007, 12:10:30 PM
I have seen the awful Boulez/Chereau (who hasn't). They made us watch that garbage when I took an opera class in college. I would not wish that on anybody. Yes I have seen 10-15 minutes clips at a time on Youtube of some of the others. I don't even know which production they are but they are equally awful. There is one when after Donner struck his hammer he falls flat on his back, and the Heda Hedo was sung like "Celeste Aida". There is another one where I actually watched in the store for a good 20 minutes because it happened to be on. The one where Bruennhilde woke up looking like she is a mental patient waking up in an asylum. I can't imaging watching any of these for 15 hrs.


Apropos the above, this might be of some interest:

http://www.soundsandfury.com/soundsandfury/2007/08/oh-dear-wagner-.html
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 06, 2007, 12:47:07 PM
You are referring to the Mac Donal article  here (http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_urbanities-regietheater.html) I think which I read with great interest. Thanks for the link.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: David Zalman on August 06, 2007, 01:07:48 PM
You are referring to the Mac Donal article  here (http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_3_urbanities-regietheater.html) I think which I read with great interest. Thanks for the link.

I was referring both to that article and to the one on staging Wagner's operas, both of which articles are linked in the post I linked above.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 06, 2007, 01:14:56 PM
Bear with me for a second. The link you gave points to a page with a two paragraph article on Wagner and an embedded link to the Mac Donald article. Am I missing something?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on August 06, 2007, 01:25:19 PM
I have the Solti classic "Ring...", the Hvk "Rheingold", and the Boulez DVDs, and even up against them I thought the Levine was just fine.

 Like many others, I wasn't thrilled with Jerusalem and Behrenson the dvd,  but they pretty much got the job(s) done.

I don't know...the Solti is such a fantastic performance, it can easily overshadow the others, in my humble opinion.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on August 06, 2007, 01:28:53 PM
Bear with me for a second. The link you gave points to a page with a two paragraph article on Wagner and an embedded link to the Mac Donald article. Am I missing something?

Yeah, toward the bottom there's a link to ACD's own thoughts about how to modernize the Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on December 08, 2007, 03:13:20 PM

  No one has posted on this thread for at least 120 days  :o and I have no intention of starting a new Wagner appreciation thread so I am bumping this thread! So why now, well only to say that we have approached the end of the year, that's right folks 2007 is sure to end soon and 2008 is well on its way. Throughout the year of 2007 I have discovered so many new composers: Bruckner, Dvorak, Debussy to name a few and have expanded my collection of Bach, Mozart, Verdi, R. Strauss and BEETHOVEN. I am happy to report that WAGNER  0:) remains unsurpassed as my favorite composer. His music dramas thrill me in ways no other composer could and continues to reach an emotional level unlike anything else I have heard throughout this past year. 

 The 4 operas of the Ring Cycle, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger and Parsifal form the backbone (the spine) of my music collection.  They also represent the standard to which I hold and judge all other works of art.  Sometimes I get the feeling that Wagner wrote with me (marvinbrown) in mind.  I love the escapist worlds he created. To be transported into the world of the Ring Cycle and to live out the adventure from Das Rheingold to Gotterdammerung pleases me to no end. The other day as I was listening to Siegfried from the Solti Ring when I got to the sword (Notung) forging scene the power and sublime beauty of that scene took my breath away.   I thought, damn you Wagner, damn you for having talent to write a masterpiece like that- why can't I compose music like that??  I guess some people were destined for greatness and others (moi) to only dream of greatness......and to enjoy it of course  ;)!

  So how about all you opera fans out there?  what Wagnerian operas have you been exploring lately? Next year I plan on getting the Bohm Tristan und Isolde and hopefully picking up another ring cycle on DVD, a different production from the Levine MET one I already have. What Wagnerian operas are you planning on purchasing next year?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on December 08, 2007, 05:57:42 PM
I had Kubelik's Meistersinger from a class I had attended earlier.  When I heard there was a Lohengrin also, I bought it.  Unfortunately I haven't listened to it yet.

Smetana's The Kiss has many references to Wagner that are very nice.  His style of accompaniment is quite symphonic. 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on December 08, 2007, 09:19:16 PM
May I assume you all have read the news of Gudrun Wagner's passing I posted at 'Opera News' at the top of the page.

Wolfgang must be devastated; she was his supporter in every possible way. I fear the loss might be too much for him, he is not in the best of health either.  :'(
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on December 10, 2007, 07:22:50 AM
  emotional level unlike anything else I have heard throughout this past year. 

 The 4 operas of the Ring Cycle, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger and Parsifal form the backbone (the spine) of my music collection.    So how about all you opera fans out there?  what Wagnerian operas have you been exploring lately?
  marvin
This past year I got to know Sawallisch's much underrated Ring Cycle. From start to finish an extremely solid recording with no frenetic or "milk the loud parts" moments along the veins of Boehm and Krauss. The only bad part is Hildegard Behrens sometimes sound rather wobbly vibratowise as Brunnhilde.

So you are awed by the Ring, Tristan and Parsifal. I think the audience at Bayreuth think the same way. Almost every live recording from there is pretty quiet. Some (like Boehm's Ring) you don't even think there is an audience.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 10, 2007, 07:01:02 PM
This past year I got to know Sawallisch's much underrated Ring Cycle. From start to finish an extremely solid recording with no frenetic or "milk the loud parts" moments along the veins of Boehm and Krauss. The only bad part is Hildegard Behrens sometimes sound rather wobbly vibratowise as Brunnhilde.

Goodness! What a striking turnaround, PW!

I remember not long ago you felt a deep apprehension at my recommending this Sawallisch Ring. Remember? I had to fight you tooth and nail as I attempted to draw some much needed attention to this unheralded set.

But now look at us! In agreement. ;)

But, hey, in all seriousness, I feel a certain level of gratitude that someone's actually taken the time and effort to appraise this dark horse Ring. I feel all my carping hasn't been in vain after all...

Yes, I agree about Behrens. Warts and all, though, there's an artistic honesty and commitment to her singing that is certainly respectable. Little offends, and much delights. Overall, what Sawallisch (and the role) demands of her she delivers up in spades.



Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on December 10, 2007, 07:39:43 PM
Goodness! What a striking turnaround, PW!

I remember not long ago you felt a deep apprehension at my recommending this Sawallisch Ring. Remember? I had to fight you tooth and nail as I attempted to draw some much needed attention to this unheralded set.

But now look at us! In agreement. ;)

But, hey, in all seriousness, I feel a certain level of gratitude that someone's actually taken the time and effort to appraise this dark horse Ring. I feel all my carping hasn't been in vain after all...

Yes, I agree about Behrens. Warts and all, though, there's an artistic honesty and commitment to her singing that is certainly respectable. Little offends, and much delights. Overall, what Sawallisch (and the role) demands of her she delivers up in spades.

I have always liked Behrens. She gets a VERY bad rap because her voice is not really that of a dramatic soprano. But I liked her in the Levine cycle, where she is in better voice (but in the Sawallisch she is more expressive). I think she is analogous to Windgassen, both compensate for vocal shortcomings with artistry and insight.

I think the Sawallisch Ring is like a breath of fresh air (for lack of a better term). Orchestral and vocal balance is about ideal. The audience for the most part is mouse-quiet. The Bavarian State Opera Orchestra has that deep sound which is ideal for Wagner (although there are moments of ensemble lapse that is pretty astonishing since you would think they know this music by heart).

All in all not a bad $50 investment.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 10, 2007, 08:07:18 PM
I think the Sawallisch Ring is like a breath of fresh air...

Yes, so apt...



Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on December 12, 2007, 03:55:09 AM
I have always liked Behrens. She gets a VERY bad rap because her voice is not really that of a dramatic soprano. But I liked her in the Levine cycle, where she is in better voice (but in the Sawallisch she is more expressive). I think she is analogous to Windgassen, both compensate for vocal shortcomings with artistry and insight.


  I have to agree with you PW regarding Behrens.  I also have the Levine Ring and think she certainly looks the part and to a certain extent acts the part of Brunhilde well.  But you are right I too find her a bit subdued, her voice certainly isn't that of a dramatic soprano but she carries the role of Brunhilde well in the Levine DVD and those scenes between her and Wotan (James Morris) in Die Walkure are quite memorable.

  Going back  briefly  to a topic we were discussing earlier, what fascinates me most about Wagner's mature works (The Ring, Parsifal, Tristan, and Meistersinger) is the variety in musical texture between these pieces.  Wagner was a very daring composer who wasn't afraid to take risks.  With Tristan  it is very clear to me now that he wanted to do something quite extraordinary and different from the Ring and Meistersinger and I think he had a "stroke of genius" with that piece.  I also believe that he must have spent hours thinking how can I make Tristan a revolutionary work of art and with that Tristan chord I believe he was quite successful. 

  marvin

 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on December 12, 2007, 04:51:52 AM
   I also believe that he must have spent hours thinking how can I make Tristan a revolutionary work of art and with that Tristan chord I believe he was quite successful. 

  marvin

 
Hours ? There's the understatement of the year. :D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: David Zalman on December 12, 2007, 08:38:11 AM
Wagner was a very daring composer who wasn't afraid to take risks.  With Tristan  it is very clear to me now that he wanted to do something quite extraordinary and different from the Ring and Meistersinger and I think he had a "stroke of genius" with that piece.  I also believe that he must have spent hours thinking how can I make Tristan a revolutionary work of art and with that Tristan chord I believe he was quite successful.

A "stroke of genius" indeed.  Tristan was Wagner's most UNconscious work; that is, it came to him in a rush of creative inspiration almost faster than he could write it down, and once he began writing the music in earnest, he completed the work in a matter of months, not years (actually, a total of a little more than a year and a half).  You can pretty much bet giving odds that the very last thing he did with this work was to "spen[d] hours thinking how [he could] make Tristan a revolutionary work of art."
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on December 14, 2007, 12:26:41 PM
A "stroke of genius" indeed.  Tristan was Wagner's most UNconscious work; that is, it came to him in a rush of creative inspiration almost faster than he could write it down, and once he began writing the music in earnest, he completed the work in a matter of months, not years (actually, a total of a little more than a year and a half).  You can pretty much bet giving odds that the very last thing he did with this work was to "spen[d] hours thinking how [he could] make Tristan a revolutionary work of art."

   Wow a matter of months, now that is certainly impressive!!  I would have imagined it would have taken years to complete Tristan given its complexity, over-whelmingly emotional music (especially Act 2 is astounding!!)  Perhaps the emotional turmoil (that love triangle Wagner found himself in with Otto and Mathilde Wesendonck) had some bearing on his creative impulses! 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: David Zalman on December 15, 2007, 08:57:59 AM
Perhaps the emotional turmoil (that love triangle Wagner found himself in with Otto and Mathilde Wesendonck) had some bearing on his creative impulses!

Almost certainly the other way round.  That was Wagner's way -- his standard MO -- always.

In rereading my last, I see I should have elaborated a little on my comment:

Quote from: David Zalman
You can pretty much bet giving odds that the very last thing he did with this work was to "spen[d] hours thinking how [he could] make Tristan a revolutionary work of art."

Wagner's intent in writing Tristan was to produce an easy work that any professional opera company could mount.

So much for good intentions.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on December 15, 2007, 11:06:30 AM
Almost certainly the other way round.  That was Wagner's way -- his standard MO -- always.

In rereading my last, I see I should have elaborated a little on my comment:

Wagner's intent in writing Tristan was to produce an easy work that any professional opera company could mount.

So much for good intentions.

  David, thanks for the clarification and the humorous comment at the end  :)!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on December 16, 2007, 01:10:03 AM
In terms of chorus and scene changes, Tristan does fit the bill. In Rheingold and Siegfried, Wagner asks for all sorts of stage effects or monsters. It is just that he forgot to write for the voice in such a way that more than a dozen living people have the ability and equipment to sing it.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on December 16, 2007, 07:24:13 AM
And why should he have written easier parts if that is what the music and the drama needed in his mind? Maybe there are also less good singers around today because they don't have the environment today to develop their voices carefully and gradually; at least that's what a lot of voice experts complain about. How "true" that is, I can not judge. It shouldn't be forgotten either that the pit in Bayreuth is covered and that orchestras back then most likely didn't play quite as loud (especially the brass) as they do today.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on December 16, 2007, 07:38:43 AM
It is just that he forgot to write for the voice in such a way that more than a dozen living people have the ability and equipment to sing it.

Mike

Joke comment, I don't use smilies. The first part of my comment was however serious and the demands of stagecraft and numbers of voices etc are very modest in comparison with anything from The Ring or Meistersingers.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: David Zalman on December 16, 2007, 02:25:22 PM
In terms of chorus and scene changes, Tristan does fit the bill. In Rheingold and Siegfried, Wagner asks for all sorts of stage effects or monsters. It is just that he forgot to write for the voice in such a way that more than a dozen living people have the ability and equipment to sing it.

It's not just the writing for the voice but for the orchestra as well. In the beginning, orchestras and conductors didn't know what to make of the score.  It baffled them almost completely.

And I see I used not quite the right word is saying Wagner's intent with Tristan was to create "...an easy work that any professional opera company could mount."  A better way to have phrased it would have been to say that Wagner's intent with Tristan was to create a practical work that any professional opera company could mount.

It shouldn't be forgotten either that the pit in Bayreuth is covered and that orchestras back then most likely didn't play quite as loud (especially the brass) as they do today.

At the time of the writing of Tristan, Bayreuth was merely a gleam in Wagner's eye.  Additionally, Wagner wrote Tristan with the ordinary opera house of the time specifically in mind, not his mere dream of an opera house built to his special needs and specifications.  That was a primary thought in his setting to work on Tristan when he did.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on December 17, 2007, 12:35:04 AM
Sorry, hadn't read much of the discussion before knight's post, so I didn't get that you were talking *specifically* about Tristan. I thought you were talking more about the Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 05, 2008, 08:55:15 AM
It's not just the writing for the voice but for the orchestra as well. In the beginning, orchestras and conductors didn't know what to make of the score.  It baffled them almost completely.

And I see I used not quite the right word is saying Wagner's intent with Tristan was to create "...an easy work that any professional opera company could mount."  A better way to have phrased it would have been to say that Wagner's intent with Tristan was to create a practical work that any professional opera company could mount.

At the time of the writing of Tristan, Bayreuth was merely a gleam in Wagner's eye.  Additionally, Wagner wrote Tristan with the ordinary opera house of the time specifically in mind, not his mere dream of an opera house built to his special needs and specifications.  That was a primary thought in his setting to work on Tristan when he did.

  Pardon the belated response but I have been away on holiday for a few weeks and only now did I get to this post.  With regards to "practicality" as it relates to Wagner's operas, in a recent documentary I saw on Wagner it has been suggested that part of the "allure" or "captivation" of Wagner is that his music dramas never really addressed practicalities and in a sense they are completely impossible to perform on stage as Wagner had envisaged.  Now whether this applies to Tristan I am not sure but as far as the Ring is concerned some of the stage directions that Wagner calls for are enough to make any opera stage director's job a living nightmare!! Not to mention of course the marathon roles that the singers had to commit themselves to which according to Wagnerian singer Deborah Polaski are "physically exhausting"!!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 05, 2008, 09:37:16 AM

 What Wagnerian operas are you planning on purchasing next year? marvin

Hey, Marvin. My favorite Ring, Tristan, and Parsifal are conducted by Karajan. I'm planning to buy these to add to my Karajan collection:

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w300/front/0/0724356708624.jpg)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w300/front/0/0077776465029.jpg)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w300/front/0/0724356651920.jpg)

I'm also thinking seriously about this Ring (yeah, like I need another Ring  ;D )

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w300/front/0/0828765570923.jpg)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 05, 2008, 10:48:07 AM
Hey, Marvin. My favorite Ring, Tristan, and Parsifal are conducted by Karajan. I'm planning to buy these to add to my Karajan collection:

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w300/front/0/0724356708624.jpg)

Sarge

  An excellent choice with that Karajan Meistersinger Sarge, I have that same recording and I wore it out- I must have played it from start to finish well over 10 times.  The Dresden Staatskapelle truly "shines like old gold" in this recording- read the preface to the libretto as soon as you get this recording Sarge and you'll know what I am talking about  ;).  That recording is pure magic from the overture to the wonderfull quintet "Die selige Morgentraum-Duetweise" at the opening of the 4th CD and those last 15 minutes of the opera, when THE PRIZE SONG is played accompanied by the chorus are just heavenly  0:).  You are in for a real treat!!

  PS:  I also love Karajan's Parsifal with the Berliner Philharmoniker as well!! Some people criticize it for being a bit too polished, musically beautified,  but it suits me just fine.  Parsifal works quite well "Karajan style".  Also,  I have already ordered Bohm's Tristan und Isolde with Nilsson.  I don't really need another Tristan und Isolde (I have two recordings with Flagstad and the Barenboim DVD on DG) but the way Wagnerians rant and rave about that Bohm recording have caused me to cave in and buy it!!  Sadly however I do not have it in my budget to acquire another Ring Cycle-  I have Solti's and Levine DVD at the MET which will have to do for now. 

  marvin     
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 05, 2008, 11:07:23 AM
The Janowski Ring is really quite excellent. It might be a little light for some people, but I find its emphasis on internal and overall architecture quite engaging. While conservative Wagnerians will generally argue that such transparency is not-so-great, and I concede that they might be right, it is, still, nice to be able to see what's going on in the music at both a micro and macro level. 

Von Karajan's Meistersinger is the reference recording of the work. If Furtwängler's 1943 recording had been complete and in better sound, it would likely hold that spot, though Furtwängler's singers aren't as good as Von Karajan's. Orchestrally, though, I might still give the prize to Furtwängler, even if Von Karajan has the overall better set. I haven't heard the Abendroth set from the same Bayreuth season as Furtwängler.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on January 05, 2008, 12:54:30 PM
The Janowski Ring is really quite excellent. It might be a little light for some people, but I find its emphasis on internal and overall architecture quite engaging. While conservative Wagnerians will generally argue that such transparency is not-so-great, and I concede that they might be right

Why might they be right? The scores have a lot of very fine detail, it is pretty obious that Wagner wanted that to be heard, otherwise he wouldn't have worked it out so meticulously. It is very interesting to see how many examples from the Ring Strauss used when he annotated Berlioz' book on orchestration, and most of these are examples of avery conscious and inventive use of instrumental color for expressive reasons. Wagner didn't just orchestrate in order to build up more or less sound mass in given moments. He used the large ensembles he asked for in a very nuanced way.
What would these conservative Wagnerians say?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 05, 2008, 01:57:47 PM
Why might they be right? The scores have a lot of very fine detail, it is pretty obvious that Wagner wanted that to be heard, otherwise he wouldn't have worked it out so meticulously. It is very interesting to see how many examples from the Ring Strauss used when he annotated Berlioz' book on orchestration, and most of these are examples of a very conscious and inventive use of instrumental color for expressive reasons. Wagner didn't just orchestrate in order to build up more or less sound mass in given moments. He used the large ensembles he asked for in a very nuanced way.
What would these conservative Wagnerians say?

You answered your own question. The instrumental color is the primary objective, and you cannot concentrate on color when, to further the analogy, you're looking at individual brush-strokes. I don't think that there is much argument to that. Everything should be there to add up to Wagner's intent, but that process of addition is, by and large, unnecessary to the listener. Now, you might want to ask a real conservative Wagnerian, and there is at least one around at a given moment, if you want a better explanation.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 06, 2008, 07:54:15 AM
An excellent choice with that Karajan Meistersinger Sarge...   

Karajan's Meistersinger is the reference recording of the work.

I don't expect Karajan's Lohengrin and Holländer to supercede long-time favorites (Holländer: Dorati and Klemperer; Lohengrin: Kempe and Keilberth) but I have high hopes for his Meistersinger. I thank you both for the encouragement.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on January 06, 2008, 01:37:25 PM
I don't expect Karajan's Lohengrin and Holländer to supercede long-time favorites (Holländer: Dorati and Klemperer; Lohengrin: Kempe and Keilberth) but I have high hopes for his Meistersinger. I thank you both for the encouragement.

Sarge





I don't think it's entirely misleading to expect Karajan's Holländer to supercede each. I thought that was excellent. I still haven't made up my mind on the Ring..., or Lohengrin however.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 07, 2008, 06:14:11 AM
I don't think it's entirely misleading to expect Karajan's Holländer to supercede each. I thought that was excellent.

I'm sure it is, Andy. I've heard few Karajan opera performances that haven't been excellent...and yes, I even include his Don Giovanni  ;D I'm particularly looking forward to Kurt Moll's Daland. But Klemperer has a unique way of conducting the score and his trio of Theo Adam, Anja Silja and Martti Talvela really appeals to me. The Dorati Dutchman is a sentimental favorite (the first opera I ever heard) and has the superb George London. But I'll retain an open mind and, despite my earlier comment, won't be prejudging Karajan's Dutchman.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 07, 2008, 06:28:20 AM

I don't think it's entirely misleading to expect Karajan's Holländer to supercede each. I thought that was excellent. I still haven't made up my mind on the Ring..., or Lohengrin however.

  Regrettably I have never heard Karajan's Ring.  I know its a personal favorite of Sarge's especially Die Walkure.  Cost is a very big issue, Karajan's Ring is as expensive as Solti's if not more expensive.  As much as I have tried, it has been impossible for me to sample it in any of the stores and the local library does not stock it.  I would be very curious to hear how Karajan interprets Siegfried above all else.  Does he supply the captivating raw power and aggression that Solti's Siegfried does?  Or does Karajan provide a more "docile" approach?

  marvin 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 07, 2008, 06:44:33 AM
  Regrettably I have never heard Karajan's Ring.  I know its a personal favorite of Sarge's especially Die Walkure.  Cost is a very big issue, Karajan's Ring is as expensive as Solti's if not more expensive.  As much as I have tried, it has been impossible for me to sample it in any of the stores and the local library does not stock it.  I would be very curious to hear how Karajan interprets Siegfried above all else.  Does he supply the captivating raw power and aggression that Solti's Siegfried does?  Or does Karajan provide a more "docile" approach?

  marvin 

I'm not being original when I say that Solti and Karajan complement each other perfectly. Truth vs. Beauty. I prefer Solti's 'Götterdämmerung' and Karajan's 'Rheingold'. 'Walküre' and 'Siegfried' are more or less even, although Nilsson and Windgassen are electrifying in the last act of Solti's Siegfried. BUT- the opening to that same act is grander and more awe-inspiring with the slower Karajan - Solti's is more urgent... In short - you simply need to hear both. And it's a pity your local library doesn't have the Karajan.

Jez
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on January 07, 2008, 07:05:41 AM
I'm sure it is, Andy. I've heard few Karajan opera performances that haven't been excellent...and yes, I even include his Don Giovanni  ;D

Sarge





Love that one!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 07, 2008, 08:19:12 AM
Regrettably I have never heard Karajan's Ring....I would be very curious to hear how Karajan interprets Siegfried above all else.  Does he supply the captivating raw power and aggression that Solti's Siegfried does?  Or does Karajan provide a more "docile" approach?

I'm not being original when I say that Solti and Karajan complement each other perfectly. Truth vs. Beauty.

I could counter that with a bit of Keats ("Beauty is truth, truth beauty") but I won't. I understand what you mean.

I prefer Solti's 'Götterdämmerung' and Karajan's 'Rheingold'. 'Walküre' and 'Siegfried' are more or less even, although Nilsson and Windgassen are electrifying in the last act of Solti's Siegfried. BUT- the opening to that same act is grander and more awe-inspiring with the slower Karajan - Solti's is more urgent... In short - you simply need to hear both. And it's a pity your local library doesn't have the Karajan.

My take is similar but slightly different. I too, in general if not specifics, prefer Karajan's Rheingold and Solti's Götterdämmerung but I think Solti's Walküre is the weak link in his cycle while Karajan and the siblings Jon Vickers and Janowitz have never been bettered, especially in the first act. Karajan has power when needed in Siegfried...but...I understand the criticism aimed at Jess Thomas. In the light of Gerhard Stolze's strong Mimi (edit: oops, I mean Mime: Stolze rarely sang Bohème  ;D ), Thomas doesn't have the requisite Heldentenor chops. Still, it's a portrayal I've come to enjoy. I just needed to forgo preconceptions and accept his Siegfried for what it is: not the Übermensch and Teutonic ideal of the Hero, but a gullible and still wet-behind-the-ears youth who has a lot of growing up to do. Not traditional, but it works for me. I think, though, Marvin, that it might disappoint you after Solti's tour-de-force. But, I really can't help thinking, when I hear Windgassen, that here is a middle-aged Siegfried. Not exactly ideal either. That's why we need the '53 Krauss or the '55 Keilberth, too.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 07, 2008, 08:29:31 AM
Regrettably I have never heard Karajan's Ring.  I know its a personal favorite of Sarge's especially Die Walkure.  Cost is a very big issue...

I completely understand. I had only one Ring for about five years before I could finally afford a second (and then only because a discount club in Germany had the Böhm for the remarkable price of 99 DM). And then ten years went by before I had my third. It's been a lifelong process of acquisition. But like the Ring itself, there's no need to hurry  :)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 07, 2008, 09:14:48 AM
That's why we need the '53 Krauss or the '55 Keilberth, too.

I downloaded the Krauss last month (from Classic Music Mobile), and after listening to the last act of Siegfried I was very impressed by his command of structure and his well-judged tempi. Apart from some great singing, of course!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 07, 2008, 09:26:41 AM
I downloaded the Krauss last month (from Classic Music Mobile), and after listening to the last act of Siegfried I was very impressed by his command of structure and his well-judged tempi. Apart from some great singing, of course!

Agree. Among the Siegfrieds I own, the Krauss is my favorite. (I haven't heard Keilberth yet but now that Testament is offering the entire Ring cycle in one box, at half the price of the single issues, it may be something I'll purchase this year too.)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on January 07, 2008, 11:39:30 AM
I'm sure it is, Andy. I've heard few Karajan opera performances that haven't been excellent...and yes, I even include his Don Giovanni  ;D

I am still trying to figure out why. I even did a search to find your post about that, but with no success. Was that in the old forum?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on January 08, 2008, 01:35:06 AM
I completely understand. I had only one Ring for about five years before I could finally afford a second (and then only because a discount club in Germany had the Böhm for the remarkable price of 99 DM). And then ten years went by before I had my third. It's been a lifelong process of acquisition. But like the Ring itself, there's no need to hurry  :)

Sarge





And now Sarge can laugh at my envy!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on January 08, 2008, 01:38:03 AM
I am still trying to figure out why. I even did a search to find your post about that, but with no success. Was that in the old forum?




Do you mean in regard Karajan's Don Giovanni, M.? I don't know about Sarge, but I really loved the performances of Battle and Ramey. And I do tralize that HvK tends to Beethoven/Wagner-ize Mozart a bit. I like the change.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 08, 2008, 05:30:58 AM
I am still trying to figure out why. I even did a search to find your post about that, but with no success. Was that in the old forum?

I thought it was here but yeah, it may have been at the old forum, M. I'll look for it and if I can't find it, I'll retype my explanation.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: David Zalman on January 08, 2008, 05:01:16 PM
  Pardon the belated response but I have been away on holiday for a few weeks and only now did I get to this post.  With regards to "practicality" as it relates to Wagner's operas, in a recent documentary I saw on Wagner it has been suggested that part of the "allure" or "captivation" of Wagner is that his music dramas never really addressed practicalities and in a sense they are completely impossible to perform on stage as Wagner had envisaged.  Now whether this applies to Tristan I am not sure but as far as the Ring is concerned some of the stage directions that Wagner calls for are enough to make any opera stage director's job a living nightmare!! Not to mention of course the marathon roles that the singers had to commit themselves to which according to Wagnerian singer Deborah Polaski are "physically exhausting"!!

You're right about Wagner's envisaged staging of the Ring.  It's impossible.  Tristan, however, is a piece of cake.

You might find this article on the staging of Wagner's music dramas by our friend ACD to be of some interest.

http://www.soundsandfury.com/soundsandfury/2005/04/staging_ithe_ri.html




Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: David Zalman on January 08, 2008, 05:10:43 PM
Why might they be right? The scores [of Wagner's music dramas] have a lot of very fine detail, it is pretty obious that Wagner wanted that to be heard, otherwise he wouldn't have worked it out so meticulously. It is very interesting to see how many examples from the Ring Strauss used when he annotated Berlioz' book on orchestration, and most of these are examples of avery conscious and inventive use of instrumental color for expressive reasons. Wagner didn't just orchestrate in order to build up more or less sound mass in given moments. He used the large ensembles he asked for in a very nuanced way.  What would these conservative Wagnerians say?

They (and that includes myself) would say:

Quote from: A.C. Douglas
Wagner's musico-dramatic and symphonic contrapuntal genius is almost always realized in the massing, rarely in details of inner line, and [Karl] Böhm's transparent and razor-edge-precise readings of Wagner wherein the revealing of inner line is prominent are therefore just plain wrong (i.e., un-Wagnerian). They're wrong because while precision and the revealing of inner line in the music of, say, Mozart or Beethoven is to reveal the very soul of the music, precision and the revealing of inner line in Wagner's music serves only to reveal how the sorcerer accomplished his magic. Not a good thing, not a good thing at all, as any self-respecting sorcerer will attest.

ACD's complete post on this may be read here:

http://www.soundsandfury.com/soundsandfury/2004/08/wagner_musings.html
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: David Zalman on January 08, 2008, 05:17:28 PM
Regrettably I have never heard Karajan's Ring.  I know its a personal favorite of Sarge's especially Die Walkure.  Cost is a very big issue, Karajan's Ring is as expensive as Solti's if not more expensive.  As much as I have tried, it has been impossible for me to sample it in any of the stores and the local library does not stock it.  I would be very curious to hear how Karajan interprets Siegfried above all else.  Does he supply the captivating raw power and aggression that Solti's Siegfried does?  Or does Karajan provide a more "docile" approach?

Karajan had the bizarre idea that Wagner should sound as lyrical and intimate as Verdi.  Needless to say, his reading of the Ring is about as un-Wagnerian as it's possible to be.  His Ring set has been dubbed by Wagnerians The Chamber Ring.  Unkind, certainly, but not far off the mark.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on January 08, 2008, 07:01:23 PM
So you know more about what is "Wagnerian" than Böhm, Karajan, or Strauss? Or Janowski, for that matter? Or a whole lot of other conductors who explored that aspect of Wagner's music to a certain degree?

No, the above nonsense quoted by you is just something which people say who only grasp one particular aspect of such a complex musical world and declare it to be the one and only decisive aspect. Very typical for people who don't understand a particular cultural context and only look at it from the outside.
Just one question: can you even pronounce the name "Richard Wagner"?

But - thanks for the free entertainment!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: David Zalman on January 08, 2008, 09:18:00 PM
So you know more about what is "Wagnerian" than Böhm, Karajan, or Strauss? Or Janowski, for that matter? Or a whole lot of other conductors who explored that aspect of Wagner's music to a certain degree?

No, the above nonsense quoted by you is just something which people say who only grasp one particular aspect of such a complex musical world and declare it to be the one and only decisive aspect. Very typical for people who don't understand a particular cultural context and only look at it from the outside.
Just one question: can you even pronounce the name "Richard Wagner"?

But - thanks for the free entertainment!

You asked what would conservative Wagnerians say.  I assumed you were not asking what would some Wagner fan say, but what would an informed conservative Wagnerian say, and so answered you accordingly by quoting one of the most informed conservative Wagnerians of my acquaintance, and one who is also conservatory trained as a musician and conductor.

As for your rhetorical about Karajan and Boehm (neither of whom were conservative Wagnerians, not so BTW), you merely displayed your ignorance.  Both Karajan and Boehm knew *exactly* how Wagner should go -- and hated it.  That's why they both decided unilaterally to change the way Wagner should go, each according to his own tastes in the matter.  As for Strauss and Janowski, the former was notorious for NOT knowing how Wagner should go, and the latter is simply a Wagnerian nullity and so doesn't count.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on January 08, 2008, 09:58:48 PM
As for Strauss and Janowski, the former was notorious for NOT knowing how Wagner should go, and the latter is simply a Wagnerian nullity and so doesn't count.

So, for who was Strauss "notorious" as not knowing "how Wagner should go"? And if Janowski is a "Wagnerian nullity", what are you? A negative quantity? Who *are* you to make such statements? Where can I get your Ring recording with an orchestra on the level of the Staatskapelle Dresden?
And how do you know what Karajan and Böhm really thought? Did they tell you? Did they ask for your advice?

If you are such an expert for Wagner, you must know a lot about German culture. Do you know what the word "Schwachkopf" means?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 08, 2008, 10:06:27 PM
So, for who was Strauss "notorious" as not knowing "how Wagner should go"? And if Janowski is a "Wagnerian nullity", what are you? A negative quantity? Who *are* you to make such statements? Where can I get your Ring recording with an orchestra on the level of the Staatskapelle Dresden?
And how do you know what Karajan and Böhm really thought? Did they tell you? Did they ask for your advice?

If you are such an expert for Wagner, you must know a lot about German culture. Do you know what the word "Schwachkopf" means?

If you have an issue with Dave's comments, you'd do better to register your objections with ACD. I read most of these arguments in the post "Have A Merry Nibelungen Christmas" (21 December 2005), including a bowdlerization of this quip, "Karajan because of his ludicrous and perverse conceit that Wagner should sound as lyrical as Verdi."

Take it to the source, I say. You'll also be able to engage fully with the arguments, as opposed to summaries, quotes, and near-quotes.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: David Zalman on January 08, 2008, 10:43:21 PM
So, for who was Strauss "notorious" as not knowing "how Wagner should go"?  [...]  And how do you know what Karajan and Böhm really thought? Did they tell you? Did they ask for your advice?

Were you not such a Wagner ignoramus (and a belligerent one at that) you would know the answers to those questions.

Strauss was notorious for not knowing how Wagner should go according to those who were in a direct line of first-hand witnesses to how Wagner himself said his works should go.  And as for knowing what Karajan and Boehm really thought about this matter, they told me -- along with the whole world, or rather, those of the whole world who were interested enough to take note of such things.  I simply repeated editorially what each said about it, including how each said he intended to change how Wagner should go.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on January 09, 2008, 12:44:13 AM
Take it to the source, I say. You'll also be able to engage fully with the arguments, as opposed to summaries, quotes, and near-quotes.

Thanks for the tips, but...nah...why should I waste my time discussing such matters concerning my own culture with idiots like him who don't know the first thing about that? Not even the very, very first thing. That doesn't make sense. That guy is just a dumb piece of crap, what in my (and Wagner's) language is called "ein dummes Stück Scheisse", somebody who in the circles of his equally ignorant friends may pass for some kind of expert, but who can't fool anybody who knows just a little bit about that subject. Just a tiny little bit.
I find it highly amusing though how so many people try to appropriate elements of my culture without having even the slightest bit of insights into it, people who really don't know anything about it - at all. That really amuses me. That would be like me pontificating about the fineties of, say, Chinese culture, without even knowing 2 words in their language. Like this "Wichskopf" D. Zalman here who probably can't speak 2 words of German, but he thinks he knows what "Wagnerian" is. Zum totlachen.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 09, 2008, 01:32:18 AM
You're right about Wagner's envisaged staging of the Ring.  It's impossible.  Tristan, however, is a piece of cake.

You might find this article on the staging of Wagner's music dramas by our friend ACD to be of some interest.

http://www.soundsandfury.com/soundsandfury/2005/04/staging_ithe_ri.html



  Thank you David for the link.  I found it a most interesting if not challenging read.  I especially found quite refreshing AC Douglas' take that an opera stage director should take a "minimalist" approach to staging the Ring in order for the drama to be fully realized through its principal carrier, the music!  But AC Douglas does refer briefly to the cinematic potential, in lieu of an unrealizable stage production, of the Ring. Perhaps it is time for a "Hollywood" big budget production of Wagner's 4 opera epic, I think I would like to see what Steven Spielberg or George Lucas could do with the Ring.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 09, 2008, 02:21:56 PM
Thanks for the tips, but...nah...why should I waste my time discussing such matters concerning my own culture with idiots like him who don't know the first thing about that? Not even the very, very first thing. That doesn't make sense. That guy is just a dumb piece of crap, what in my (and Wagner's) language is called "ein dummes Stück Scheisse", somebody who in the circles of his equally ignorant friends may pass for some kind of expert, but who can't fool anybody who knows just a little bit about that subject. Just a tiny little bit.
I find it highly amusing though how so many people try to appropriate elements of my culture without having even the slightest bit of insights into it, people who really don't know anything about it - at all. That really amuses me. That would be like me pontificating about the fineties of, say, Chinese culture, without even knowing 2 words in their language. Like this "Wichskopf" D. Zalman here who probably can't speak 2 words of German, but he thinks he knows what "Wagnerian" is. Zum totlachen.

Eh. Just throwing that out there.

I find it amusing that Karl Böhm comes in for the ire of our ACD-proxy, as Böhm received a favorable recommendation from no less than Karl Muck to no less than Bruno Walter. Richard Strauss, too, had worked with and received a similar recommendation from Hans von Bülow, who was - as any Wagnerian would know - an associate of Wagner, to understate the matter. Indeed, Von Bülow premiered Tristan und Isolde in Munich.

History is what it is, despite the best efforts of those who would have it otherwise.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Don on January 09, 2008, 02:29:51 PM
Eh. Just throwing that out there.

I find it amusing that Karl Böhm comes in for the ire of our ACD-proxy,

It's no big deal, but I've never thought he was an ACD-proxy (just an ACD).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 09, 2008, 08:40:42 PM
It's no big deal, but I've never thought he was an ACD-proxy (just an ACD).

Knowing ACD as glancingly as I do, from another board and some other interactions, I doubt that he would post under an assumed name. It doesn't seem like his style. He could also make the arguments (from memory) without recourse to quoting himself.

It doesn't add up, but I admit that the thought has crossed my mind.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 10, 2008, 10:20:50 AM

  I am saddened to read that this thread has taken a turn for the worst with hostilities and accusations being traded between various GMG members.  I hope we can return to a more civilized way of dealing with each other and most importantly discussing Wagner.  I would like to ask, seeing as how an agreement could not be reached over the "correct" way of conducting and interpreting Wagner's music: Did Wagner ever give specific instructions to conductors as to how they should interpret his music? Also can someone provide a link to  ACD's article that address this issue, if available?   

  marvin
 
 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on January 10, 2008, 10:29:03 AM
 Did Wagner ever give specific instructions to conductors as to how they should interpret his music?
Didn't Wagner always complained that the fast parts of his music is always conducted too slowly and the slow parts are always conducted too fast ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on January 10, 2008, 10:37:37 AM
I would like to ask, seeing as how an agreement could not be reached over the "correct" way of conducting and interpreting Wagner's music 

That's the point: like with any other complex body of musical works, there is no single, "correct", "Wagnerian", approach to interpretation. That idea is just a cliché concept. Which is seriously contradicted by some very relevant interpreters of his music (such as the above mentioned Strauss, Karajan, Böhm, Janowski, and many others).

Did Wagner ever give specific instructions to conductors as to how they should interpret his music?

Yep, they are called "the scores". Wagner also left a fairly extensive body of writing about interpreting music (his and other composers'). But if a conductor just sticks to the scores and tries to bring out the very nuanced and complex way of writing - instead of turning everything into some kind of bombastic sound sauce to satisfy some vague and generalized idea of "Wagnerian" sound -, that is already a very relevant contribution in itself. Saying that all the interpreters had absolutely no clue - or did, but decided to d other things for whatever reasons is complete nonsense. And certainly not the basis for a serious discussion of this very complex subject. I find it just silly if someone thinks he has a very strong opinion about a musical culture he obviously doesn't understand and all he has to say to back up his "views" is summarily dismiss artists who are an integral part of that musical culture.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on January 10, 2008, 10:41:03 AM
I find it just silly if someone thinks he has a very strong opinion about a musical culture he obviously doesn't understand and all he has to say to back up his "views" is summarily dismiss artists who are an integral part of that musical culture.






I find this to be a shared peeve, and agree.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: David Zalman on January 10, 2008, 12:55:18 PM
I would like to ask, seeing as how an agreement could not be reached over the "correct" way of conducting and interpreting Wagner's music: Did Wagner ever give specific instructions to conductors as to how they should interpret his music? Also can someone provide a link to  ACD's article that address this issue, if available?

Interestingly enough, although Wagner wrote at length concerning just about everything under the sun about which he had the most untoward ideas, and wrote at length about the staging of his operas and music dramas, he wrote very little about how his music should be conducted.  There are, however, two publications that do just that.  The first is an account written by Heinrich Porges, a member of Wagner's inner circle, the account written at Wagner's express command and approved by him.  It's titled, Die Bühnenproben zu den Bayreuther Festspielen des Jahres 1876 (The Stage Rehearsals for the Bayreuth Festival of 1876), and ACD has a detailed post on that publication.  It can be read at:

http://www.soundsandfury.com/soundsandfury/2004/07/firsthand_witne.html

There's also the critical extended essay written by Wagner himself titled, Über das Dirigiren (On Conducting), which can be read in an English translation by Edward Dannreuther titled, Wagner on Conducting which can be ordered from Amazon.com at:

http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Conducting-Richard/dp/0486259323/ref=reader_auth_dp

Also, there's another article by ACD on this subject that you may find of interest.  It can be read at:

http://www.soundsandfury.com/soundsandfury/2007/06/on_reading_a_sc.html

UPDATE: There seem to be two versions online of ACD's article given in the first link above.  I e-mailed ACD asking which one to link.  He just responded saying he wasn't aware there were two versions, but went looking after receiving my e-mail and found the second version which was only slightly different from the first.  He's now deleted the superfluous version, and placed the correct version at the link given above.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Guarnerius on January 12, 2008, 06:10:17 AM
Hello Wagner Fans! :)


Such a complex conversation on one composer. But finally, the main thing is, if we enjoy his masterworks or not? When the answer is negative, what's the use to complain it here - better to choose some other site, it is that simple! ;D Or launch totally an another page for those who dislikes Wagner. $:) Besides, it is useless to accuse the composer Wagner himself about certain details, which have nothing to do with him as a person! Not to mention other members in this forum trying to change opinions with decent manners. 0:)

Anyway, there is no doubt that his works can B really "hypnotizing", guess it was Marwin, who said there earlier very fine, that Wagner operas R "psychological thrillers with symphonic soundtrack". Indeed! They R like hometheatres with classical music, "scary movies in past days", Gesamtkunstwerke with audible multi channeled special effects and fascinating mythical stories.

If I had to choose my own favourite work by Wagner, it would B Parsifal. I like that symphonic texture in it, the other choice would B Götterdämmerung, a conclusion of that exciting adventure of Ring des Nibelungen. In both of them there is a feeling of complete fulfilment, reaching of wholeness after the huge challenging adventure. On the other hand, there is also a sense of longing farewall and joy of waiting to C again. That's the genius in music - to make the listener return to the composition and start enjoying it once again, perhaps discovering some new details unseen before. Hmmm... with a great excitement I'm gonna find next the fresh EMI recording of Tristan & Isolde, starring Domingo, Stemme, Bostridge, ROHCG, cond. Pappano. Somebody have already listening experiences and comments on it?


With Friendly Greetings and all the Best Regards especially to Marwin, Michel, Anne, Solitary Wanderer, Uffeviking and all the Wagnerites. ;)


P.S. Oh, I forgot to mention: I would need to ask some advice, when I have a toothache, could it B originating from Wagner music, should I change to another composer? ;D What about the weather conditions, does it change more sunny if I choose instead of Wagner for example some Mozart? :P Cheers...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on January 12, 2008, 06:45:33 AM
Hello Wagner Fans! :)
P.S. Oh, I forgot to mention: I would need to ask some advice, when I have a toothache, could it B originating from Wagner music, should I change to another composer?

Hmmm.  I don't know about toothaches, but I've always found that listening to Der Fliegende Holländer is great for curing headaches.  Bruckner symphonies work, too.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: paulb on January 12, 2008, 09:01:15 AM
Interestingly enough, although Wagner wrote at length concerning just about everything under the sun about which he had the most untoward ideas, and wrote at length about the staging of his operas and music dramas, he wrote very little about how his music should be conducted.  There are, however, two publications that do just that.  The first is an account written by Heinrich Porges, a member of Wagner's inner circle, the account written at Wagner's express command and approved by him.  It's titled, Die Bühnenproben zu den Bayreuther Festspielen des Jahres 1876 (The Stage Rehearsals for the Bayreuth Festival of 1876), and ACD has a detailed post on that publication.  It can be read at:

http://www.soundsandfury.com/soundsandfury/2004/07/firsthand_witne.html

There's also the critical extended essay written by Wagner himself titled, Über das Dirigiren (On Conducting), which can be read in an English translation by Edward Dannreuther titled, Wagner on Conducting which can be ordered from Amazon.com at:

http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Conducting-Richard/dp/0486259323/ref=reader_auth_dp

Also, there's another article by ACD on this subject that you may find of interest.  It can be read at:

http://www.soundsandfury.com/soundsandfury/2007/06/on_reading_a_sc.html

UPDATE: There seem to be two versions online of ACD's article given in the first link above.  I e-mailed ACD asking which one to link.  He just responded saying he wasn't aware there were two versions, but went looking after receiving my e-mail and found the second version which was only slightly different from the first.  He's now deleted the superfluous version, and placed the correct version at the link given above.


In my rather limited experience of the various recordiings of the Ring, only 3 have made a  impression enough to fork out close to $100 on each.
Bohm is not among the 3. If you read the reviews on amazon of Bohm's , most all agree the tempos are "TOO FAST" "WHY?" So that closes that possiblity for me. Not sure why i would add a  4th recording, but if there was one to at least come close to the 3 I have, I'd seriously considering getting it off amzon's used list.
And also the Kraus, which has  a  extremely devoted fan base, "oh man its the one, the finest ever in history, no doubt about it", is not among the 3 I have. I had the Kraus, the casting was close to pemier class, though at times overall slightly less than the three I have. Kraus conducting is just too sloshy to make the Ring come alive and its not just the recessed sound factor.

I also own none from  Kna, though i am sure among his many recordings , there may be some of value.

Wagner 's ring should not be appraiched ina   finely chisled manner, as some here suggest, the mythical story telling of the work should have this mystical mysteroius mood, but at times of climaxes and cresendos, then is the time to leave the brooding undefined mode and break the clouds to allow bright beams of sunlight.
Takes both modalites of testures.
But Kraus is too sludge like. Not easy to make the low tonal parts to come off as not being cold ,frozen, dragging, takes a   special conductor to do this feat of bringing warmth. Furtwangler was able to bring a  orch such as the Italian to such a   level of effects, no other conductor could manage sucha   challenge. The Italians in Wagner? Yes, and with stunning results, A true magician!
So now you know one of the 3 I have found most successful in this most challenging of operatic music.

Obviously the other 2 are from the Bayreuth.
I made some comments on the 3 rings over at amazon.

Strange how if just one cast member is slightly off in form my interest correspondingly falls off.
There's hardly a  weak part in these 3 Rings, as yet as least I;ve not discovered any, and doubt there is any.

Relatively new to Wagner and will scan the interesting posts in the topic that I;'ve missed since away.,.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 12, 2008, 09:58:37 AM

In my rather limited experience of the various recordings of the Ring, only 3 have made a  impression enough to fork out close to $100 on each.
Bohm is not among the 3. If you read the reviews on amazon of Bohm's , most all agree the tempos are "TOO FAST" "WHY?" So that closes that possiblity for me. Not sure why i would add a  4th recording, but if there was one to at least come close to the 3 I have, I'd seriously considering getting it off amzon's used list.
And also the Kraus, which has  a  extremely devoted fan base, "oh man its the one, the finest ever in history, no doubt about it", is not among the 3 I have. I had the Kraus, the casting was close to pemier class, though at times overall slightly less than the three I have. Kraus conducting is just too sloshy to make the Ring come alive and its not just the recessed sound factor.

I also own none from  Kna, though i am sure among his many recordings , there may be some of value.

Wagner 's ring should not be appraiched ina   finely chisled manner, as some here suggest, the mythical story telling of the work should have this mystical mysteroius mood, but at times of climaxes and cresendos, then is the time to leave the brooding undefined mode and break the clouds to allow bright beams of sunlight.
Takes both modalites of testures.
But Kraus is too sludge like. Not easy to make the low tonal parts to come off as not being cold ,frozen, dragging, takes a   special conductor to do this feat of bringing warmth. Furtwangler was able to bring a  orch such as the Italian to such a   level of effects, no other conductor could manage sucha   challenge. The Italians in Wagner? Yes, and with stunning results, A true magician!
So now you know one of the 3 I have found most successful in this most challenging of operatic music.

Obviously the other 2 are from the Bayreuth.
I made some comments on the 3 rings over at amazon.

Strange how if just one cast member is slightly off in form my interest correspondingly falls off.
There's hardly a  weak part in these 3 Rings, as yet as least I;ve not discovered any, and doubt there is any.

Relatively new to Wagner and will scan the interesting posts in the topic that I;'ve missed since away.,.



  Paulb are you referring to the Furtwangler Ring with RAI or the La Scala? 

 The RAI Ring was the first complete Ring Cycle I ever bought and despite its less than stellar sound I believe Furtwangler was able to produce a recording well worth listening to.  In my opinion that RAI recording is more an achievement in conducting than anything else (singing, orchestra playing etc.) Still I do believe it is not ideal for a first timer to the Ring and I do support AC Douglas' recommendation (in his article) that the Solti Ring is the one to get for newbes to Wagner. I still have not reached a conclusion on my end as to which interpretation is most suited to Wagner's music dramas and I am still studying the articles posted by David Zalman (thanks David) from AC Douglas.

  marvin     
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: paulb on January 12, 2008, 10:08:29 AM
  Paulb are you referring to the Furtwangler Ring with RAI or the La Scala? 

 The RAI Ring was the first complete Ring Cycle I ever bought and despite its less than stellar sound I believe Furtwangler was able to produce a recording well worth listening to.  In my opinion that RAI recording is more an achievement in conducting than anything else (singing, orchestra playing etc.) Still I do believe it is not ideal for a first timer to the Ring and I do support AC Douglas' recommendation (in his article) that the Solti Ring is the one to get for newbes to Wagner. I still have not reached a conclusion on my end as to which interpretation is most suited to Wagner's music dramas and I am still studying the articles posted by David Zalman (thanks David) from AC Douglas.

  marvin     

Nice post Marvin

yes the RAI, I believe there are others who feel Furtwangler conducts close to ideal, and witha  stunning cast in every role. hard to argue against as being "one of the finest ever Rings".
The other 2 I will hold off mention. You can go to me amazon review. I had to work long and hard to find these, but welll worth the efforts.
Solti for beginners to the Ring? Thats  first.
Either a  recording captures all the nuances of this masterwork or falls short.
Why even consider a   second rate Ring. If for no reason than they are so expensive to waste money on.
Thankfully I avoided the decision of  sinking money in either the Solti of the Bohm,. In spite of all the "you absoluetly must get both paul" I've been advised over the past 5 yrs on various forums.

The Kraus could never work for me as a  Ring experience.

Paul
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 19, 2008, 07:52:53 AM
An excellent choice with that Karajan Meistersinger Sarge...   

Karajan's Meistersinger is the reference recording of the work.

I don't think it's entirely misleading to expect Karajan's Holländer to supercede each.

Hey, guys, I just ordered Karajan's Meistersinger and Holländer. Total price: €8.40  :o  They are part of this collection  8)

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/1815685?rk=classic&rsk=hitlist


Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on January 19, 2008, 08:51:40 AM
Hey, guys, I just ordered Karajan's Meistersinger and Holländer. Total price: €8.40  :o  They are part of this collection  8)

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/1815685?rk=classic&rsk=hitlist


Sarge



Sarge, my envy deepens...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 19, 2008, 11:04:37 AM


Sarge, my envy deepens...


  So does mine.....

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 21, 2008, 12:40:20 PM


  To all Wagner fans:

  I just bought this:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513VCG00RAL._SS500_.jpg)

  It's the Knappertsbusch 1962 Live recording from Bayreuth.  I have been looking for an alternative to the Karajan Parsifal which I have owned for many years.  The reviews I read of this Knappertsbusch really impressed me.  They made it sound like it is the "definitive" Parsifal on the market.  I just couldn't resist buying it.  I still haven't opened it yet, which means I can still return for a full refund. 

  Question: is it really as outstanding as the reviews say it is?
 
  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 21, 2008, 01:19:26 PM
It's the Knappertsbusch 1962 Live recording from Bayreuth.  I have been looking for an alternative to the Karajan Parsifal which I have owned for many years.  The reviews I read of this Knappertsbusch really impressed me.  They made it sound like it is the "definitive" Parsifal on the market.  I just couldn't resist buying it.  I still haven't opened it yet, which means I can still return for a full refund. 

Question: is it really as outstanding as the reviews say it is?

Short answer: Yes. The 1962 recording of Parsifal is, probably, the finest widely available version. Knappertsbusch had a way with Parsifal that is almost unmatched.

Long answer: I am increasingly of the opinion that, if you want a Knappertsbusch Parsifal, then you need to give the 1964 recording (13 August 1964) some serious consideration. It is Jon Vickers' sole (to my knowledge) recording as Parsifal - N.B., it was out on Melodram before its current, "official" Orfeo incarnation. I find Vickers to be a better Parsifal than Jess Thomas, but there is one still greater - of the modern tenors - but that will come in a bit. The sound is better on the Philips release, and Knappertsbusch's Parsifal did not undergo a radical transformation between 1962 and 1964. That's not entirely fair: 1964 was Knappertsbusch's last season on the Green Hill, and this recording shows a fullness and completeness that comes from a man at the end of his life having devoted much of that life to Wagner's greatest score. The choice between the two is a choice of casting and whether you can deal with good, but still live on-site, mid-1960s mono. I think Vickers was a better Heldentenor than Thomas, and I think Vickers conveyed the role with more nuance and subtlety, but that's a subjective judgment.

There is, as I mentioned, one tenor better suited to Parsifal than either Thomas or Vickers, and that is James King. There are two recordings of King as Parsifal: one with Pierre Boulez from 1970 and one with Rafael Kubelík and the SOBR from 1980. The former is, if you like Boulez, essential listening as it is his best-recorded outing in Parsifal. There is an earlier one on Melodram, but its sound is variable and not worth the trouble. Boulez' Parsifal is not for everyone, and - now as then - his Wagner is pretty controversial in general. I would not recommend it if you're not (1) a Boulez completist, or (2) enamored with his Wagner. I would, however, say that Kubelík's Parsifal is the finest on record. It's a shame that the Arts Archive set is not widely available, except on-line. Kubelík has much the same sense of time and motion as Knappertsbusch, and has a way with the score that seems to suspend time and let the music unfold in its own way. Kubelík seemed willing to let Wagner do, through the music, what Wagner wanted to do. That is to say that his tempo, dynamics, and overall sense of the architecture are so well-considered and so respectful of Wagner that its natural luminosity makes other, more conductor-centric interpretations look like, pace Karajan, gaslight. Kubelík "got" Wagner and he "got" Parsifal. His Lohengrin, also with James King, is another sensitive, intelligent, and unobtrusive approach to the score. The sound, Bayerischen Rundfunks in Munich, is better than good. This is the best studio Parsifal, and it demands consideration for the overall prize.

If Thielemann hadn't had Domingo as the eponymous holy fool, I might discuss that work at length. Orchestrally, it's great. Domingo? Parsifal?

Does not compute.

So, Knappertsbusch '62 is great, I prefer Knappertsbusch '64, but recognize that Kubelík is king of the modern recordings. Open the set, listen to it, and revisit frequently. If you can only have one, make that it. If you can have two, get the Kubelík.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 21, 2008, 01:53:28 PM
Short answer: Yes. The 1962 recording of Parsifal is, probably, the finest widely available version. Knappertsbusch had a way with Parsifal that is almost unmatched.

Long answer: I am increasingly of the opinion that, if you want a Knappertsbusch Parsifal, then you need to give the 1964 recording (13 August 1964) some serious consideration. It is Jon Vickers' sole (to my knowledge) recording as Parsifal - N.B., it was out on Melodram before its current, "official" Orfeo incarnation. I find Vickers to be a better Parsifal than Jess Thomas, but there is one still greater - of the modern tenors - but that will come in a bit. The sound is better on the Philips release, and Knappertsbusch's Parsifal did not undergo a radical transformation between 1962 and 1964. That's not entirely fair: 1964 was Knappertsbusch's last season on the Green Hill, and this recording shows a fullness and completeness that comes from a man at the end of his life having devoted much of that life to Wagner's greatest score. The choice between the two is a choice of casting and whether you can deal with good, but still live on-site, mid-1960s mono. I think Vickers was a better Heldentenor than Thomas, and I think Vickers conveyed the role with more nuance and subtlety, but that's a subjective judgment.

There is, as I mentioned, one tenor better suited to Parsifal than either Thomas or Vickers, and that is James King. There are two recordings of King as Parsifal: one with Pierre Boulez from 1970 and one with Rafael Kubelík and the SOBR from 1980. The former is, if you like Boulez, essential listening as it is his best-recorded outing in Parsifal. There is an earlier one on Melodram, but its sound is variable and not worth the trouble. Boulez' Parsifal is not for everyone, and - now as then - his Wagner is pretty controversial in general. I would not recommend it if you're not (1) a Boulez completist, or (2) enamored with his Wagner. I would, however, say that Kubelík's Parsifal is the finest on record. It's a shame that the Arts Archive set is not widely available, except on-line. Kubelík has much the same sense of time and motion as Knappertsbusch, and has a way with the score that seems to suspend time and let the music unfold in its own way. Kubelík seemed willing to let Wagner do, through the music, what Wagner wanted to do. That is to say that his tempo, dynamics, and overall sense of the architecture are so well-considered and so respectful of Wagner that its natural luminosity makes other, more conductor-centric interpretations look like, pace Karajan, gaslight. Kubelík "got" Wagner and he "got" Parsifal. His Lohengrin, also with James King, is another sensitive, intelligent, and unobtrusive approach to the score. The sound, Bayerischen Rundfunks in Munich, is better than good. This is the best studio Parsifal, and it demands consideration for the overall prize.

If Thielemann hadn't had Domingo as the eponymous holy fool, I might discuss that work at length. Orchestrally, it's great. Domingo? Parsifal?

Does not compute.

So, Knappertsbusch '62 is great, I prefer Knappertsbusch '64, but recognize that Kubelík is king of the modern recordings. Open the set, listen to it, and revisit frequently. If you can only have one, make that it. If you can have two, get the Kubelík.

  WOW PSmith08, thank you for that very informative post. You certainly know your Wagner and I am impressed with your exposure to all these recordings.  I will admit that I had not heard of Kubelik's Parsifal.  But seeing as how you rate it so highly I will have to go looking for it (its not amazon that I am sure of!)
  Based on your post I will go ahead and give the Knappertsbusch a listen and see what comes of it, keeping in mind the '64 and Kubelik for the future.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 21, 2008, 02:11:04 PM
  WOW PSmith08, thank you for that very informative post. You certainly know your Wagner and I am impressed with your exposure to all these recordings.  I will admit that I had not heard of Kubelik's Parsifal.  But seeing as how you rate it so highly I will have to go looking for it (its not amazon that I am sure of!)
  Based on your post I will go ahead and give the Knappertsbusch a listen and see what comes of it, keeping in mind the '64 and Kubelik for the future.

Parsifal and Der fliegende Holländer are my non-Ring obsessions in the Wagner oeuvre.

Spend some time with the 1962 Knappertsbusch record. It is one of the great Wagner records, of any score. Indeed, I would say that Knappertsbusch's 1962 Parsifal, Solti's Der Ring des Nibelungen, and Furtwängler's Tristan und Isolde are in a class unto themselves. They are landmarks of the Wagner discography, and among the greatest records produced for various reasons. I forgot to mention his 1951 set, which has Windgassen in the title role. There are those who rate the 1951 record as his best, but - despite the great sense of occasion and its indisputable quality - I really have to go where the sound is good. That means 1962 or 1964, depending on what you mean by "good sound." There are a lot of Knappertsbusch recordings of Parsifal on the market, and - I'll say this - if you get Hans Knappertsbusch in Parsifal at Bayreuth, then you really don't have to worry too much about the product. Sound quality and singer-debate are about all that's left.

Another one, but one I've never warmed as much toward (I prefer Thielemann's to it, but my Thielemann-antipathy, as I noted, has more to do with Domingo) is Barenboim's on Teldec. It is well regarded, but I just haven't fallen in love with it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on January 21, 2008, 03:14:39 PM

  To all Wagner fans:

  I just bought this:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513VCG00RAL._SS500_.jpg)

  It's the Knappertsbusch 1962 Live recording from Bayreuth.  I have been looking for an alternative to the Karajan Parsifal which I have owned for many years.  The reviews I read of this Knappertsbusch really impressed me.  They made it sound like it is the "definitive" Parsifal on the market.  I just couldn't resist buying it.  I still haven't opened it yet, which means I can still return for a full refund. 

  Question: is it really as outstanding as the reviews say it is?
 
  marvin





My fiancee was in the other room saying her Rosary when she heard me making ooOOOoooOOOoooooOOOOOooo sounds. She came out, saying I interrupted her. She was weirded-out that I might be ogling some pretty girl on the internet. But no, I couldn't help but be reduced to drooling when I saw Marvin's Parsifal acquisition. Marvin, that is one extremely cool recording I'm dying to have.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on January 21, 2008, 03:29:16 PM
Parsifal and Der fliegende Holländer are my non-Ring obsessions in the Wagner oeuvre.






Hey, what's your preferred Der fliegende Holländer cd and dvd? Forgive me if you've been asked one too many times.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 21, 2008, 06:02:09 PM
Hey, what's your preferred Der fliegende Holländer cd and dvd? Forgive me if you've been asked one too many times.

I'll go to the DVD options first, since those are - shall we say - less complicated. There are two versions available, one from Bayreuth using Harry Kupfer's 1978 production, though I think it was filmed in 1985. This is an unconventional version, since - rather than playing it straight - Senta is the main character and the story unfolds from her point-of-view. The production is strange, though it isn't as far-out as Kupfer's Ring. Some clips are about on the mighty Interweb if you're so inclined. Another, which I haven't seen, is a production conducted by Leif Segerstam. I can't comment, but it's an option. The Kupfer version would seem to be your best bet, if you can deal with Harry Kupfer.

As to CDs, this is a bit thornier. The long-time reference is Otto Klemperer's EMI set (1968). It has Theo Adam as the Holländer, Anja Silja as Senta, Martti Talvela as Daland, and Ernst Kozub as Erik. It is a standard recommendation for a reason. This set (and Klemperer's overtures-and-preludes set) show that Klemperer did have some affinity for Wagner. It is somewhat deliberate as far as the style goes, running probably fifteen minutes longer than some of his competitors, but it's Klemperer in 1968. You're not going to get Pierre Boulez' speed, but you do get a sort of grandeur and power to the score that other recordings don't necessarily have.

Karl Böhm's 1971 is back on the market at budget price. If you like Böhm's Wagner and can deal with Gwyneth Jones, then you're probably safe plunking down fifteen or twenty bucks and giving it a spin. It has that same sort of nervous tension and speed that Böhm's Ring and Tristan have. It also has the orchestral and architectural transparency that Böhm could bring to the table. Holländer is rarely a conductor's experimenting ground, and Böhm does what one would expect him to do with Wagner. The balances, though, strike me as a little weird with this one. The choruses - especially the Norwegian sailors' chorus - seem a little thin. I almost want to say that the mikes are too close, but it doesn't seem like that. That could just be me. The Böhm set has been another well-regarded and highly recommended version, like his Ring and Tristan. It's a matter of choice.

Speaking of the choruses - there are several in Holländer of which I am very fond - Georg Solti's 1976 recording is one that gets short shrift, but has really stellar choral work and an orchestral contribution that is as powerful and muscular as one could want. Indeed, Solti's Holländer holds a special spot with me, as it was my first Wagner record. I don't think it's even on the market anymore, though a used recording could be found at a reasonable price. Amazon's sellers don't have it at anything approaching that, but other options might be available. It doesn't have the greatest cast, and I am not entirely sure how well the Chicago Symphony Orchestra handles the early Wagnerian idiom - though they bring power in spades. Solti is a good second or third choice, if you want to track it down, for the choral contribution, but I don't know how well it would serve as one's only recording.

I'll skip Levine and Barenboim, and say that they are reasonable choices, but there are better.

Like the two I would recommend equally and interchangeably, depending on what you want. Testament has just rereleased Joseph Keilberth's 1955 Bayreuth recording, which had been put out before in mono sound, in pretty good stereo. Apparently Decca recorded more than just that Ring at the '55 Festspiele. Keilberth and Knappertsbusch switched off the Holländer shows that year, and Melodram has the Knappertsbusch recording available, though I've never listened to it. Keilberth has the best Holländer of the age in Hermann Uhde, Astrid Varnay as Senta, and Ludwig Weber as Daland. That is the dream cast. Uhde is the only bass-baritone I have heard in the role (with perhaps one exception) that manages to convey the angst and torment of the Holländer effectively. Others come off as flat, boring, or even - and this a problem - almost genial. Uhde really conveyed that part, and was a generally great Wagnerian bass-baritone. His Gunther for Knappertsbusch in Götterdämmerung (1956) is a reference performance. Astrid Varnay was, really, one of the great Wagnerian sopranos. She had the bad luck to have to compete with Flagstad and Nilsson, but she was really fine. This recording is, in my mind, the one to get if you can only have just one.

Now, there is a modern competitor in Woldemar Nelsson's 1985 recording, back out as part of Philips' "Classic Opera" series. This is the record to go with the Kupfer video I mentioned above. The sound is better than Keilberth's, though thirty years of stereo technology should make that an assumed quantity. Simon Estes' Holländer comes very close, to my ears, to Uhde's supremely tormented portrayal. This is not James Morris. There is a lot of angst and torment there. Estes' voice can be very bleak, too, but I think Uhde has the slight edge in broadcasting gloom. Lisbeth Balslev's Senta is not Astrid Varnay's version, but it is miles ahead of Gwyneth's for Böhm. Matti Salminen's Daland is not without its charms. Indeed, of the modern recordings, Nelsson's is really the first recourse. Of them all, I have to give it to Keilberth. His style, his cast, and his general approach to Wagner make that set (Testament, mind you, not the Teldec release of some years back) without equal and only few competitors.

That is far more than I had intended to say.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on January 21, 2008, 07:38:56 PM
Does Parsifal have to be a CD or can you accept a DVD?

Of the many Parsifals I have listened to and watched, one has worked it's way to the top, the one performed at the Baden-Baden opera house and conducted by Kent Nagano. The stunning direction is by Nikolaus Lehnhoff, a director who believes in stark, unembellished sets. No, no concept advocate, don't frown. Matti Salminen is for me the best Gurnemanz and of course Waltraud Meier owns the Kundry role. Lehnhoff gives Amfortas a chance to get off his usual stretcher, an opportunity Thomas Hampson uses to move about while singing as only he can.

Give it a try!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 21, 2008, 07:48:56 PM
Does Parsifal have to be a CD or can you accept a DVD?

Of the many Parsifals I have listened to and watched, one has worked it's way to the top, the one performed at the Baden-Baden opera house and conducted by Kent Nagano. The stunning direction is by Nikolaus Lehnhoff, a director who believes in stark, unembellished sets. No, no concept advocate, don't frown. Matti Salminen is for me the best Gurnemanz and of course Waltraud Meier owns the Kundry role. Lehnhoff gives Amfortas a chance to get off his usual stretcher, an opportunity Thomas Hampson uses to move about while singing as only he can.

Give it a try!

I recall Angela Merkel noted to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that she preferred Lehnhoff's Parsifal to the concurrent joke by Christoph Schlingensief at Bayreuth. For obvious reasons, some folks in the United States rebroadcast her remarks.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on January 21, 2008, 08:18:18 PM
If Thielemann hadn't had Domingo as the eponymous holy fool, I might discuss that work at length. Orchestrally, it's great. Domingo? Parsifal?

Does not compute.

Really not? Or could that be a foregone conclusion: "Italian singer=can't sing Wagner"? Just asking, I haven't heard the recording.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 21, 2008, 08:46:01 PM
Really not? Or could that be a foregone conclusion: "Italian singer=can't sing Wagner"? Just asking, I haven't heard the recording.

I don't think that a Spanish singer who has made quite a name for himself in the major Italian repertoire (though he has a pretty big set of roles) is necessarily precluded from singing Wagner. I believe he did Lohengrin in 1968, so he was doing Wagner forty years ago. My issues with Domingo in Parsifal are really two-fold. First, he was 65 years old when he did those Vienna shows. I am sorry, but hearing the Flower-Maidens try to seduce Parsifal, singing "Komm, holder Knabe" strikes me as supremely silly when the "holder Knabe" is pushing 70 years old. I can suspend my disbelief, but only so far before I have to say, "This ain't right." Domingo's voice has held up pretty well, but this isn't the Domingo of Giulini's Rigoletto or Muti's Aida. As to my second issue, I don't think that Domingo is now or ever was a Heldentenor. I would say that he was probably a strong contender for the greatest lyric tenor of his generation. I personally prefer Peter Schreier, but that's more of an interpretation thing. It seems to me that, as he ages and his tone darkens a little bit, he's moving into the high-power Heldentenor roles, like Siegmund and Parsifal; that does not, however, mean that he is entirely suited to them. Indeed, I would say that he would make a fine Lohengrin or Tannhäuser, in the former role likely giving Sándor Kónya a very serious run for his money. For the Ring roles and Parsifal, though, a slightly darkened lyric voice won't cut it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on January 21, 2008, 08:58:49 PM
Thanks for elaborating! BTW, I always thought that Domingo was Mexican, but I looked it up and found he was actually born in Spain. We learn new things every day. But I think you understood that I meant someone who is mostly associated with Italian repertoire and singing style.

My issues with Domingo in Parsifal are really two-fold. First, he was 65 years old when he did those Vienna shows. I am sorry, but hearing the Flower-Maidens try to seduce Parsifal, singing "Komm, holder Knabe" strikes me as supremely silly when the "holder Knabe" is pushing 70 years old.

Yes, that is a little silly. Maybe they should have sung "holder Knacker"* instead.




*"Knacker", literally "cracker", is a common demeaning expression for old people in German, probably on account of their joints cracking.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 21, 2008, 09:32:19 PM
Thanks for elaborating! BTW, I always thought that Domingo was Mexican, but I looked it up and found he was actually born in Spain. We learn new things every day. But I think you understood that I meant someone who is mostly associated with Italian repertoire and singing style.

I think he had some family in Mexico, who died in the 1985 Mexico City earthquake.

Quote
Yes, that is a little silly. Maybe they should have sung "holder Knacker"* instead.

The recording was made over a live run at the Staatsoper in 2005, which would make him only 64 when he appeared. My mistake. In the booklet, there are some production photos, and it is a bit strange to see an obviously middle-aged man with gray hair in the part. That is a little strange for a young hero. A concert performance, maybe even with the Münchner Philharmoniker, would have made more sense. Still, given Domingo's voice, I think that there are more profitable Wagner roles available. Some, even, with less competition.

Quote
*"Knacker", literally "cracker", is a common demeaning expression for old people in German, probably on account of their joints cracking.

I didn't know that. I learned something new today.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on January 21, 2008, 09:40:57 PM
A concert performance, maybe even with the Münchner Philharmoniker, would have made more sense.

Why "even"?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 21, 2008, 10:24:29 PM
Why "even"?

I probably used "even" in the sense of the OED definition 9(b), "Attached to a word or clause expressing time, manner, place, or any attendant circumstance." Definition 9 is, in full, "Intimating that the sentence expresses an extreme case of a more general proposition implied (= Fr. même). Prefixed (in later use often parenthetically postfixed) to the particular word, phrase, or clause, on which the extreme character of the statement or supposition depends." So, then, the concert performance would be the general proposition, and the concert performance with the MP would be the manner in which the general proposition would be executed.

I could get really slippery and say that I was using an archaism pursuant to OED def. 8, "Prefixed to a subject, object, or predicate, or to the expression of a qualifying circumstance, to emphasize its identity. Obs. exc. arch. Also in 16-17th c. (hence still arch. after Bible use) serving to introduce an epexegesis; = ‘namely’, ‘that is to say’."

Or, we could just agree that I used "even" in the sense that such an arrangement would be highly non-trivial, and pursuant to OED def. 9(c).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 21, 2008, 10:48:59 PM
*"Knacker", literally "cracker", is a common demeaning expression for old people in German, probably on account of their joints cracking.

In Dutch it's the same:  (oude) 'knakker'. The English would say 'old geezer' or 'old fart'.

Johan
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sarastro on January 21, 2008, 10:51:58 PM
Domingo was born in Spain, and moved to Mexico at age 8 with his family, who ran a zarzuela company.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on January 22, 2008, 02:28:45 AM
I probably used "even" in the sense of the OED definition 9(b), "Attached to a word or clause expressing time, manner, place, or any attendant circumstance." Definition 9 is, in full, "Intimating that the sentence expresses an extreme case of a more general proposition implied (= Fr. même). Prefixed (in later use often parenthetically postfixed) to the particular word, phrase, or clause, on which the extreme character of the statement or supposition depends." So, then, the concert performance would be the general proposition, and the concert performance with the MP would be the manner in which the general proposition would be executed.

I could get really slippery and say that I was using an archaism pursuant to OED def. 8, "Prefixed to a subject, object, or predicate, or to the expression of a qualifying circumstance, to emphasize its identity. Obs. exc. arch. Also in 16-17th c. (hence still arch. after Bible use) serving to introduce an epexegesis; = ‘namely’, ‘that is to say’."

Or, we could just agree that I used "even" in the sense that such an arrangement would be highly non-trivial, and pursuant to OED def. 9(c).

Huh?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 22, 2008, 06:11:01 AM




My fiancee was in the other room saying her Rosary when she heard me making ooOOOoooOOOoooooOOOOOooo sounds. She came out, saying I interrupted her. She was weirded-out that I might be ogling some pretty girl on the internet. But no, I couldn't help but be reduced to drooling when I saw Marvin's Parsifal acquisition. Marvin, that is one extremely cool recording I'm dying to have.

  Haffner, I am so sorry to have created a "potential" problem with your loved one- not that Wagner's music could ever replace the love of a woman (could he??), but yes you might want to jot this recording down as well as the '64 Knapp (read PSmith08's review) as future purchases.  I must admit that I discovered this 1962 recording by accident.  I really did not need another Parsifal (I have Karajan's recording as well as the Levine DVD and have seen countless others)  but this 1962 Knapp Parsifal was screaming: Buy me!! Buy me!! I just couldn't resist.  Tonight I shall listen to it.

  marvin   
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 22, 2008, 06:29:41 AM
  Haffner, I am so sorry to have created a "potential" problem with your loved one- not that Wagner's music could ever replace the love of a woman (could he??), but yes you might want to jot this recording down as well as the '64 Knapp (read PSmith08's review) as future purchases.  I must admit that I discovered this 1962 recording by accident.  I really did not need another Parsifal (I have Karajan's recording as well as the Levine DVD and have seen countless others)  but this 1962 Knapp Parsifal was screaming: Buy me!! Buy me!! I just couldn't resist.  Tonight I shall listen to it.

  marvin   

I think Wagner wrote a short romp about what happens when someone forswears love for material gain.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 22, 2008, 06:46:33 AM
I think Wagner wrote a short romp about what happens when someone forswears love for material gain.

I think I know it. A delightful miniature.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 22, 2008, 06:49:09 AM
I think I know it. A delightful miniature.

  Yes 14+ hours that seem to go by in minutes  ;).

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 22, 2008, 06:52:20 AM
I think I know it. A delightful miniature.

Really a marvel of economy of form it is. Indeed, only rarely has someone said so much so briefly.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: longears on January 22, 2008, 06:59:50 AM
I think Wagner wrote a short romp about what happens when someone forswears love for material gain.
I think I know it. A delightful miniature.
  Yes 14+ hours that seem to go by in minutes  ;).
Really a marvel of economy of form it is. Indeed, only rarely has someone said so much so briefly.

I see I'm not the only one here who loves irony. Y'all give the lie to the common belief that Wagnereenies have no sense of humor!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 22, 2008, 07:18:28 AM
I see I'm not the only one here who loves irony. Y'all give the lie to the common belief that Wagnereenies have no sense of humor!

Wagner's first wife Minna had a parrot she had trained to say 'Richard Wagner is a bad man! Richard Wagner is a bad man!'

Johan
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 22, 2008, 07:29:45 AM
I see I'm not the only one here who loves irony. Y'all give the lie to the common belief that Wagnereenies have no sense of humor!

What? Who's kidding? Wagnerites are a dour lot, given to much solemn pontification and angry disputation over orchestral transparency and appropriate tempo for, oh say, the finale of Das Rheingold.

Indeed, Wagner is what happens to you if you don't play sports as a child.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 22, 2008, 07:34:53 AM

Wagner is what happens to you if you don't play sports as a child.

How did you know?!  ???
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 22, 2008, 07:42:28 AM
How did you know?!  ???

J'accuse! (Myself, too)

Wagner requires a personality that is rarely forged on the baseball diamond, gridiron, or pitch.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 22, 2008, 08:00:32 AM
J'accuse! (Myself, too)

Wagner requires a personality that is rarely forged on the baseball diamond, gridiron, or pitch.

But what about all those cheerleaders in Parsifal, Second Act?

But serious - you do need a certain introspection to like Wagner (although he didn't compose 'loner's music', as a fellow member of the Havergal Brian Society once said about Brian, more or less correctly...)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on January 22, 2008, 08:18:52 AM
Any thoughts on Klingsor's dark magic that is shattered by Kundry's kiss, ie Parsifal's carnal knowledge? Wagner and Shakespeare are both interested in love and foolishness- eg Parsifal and Siegfried(?) and R&J/ MSMD.

The dark magic is the state of mind of the young misguided man who doesn't see the common sense, non-rational means of proceeding with a girl... Even at 42 Wagner the great lover said he'd never had real love, and Shakespeare was still writing about wanting to be set free from Prospero's books at the end of his career.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 22, 2008, 08:20:43 AM
  Yes 14+ hours that seem to go by in minutes  ;).

  marvin

  Am I the only person here who feels that the Ring isn't long enough  :o??  And yes you do need to have a certain introspection to like Wagner.  That said Wagner is not for the faint hearted. I like to think of him as the Alpha Male of composers- in short that guy's music is pure testosterone!!  If you're looking for "dainty" tunes Wagner ain't your man!!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 22, 2008, 08:24:33 AM
J'accuse! (Myself, too)

Wagner requires a personality that is rarely forged on the baseball diamond, gridiron, or pitch.

  Not so sure about that PSmith08, I ski (steep black runs), play tennis and soccer. The First Act of Siegfried (such powerful music can be very inspiring) gives me an adrenaline rush unlike any other!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on January 22, 2008, 08:28:22 AM
Wagner is extraordinarily masculine music- put it on before you take your girl out, murderously decisive, thrusting, ruthless, intuitive, dark, domineering. I haven't heard the notion that the Ring is too short before, but the libretto is basically weird and laconic, as all his librettos, suggesting so much more.

By the way Marvin I think you were asking about the Bach cantatas a while back and whether you'd got the measure of them or not. Well I do not think they're invested with Bach's greastest thought- they're good but not great music, as you sensed to begin with...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 22, 2008, 08:35:03 AM

By the way Marvin I think you were asking about the Bach cantatas a while back and whether you'd got the measure of them or not. Well I do not think they're invested with Bach's greastest thought- they're good but not great music, as you sensed to begin with...

  Yes Sean, I gave up on the cantatas.  I have about 30 of them, the most popular favorite  ones and worst yet they are expensive to collect.  I'd much rather save money and buy the Karajan Ring for example than more cantatas.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on January 22, 2008, 08:37:55 AM
Marv, I notice you have the Knappertzbusch Parsifal, I've heard it, along with the Levine and Jurowski live, but I know it from the Karajan, which is entirely in a class of its own.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 22, 2008, 08:39:57 AM
By the way Marvin I think you were asking about the Bach cantatas a while back and whether you'd got the measure of them or not. Well I do not think they're invested with Bach's greastest thought- they're good but not great music, as you sensed to begin with...

Well, I do think they're invested with some of Bach's greatest thought. Not all of them, but many, and not necessarily the so-called "popular" ones. And I've heard all 200 of them, not just the 30 Marvin knows and has apparently "given up" on. I spent $240 USD for the entire Harnoncourt/Leonhardt set from Berkshire Outlet, or about $4 a CD, and no purchase of mine was ever better. At their finest they're great and not just good music, no matter what Marvin sensed to begin with.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on January 22, 2008, 08:55:33 AM
That's a good price- I'll be having a look on Amazon.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 22, 2008, 09:06:07 AM
That's a good price- I'll be having a look on Amazon.

Why bother, if you're so sure they're not such great music? Those of us not so confident of our personal opinions can find the 60-CD set new at US Amazon for under $190.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on January 22, 2008, 10:00:39 AM
Marv, I notice you have the Knappertzbusch Parsifal, I've heard it, along with the Levine and Jurowski live,

Sean, was this Vladimir Jurowski? And where did you see it live? Do you know if it is available on CD or DVD? I couldn't find any record of him conducting any Wagner. And you are too young to have attended live performances by Vladimir's father!  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 22, 2008, 10:05:53 AM
Well, I do think they're invested with some of Bach's greatest thought. Not all of them, but many, and not necessarily the so-called "popular" ones. And I've heard all 200 of them, not just the 30 Marvin knows and has apparently "given up" on. I spent $240 USD for the entire Harnoncourt/Leonhardt set from Berkshire Outlet, or about $4 a CD, and no purchase of mine was ever better. At their finest they're great and not just good music, no matter what Marvin sensed to begin with.

I have my doubts about the musical sense of anyone who is not moved by the Bach cantatas at some level or another. Listening to BWV 34, "O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe," for example, and not seeing a genius at work is worrisome. No, Bach's cantatas are not "invested with Bach's greatest thought." They are Bach's greatest thought. A project that massive, that wide-ranging, cannot be but one of the greatest monuments to religion in the Western tradition.

Wagner was a great intellect, but even he must have pause when confronted with Bach. I once argued that all music after Bach is either an agreement with or a response to that which he accomplished. I'm not sure that I wouldn't argue as much today.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 22, 2008, 10:09:53 AM
I have my doubts about the musical sense of anyone who is not moved by the Bach cantatas at some level or another. Listening to BWV 34, "O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe," for example, and not seeing a genius at work is worrisome. No, Bach's cantatas are not "invested with Bach's greatest thought." They are Bach's greatest thought. A project that massive, that wide-ranging, cannot be but one of the greatest monuments to religion in the Western tradition.

Absolutely. Over a period of about 4 months, I went through the entire 60-CD set of sacred cantatas in BWV sequence, and the experience was revelatory. Any number of previously unknown treasures.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 22, 2008, 10:57:19 AM
Absolutely. Over a period of about 4 months, I went through the entire 60-CD set of sacred cantatas in BWV sequence, and the experience was revelatory. Any number of previously unknown treasures.

  Gentlemen...please...this is a thread about Wagner not Bach's cantatas.  Let's stick to discussing Wagner shall we!

  marvin 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on January 22, 2008, 10:59:37 AM
Sean, was this Vladimir Jurowski? And where did you see it live? Do you know if it is available on CD or DVD? I couldn't find any record of him conducting any Wagner. And you are too young to have attended live performances by Vladimir's father!  :)

Uffe, I must admit I'm not absolutely sure it was Jurowski and I did a quick search before. I saw the Welsh National Opera production in 2003 I think it was, with Sara Fulgoni as a fantastic Kundry, in very imaginative and very serious settings.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on January 22, 2008, 11:05:15 AM
  Gentlemen...please...this is a thread about Wagner not Bach's cantatas.  Let's stick to discussing Wagner shall we!

  marvin 

I didn't bring it up. But having seen the comment, I wasn't going to let it go unanswered.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 22, 2008, 01:20:55 PM
I didn't bring it up. But having seen the comment, I wasn't going to let it go unanswered.

Zing.

In any event, let's try discussing Meistersinger without something more than a passing reference to Bach.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Don on January 22, 2008, 01:31:02 PM
Zing.

In any event, let's try discussing Meistersinger without something more than a passing reference to Bach.

Are you talking about a long pass or a short pass?  It's good to know the parameters.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 22, 2008, 01:44:15 PM
Are you talking about a long pass or a short pass?  It's good to know the parameters.

Well, if the defense is particularly skilled at stopping the run, I'd say a screen pass with the tight end running around to receive and get at least the conversion. If we can fake the defense out well enough, I'd say TD.

I remember a game this year where the opponent ran the screen often enough to get us expecting it and defending appropriately, only to go for the long pass. That game was won on a last-second field goal by a kicker making his collegiate debut. We were tied 21-21, and it looked like we were going to run it into OT and salvage the situation there. The opponent had an incredible drive, and got them within a long FG range. The guy hit it. My stomach hit the deck when I saw it go through the uprights. 24-21.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Don on January 22, 2008, 01:53:08 PM
Well, if the defense is particularly skilled at stopping the run, I'd say a screen pass with the tight end running around to receive and get at least the conversion. If we can fake the defense out well enough, I'd say TD.

I remember a game this year where the opponent ran the screen often enough to get us expecting it and defending appropriately, only to go for the long pass. That game was won on a last-second field goal by a kicker making his collegiate debut. We were tied 21-21, and it looked like we were going to run it into OT and salvage the situation there. The opponent had an incredible drive, and got them within a long FG range. The guy hit it. My stomach hit the deck when I saw it go through the uprights. 24-21.

My sympathies.  Any chance that rookie might switch to your college?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 22, 2008, 01:59:15 PM
My sympathies.  Any chance that rookie might switch to your college?

Not likely. It was the big rivalry game, so there was more to it than just the game. I don't know if I can recall much Wabash-DePauw transferring in either direction: it seems that once you've chosen, you're staying put.

Wittenberg had a kicker that seemed like he had a cannon for a leg. If we were stealing kickers, then that's the guy I'd want. He was good. Stuff I wouldn't have thought he would have an easy time with looked real smooth. Accurate, too.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Don on January 22, 2008, 02:17:01 PM
Isn't anyone going to say that this thread is about Wagner, not football?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 22, 2008, 02:26:10 PM
This thread is about Wagner, not football!  $:)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on January 22, 2008, 02:32:50 PM
Zing.

In any event, let's try discussing Meistersinger without something more than a passing reference to Bach.

  Well one of the many highlights of Die Meistersinger is the transition from the overture to the vocal part of the opera.  That overture is wonderfull and after roughly 10 min it reaches a climax and suddenly ends, almost unexpectedly and we find ourselves in a church listening to the chorus of the congregation singing the service's final choral, " Da zu dir der Heiland kam"- "When the Saviour came to thee", the music is so gloriously "holy" I am sure J.S Bach would have approved of it! How's that for "without something more" than a passing reference to J.S. Bach PSmith08?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Don on January 22, 2008, 02:46:12 PM
This thread is about Wagner, not football!  $:)

Thanks, I needed that.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 22, 2008, 03:48:54 PM
  Well one of the many highlights of Die Meistersinger is the transition from the overture to the vocal part of the opera.  That overture is wonderfull and after roughly 10 min it reaches a climax and suddenly ends, almost unexpectedly and we find ourselves in a church listening to the chorus of the congregation singing the service's final choral, " Da zu dir der Heiland kam"- "When the Saviour came to thee", the music is so gloriously "holy" I am sure J.S Bach would have approved of it! How's that for "without something more" than a passing reference to J.S. Bach PSmith08?

Very nearly satisfactory. Of course, a more serious approach would be to discuss the contrapuntal nature of the overture, and Wagner's masterful balancing of the various orchestral voices - so masterful, indeed, that they blend into a seamless orchestral whole. At the risk of implying that Bach is "der Anfang und das Ende" of counterpoint and harmony, I would say that whole prelude owes an enormous stylistic debt to Bach.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brewski on January 25, 2008, 07:10:11 AM
Looking forward to seeing Tristan und Isolde at the Met in March, with the following cast.  It might be my favorite Wagner opera.

Conductor: James Levine
Isolde: Deborah Voigt
Brangäne: Michelle DeYoung
Tristan: Ben Heppner
Kurwenal: Eike Wilm Schulte
King Marke: Matti Salminen

I love this production, which I've seen once before.  (Not everyone agrees, as these Amazon comments on the 2004 DVD (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Tristan-Dalayman-Ketelsen-Metropolitan/dp/B0000CGV0P/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1201273450&sr=8-1) show.)  But if anything this cast is even better (IMHO) than the one on the DVD.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Morigan on January 25, 2008, 09:33:56 AM
Looking forward to seeing Tristan und Isolde at the Met in March, with the following cast.  It might be my favorite Wagner opera.

Conductor: James Levine
Isolde: Deborah Voigt
Brangäne: Michelle DeYoung
Tristan: Ben Heppner
Kurwenal: Eike Wilm Schulte
King Marke: Matti Salminen

I love this production, which I've seen once before.  (Not everyone agrees, as these Amazon comments on the 2004 DVD (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Tristan-Dalayman-Ketelsen-Metropolitan/dp/B0000CGV0P/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1201273450&sr=8-1) show.)  But if anything this cast is even better (IMHO) than the one on the DVD.

--Bruce

Oh dear, the reviews are very mixed! And some of them are absolutely mean :

"Here we have some of the most romantic music ever written, and we have a portly Tristan singing to a "morbidly obese" woman for over 3 hours."
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brewski on January 25, 2008, 09:40:07 AM
Yes, when Eaglen and Heppner first did it, there were a number of snide remarks.  (There was also a rather unflattering photo in the paper, with the two of them and a large rock, making all three look pretty much the same.)

I suspect it may be much better with Voigt, although vocally I had no problem with Eaglen. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on January 25, 2008, 11:51:17 AM
Yes, when Eaglen and Heppner first did it, there were a number of snide remarks.  (There was also a rather unflattering photo in the paper, with the two of them and a large rock, making all three look pretty much the same.)

--Bruce

I was there when they first did it, in Seattle in 1998, directed by Francesca Zambello, and I was moved to tears! I don't remember a 'rock', but I do remember how those two singers did their acting with their voices. Maybe Heppner has changed, and I understand, so did Eaglan - have not seen her live since then - ; but the performance had been praised universally. Yes universally, because a great number of visitors were from overseas, both East and West.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on January 25, 2008, 02:25:00 PM
Anne, your Seattle friend probably also told you this new production was an event, weeks, even months before the performance. Seattle's General Director, Speight Jenkins discovered Eaglen during one of his talent hunting trips in England and brought her to Seattle, where she was selected Seattle Opera's Artist of the Year for her performance of Norma. She is Seattle's OWN, lives there, got married there and is a welcome guest in every Seattle school from Kindergarten to the Universities, and a treasured customer of the fishmongers and greengrocers at the famous Pike Street Public Market!

She is obese? Look around your supermarket next time you are there and see all the obese females pushing their carts around. And they can't even sing!  :P
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 25, 2008, 02:37:10 PM
You might like to know that it was the Havergal Brian Society that sponsored Jane Eaglen's first recital - in the Purcell Room on the (London) South Bank, where she sang songs of, among others, Havergal Brian. That was on 1 November 1985. I still have the booklet somewhere.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Solitary Wanderer on January 25, 2008, 03:00:50 PM
(http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/images/The%20Ring%20Disc.jpg)

I've just received this CD-Rom and I'm having my first look atit.

Its quite amazing.

The complete cycle on one disc. Solti's famous version.

It has a running commentary, complete score and libretto in both german and english.

The commentary is especially interesting.

This looks to be a fabulous tool for delving deeper into the Ring :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on January 25, 2008, 03:10:15 PM
The complete cycle on one disc. Solti's famous version.

In mono. Just as acoustical reference material.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on January 25, 2008, 03:31:02 PM
You might like to know that it was the Havergal Brian Society that sponsored Jane Eaglen's first recital - in the Purcell Room on the (London) South Bank, where she sang songs of, among others, Havergal Brian. That was on 1 November 1985. I still have the booklet somewhere.

Uffeviking, Seattle and the rest of the great-voice-appreciating world are sincerely grateful to the Havergal Brian Society!

Jezetha, you recommend I should get acquainted with Brian's work? Never heard a note of his!  :-[
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 25, 2008, 03:51:12 PM
Jezetha, you recommend I should get acquainted with Brian's work? Never heard a note of his!  :-[

Uffeviking, there are billions of people who haven't heard a single Brianic note, so don't feel ashamed... Do I recommened him? Yes, of course! If you like Wagner, the grandiose, an inventive use of the orchestra and massed choral forces, try Brian's 'Gothic' Symphony, on Naxos. And see what you make of it... It is his most ambitious work, written between 1919 and 1927 (Brian lived from 1876 to 1972).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 01, 2008, 04:57:49 PM
  Am I the only person here who feels that the Ring isn't long enough  :o??   marvin





Yes: my favorite character, Wotan, was out of the action way too early!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 01, 2008, 05:02:16 PM
Wagner is extraordinarily masculine music- put it on before you take your girl out, murderously decisive, thrusting, ruthless, intuitive, dark, domineering.


I agree. My girl is mainly into Grieg, Beethoven, Mozart...Wagner is just too manly for her. This might seem really weird, so please forgive, but Wagner has the same effect on her as do heavy metal bands like Manowar and Krisiun: too much bass/baritone and testosterone!

Marv, I notice you have the Knappertzbusch Parsifal, I've heard it, along with the Levine and Jurowski live, but I know it from the Karajan, which is entirely in a class of its own.



How good is the Levine? I've been eyeing it recently. I actually liked alot of his Ring...though it's hard to listen to some of it after the Solti.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 02, 2008, 08:57:28 AM
In about half an hour Die Walküre from the Met will be on your NPR stations!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 02, 2008, 10:18:10 AM
Are you listening? Your NPR station does not carry it? Try http://www.king.org/programming/opera/index.aspx#met and here is the cast:

 Bass James Morris (one of the definitive Wotans of our time), soprano Lisa Gasteen (Bruennhilde), tenor Clifton Forbis (Siegmund), soprano Deborah Voigt (Sieglinde), and bass Mikhail Petrenko (Hunding) head this Metropolitan Opera cast, with Lorin Maazel as the conductor.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on February 02, 2008, 12:53:00 PM
Hi Haffner

Quote
How good is the Levine? I've been eyeing it recently. I actually liked alot of his Ring...though it's hard to listen to some of it after the Solti.

Levine's a committed Wagnerian, often shedding new light and colour, though without the most overarching mind to fully contain the great paragraphs. His Good Friday peroration music in Parsifal is superb, finding more strangeness and mystery in the fabulous harmonies than Karajan.

The Karajan otherwise though is entirely in a class of its own with no serious competitors: one of the greatest of opera recordings.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 02, 2008, 01:09:02 PM
Hi Haffner

Levine's a committed Wagnerian, often shedding new light and colour, though without the most overarching mind to fully contain the great paragraphs. His Good Friday peroration music in Parsifal is superb, finding more strangeness and mystery in the fabulous harmonies than Karajan.

The Karajan otherwise though is entirely in a class of its own with no serious competitors: one of the greatest of opera recordings.

I love Karajan's Parsifal, too. But don't you think his Kundry (Dunja Vejzovic) is the one weak link, Sean? I find her voice too sharp, and not really seductively maternal in the central scene of Act Two.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on February 02, 2008, 03:21:26 PM
Not a weak link, though she sounds like she's attacking 20th c music at times, especially at the point of that extraordinary leap (you know where I mean). It's Peter Hoffmann's Parsifal is the voice that lacks beauty unfortunately- he's on the note but sounds rough at times...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 02, 2008, 03:37:58 PM
Nobody listened to today's Walküre?  :'(
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brewski on February 02, 2008, 03:43:09 PM
Nobody listened to today's Walküre?  :'(

 :'(  Sorry, Lis!  How did you like it?  This was with Maazel conducting, yes? 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on February 02, 2008, 03:46:28 PM
I listened to about two minutes- didn't like the conducting or the singing, or the whole attitude, and I'd say opera's in as much trouble as the rest of art. Things are on the surface, performers are melodramatic and unserious, and what's happened to the quality of the announcers, the analysis and the Texaco quiz? That quiz used to be very impressive, now its just drivel...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brewski on February 02, 2008, 03:50:10 PM
I listened to about two minutes- didn't like the conducting or the singing, or the whole attitude, and I'd say opera's in as much trouble as the rest of art. Things are on the surface, performers are melodramatic and unserious, and what's happened to the quality of the announcers, the analysis and the Texaco quiz? That quiz used to be very impressive, now its just drivel...

How could you even arrive at such a conclusion--or for that matter, any conclusion--hearing two minutes of it?  ::)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 02, 2008, 04:25:53 PM
Sean, are you judging the quality of a Wagner Music Drama by the quality of the inane female intermission announcer who can't even pronounce properly the name of one of their sponsors?  ::)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 02, 2008, 04:35:18 PM
Nobody listened to today's Walküre?  :'(
I was there. It was fabulous. Deborah Voight's Sieglinde was feminine and affectionate. Her diction and acting was excellent. Petrenko's Hunding was youthful but very convincing. He also had a very intimidating stage presence. Siegmund wasn't vocally very impressive but he and Voight had beautiful chemistry. James Morris' Wotan, well what can you say, I know you don't like him but I think he pretty much owns this role. His reading is much more subtle than 20 years ago. Now it is angst fill and much less angry and petulent. I am not in love with Gasteen's Brunnhilde, vocally her top note is about an A and she is constanly flat, and her acting is pretty superficial. But in this day and age you have her, Polanski, Eaglen, and that's about it.

Maazel's conducting was lucid and professional. Although he does miss a lot of the excitement that you get with Levine. The orchestra sounds fabulous. The winds and brasses are limpid and piquant and the strings are bass-rich and heavenly sounding in the violins.

I love the performance.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 02, 2008, 04:40:10 PM
Hi Haffner

Levine's a committed Wagnerian, often shedding new light and colour, though without the most overarching mind to fully contain the great paragraphs. His Good Friday peroration music in Parsifal is superb, finding more strangeness and mystery in the fabulous harmonies than Karajan.

The Karajan otherwise though is entirely in a class of its own with no serious competitors: one of the greatest of opera recordings.


Looks like the Karajan for me (first Parsifal). I'll grab that one next month.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 02, 2008, 04:51:06 PM
How could you even arrive at such a conclusion--or for that matter, any conclusion--hearing two minutes of it?  ::)

--Bruce

He's been taking lessons from paulb  ;D

The Art of Instant Criticism 101: How to Extrapolate an Entire Performance from a 30 Second Clip

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 02, 2008, 04:54:47 PM
Nobody listened to today's Walküre?  :'(

Unfortunately I didn't see your announcement until we'd come home from dinner. Too late to tune in. I would have liked to have heard it, especially so since I've been discussing Maazel in recent threads.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 03, 2008, 09:25:55 AM
I listened to about two minutes- didn't like the conducting or the singing, or the whole attitude, and I'd say opera's in as much trouble as the rest of art. Things are on the surface, performers are melodramatic and unserious, and what's happened to the quality of the announcers, the analysis and the Texaco quiz? That quiz used to be very impressive, now its just drivel...
Oh come on ! Maazel has been conducting Wagner for 40 years for crying out loud. He was conducting at Bayreuth before you were even born. I'd say he knows a thing or two about Wagner. So he is not as over-the-top as Solti or as focused on exacting every detail of the score as Karajan. How do you come up with the performers being unserious? That is an accusation, it questions their professionalism. I can guaranteed you that every single one of the singers, Ms. Voight, Ms. DeYoung, Mr. Morris, etc, etc., plus 100+ members of the Met Orchestra worked their butts off to bring this treacherously difficult music out to be the unbearably beautiful piece of art that it is. Now you may or may not like their voices, that is your right, but please don't question their professionalism and work ethics.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on February 03, 2008, 11:29:00 AM
Hello Perfect, well I could have listened to more than I did. I've been very disillusioned indeed in recent years with numerous Western opera productions, many being closer to musicals and promoted in terms of light entertainment by very sales-conscious managements. A week or two back for instance there was Wagner broadcast from Covent Garden under Haitink and the overall conception was very poor and superficial, as most productions from there are- and this affects the singer's approach profoundly.

In fact I walked out of a Haitink Meistersinger there a few years back, it was so offensively trivial and unrelated to the opera. Also I was at a (Welsh National Opera) Tristan revival in 2006, a horrendous experience seeing how in seven years the soul of the work had completely disappeared.

I admire some of Maazel's work (eg Mahler), and I'm ready to explore his Wagner more. He definitely did not give a good account of his understanding of Wagner in the interval interview however.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 03, 2008, 12:15:58 PM
Well the MET is probably the final front against mindnumbingly bad modern opera productions. Nobody goes to the MET looking for Rheindaughters on motorcycles. I probably wouldn't pay the amount of money they are asking for tickets if the production is similar to what you get at some European opera houses. I understand what you are talking about. There is a picture in the guide I got before the opera with some of the Seattle Ring Cycle. Wotan looks like David Spade with an eyepatch (at least they kept the eyepatch). Now that is pretty revolting, even before I have heard one know of that production.

Well anyways I don't think you'll see Maazel there too often. Even the final perfomance of Die Walkuere is not conducted by him.

I am going back there again next Month for Tristan, and I expect the same kind of professional high standards that I have heard and seen yesterday. The cast for Tristan should be excellent with Voight, Heppner and DeYoung.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on February 03, 2008, 12:30:27 PM
That's interesting.

Best of luck with the Tristan. As the central work in Western art it needs a very understanding and serious mind to do it justice. I saw it in 1999 and that remains one of my most significant life experiences, but I'm not expecting to have that repeated. Would be nice to go to the Met someday though.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 03, 2008, 12:35:27 PM
That's interesting.

Best of luck with the Tristan. As the central work in Western art it needs a very understanding and serious mind to do it justice. I saw it in 1999 and that remains one of my most significant life experiences, but I'm not expecting to have that repeated. Would be nice to go to the Met someday though.
Where did you see Tristan in 1999?
James Levine is conducting the performance next month, and I am really looking foward to it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on February 03, 2008, 12:41:44 PM
I saw it in Birmingham, central England. It was a WNO production, from a period when this company was probably unmatched in the country. I saw the same thing, twisted and garbled, about 18 months ago.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 03, 2008, 01:13:18 PM
Was it sung in German or English?
It is almost an impossible opera to stage. If you think about it nothing really "happens". Unless you have two great (not good but great) singers taking on the leads you might as well bag the entire production. From what I have heard both Heppner and Voigt should shine in their roles?

Who sang the leads when you went? And who conducted?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on February 03, 2008, 02:16:51 PM
I'm sorry I don't remember the singers names, both were extremely well drilled though and obviously and knew the enormous parts very well; the conductor was Carlo Rizzi- a little Italianesque at times but in the zone on that night. What made it was the surreal sets and the seriousness and inwardness of the stage action- for instance when people were to keep still, they kept absolutely still: they believed in what they were doing in a way those in the revival I mentioned perhaps couldn't do, in present deleterious cultural conditions.

The final act is an incredible thing. Wagner taps into something primeval as the characters die and lie strewn on the stage, while the music explores the final sections of its material, leading in some kind of monstrous downward spiral, a decent into the maelstrom, to the death of Isolde. This is sex and death at its most fundamental- something to do with these experiences being on the edges of what it is to be human and the transcendence in them. I try to post my thoughts here sometimes, but the repressed psychos in charge don't much like it (I do have many more notes I think are worth something on Tristan and Wagner and sex, but perhaps another time.)

By the way in 2003 or 04 I went to a superb and endlessly imaginative WNO Parsifal, with a stunning and Callas-like Sara Fulgoni as Kundry.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on February 03, 2008, 02:18:20 PM
And it was in German of course. I wouldn't bother with anything else, especially as the words are so integrated in the music, even affecting the harmony at times.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on February 03, 2008, 11:16:17 PM
And it was in German of course. I wouldn't bother with anything else, especially as the words are so integrated in the music, even affecting the harmony at times.

How do you know? You don't understand German. Because you read that somewhere? You shouldn't blabla about stuff you don't understand. Well, OK, that's all you do all the time. Schwachkopf.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on February 04, 2008, 02:36:49 AM
Yeah you're right, maybe it was Poynesian.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: max on February 04, 2008, 02:43:54 AM
How do you know? You don't understand German. Because you read that somewhere? You shouldn't blabla about stuff you don't understand. Well, OK, that's all you do all the time. Schwachkopf.

Until I read this, I never realized that being a consummate idiot requires talent!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 04, 2008, 04:46:08 AM
the central work in Western art

Ahem.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 04, 2008, 07:40:08 AM
Until I read this, I never realized that being a consummate idiot requires talent!

It is harder than it looks. I have tried to do it several times and always failed.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on February 04, 2008, 07:45:26 AM
Yeah you're right, maybe it was Poynesian.

Exactly my point. To you, it wouldn't make a difference. Don't you feel like a complete idiot when you pontifcate about stuff you don't even understand?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 04, 2008, 08:13:56 AM
When everybody gets back to the topic - that's the line on the top, next to Subject: "Re. Wagner's Valhalla", - this thread will get unlocked.

 $:)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 04, 2008, 08:52:00 AM
When everybody gets back to the topic - that's the line on the top, next to Subject: "Re. Wagner's Valhalla", - this thread will get unlocked.

 $:)

Is it unlocked now?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 04, 2008, 09:28:07 AM
It is harder than it looks. I have tried to do it several times and always failed.





I have extraordinary talent at it, almost completely inherited. WhhheeeEEEEeeEEEEEee!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Steve on February 04, 2008, 09:32:52 AM
Exactly my point. To you, it wouldn't make a difference. Don't you feel like a complete idiot when you pontifcate about stuff you don't even understand?

So his analysis is moot because he doesn't speak the language?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: m_gigena on February 04, 2008, 11:19:41 AM
When everybody gets back to the topic - that's the line on the top, next to Subject: "Re. Wagner's Valhalla", - this thread will get unlocked.

 $:)

I don't get it. How is that everybody can go back to topic while the thread is closed?
It looks more like a warning to me: keep it clean, do not disturb the nuns, or else...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 04, 2008, 12:41:09 PM
Manuel, you got it ! It was a warning.  $:)

Now can we read something about Wagner's Valhalla? ???
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 04, 2008, 01:02:36 PM
I listened to about two minutes- didn't like the conducting or the singing, or the whole attitude, and I'd say opera's in as much trouble as the rest of art.

Okay. I am listening to another Met performance of this opera: this time with Levine conducting from a live performance in 2000 with Voigt (again) and Domingo as Sieglinde and Siegmund respectively and objectively speaking there is no serious comparison as the Levine is superior in almost every regards. The final part of the duet starting with 'Du Bist der Lenz' should take the house down and it does here. Don't get me wrong Maazel is still very good but if there is ever a time for some over-the-top kind of conducting this is it, and Levine provides just that.

So I can see why you don't particularly warm to Maazel's conducting.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on February 04, 2008, 01:39:20 PM
About 6 -7 years ago some of us were listening to the Met Saturday afternoon broadcast of Die Meistersinger with Levine conducting.  I forgot who the singers were but the orchestra was our main focus.  He had those players so pumped up that from our homes we felt like the excitement was taking us right up through the roof.  It was the most thrilling broadcast I have ever heard.

At the end of Gotterdammerung after the singers have stopped singing, Wagner wrote a lot of music for the orchestra.  From my perspective, that helps the audience come back to earth after being so absorbed in the drama; he did the same for Die Meistersinger.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 04, 2008, 01:45:13 PM
6 or 7 years ago you likely heard Morris, Heppner and Mattila in Meistersinger.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on February 04, 2008, 01:48:04 PM
Chandos are preparing to issue a BBC recording of a performance in English of Meistersingers conducted by Reginald Goodall.

This was one of a series of performances that were very highly thought of. It will be interesting to hear whether it is a case of rose tinted glasses.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 04, 2008, 01:51:19 PM
Chandos are preparing to issue a BBC recording of a performance in English of Meistersingers conducted by Reginald Goodall.

It'll be a box with ten CDs, right Knight?  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on February 04, 2008, 08:35:43 PM
Chandos are preparing to issue a BBC recording of a performance in English of Meistersingers conducted by Reginald Goodall.

This was one of a series of performances that were very highly thought of. It will be interesting to hear whether it is a case of rose tinted glasses.

Mike

Goodell's 'Ring' in English is excelent, one of the best interpretations, IMO. 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sean on February 04, 2008, 09:18:55 PM
Hi Perfect, I really needed to listen to more of the Maazel.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on February 04, 2008, 11:42:36 PM
It'll be a box with ten CDs, right Knight?  ;D

Sarge

I like it....I like it.

As an aside. For a long time I had a CD issued by Chandos of most of the final act of Gotterdammerung in English and conducted by Goodall. It was a studio performance. Someone removed it from my collection. For a long time I tried to get a replacement. Then in London a few weeks ago, I found it in a bargain bin, just one copy with my name on it. It was as good as I recalled.Flowing and dramatic, very well sung, (men's chorus apart), it is now happily restored to me. I probably have about 120 Wagner discs, most of complete works, but this one sticks out. I much prefer it to the live discs by Goodall as I so dislike the recessed sound on them. The balance on this long extract is excellent.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on February 05, 2008, 02:20:02 AM
Chandos are preparing to issue a BBC recording of a performance in English of Meistersingers conducted by Reginald Goodall.

This was one of a series of performances that were very highly thought of. It will be interesting to hear whether it is a case of rose tinted glasses.

Mike

  Mike I don't think I like the idea of Wagner's operas being sung in English. Not sure if others on this forum would agree with me  ???.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 05, 2008, 03:16:16 AM
  Mike I don't think I like the idea of Wagner's operas being sung in English. Not sure if others on this forum would agree with me  ???

I think Wagner sung in the original German is best. There is such a close match between words and music, Wagner being composer and librettist at the same time, that anything else is always worse.

I uploaded an interesting article about Andrew Porter's Ring translation for those with no access to JSTOR:

http://www.mediafire.com/?0yb9bspfsbn
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 05, 2008, 03:55:18 AM
As an aside. For a long time I had a CD issued by Chandos of most of the final act of Gotterdammerung in English and conducted by Goodall. It was a studio performance. Someone removed it from my collection. For a long time I tried to get a replacement. Then in London a few weeks ago, I found it in a bargain bin, just one copy with my name on it. It was as good as I recalled.Flowing and dramatic, very well sung, (men's chorus apart), it is now happily restored to me. I probably have about 120 Wagner discs, most of complete works, but this one sticks out. I much prefer it to the live discs by Goodall as I so dislike the recessed sound on them. The balance on this long extract is excellent.

Interesting. I've not heard that recording, Mike...in fact, I know very little of Goodall's Wagner. I own The Valkyrie and that's it. A member at the Gramophone forum swears by Goodall's Parsifal. I would like to hear it someday.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 05, 2008, 05:05:51 AM
  Mike I don't think I like the idea of Wagner's operas being sung in English. Not sure if others on this forum would agree with me  ???.

  marvin



Sean's contention about the cadential and harmonic bases being linked to the structure of the German language might have something to it.  I haven't had alot of experience hearing the Ring in English (just some of the Remedios), but what I have heard tends to be below standard overall. Of course, I'm keeping in mind it may have been myriad other factors, and perhaps someone can help me with this.

The Ring in English (to me ,at least) tends to take something very significant away. Whether it's the deeply set "cultural/ethnic" whaddever, I don't know. I do know that, just for me at least, much of the heroic atmosphere seemed to have been minimized. Of course that could be just because I really love a super-"Heroic" Wagner.


Plus, I missed the pronounced German rolled "r"s in the English!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 05, 2008, 05:49:11 AM
Sean's contention about the cadential and harmonic bases being linked to the structure of the German language might have something to it.

I read once in a (somewhat controversial, I later found out) study about the genesis of the 'Ring' by Curt von Westernhagen that Wagner's harmony really follows the syntax of his verse - so, for instance, if a sentence isn't finished, he uses a half-cadence. But perhaps this is word-setting as it should be? I don't know about Mozart's practice. Or Verdi's, for that matter.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 05, 2008, 05:52:22 AM
I read once in a (somewhat controversial, I later found out) study about the genesis of the 'Ring' by Curt von Westernhagen that Wagner's harmony really follows the syntax of his verse - so, for instance, if a sentence isn't finished, he uses a half-cadence. But perhaps this is word-setting as it should be? I don't know about Mozart's practice. Or Verdi's, for that matter.


Yeah,  I noticed that in the German there are many instances of Wagner finishing and beginning singer's phrases with the orchestra. The orchestra really does seem like another character in Wagner's operas...see the idea of "Greek Choruses".
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 05, 2008, 06:54:54 AM


I haven't had alot of experience hearing the Ring in English (just some of the Remedios), but what I have heard tends to be below standard overall. Of course, I'm keeping in mind it may have been myriad other factors, and perhaps someone can help me with this.

You are talking about the Goodall Ring Cycle I suppose. I can tell you few outside of England can ever entertain the thought that it is even of marginal quality. The singing is okay. Rita Hunter's Brunnhilde is actually a lot better than some of the also-rans they have singing the roles (like Jane Eaglen or Eva Marton). The problem I have with that production is the conducting and orchestral playing. Let's forget the fact that it is slow, and I mean glacially slow (some 3 hours longer than the Boehm for example), the orchestral execution is so bad that I would go as far to say even the dreaded RAI Orchestra under Furtwangler plays this music better. The strings are scratchy and imprecise, the brass reticent, and there are countless instances of ensemble slackless. Let's assume for a moment that Goodall had ample rehearsal time, after awhile you just say to yourself: okay, forget it, they just can't play this music, or this music is beyond Goodall's iffy conducting ability There is zero color or character from the orchestra. If you compare to any of the mainstream Rings out there you don't even recognize it is the same music.

For Goodall cults only.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 05, 2008, 07:03:47 AM
You are talking about the Goodall Ring Cycle I suppose. I can tell you few outside of England can ever entertain the thought that it is even of marginal quality. The singing is okay. Rita Hunter's Brunnhilde is actually a lot better than some of the also-rans they have singing the roles (like Jane Eaglen or Eva Marton). The problem I have with that production is the conducting and orchestral playing. Let's forget the fact that it is slow, and I mean glacially slow (some 3 hours longer than the Boehm for example), the orchestral execution is so bad that I would go as far to say even the dreaded RAI Orchestra under Furtwangler plays this music better. The strings are scratchy and imprecise, the brass reticent, and there are countless instances of ensemble slackless. Let's assume for a moment that Goodall had ample rehearsal time, after awhile you just say to yourself: okay, forget it, they just can't play this music, or this music is beyond Goodall's iffy conducting ability There is zero color or character from the orchestra. If you compare to any of the mainstream Rings out there you don't even recognize it is the same music.

For Goodall cults only.



You wrote was I too polite/deferential to write. Thanks, and sorry about my being such a wuss.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 05, 2008, 07:16:24 AM
I write as I hear. This has nothing to do with being anti-British or whatever. Many on this board accuse Levine of being slow. Levine is slowish but he brings more out of the score than Goodall ever does. And the MET Orchestra versus the band that Goodall patched together? C'mon.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on February 05, 2008, 07:29:49 AM
I am not so sure about 'few out of England'.....you might perhaps refer to the UK or GB, the Scots critics were also keen and would not appreciate being referred to as English. EMI sold a large number of the Goodall Ring in the US, I don't know numbers, but they were surprised, perhaps you would like to argue that these were ex-pat 'English'. I am no particular fan of Goodall. I recall his Tristan needed an extra LP above the norm. But, of course speed is only one element. Remedios was certainly up to the Siegfried at this point, though he was coached very carefully by Goodall and I don't feel he did well away from his mentor. I recall a disastrous Mahler 8 under Boulez.

Nor am I advocating we all listen to Wagner in English, it works much better for me than Carmen or Aida in English and I enjoy savoring the words where decent acting singers make something of the words. Nothing really substitutes for Wagner in German. But, I do buy some of the Chandos operas in English and quite a number work well, in addition to being considerable performances musically.

Certainly the initial studio disc I referred to has excellent playing and is most certainly not unusually slow. Or, perhaps I ought to say, it does not feel slow. Act 3 Scene 3 is longer than Solti by about six minutes.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on February 05, 2008, 11:12:23 PM
Sean's contention about the cadential and harmonic bases being linked to the structure of the German language might have something to it.

Maybe. Or maybe not. That is not the point here. The point is that since Sean doesn't understand German, he shouldn't blabla about stuff like that.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 06, 2008, 10:28:45 AM
Maybe. Or maybe not. That is not the point here. The point is that since Sean doesn't understand German, he shouldn't blabla about stuff like that.




oops
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 07, 2008, 08:19:05 PM
Traveling to Germany this summer? I read about just the place for all devoted Wagnerians to visit. A group of Wagnerians gathered around the conductor Wilhelm Keitel and decided to present this September the Ring des Nibelungen on four consecutive days on a branch of the Rhein near Speyer in a venue built for 2000 visitors. The building is designed by architect Matteo Thun and constructed out of wood and canvass. Singers have not been chosen yet, the organisers have to sell enough tickets first; € 3000 to € 15000 per packet. If the dream becomes reality then Wagner's stage directions will be followed to the letter and at the end of Götterdämmerung the building will be set afire. The next evening Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 will be performed at the ruins.  ::)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on February 08, 2008, 02:21:22 AM
Traveling to Germany this summer? I read about just the place for all devoted Wagnerians to visit. A group of Wagnerians gathered around the conductor Wilhelm Keitel and decided to present this September the Ring des Nibelungen on four consecutive days on a branch of the Rhein near Speyer in a venue built for 2000 visitors. The building is designed by architect Matteo Thun and constructed out of wood and canvass. Singers have not been chosen yet, the organisers have to sell enough tickets first; € 3000 to € 15000 per packet. If the dream becomes reality then Wagner's stage directions will be followed to the letter and at the end of Götterdämmerung the building will be set afire. The next evening Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 will be performed at the ruins.  ::)

  Sign me up Lis please please sign me up  0:)!!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 08, 2008, 02:51:37 AM
Traveling to Germany this summer? I read about just the place for all devoted Wagnerians to visit. A group of Wagnerians gathered around the conductor Wilhelm Keitel and decided to present this September the Ring des Nibelungen on four consecutive days on a branch of the Rhein near Speyer in a venue built for 2000 visitors. The building is designed by architect Matteo Thun and constructed out of wood and canvass. Singers have not been chosen yet, the organisers have to sell enough tickets first; € 3000 to € 15000 per packet. If the dream becomes reality then Wagner's stage directions will be followed to the letter and at the end of Götterdämmerung the building will be set afire. The next evening Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 will be performed at the ruins.  ::)

Well, they are realising one of Wagner's earliest ideas - performing the 'Ring' on four consecutive days in a purpose-built theater, which is broken down afterwards... This was the germ of what we now know as the 'Bayreuther Festspiele'.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on February 08, 2008, 03:24:53 AM
Well, they are realising one of Wagner's earliest ideas - performing the 'Ring' on four consecutive days in a purpose-built theater, which is broken down afterwards... This was the germ of what we now know as the 'Bayreuther Festspiele'.

  Yes but they are also torching the place.....what better way to see Loge, the Fire God do his job than to see the whole building set afire!  I think Wagner just turned in his grave (with delight) at the thought of that!!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 08, 2008, 04:20:18 AM
Traveling to Germany this summer? I read about just the place for all devoted Wagnerians to visit. A group of Wagnerians gathered around the conductor Wilhelm Keitel and decided to present this September the Ring des Nibelungen on four consecutive days on a branch of the Rhein near Speyer in a venue built for 2000 visitors. The building is designed by architect Matteo Thun and constructed out of wood and canvass. Singers have not been chosen yet, the organisers have to sell enough tickets first; € 3000 to € 15000 per packet. If the dream becomes reality then Wagner's stage directions will be followed to the letter and at the end of Götterdämmerung the building will be set afire. The next evening Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 will be performed at the ruins.  ::)

Speyer is thirty minutes south of where I live. I had a momentary burst of elation...until I saw the price of the tickets. :o  Damn.... I can't even afford the cheap seats. €3000 = $4370

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 08, 2008, 04:26:13 AM
To truly follow all of Wagner's instructions though, more has to be done and I am holding off with my ticket purchase until I know if the organisers will have Brünnhilde ride Grane into the flames and also divert part of the Rhein to flood the scene!

Marvin, have you run the ticket price through the currency conversion table? It's from $4,347.00 to $21,734.00!  ::)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 08, 2008, 04:32:12 AM
My apology, Sarge, I typed my post before your's popped up on my computer!  :-[

I wonder if the ticket price includes being invited to the wedding meal at the Gibich's Great Hall, roasted boar and buckets of strong drink!  ???
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on February 08, 2008, 04:35:27 AM
To truly follow all of Wagner's instructions though, more has to be done and I am holding off with my ticket purchase until I know if the organisers will have Brünnhilde ride Grane into the flames and also divert part of the Rhein to flood the scene!

Marvin, have you run the ticket price through the currency conversion table? It's from $4,347.00 to $21,734.00!  ::)

   :o :o :o  I missed that part, well with all the excitement and all I didn't think twice about the price.  I am however willing to settle for seats at the concession stands if there are any!!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 08, 2008, 06:30:10 AM
   :o :o :o  I missed that part, well with all the excitement and all I didn't think twice about the price.  I am however willing to settle for seats at the concession stands if there are any!!

  marvin




I'm with you, Marvin!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on February 08, 2008, 12:18:17 PM
It sounds insane. A King Ludwig moment. Might be worth it just to see "Brunhilde admiring Siegfried's ring". >:D One of the stage directions.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on February 09, 2008, 02:30:28 AM
Jessye Norman on a new YouTube video singing The Immolation Scene under Masur. Can anyone date this video? Her voice initially seems less secure than I am accustomed to hearing it, even some little slips in intonation. Certainly in part two, the upper notes are not secure. Nevertheless, well worth hearing. Masur speeds through the main orchestral postlude, it looses quite a bit, a run-through.

Part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swTTWurVnKc

Part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48ShCmL7Ew0&feature=related


Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Lobby on February 14, 2008, 05:54:05 AM
Mike,

I think the recording dates from 1995 and was the gala opening concert of the NYPO's 153rd season.

As Jessye Norman had already started to move more towards the mezzo repertoire by the early 1990s, its perhaps not surprising that her top notes are not secure.

Jon
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on February 14, 2008, 05:59:05 AM
Jon, Thanks for that. She looks slimmer than when I used to see her in concert, so I know it must be from her more recent appearances. I was wondering what she was up to these days....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessye_Norman#Later_career_.281990-present.29

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 14, 2008, 08:36:45 AM
Mike,

I think the recording dates from 1995 and was the gala opening concert of the NYPO's 153rd season.

As Jessye Norman had already started to move more towards the mezzo repertoire by the early 1990s, its perhaps not surprising that her top notes are not secure.

Jon


She's an amazing Wagner singer, one of my favorites! She was a fantastic Sieglinde in Levine's Met.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 15, 2008, 06:34:47 AM

She's an amazing Wagner singer, one of my favorites! She was a fantastic Sieglinde in Levine's Met.
Indeed she was. For all the talk about no suitable Siegfried and Brunnhilde nowadays, how about the lack of Siegmunds and Sieglindes out there. You best Siegmund nowadays is probably Placido Domingo. Sieglinde I don't know, I do know there are a lot of singers that have no business singing this role (just check out the Amsterdam Ring or the one on Naxos in Stuttgart and you'll know what I am talking about.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on February 15, 2008, 07:42:33 AM
Indeed she was. For all the talk about no suitable Siegfried and Brunnhilde nowadays, how about the lack of Siegmunds and Sieglindes out there. You best Siegmund nowadays is probably Placido Domingo. Sieglinde I don't know, I do know there are a lot of singers that have no business singing this role (just check out the Amsterdam Ring or the one on Naxos in Stuttgart and you'll know what I am talking about.

  Domingo in a Wagnerian opera are you sure that is a good idea PW??

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 15, 2008, 07:49:07 AM
  Domingo in a Wagnerian opera are you sure that is a good idea PW??

  marvin



I've read great reviews concerning his Lohengrin and Tristan. But I am a big fan of Placido to begin with (love his Verdi in particular!).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 15, 2008, 07:59:55 AM
Just throw aside your preconceptions and just listen:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mwKhngpN0dk (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mwKhngpN0dk)

He  is the greatest Siegmund probably in the past 10 or 15 years. Nobody sings it with so much power and expression as he does.
(gotta love W. Meier as Sieglinde also, not the best of voices but boy a great actress).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 15, 2008, 08:05:07 AM
Just throw aside your preconceptions and just listen:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mwKhngpN0dk (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mwKhngpN0dk)

He  is the greatest Siegmund probably in the past 10 or 15 years. Nobody sings it with so much power and expression as he does.
(gotta love W. Meier as Sieglinde also, not the best of voices but boy a great actress).




Damn, this is good!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 15, 2008, 08:11:56 AM



Damn, this is good!
No sh*t he is good.

Braut und Schwester, bist du den Bruder indeed !
You ever hear that high "A" on "Walsung" sung with such power ?

A couple of years ago I could have heard him at the MET singing this role.... Instead I got Clifton Forbis this year...a very good artist but hardly in the same class as Domingo.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on February 15, 2008, 08:20:58 AM
Just throw aside your preconceptions and just listen:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mwKhngpN0dk (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mwKhngpN0dk)

He  is the greatest Siegmund probably in the past 10 or 15 years. Nobody sings it with so much power and expression as he does.
(gotta love W. Meier as Sieglinde also, not the best of voices but boy a great actress).

  OK PW you win!  Are you happy now??

  Powerfull very powerfull! I didn't know Domingo had in him to sing Wagner that well.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 15, 2008, 08:31:24 AM
  OK PW you win!  Are you happy now??

  Powerfull very powerfull! I didn't know Domingo had in him to sing Wagner that well.

  marvin



I'm really impressed, and I'll be checking out his Tristan and Lohengrin as well now.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 15, 2008, 08:36:13 AM


I'm really impressed, and I'll be checking out his Tristan and Lohengrin as well now.
If you are interested go to metopera.org and click on the link for Rhapsody and you get 25 free plays (you have to download the player). You can listen to a broadcast from 2005 of Domingo singing Siegmund with James Levine conducting. 25 free plays should get you through the entire 1st act and whatever other scenes Siegmund appear in. You also get the gleaming soprano of Deborah Voigt singing Sieglinde as a bonus. The quality of the audio is excellent.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 15, 2008, 09:33:28 AM
If you are interested go to metopera.org and click on the link for Rhapsody and you get 25 free plays (you have to download the player). You can listen to a broadcast from 2005 of Domingo singing Siegmund with James Levine conducting. 25 free plays should get you through the entire 1st act and whatever other scenes Siegmund appear in. You also get the gleaming soprano of Deborah Voigt singing Sieglinde as a bonus. The quality of the audio is excellent.




Hey thanks for the tip! I'm there, dude.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 17, 2008, 06:58:39 PM
Sorry I don't want to belabor the point but watching Domingo and Meier in Die Walkuere again. THis is unreal, astonishingly good. You can tell it is good when the typically chatty La Scala audience is mouse quiet. Also when was the last time you hear R. Muti put in such a good performance at the pit? This guy is actually enjoying it as much as the audience.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 18, 2008, 03:50:16 AM
Also when was the last time you hear R. Muti put in such a good performance at the pit? This guy is actually enjoying it as much as the audience.


I do have a really good Cosi Fan Tutte with Muti conducting in what I believe is the same pit. Live dvde, and a good one. But now I want the Domingo Walkure!

I spent hours upon hours this month checking out the Krauss vs. the Karajan vs. the Solti Die Walkure. Lucky I've had members here help me to obtain the HvK and Krauss (terrific recordings and performances!).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 18, 2008, 03:40:53 PM

I do have a really good Cosi Fan Tutte with Muti conducting in what I believe is the same pit. Live dvde, and a good one. But now I want the Domingo Walkure!

I spent hours upon hours this month checking out the Krauss vs. the Karajan vs. the Solti Die Walkure. Lucky I've had members here help me to obtain the HvK and Krauss (terrific recordings and performances!).
The Krauss is okay. I suppose they can never make it sound all that great (the Gala and the new Opera D'oro sound almost the same to me)  and has some really sloppy orchestal execution moments (the prelude to Act III is a total mess). BUT the best Siegmund ever Ramon Vinay is worth the set alone.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 18, 2008, 04:23:14 PM
BUT the best Siegmund ever Ramon Vinay is worth the set alone.




Love the Krauss! And I'm completely with you on the Vinay...the guy was a MONSTER. But my favorite Act I is the Karajan. You hate me.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 18, 2008, 09:43:35 PM

 But now I want the Domingo Walkure!


So do I! PerfectWagnerite, where did you get the Muti/La Scala/Domingo DVD? I searched for it and could not find it. Be a sweetheart, please and share with us!  :-*
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 19, 2008, 04:11:09 AM
So do I! PerfectWagnerite, where did you get the Muti/La Scala/Domingo DVD? I searched for it and could not find it. Be a sweetheart, please and share with us!  :-*
Who me??? I don't have it. I just gave a link to where you can see it on youtube. If it is out there I would be the first lining up to buy it. The picture and sound looks too good to be a pirate. I was hoping you might know since you are much more knowledgeable about operas on dvd.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 19, 2008, 04:35:40 AM



Love the Krauss! And I'm completely with you on the Vinay...the guy was a MONSTER. But my favorite Act I is the Karajan. You hate me.
That one is pretty good too, except Janowitz is the wrong voice for the role. Sorry, Janowitz has a loveley voice, but much too light for the role. She is much better as Eva in Meistersinger for example. IF you like Vickers he has a much better partner in Gre Brouwenstijn in the Leinsdorf Walkuere (http://www.amazon.com/Die-Walkure-Dig-Wagner/dp/B00006469P/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1203423389&sr=8-2).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 19, 2008, 09:02:10 AM
IF you like Vickers he has a much better partner in Gre Brouwenstijn in the Leinsdorf Walkuere (http://www.amazon.com/Die-Walkure-Dig-Wagner/dp/B00006469P/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1203423389&sr=8-2).



oooOOOOOOoooo!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on February 19, 2008, 09:16:17 AM
That one is pretty good too, except Janowitz is the wrong voice for the role. Sorry, Janowitz has a loveley voice, but much too light for the role. She is much better as Eva in Meistersinger for example. IF you like Vickers he has a much better partner in Gre Brouwenstijn in the Leinsdorf Walkuere (http://www.amazon.com/Die-Walkure-Dig-Wagner/dp/B00006469P/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1203423389&sr=8-2).

I would agree about the Leinsdorf Walküre, which doesn't get nearly enough 'face-time.'
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on February 19, 2008, 09:25:16 AM
I bought the Leinsdorf recently; pretty good. I am a Vickers fan and I prefer this version of Act 1 to Karajan's; as the latter mauls some of the tempi. Also, in the later acts, I prefer Nilsson to Crespin; mind you, I prefer Foster-Jenkins to Crespin. I have never been able to 'get' her.

I still enjoy the Karajan version a lot and would never get rid of it. The Leinsdorf is, I agree, underrated.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 19, 2008, 10:12:17 AM
I bought the Leinsdorf recently; pretty good. I am a Vickers fan and I prefer this version of Act 1 to Karajan's; as the latter mauls some of the tempi. Also, in the later acts, I prefer Nilsson to Crespin; mind you, I prefer Foster-Jenkins to Crespin. I have never been able to 'get' her.

I still enjoy the Karajan version a lot and would never get rid of it. The Leinsdorf is, I agree, underrated.

Mike





Will be getting the Leinsdorf. I completely agree as to Nilsson. I'm excited to hear Astrid's Elektra, as I'm wondering how much better than Nilsson she could be.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 19, 2008, 10:17:11 AM
Also, in the later acts, I prefer Nilsson to Crespin; mind you, I prefer Foster-Jenkins to Crespin. I have never been able to 'get' her.

Apparently neither did HVK, so he got rid of her in favor of Helga Dernesh ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 19, 2008, 10:53:10 AM
I also like this one (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=wmiFkQSQHA8), cool trick with the fire at the end.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 19, 2008, 10:55:01 AM
I also like this one (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=wmiFkQSQHA8), cool trick with the fire at the end.




Very cool, thanks PW!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 20, 2008, 07:10:26 AM
And if you want to hear what a terrible Sieglinde sounds like, try this one (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=a06F71vc1cY).

Also interesting is that Domingo's frequent Sieglinde partner Waltraud Meier has never sung the role at the MET. SHe has sung pretty much everything else there but not this role, which she has sung pretty much everywhere else.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on February 20, 2008, 07:42:59 AM
Also interesting is that Domingo's frequent Sieglinde partner Waltraud Meier has never sung the role at the MET. SHe has sung pretty much everything else there but not this role, which she has sung pretty much everywhere else.

Or Isolde.  Meier has sung in Die Walküre at the Met, but back then she was singing Fricka.  She's scheduled to be one of the Sieglindes next season, when the Met's Otto Schenk Ring production has one last viewing before it's retired.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 20, 2008, 07:48:16 AM
Or Isolde.  Meier has sung in Die Walküre at the Met, but back then she was singing Fricka.  She's scheduled to be one of the Sieglindes next season, when the Met's Otto Schenk Ring production has one last viewing before it's retired.
Yeah, no Isolde at the MET for Frau Meier either, which probably isn't a big loss for us as she is nowhere vocally capable of tackling that role. But I would definitely get tickets to see her Sieglinde next season. Do you know what the rest of the cast is? Or where do I find out?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on February 20, 2008, 08:09:33 AM
Yeah, no Isolde at the MET for Frau Meier either, which probably isn't a big loss for us as she is nowhere vocally capable of tackling that role.

  PW for what its worth I have this recording of Meier as Isolde and I find her performance enjoyable.  Is she a Flagstad? No.  but I kind of like her in the role of Isolde:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pkJspEzzL._SS500_.jpg)

  marvin

 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 20, 2008, 08:14:20 AM
  PW for what its worth I have this recording of Meier as Isolde and I find her performance enjoyable.  Is she a Flagstad? No.  but I kind of like her in the role of Isolde:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pkJspEzzL._SS500_.jpg)

  marvin

 
On your DVD it's Frau Meier alright, but its Johana Meier. I am not sure whether she is related to Waltraud. It's been a while since I have watched that DVD and I don't remember much about Johana.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 20, 2008, 08:22:36 AM
On my LVD cover it's Johanna Meier and as I remember it's not the Domingo partner Waltraut! I had a Waltraut Meier documentary on DVD and don't recall her mentioning a singing sister.  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 20, 2008, 08:25:21 AM
On my LVD cover it's Johanna Meier and as I remember it's not the Domingo partner Waltraut! I had a Waltraut Meier documentary on DVD and don't recall her mentioning a singing sister.  ;)
You mean Waltraud ? Waltraut is Bruennhilde's sister, Waltraud is the singer ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on February 20, 2008, 08:49:06 AM
Yeah, no Isolde at the MET for Frau Meier either, which probably isn't a big loss for us as she is nowhere vocally capable of tackling that role. But I would definitely get tickets to see her Sieglinde next season. Do you know what the rest of the cast is? Or where do I find out?

The official Met press release on next season should come out next month.  Until then the Met Future Seasons page at www.metmaniac.com usually has pretty accurate information.  Here's what they have for next season's Ring:

Christine Brewer/Lisa Gasteen (Brünnhilde)
Christian Franz/Jon Frederic West (Siegfried)
Albert Dohmen/James Morris (Wotan)
Waltraud Meier/Adrianne Pieczonka (Sieglinde)
Johan Botha/Plácido Domingo (Siegmund)
Richard Paul Fink (Alberich)
Gerhard Siegel (Mime)
John Tomlinson (Hagen, Hunding, Fafner)
Rene Pape (Fasolt, Hunding)
Kim Begley (Loge)
Yvonne Naef (Fricka)
Jill Grove (Erda)
Iain Patterson (Met debut)(Gunther)

No conductor's mentioned.  I guess "Levine" goes without saying?

As far as I know the American Johanna Meier and the German Waltraud Meier are not related.  I saw Johanna as Isolde and Elsa in New Orleans back in the early 80's.  She sang fairly often at the Met from the mid-70s to the late 80s as Ariadne, Marguerite, Senta, Donna Anna, Verdi Requiem, Beethoven's Leonore, Wagner's Elisabeth, Ellen Orford, Isolde, Sieglinde, Chrysothemis, the Walküre Brünnhilde, Tosca, and the Empress in Die Frau ohne Schatten.  As I recall, Levine was the one that recommended her to Wolfgang Wagner for Isolde, based on her Met performances as Senta.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 20, 2008, 08:54:21 AM
Thanks Wendell. Looks like a complete Ring Cycle next year. That ought to be something. When they list Christine Brewer/Lisa Gasteen (Brünnhilde) does it mean the first is more likely than the second or is it still up in the air?


Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on February 20, 2008, 09:00:34 AM
Thanks Wendell. Looks like a complete Ring Cycle next year. That ought to be something. When they list Christine Brewer/Lisa Gasteen (Brünnhilde) does it mean the first is more likely than the second or is it still up in the air?




I'm sure it means that they'll both be singing the role, and probably "covering" each others performances.  Similarly for Christian Franz/Jon Frederic West (Siegfried), Albert Dohmen/James Morris (Wotan), etc.  Much as Pieczonka and Voigt both sang Sieglinde performances this season.

Also, in addition to the complete cycles, they usually schedule a few extra Walküres.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 20, 2008, 09:03:30 AM
Also noticed Tomlinson singing Fafner/Hagen/Hunding. That ought to be something seeing Morris and Tomlinson on stage together during Rheingold bellowing at one another.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on February 20, 2008, 09:05:47 AM
Also noticed Tomlinson singing Fafner/Hagen/Hunding. That ought to be something seeing Morris and Tomlinson on stage together during Rheingold bellowing at one another.

And Morris will get to kill his competition in Walküre!   ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 20, 2008, 09:06:53 AM
And Morris will get to kill his competition in Walküre!   ;D
Yeah! "Geh...GEHHHHHH !!!!!".
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 20, 2008, 09:13:06 AM
You mean Waltraud ? Waltraut is Bruennhilde's sister, Waltraud is the singer ;D

You got me! Ouch!

I know I should have lifted my derrière of the chair and look at the cover. Next time!  8)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 20, 2008, 09:24:47 AM
Hojotoho! I am not always wrong, Dear Perfect Wagnerite!

The Walküre's name is Waltraute! You stole her last letter, she'll gonna git you!  ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on February 20, 2008, 09:56:19 AM
And Morris will get to kill his competition in Walküre!   ;D

Only to have Tomlinson kill his son and last, best chance for victory in Götterdämmerung.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on February 20, 2008, 09:58:17 AM
On my LVD cover it's Johanna Meier and as I remember it's not the Domingo partner Waltraut! I had a Waltraut Meier documentary on DVD and don't recall her mentioning a singing sister.  ;)

  Ok Lis and PW now I am confused  ??? how many Wagnerian soprano singers are there with the surname MEIER?? 


  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 20, 2008, 10:06:01 AM
  Ok Lis and PW now I am confused  ??? how many Wagnerian soprano singers are there with the surname MEIER?? 


  marvin
Not sure, the only one I know is Johana Meier. Waltraud is really a mezzo who tries to sing the dramatic Wagnerian soprano roles like Isolde and Sieglinde. I guess she is doing the same thing as Helga Dernesh did.

It is even more confusing for you since Waltraud Meier DID and DOES STILL sing Isolde. But physically the two of them look nothing alike.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 20, 2008, 01:16:08 PM
Do PW and I know two different Meiers? The one doing Isolde with Kollo spells her first name Johanna, two of those 'enses', and PM insists on spelling it with one 'en'. I think it doesn't really matter, but at least those two - three? - ladies are keeping 'Wagner's Valhalla thread on the front page.

Hey, wait a minute, just spotted another misspelling in the title of this thread:

Wagner spelled it Walhall, no vee at the beginning and no additional a at the end!  $:)

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 20, 2008, 01:20:21 PM
Hey, wait a minute, just spotted another misspelling in the title of this thread:

Wagner spelled it Walhall, no vee at the beginning and no additional a at the end!  $:)

Well, Valhalla is just the English version of the German Walhall, just as Valkyrie is of Walküre. So - no mistake, I think...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 20, 2008, 01:22:45 PM
Do PW and I know two different Meiers? The one doing Isolde with Kollo spells her first name Johanna, two of those 'enses', and PM insists on spelling it with one 'en'.


oh yeah. I had an old classmate who spelled it "Johana" so automatically I thought it was only one "n". But you are alsolutely right.

Regarding Valhalla, I think it's Walhal in German and Valhalla in English like Jezetha said :)

And regarding Waltraute, I think in a few places in the libretto Wagner did spell it Waltraut without the 'e' but it was more for singing purposes, like sometimes in the libretto Bruennhilde appears as Bruennhild without the final 'e'.

Do you personally know Miss Johanna Meier?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 20, 2008, 01:30:28 PM
Regretably, never met the lady, yet watching the documentary about her life and career, hearing her thoughts on different subject, brings her close to better understanding her. She does seem to be a very down-to-earth woman without any star behaviour.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 20, 2008, 01:37:50 PM
Regretably, never met the lady, yet watching the documentary about her life and career, hearing her thoughts on different subject, brings her close to better understanding her. She does seem to be a very down-to-earth woman without any star behaviour.
I tried googling her and not finding anything >:(

But if anyone wants to sample her artistry a short clip is here (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9158483980002360651)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 20, 2008, 01:40:08 PM
And regarding Waltraute, I think in a few places in the libretto Wagner did spell it Waltraut without the 'e' but it was more for singing purposes, like sometimes in the libretto Bruennhilde appears as Bruennhild without the final 'e'.

Wagner likes to shorten names to get rid of unaccented final syllables (Sieglind, Brünnhild, Waltraut). It's a simple poetic measure.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 20, 2008, 02:07:26 PM
  PW for what its worth I have this recording of Meier as Isolde and I find her performance enjoyable.  Is she a Flagstad? No.  but I kind of like her in the role of Isolde:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pkJspEzzL._SS500_.jpg)

  marvin

 


Thanks, Marvin, for the reccomendation. I've been really curious as to this dvd. I have the Furtwangler and Kleiber audio, and love them both, especially the former.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 20, 2008, 02:08:41 PM
Yeah! "Geh...GEHHHHHH !!!!!".




I love Morris' "Geh...GEHHHHHH !!!!!"!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on February 20, 2008, 02:11:07 PM
Wagner likes to shorten names to get rid of unaccented final syllables (Sieglind, Brünnhild, Waltraut). It's a simple poetic measure.


  Very good observation.  Wagner the poet I like that!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 20, 2008, 02:28:11 PM

  Very good observation.  Wagner the poet I like that!

  marvin

Wagner's librettos have often been derided, but even as accomplished a poet as Hugo von Hofmannsthal, who collaborated with Richard Strauss on many operas, was envious of Wagner's literary abilities as a librettist. And whatever some may think of the verse of the Ring - and the alliteration can be too much of a good thing sometimes -, Wagner achieves some marvellous feats of verbal concentration. As a writer and poet I really can appreciate that. And when Wagner read the whole poem aloud in Zürich, the great Swiss writer Gottfried Keller was very impressed - there was a 'rough poetry' there, he wrote to a friend (iirc).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on February 20, 2008, 02:51:05 PM
That's the documentary on Waltraud Meier I am talking about:

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=82040&album_group=2
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on February 20, 2008, 03:50:16 PM
That's the documentary on Waltraud Meier I am talking about:

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=82040&album_group=2
Oh I thought you were talking about a documentary on Johanna.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on February 20, 2008, 08:46:04 PM
Both "Walhall" or "Walhalla" are correct, and yes, "Valhalla" is the correct English transliteration as w in German is the same sound as v in English. In fact, in old Norse it was spelled "Valhalla" while Old German uses the w at the beginning. "Halla" means "hall" (modern german "Halle"), "Wal" means "battle" or "war" (it's actually etymologically the same word as "war". See also "Walstatt", and old-fashioned word for "battlefield", or "Walkuere" ("kueren"="to choose, elect"), a woman who choses the slain heroes from the battlefield which will go to Walhalla.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on February 20, 2008, 08:59:43 PM
Both "Walhall" or "Walhalla" are correct, and yes, "Valhalla" is the correct English transliteration as w in German is the same sound as v in English. In fact, in old Norse it was spelled "Valhalla" while Old German uses the w at the beginning. "Halla" means "hall" (modern german "Halle"), "Wal" means "battle" or "war" (it's actually etymologically the same word as "war". See also "Walstatt", and old-fashioned word for "battlefield", or "Walkuere" ("kueren"="to choose, elect"), a woman who choses the slain heroes from the battlefield which will go to Walhalla.

Query: How is Saal related to Halle? Are they synonyms, or are there shades of gray here?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on February 20, 2008, 09:19:58 PM
Both are more or less the same although a "Saal" is always a large *inner* room while a Halle is basically a large building which typically contains a large room which can be a "Saal" or a "Halle", but not the other way around, a "Saal" can not contain a "Halle", but a "Halle" can contain an inner "Halle". But in many examples, the exact use of the words is interchangeable. Both are very old words which reach far back into Indo-European language history. As you can see by the fact that "Halle" and "Zelle" ("cell", both in the architectural and biological sense) are etymologically derived from the same root word but mean very different things. But the basic meaning of "an enclosed space" is shared.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on February 20, 2008, 09:31:10 PM
Both are more or less the same although a "Saal" is always a large *inner* room while a Halle is basically a large building which typically contains a large room which can be a "Saal" or a "Halle", but not the other way around, a "Saal" can not contain a "Halle", but a "Halle" can contain an inner "Halle". But in many examples, the exact use of the words is interchangeable. Both are very old words which reach far back into Indo-European language history. As you can see by the fact that "Halle" and "Zelle" ("cell", both in the architectural and biological sense) are etymologically derived from the same root word but mean very different things. But the basic meaning of "an enclosed space" is shared.

Thanks for clearing that up for me. Very informative.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 20, 2008, 10:48:39 PM
Both are more or less the same although a "Saal" is always a large *inner* room while a Halle is basically a large building which typically contains a large room which can be a "Saal" or a "Halle", but not the other way around, a "Saal" can not contain a "Halle", but a "Halle" can contain an inner "Halle". But in many examples, the exact use of the words is interchangeable. Both are very old words which reach far back into Indo-European language history. As you can see by the fact that "Halle" and "Zelle" ("cell", both in the architectural and biological sense) are etymologically derived from the same root word but mean very different things. But the basic meaning of "an enclosed space" is shared.

The same applies to the Dutch hal en zaal.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 22, 2008, 05:17:06 AM
I thought some of the Wagnerites here would enjoy reading James Merrill's poem "The Ring Cycle."  It's based on his experience and associations seeing the Levine Ring at the Met.

    1

    They're doing a Ring cycle at the Met,
    Four operas in one week, for the first time
    Since 1939. I went to that one.
    Then war broke out, Flagstad flew home, tastes veered
    To tuneful deaths and dudgeons. Next to Verdi,
    whose riddles I could whistle but not solve,
    Wagner had been significance itself,
    Great golden lengths of it, stitched with motifs,
    A music in whose folds the mind, at twelve,
    Came to its senses: Twin, Sword, Forest Bird,
    Envy, Redemption through Love . . . But left unheard
    These fifty years? A fire of answered prayers
    Buurned round that little pitcher with big ears
    Who now wakes. Night. E-flat denotes the Rhine,
    Where everything began. The world's life. Mine.



    2

    Young love, moon-flooded hut, and the act ends.
    House lights. The matron on my left exclaims.
    We gasp and kiss. Our mothers were best friends.
    Now, old as mothers, here we sit. Too weird.
    That man across the aisle, with lambswool beard,
    Was once my classmate, or a year behind me.
    Alone, in black, in front of him, Maxine . . .
    It's like the Our Town cemetery scene!
    We have long evenings to absorb together
    Before the world ends: once familiar faces
    Transfigured by hi-tech rainbow and mist,
    Fireball and thunderhead. Make-believe weather
    Calling no less for prudence. At our stage
    When recognition strikes, who can afford
    The strain it places on the old switchboard?



    3

    Fricka looks pleased with her new hairdresser.
    Brünnhilde (Behrens) has abandoned hers.
    Russet-maned, eager for battle, she butts her father
    Like a playful pony. They've all grown, these powers,
    So young, so human. So exploitable.
    The very industries whose "major funding"
    Underwrote the production continue to plunder
    The planet's wealth. Erda, her cobwebs beaded
    With years of seeping waste, subsidies unheeded
    --Right Mr. President? Right, Texaco?--
    Into a glass-blue cleft. Singers retire,
    Yes, but take pupils. Not these powers, no, no.
    What corporation Wotan, trained by them,
    Returns gold to the disaffected river,
    Or preatomic sanctity to fire?



    4

    Brünnhilde confronts Siegfried. That is to say,
    Two singers have been patiently rehearsed
    So that their tones and attitudes convey
    Outrage and injured innocence. But first
    Two youngsters became singers, strove to master
    Every nuance of innocence and outrage
    Even in the bosom of their stolid
    Middleclass familes who made it possible
    To study voice, and languages, take lessons
    In how the woman loves, the hero dies . . .
    Tonight again, each note a blade reforged,
    The dire oath ready in their blood is sworn.
    Two world-class egos, painted, overweight,
    Who'll joke at supper sided by side, now hate
    So plausibly that one old stagehand cries.



    5

    I've worn my rings--all three of them
    At once for the first time--to the Ring.


    Like pearls in seawater they gleam,
    A facet sparkels through waves of sound.


    Of their three givers one is underground,
    One far off, one here listening.


    One ring is gold; one silver, set
    With two small diamonds; the third, bone
    --Conch shell, rather. Ocean cradled it


    As earth did the gems and metals. All unknown,
    Then, were the sweatshops of Nibelheim


    That worry nature into jewelry,
    Orbits of power, Love's over me,


    Or music's, as his own chromatic scales
    Beset the dragon, over Time.



    6

    Back when the old house was being leveled
    And this one built, I made a contribution.
    Accordingly, a seat that bears my name
    Year after year between its thin, squared shoulders
    (Where Hagen is about to aim his spear)
    Bides its time in instrumental gloom.
    These evenings we're safe. Our seats belong
    To Walter J. and Ortrud Fogelsong
    --Whoever they are, or were. But late one night
    (How is it possible? I'm sound asleep!)
    I stumble on "my" darkened place. The plaque
    Gives off that phosphorescent sheen of Earth's
    Address book. Stranger yet, as I sink back,
    The youth behind me, daybreak in his eyes--
    A son till now undreamed of--makes to rise.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 22, 2008, 06:20:07 AM
This was really cool, Sarge. Thanks!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 22, 2008, 08:37:10 AM
Thanks for the Merrill poem, Sarge. I have his Selected Poems 1946-1985, and Divine Comedies. But this one must be a late poem from the 1990s. Correct?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 22, 2008, 08:43:58 AM
Thanks for the Merrill poem, Sarge. I have his Selected Poems 1946-1985, and Divine Comedies. But this one must be a late poem from the 1990s. Correct?

Very late. It's from his last book of poetry, A Scattering of Salts, published after his death actually, in 1995. He died too young.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 26, 2008, 04:11:08 AM
    Look forward to it too.  Why Verdi as my avatar? Because Verdi is my other love interest.  He epitomizes Italian Opera (rivalling Mozart in my opinion) as Wagner epotimizes German opera.  Some interesting facts: both Verdi and Wagner were born the same year 1813, both were rivals but never met.  Somehow I believe they  had great respect for each other.  Both Verdi and Wagner had a sense of drama and could convey powerful emotions through their music.  Both wrote one hit opera after the next.  Verdi's mature operas are true masterpeices (Otello, Aida, Falstaff, Rigolleto, Don Carlo,  La Traviata to name a few) as are Wagner's (The Ring Cycle, Tristan und Isolde, Meistersingers, Parsifal, Tannhauser even Lohengrin and The Flying Dutchman).  I own a little under 50 operas, 11 from Wagner and 10 from Verdi (my collection is lop-sided   :)) 


    I will change my avatar to something related to Wagner some day in the near future  :)

   marvin


I was right with you on Vedi and Wagner back when you wrote this, and I remain so today. After my being obsessed with Wagner so much recently, I threw on La Traviata and Otello last week. And was again full of admiration. I think both Wagner and Verdi each pushed each other. Otello shows Wagner's influence just as much as Gotterdammerung and Parsifal show Verdi.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on February 26, 2008, 06:07:48 AM

I was right with you on Vedi and Wagner back when you wrote this, and I remain so today. After my being obsessed with Wagner so much recently, I threw on La Traviata and Otello last week. And was again full of admiration. I think both Wagner and Verdi each pushed each other. Otello shows Wagner's influence just as much as Gotterdammerung and Parsifal show Verdi.

  It is very difficult for me to imagine my music collection without Verdi and Wagner.  It seems my whole musical universe rotates around those two composers with Wagner being the more addictive of the two at the moment....at the moment.  I believe in the concept of opera with a symphonic score and a highly dramatic element.  That to me is the ultimate in artistic musical expression- "Total Art Work" 0:).

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 26, 2008, 06:25:24 AM
  It is very difficult for me to imagine my music collection without Verdi and Wagner.  It seems my whole musical universe rotates around those two composers with Wagner being the more addictive of the two at the moment....at the moment.  I believe in the concept of opera with a symphonic score and a highly dramatic element.  That to me is the ultimate in artistic musical expression- "Total Art Work" 0:).

  marvin



I have to agree. I have a degree in Creative Writing, but I personally feel that even Shakespeare is trumped on every level by the great operas/music dramas. I tried re-reading Shakepeare's Otello after having experienced the incredible Verdi opera, and found it sorely lacking. La Traviata, Rigoletto, Otello, The Ring, Parsifal, etc. just seem to strike deeper. But maybe that's just me.

The great writers like Poe, Hemingway, Joyce, Mailer, Vonnegut, etc. remain superior overall to the great librettists in terms of literature. However, when someone like Mozart, Verdi, Richard Strauss, or Wagner couples music with an above average libretto, the effect completely puts the former mentioned greats of literature out of the running. "Total Art Form", indeed.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on March 02, 2008, 08:20:41 PM


I have to agree. I have a degree in Creative Writing, but I personally feel that even Shakespeare is trumped on every level by the great operas/music dramas. I tried re-reading Shakepeare's Otello after having experienced the incredible Verdi opera, and found it sorely lacking. La Traviata, Rigoletto, Otello, The Ring, Parsifal, etc. just seem to strike deeper. But maybe that's just me.

The great writers like Poe, Hemingway, Joyce, Mailer, Vonnegut, etc. remain superior overall to the great librettists in terms of literature. However, when someone like Mozart, Verdi, Richard Strauss, or Wagner couples music with an above average libretto, the effect completely puts the former mentioned greats of literature out of the running. "Total Art Form", indeed.

I heard yesterday on the Met broadcast of Otello that the libretto is only one-quarter as long as the original play! This may account for Otello's appeal in contrast with Othello. I think with Macbeth the situation is reversed. I find the play superior to the opera, which to me is long-winded. IMO, the best classical tragedies are short and unfold quickly, like machines. This goes for Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, Aeschylus' Agamemnon, and Macbeth, which I feel are perfect tragic plays. I don't think any of these need fear comparison with any opera. So the differentiation might be in the specific play or opera, rather than in a generalization about either form being better than the orher.   

I think you also have to consider that you are reading the text of the play but hearing a performance of the opera rather than reading the score. A vital performance might make any play stronger than in the reading of it.   
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on March 03, 2008, 07:26:16 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31KptO%2BV3qL._AA240_.jpg)

This is a disc with a difference; I am not sure it is a positive difference. Here the four opera are treated as though they were a symphony. So instead of getting the absolutely expected bits, the concept is to produce a symphonic structure. Siegfried is treated as the slow movement, Forest Murmurs and Brunhilde's awakening. Seemingly it makes a satisfying disc. It is topped off with the an arrangement of the Siegfried Idyll.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on March 03, 2008, 07:38:34 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31KptO%2BV3qL._AA240_.jpg)

This is a disc with a difference; I am not sure it is a positive difference. Here the four opera are treated as though they were a symphony. So instead of getting the absolutely expected bits, the concept is to produce a symphonic structure. Siegfried is treated as the slow movement, Forest Murmurs and Brunhilde's awakening. Seemingly it makes a satisfying disc. It is topped off with the an arrangement of the Siegfried Idyll.

Mike

  Good Lord Mike wherever did you find that recording  :o.  I often get accused of being a purist, refusing to listen to anything that's been altered from the state in which it was conceived- that said I am intrigued by that recording!  Do you own it? Have you heard it?  If yes how did you find it?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on March 03, 2008, 08:10:13 AM
Marvin, no to all. It is on the list of new Chandos recordings. It was reviewed quite favourably in this month's Gramophone Mag.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on March 12, 2008, 06:08:53 AM


  I did not know where to post this so I figured here would be the best place.  As most of you who are reading this now probably know Tristan und Isolde is my favorite opera of all time. I have been addicted to the Furtwangler Flagstad recording from EMI for many years now convinced that it is unsurpassed. Well I just received in the post the following CD that I had ordered many weeks ago:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XA381DV8L._SS500_.jpg)

  Now this is what it had say on the sticker that came on the CD- I am copying this word for word:

  By common consent, the finest live recording ever made of Tristan und Isolde. "Birgit Nilsson sings the Liebestod at the end of the long evening as though she was starting afresh, radiant and rising to an orgasmic climax...Opposite Nilsson is Wolfgang Windgassen, the most mellifluous of Heldentenoren"- Penguin Guide

  It is the three words "by common consent" that I found most daring if not audacious....by common consent..hmmm...Wagner fans I would like to ask you how many of you are consenting that this recording is the finest recording of Tristan und Isolde ever made??


  PS:  I shall listen to this recording with an open mind and ears  ;) this weekend!
  marvin   

 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 12, 2008, 06:12:41 AM
Don't know the Furtwängler yet (have it, but have delayed the pleasure of listening to it so far...)

But even so, the Böhm is excellent. I was completely overwhelmed by it when I heard it for the first time, more than 20 years ago.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 12, 2008, 07:30:49 AM
It is the three words "by common consent" that I found most daring if not audacious....by common consent..hmmm...Wagner fans I would like to ask you how many of you are consenting that this recording is the finest recording of Tristan und Isolde ever made??

The finest live recording...maybe. It's well regarded by most Wagnerites. But the finest recording? No, I don't think so.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on March 25, 2008, 02:32:42 PM

  I did not know where to post this so I figured here would be the best place.  As most of you who are reading this now probably know Tristan und Isolde is my favorite opera of all time. I have been addicted to the Furtwangler Flagstad recording from EMI for many years now convinced that it is unsurpassed. Well I just received in the post the following CD that I had ordered many weeks ago:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XA381DV8L._SS500_.jpg)

  Now this is what it had say on the sticker that came on the CD- I am copying this word for word:

  By common consent, the finest live recording ever made of Tristan und Isolde. "Birgit Nilsson sings the Liebestod at the end of the long evening as though she was starting afresh, radiant and rising to an orgasmic climax...Opposite Nilsson is Wolfgang Windgassen, the most mellifluous of Heldentenoren"- Penguin Guide

 

  It is the three words "by common consent" that I found most daring if not audacious....by common consent..hmmm...Wagner fans I would like to ask you how many of you are consenting that this recording is the finest recording of Tristan und Isolde ever made??


  PS:  I shall listen to this recording with an open mind and ears  ;) this weekend!
  marvin   

 

This was my frst Tristan. It's been described as "incandescent" and "white hot," apt descriptions. When I discovered it I did little else for three weeks but listen to it over and over again, even taking days off from work to spend with it. It made such an impression on my psyche that other versions cannot touch it, although I can't know if I'm being objective or not.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 25, 2008, 02:38:25 PM
I shall listen to this recording with an open mind and ears  ;) this weekend!
marvin   

What did you think, Marvin? And which other Tristans have you heard?

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on March 25, 2008, 03:16:10 PM
What did you think, Marvin? And which other Tristans have you heard?

Sarge


  It overwhelmed me!!  Bohm's pace is a bit too fast for me, but he drives the music with intensity and the opera reaches "white hot" climaxes most notably in ACT 2 that are rarely heard on other recordings. When I compare it to Furtwangler's Tristan with Flagstad, Reiner's Tristan again with Flagstad, pictured below, and Barenboim's Tristan at Bayreuth DVD that Bohm recording's intensity is in a class all on its own.  At times I wished he would slow down a bit and let the music "breath" but that would have defeated the purpose- sweeping the listener away with waves of emotion. The Bohm recordsing is a MUST HAVE for any collection as the interpretation is truly unique but I feel that the Furtwangler Tristan is also required to provide a more balanced appreciation of this opera. This is the Reiner recording I was referring to above:
     
  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41YNB88ER4L._SS500_.jpg)

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 25, 2008, 03:42:24 PM
Great write-up, Marvin!

It's high time I listened to the Furtwängler, as the Böhm has always been my yard-stick... But 'Tristan' is a work that requires a certain mood which, at the moment, I can't summon.

Later.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on March 25, 2008, 04:58:44 PM
Great write-up, Marvin!

It's high time I listened to the Furtwängler, as the Böhm has always been my yard-stick... But 'Tristan' is a work that requires a certain mood which, at the moment, I can't summon.

Later.

The Furtwangler is excellent all around. The 1st act knocks out in a big way. I have that, and the Kleiber and Barenboim. The Barenboim was also really good in the 1st act, but the 2nd just didn't make it for me.

 I liked the Kleiber all the way through, but the sound wasn't exactly great. Really liked the singing on that one.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on March 25, 2008, 05:42:17 PM
To me the love duet in the second act is the high point part of the work, and together with the Liebestod at the end of the opera (which is really a continuation of the love duet) reaches a plateau of genius few other musical works do. Can those who love other versions besides the Bohm recommend another love duet which can be compared with it? As I said above, my intense initiation at Bohm's hands has spoiled me for other versions, but perhaps it is time to make a good try!   
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on March 25, 2008, 11:10:17 PM
I think that the Kleiber studio recording succeeds well in providing a contrast to the Bohm. It is like a narcotic experience, a trance...which does not mean it is slow. But it has a lot of ebb and flow.

I enjoy the studio Karajan a great deal and his act 3 is singular due to the partnership with Vickers, that is an unusually intense experience.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on March 26, 2008, 02:49:32 AM
I think that the Kleiber studio recording succeeds well in providing a contrast to the Bohm. It is like a narcotic experience, a trance...which does not mean it is slow. But it has a lot of ebb and flow.

I enjoy the studio Karajan a great deal and his act 3 is singular due to the partnership with Vickers, that is an unusually intense experience.

Mike



Each act of the Kleiber has high points, but the 3rd really grabbed my attention forcefully. Even though I have trouble hearing the orchestra at times in the first two acts, the third is where everything came together on all levels.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 26, 2008, 03:50:12 AM


Each act of the Kleiber has high points, but the 3rd really grabbed my attention forcefully. Even though I have trouble hearing the orchestra at times in the first two acts, the third is where everything came together on all levels.

Invisible orchestra - fair enough.
Invisible theatre - the better option, often.
Inaudible orchestra- definitely not!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on March 26, 2008, 04:44:25 AM
Invisible orchestra - fair enough.
Invisible theatre - the better option, often.
Inaudible orchestra- definitely not!


This is an excellent point.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on March 26, 2008, 11:17:51 AM


Each act of the Kleiber has high points, but the 3rd really grabbed my attention forcefully. Even though I have trouble hearing the orchestra at times in the first two acts, the third is where everything came together on all levels.

I am going to have to go back and listen to that recording. I thought there was a good balance with the orchestra. I have read that the recording was done without the two main singers being present in the studio at the same time. It sounds utterly unlikely to me. I would not have thought that Kleiber was the kind to allow this kind of arrangement.

I think Karajan countenanced it in his EMI Dutchman for at least some of the scenes, also I thought it was recorded over a period of about 18 months.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on March 26, 2008, 02:38:30 PM
I am going to have to go back and listen to that recording. I thought there was a good balance with the orchestra. I have read that the recording was done without the two main singers being present in the studio at the same time. It sounds utterly unlikely to me. I would not have thought that Kleiber was the kind to allow this kind of arrangement.

I think Karajan countenanced it in his EMI Dutchman for at least some of the scenes, also I thought it was recorded over a period of about 18 months.

Mike



Mike I think I might have unknowingly misrepresented myself. I was talking about the Kleiber Bayreuth performance. The sound is extremely sketchy, though the singing can be quite inspiring. I am now really curious as to the "other" Kleiber; the latter is a studio version? Forgive my duh-ness.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on March 26, 2008, 02:53:52 PM
No, that's OK. I thought it must be my ears, but the studio performance has beautiful sound. Todd knows all three of the Kleiber Tristans and recons both live ones are more exciting than the studio performance. That latter is the only of his performances I know.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Todd on March 27, 2008, 01:34:02 PM
Todd knows all three of the Kleiber Tristans and recons both live ones are more exciting than the studio performance.


It's more accurate to state that I know three of the seven extant recordings of Tristan under Carlos, which are as follows:

Stuttgart, 1973
Vienna, 1973
Bayreuth, 1974
Bayreuth, 1975
Bayreuth, 1976
La Scala, 1978
Dresden, 1980-82 (DG, studio)


I may have to try one or two of the other options, poor sound be damned.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on March 27, 2008, 01:36:47 PM
Is anyone familiar with this dvd, and how does it hold up against the Bayreuth and Levine?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Expresso on March 28, 2008, 02:10:39 PM

Are there any good budget recordings of the Ring operas? Not necessarily from the same conductor.
Maybe Furtwangler or Kempe?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on March 28, 2008, 02:12:23 PM
Are there any good budget recordings of the Ring operas? Not necessarily from the same conductor.
Maybe Furtwangler or Kempe?



The Krauss Ring Cycle is really good, and relatively inexpensive.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on March 28, 2008, 03:04:15 PM
Are there any good budget recordings of the Ring operas? Not necessarily from the same conductor.
Maybe Furtwangler or Kempe?

  At one point in my collecting career I bought the Furtwangler RAI  Ring Cycle and paid £35 for it. I discovered that Furtwangler was a remarkable Wagnerian conductor but the less than stellar sound, orchestra (most notably the brass section) and cast have caused me to sell it and buy the Solti recording instead  :-\.  Draw whatever conclusions you may wish from my experience  :-\.

  marvin 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on March 29, 2008, 05:22:46 AM
Looks like they finally got around to releasing this (http://www.amazon.com/Herbert-Von-Karajan-Wagner-Rheingold/dp/B000YD7S12/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1206796487&sr=8-13) HVK Rheingold on DVD.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51U8Ag1njNL._AA240_.jpg)

The Amazon.com description unfortunately refers to the Chereau Ring (how they make that mistake is anybody's guess). But this Rheingold I saw the end on Youtube and it is excellent. Not sure whether in the future we'll get rest of the cycle.

Here is a link for the youtube cut:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ns9Mh9XZZ6c
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on March 29, 2008, 05:28:38 AM
Looks like they finally got around to releasing this (http://www.amazon.com/Herbert-Von-Karajan-Wagner-Rheingold/dp/B000YD7S12/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1206796487&sr=8-13) HVK Rheingold on DVD.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51U8Ag1njNL._AA240_.jpg)

The Amazon.com description unfortunately refers to the Chereau Ring (how they make that mistake is anybody's guess). But this Rheingold I saw the end on Youtube and it is excellent. Not sure whether in the future we'll get rest of the cycle.

Here is a link for the youtube cut:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ns9Mh9XZZ6c



ooOOOOOOooo JA!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on March 29, 2008, 05:48:29 AM


ooOOOOOOooo JA!

Ja indeed my friend. Have you ever seen a more towering and authoritive looking Wotan than Stewart? And even from the limited sound on youtube you can't help but being bowled over by the titanic and burnished playing of the BP.

Anyway I can't wait to see the whole thing.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on March 29, 2008, 06:03:08 AM
Ja indeed my friend. Have you ever seen a more towering and authoritive looking Wotan than Stewart? And even from the limited sound on youtube you can't help but being bowled over by the titanic and burnished playing of the BP.

Anyway I can't wait to see the whole thing.




It went immediately on my wish list before I even went on youtube, thank you so much!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on March 29, 2008, 06:55:06 AM
Not sure whether in the future we'll get rest of the cycle.

Rheingold was the only one that was filmed. 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on March 29, 2008, 10:56:50 AM
Ach! Those Rhein Töchter!  ::) - Naughty Herbert!  >:D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Harry on March 29, 2008, 11:02:30 AM
Well this looks the place where a good and inexpensive Ring cycle could be recommended.........
I am waiting you Wagner addicts.
In a short time I will start with a cd Johan, (Jezetha) will send me, with Choir works or excerpts from Wagners operas.
What next I wonder? :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 29, 2008, 11:10:24 AM
In a short time I will start with a cd Johan, (Jezetha) will send me, with Choir works or excerpts from Wagners operas.

Choral highlights from Flying Dutchman, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Meistersinger, Götterdämmerung and Parsifal - a wonderful collection, that hopefully will spur you on and on into deeper Wagnerian territory...  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Expresso on March 29, 2008, 11:46:48 AM
  At one point in my collecting career I bought the Furtwangler RAI  Ring Cycle and paid £35 for it. I discovered that Furtwangler was a remarkable Wagnerian conductor but the less than stellar sound, orchestra (most notably the brass section) and cast have caused me to sell it and buy the Solti recording instead  :-\.  Draw whatever conclusions you may wish from my experience  :-\.

  marvin 




The Krauss Ring Cycle is really good, and relatively inexpensive.

I'll check some samples from those options, thanks.


Solti's Wagner is way too expensive! I'll probably buy it too sometime in the future, but at the moment i need an cheaper introduction to the Ring. It doesn't have to be a Ring cycle from the same conductor.


What do you think of this one?
Karajan's Die Meistersinger from '51.

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/9575668?rk=classic&rsk=hitlist

Is this a live recording? The sample clips sound very good.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on March 29, 2008, 11:49:54 AM

 
Karajan's Die Meistersinger from '51.

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/9575668?rk=classic&rsk=hitlist

Is this a live recording? The sample clips sound very good.


I sampled over half of it, and was impressed. But the older Solti recording was better, and not very expensive either.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on March 29, 2008, 11:54:51 AM
That Meistersingers is live. There is a fair bit of stage noise, but lots of compensations.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on March 29, 2008, 11:57:05 AM
That Meistersingers is live. There is a fair bit of stage noise, but lots of compensations.


I agree.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on March 29, 2008, 12:02:24 PM
Lots of clodhopping.....funny in a way. I can imagine what it looked like. Schwarzkopf is especially terrific.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 30, 2008, 05:18:50 AM
Are there any good budget recordings of the Ring operas? Not necessarily from the same conductor.
Maybe Furtwangler or Kempe?

Either of these is a "good" Ring at a super budget price:

LEVINE (http://www.amazon.ca/Ring-Nibelungen-Wagner-Levine/dp/B000GYI2U0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1206881574&sr=1-1) $35 (€22)

or

NEUHOLD (http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/8976736?rk=classic&rsk=hitlist) €14 ($22)


Neuhold is a decent provincial production in very good sound (and it's a steal, literally, at that price). Levine has its pros and cons concerning the cast, and some think his tempos too sluggish but the Götterdämmerung is a serious contender for best ever....and the Met orchestra is phenomenal.

Moralt's is a truly great Ring from the golden age but the physical production and presentation (no pauses between acts and scenes, no booklet, no notes, no libretto, not even a cast list) are horrid; a Ring not for the Ring neophyte. Furtwängler must be heard at some point but I don't think either of his Rings is a good beginner's Ring. Kempe is unknown to me. Depending on how much you want to spend, Krauss is excellent but the sound quality isn't nearly as good as Neuhold or Levine. Better cast though.


Sarge

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on March 31, 2008, 08:11:57 AM



It went immediately on my wish list before I even went on youtube, thank you so much!
You may have found it already but here are a few more clips:

This one where Wotan first encounters the giants:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=4jSLtUvHxgQ&feature=related
(notice how HVK got singers that LOOK the part too - the beautiful Brigitte Fassbaender and Jeannine Altmeyer)

The transition to Nibelheim:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=cCXxr44gh0U&feature=related

And this one where Wotan first encounters Alberich:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Exw_gaLsRQQ&feature=related

Levine has its pros and cons concerning the cast, and some think his tempos too sluggish but the Götterdämmerung is a serious contender for best ever....and the Met orchestra is phenomenal.

As good as the MET Orchestra sounds in that recording, it must be heard live to appreciate how fabulous this group is under Levine (you can probably say that about a lot of orchestras). The cellos and viola sections are intoxicatingly beautiful, while the trumpets and trombones can maintain quite a refined sound and are capable of the greatest dynamic contrasts. Also with this group you always get absolute rhythmic clarity. The rest of the winds are just as good. The flutes especially are bright and clear, none of the breathy flute sound you get with some American orchestras.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on March 31, 2008, 03:08:15 PM
Is the Levine still available from amazon.ca?  I think it only cost $40 in honor of the fact that Canada was presenting its first Ring last year.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Harry on April 04, 2008, 04:36:29 AM
Following Sarge's advice in the purchase of the Ring from Wagner, I also add a few things of my own, about 60 Wagner cd's, to start with. ;D
13 Ring cd's.
44 cd's of all of Wagners operas.... :o ;D

See here the contents

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/2309181?rk=classic&rsk=hitlist&page=3

But no libretti though, so suggestions where to download them would be fine in the thread about libretti......
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Harry on April 04, 2008, 04:37:26 AM
And this one, just for the fun of it....
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 04, 2008, 04:55:17 AM
Is the Levine still available from amazon.ca?

Not directly but there is one seller offering it new for the cheap price.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on April 04, 2008, 05:39:11 AM
Following Sarge's advice in the purchase of the Ring from Wagner, I also add a few things of my own, about 60 Wagner cd's, to start with. ;D
13 Ring cd's.
44 cd's of all of Wagners operas.... :o ;D

See here the contents

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/2309181?rk=classic&rsk=hitlist&page=3

But no libretti though, so suggestions where to download them would be fine in the thread about libretti......



Harry this is a very good site, with all kinds of libretti di Wagner:

http://www.rwagner.net/opere/e-t-ring.html (http://www.rwagner.net/opere/e-t-ring.html)


When I first started listening to Wagner (the excellent Toscanini compilation, back in 2000), I was immensely intimidated. I didn't want to admit to myself that the works were over my head; that they required alot of patience and study. When I went back to Wagner last Spring 2007, I was again heavily intimidated.

What changed me was my driving passion for music. To really reap the seemingly endless benefits of more complex works, I have to always remember to open myself up as thoroughly as possible; that is, to focus (which can take effort).

I probably don't have to tell you, Harry, that the benefits from such an opening-up are literally off the scale. You get far more than what you put into Wagner's work. Or into great, involved music in general.

You know,

Our Music.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 04, 2008, 05:43:57 AM
Following Sarge's advice in the purchase of the Ring from Wagner, I also add a few things of my own, about 60 Wagner cd's, to start with.
13 Ring cd's.
44 cd's of all of Wagners operas....

 :P ;D :)

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on April 04, 2008, 05:45:29 AM
Wait 'till you start getting into the libretto and music of sacred Parsifal!!!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Harry on April 04, 2008, 05:48:39 AM


Harry this is a very good site, with all kinds of libretti di Wagner:

http://www.rwagner.net/opere/e-t-ring.html (http://www.rwagner.net/opere/e-t-ring.html)


When I first started listening to Wagner (the excellent Toscanini compilation, back in 2000), I was immensely intimidated. I didn't want to admit to myself that the works were over my head; that they required alot of patience and study. When I went back to Wagner last Spring 2007, I was again heavily intimidated.

What changed me was my driving passion for music. To really reap the seemingly endless benefits of more complex works, I have to always remember to open myself up as thoroughly as possible; that is, to focus (which can take effort).

I probably don't have to tell you, Harry, that the benefits from such an opening-up are literally off the scale. You get far more than what you put into Wagner's work. Or into great, involved music in general.

You know,

Our Music.

Thanks Andy for the libretti link, that's cool, I will print them right away.
And of course when I start with Wagner, I will be off line for a long time, and when I will be back again, well god knows.....
But your comments are appreciated, afterall, you are a experienced Wagner adept. :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Harry on April 04, 2008, 05:49:33 AM
:P ;D :)



The first Smiley I understood Johan, but could you explain the two others? ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Harry on April 04, 2008, 05:50:50 AM
Wait 'till you start getting into the libretto and music of sacred Parsifal!!!

Well the printer is doing its job right now, and before I start listening, I will absorb the libretti first and foremost, and read my way through his life...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 04, 2008, 05:54:27 AM
The first Smiley I understood Johan, but could you explain the two others? ;D

Well,  ;D means 'You'll laugh your head off, Wagner is soooo funny!' and  :) means 'I am very glad for you'.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Harry on April 04, 2008, 06:03:54 AM
Well,  ;D means 'You'll laugh your head off, Wagner is soooo funny!' and  :) means 'I am very glad for you'.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ::) :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on April 04, 2008, 07:11:49 AM
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ::) :)



I believe he meant that operas like Siegfried and Die Meistersinger are often very funny. The latter in particular is just generally good-hearted and Affirming.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 04, 2008, 07:28:24 AM


I believe he meant that operas like Siegfried and Die Meistersinger are often very funny. The latter in particular is just generally good-hearted and Affirming.

I was joking a bit. I don't think Wagner is the laugh-out-loud humourist among opera composers, BUT - I think Das Rheingold is Wagner's best play, and Loge Wagner's wittiest character; and some scenes in Meistersinger (the serenading Beckmesser interrrupted by Sachs, and Beckmesser, again, caught in the act (of theft) by Sachs) are funny. I don't find, on the other hand, the Wanderer in Siegfried a scream in his dealings with Mime, nor is Hagen a hoot (though he does hoot  ;) ) when he summons Gibich's men in Götterdämmerung...

Wagner, mostly, is serious business.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: duncan on April 04, 2008, 02:25:09 PM
The Testament website has downloadable .pdfs of The Ring libretti here (http://"http://www.testament.co.uk/default.aspx?PageID=7").
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Harry on April 04, 2008, 11:45:24 PM
The Testament website has downloadable .pdfs of The Ring libretti here (http://"http://www.testament.co.uk/default.aspx?PageID=7").

That would be fine Duncan, but I get a blank when I go to here! ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 05, 2008, 01:31:26 AM
That would be fine Duncan, but I get a blank when I go to here! ;D

http://www.testament.co.uk/default.aspx?PageID=7"

I checked. But I don't think those pdf's are very readable...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on April 05, 2008, 10:47:02 AM
I would like to recommend this EMI issue

Les introuvables du Ring

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wagner-Introuvables-du-Ring-Richard/dp/B000005GQX/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1207419809&sr=1-1

These four discs bring together a number of excerpts from The Ring in dispirate and desirable performances. They range from Flagstaff through to Dernsch. Some of these performances have not been widely available. A long time ago on a Classics for Pleasure LP, I first encountered Kempe's experts of Rheingold. Here was a lyrical, warm and impulsive concept, clear textures and plenty of drama where it is called for. It at once became and has remained my favourite interpretation of this music; but only a LP's worth of music was recorded. This whets my appetite for the possibility of Testament issuing a complete live Kempe Covent Garden Ring.

It was fantastic news when Kempe became the conductor of the BBC Sym Orch. in London. My choir was slated to perform with him; a genuinely exciting prospect for us. He unexpectedly died at a fairly early age and a lot of potential years of great music making vanished.

The discs do not stick to trotting through all the expected passages, though they come close in Gotterdammerung. But apart from Rheingold, each opera is covered by various performers.

Walkure gets a lion's share and includes the ending in two versions. One has Fischer Dieskau conducted by Kubelik. Act 1 of Walkure is given complete, conducted by Klemperer. Very different from Walter in his famous performance, this is more stately, but not slow. Dernsch is caught in good voice and William Cochran sounded promising in 1970. Sotin makes up the third cast member and is in his element.

After that we get the second version of the close; Nilsson young and already in 1957 well into her stride, her father is none other than Hotter at his best. Leopold Ludwig was the underrated conductor.

Other names involved include Svanholm, Bohm, Swallisch, Frick, Konwitchny and Josef Metternich.

You do not learn the operas from this set, but you will hear a stupendous number of performers, legends some of them, and the set has given me enormous pleasure for some years.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Harry on April 05, 2008, 10:55:23 AM
I would like to recommend this EMI issue

Les introuvables du Ring

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wagner-Introuvables-du-Ring-Richard/dp/B000005GQX/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1207419809&sr=1-1

These four discs bring together a number of excerpts from The Ring in dispirate and desirable performances. They range from Flagstaff through to Dernsch. Some of these performances have not been widely available. A long time ago on a Classics for Pleasure LP, I first encountered Kempe's experts of Rheingold. Here was a lyrical warm and impulsive concept, clear textures and plenty of drama where it is called for. It at once become and has remained my favourite interpretation of this music; but only a LPs worth of music was recorded. This whets my appetite for the possibility of Testament issuing a complete live Kempe Covent Garden Ring.

It was fantastic news when Kempe became the conductor of the BBC Sym Orch. in London. My choir was slated to perform with him a genuinely exciting prospect; he unexpectedly died at a fairly early age and a lot of potential years of great music making vanished.

The discs do not stick to trotting through all the expected passages, though they come close in Gotterdammerung. But apart from Rheingold, each opera is covered by various performers.

Walkure gets a lion's share and includes the ending in two versions. One has Fischer Dieskau conducted by Kubelik. Act 1 of Walkure is given complete, conducted by Klemperer. Very different from Walter in his famous performance, this is more stately, but not slow. Dernsch is caught in good voice and William Cochran sounded promising in 1970. Sotin makes up the third cast member and is in his element.

After that we get the second version of the close; Nilsson young and already in 1957 well into her stride, her father is none other than Hotter at his best. Leopold Ludwig was the underrated conductor.

Other names involved include Svanholm, Bohm, Swallisch, Frick, Konwitchny and Josef Metternich.

You do not learn the operas from this set, but you will hear a stupendous number of performers, legends some of them, and the set has given me enormous pleasure for some years.

Mike

I added this one on my list, heck only 64 Wagner cd's, in a first attempt, another 4 won't go amiss right? :)
By the way Mike, I simply love the Verdi you send me, thanks again.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on April 05, 2008, 11:10:19 AM
Harry, A pleasure. These are in the main recordings more from the era thet you are in sympathetic towards. I did read about your Wagner splurge. You do throw yourself into the deep end! From more or less no opera to great gouts of it in almost one leap.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Harry on April 05, 2008, 11:23:17 AM
Harry, A pleasure. These are in the main recordings more from the era thet you are in sympathetic towards. I did read about your Wagner splurge. You do throw yourself into the deep end! From more or less no opera to great gouts of it in almost one leap.

Mike

Yes, that's me, my wife almost asked me politely to go and see a doctor..... :)
After seeing Boris with the girls, I was sold.......
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: rw1883 on April 05, 2008, 02:13:27 PM
This has been recently released:

http://www.allegro-music.com/online_catalog.asp?sku_tag=OPD31501 (http://www.allegro-music.com/online_catalog.asp?sku_tag=OPD31501)

Has anyone heard this yet?  I never bought the EMI set, but I do have the Gebhardt.  From what I remember the sound on the Gebhardt is decent, but for only $44 I will have to buy!

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on April 05, 2008, 02:48:51 PM
This has been recently released:

http://www.allegro-music.com/online_catalog.asp?sku_tag=OPD31501 (http://www.allegro-music.com/online_catalog.asp?sku_tag=OPD31501)

Has anyone heard this yet?  I never bought the EMI set, but I do have the Gebhardt.  From what I remember the sound on the Gebhardt is decent, but for only $44 I will have to buy!



Here is the cast according the allegro website for the La Scala Ring:

Featured Artists
Birgit Nilsson, Set Svanholm, Ferdinand Frantz: vocal soloists
Günther Treptow, Max Lorenz, Elisabeth Höngen, Ludwig Weber: vocal soloists
Orchestra & Chorus of La Scala, Milan
Wilhelm Furtwängler: conductor


What did Birgit Nilsson do in that cycle? I don't remember her being in it. Being it was 1950 she must have been a neophyte then.

Anyway I have the Gebhardt release. The sound is okay as in barely listenable without hurting your ears. The loud passages still sound distorted and the audience sound like they are having a party in the background. The orchestra is rarely together. The singing I suppose is pretty good. But all in all I find this an extremely overrated release. If you already have the Genbardt release of this cycle I don't see why you want to spend $$$ on this release.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on April 05, 2008, 08:45:42 PM
After that we get the second version of the close; Nilsson young and already in 1957 well into her stride, her father is none other than Hotter at his best. Leopold Ludwig was the underrated conductor.

EMI just put out the Hotter/Nilsson arias/duets disc. It has the whole of the two Testament releases.

Not bad, and it is worth it for catching Hotter in his prime for the Walküre stuff, as opposed to Solti's capture of his voice on the downward slide.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on April 05, 2008, 09:49:15 PM
Here is the cast according the allegro website for the La Scala Ring:
What did Birgit Nilsson do in that cycle? I don't remember her being in it. Being it was 1950 she must have been a neophyte then.

Nilsson didn't make her La Scala debut until 1958.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: rubio on May 01, 2008, 02:13:17 AM
How is this book as an introduction to Wagner's world? It includes a couple of CD's with music examples - a thing I can appreciate.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51JXV0VVN0L._SL500_BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on May 01, 2008, 11:40:19 AM
How is this book as an introduction to Wagner's world? It includes a couple of CD's with music examples - a thing I can appreciate.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51JXV0VVN0L._SL500_BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_.jpg)



That one is pretty cool; just don't buy it at the stores! Amazon probably has it pretty cheap, and it's possible you won't need a brand new copy anyway.


Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 20, 2008, 03:10:21 AM
Here's an incredible bargain for the Wagner neophyte...or any Wagnerian interested in one or more of these performances from Bayreuth (recordings between 1961-1985): ten operas, 33 CDs for €40, including the '66 Böhm Tristan and Ring. I might get it just for the super-slow Levine Parsifal which I've never heard.

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/1925450


Sarge

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Harry on May 20, 2008, 03:29:39 AM
Here's an incredible bargain for the Wagner neophyte...or any Wagnerian interested in one or more of these performances from Bayreuth (recordings between 1961-1985): ten operas, 33 CDs for €40, including the '66 Böhm Tristan and Ring. I might get it just for the super-slow Levine Parsifal which I've never heard.

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/1925450


Sarge



Good, it was already on my order list. ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 20, 2008, 04:55:33 AM
I would like to recommend this EMI issue

Les introuvables du Ring

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wagner-Introuvables-du-Ring-Richard/dp/B000005GQX/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1207419809&sr=1-1



Anyone who is interested in the above set will no doubt find this one indispensable too.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wagner-Introuvables-Richard/dp/B000002S2M/ref=sr_1_26?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1211290687&sr=1-26 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wagner-Introuvables-Richard/dp/B000002S2M/ref=sr_1_26?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1211290687&sr=1-26)

which is available second hand at a pathetically low price of £12. There is some marvellous singing in this one too. Marjorie Lawrence, an Australian singer active in France during the 1930s proved a major discovery for me. Though considered a mezzo (or more properly falcon), her Brunnhilde (in French) is fantastic. The last track on the final CD is of a magnificent Immolation scene.

CD1 has excerpts from Der fliegende Hollander and Die Meistersinger, and features such singers as Rethberg, Nilsson, Hotter, Schorr, Lemnitz and Elisabeth Schumann.
CD2 concentrates on Tannhauser and Lohengrin (Lorenz, Reining, Janssen, Husch, Flagstad, Rethberg, Pertile, Lotte Lehmann, Hina Spani, Roswaenge etc)
CD3 Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal (Leider, Melchior, Seinemeyer, Lubin, Kipnis, Schorr etc)
CD4 Der Ring (Lawrence, Journet, Nissen, Leider, Lubin, Austral, Widdop, Weber etc) I don't know if there is any duplication with the set recommended by Mike.



Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 21, 2008, 02:09:30 PM


  HAPPY BIRTHDAY RICHARD WAGNER!!  It is midnight here in London and officially the 22nd of May! 

  What a glorious day in the history of opera.  Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig on May 22, 1813! Years later he was to take the opera world by storm  0:)! 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 21, 2008, 02:32:35 PM

  HAPPY BIRTHDAY RICHARD WAGNER!!  It is midnight here in London and officially the 22nd of May! 

  What a glorious day in the history of opera.  Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig on May 22, 1813! Years later he was to take the opera world by storm  0:)!

Yes, a day to remember. One of my heroes.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on May 21, 2008, 06:16:06 PM
Here's an incredible bargain for the Wagner neophyte...or any Wagnerian interested in one or more of these performances from Bayreuth (recordings between 1961-1985): ten operas, 33 CDs for €40, including the '66 Böhm Tristan and Ring. I might get it just for the super-slow Levine Parsifal which I've never heard.

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/1925450


Sarge

It looks like this is coming out in the States, or at least through ArkivMusic, in June. I'll be buying it for the Varviso Meistersinger, which has received very good reviews in the past, along with some of the other non-Ring/Tristan performances.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on May 22, 2008, 01:32:32 AM
It looks like this is coming out in the States, or at least through ArkivMusic, in June.

It's also at amazon.com: Link (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Great-Operas-Bayreuth-Festival/dp/B00159679S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1211452120&sr=1-1)


I'm tempted.  The only recording in the set I have is the Böhm Tristan.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on May 22, 2008, 06:14:47 AM
It's also at amazon.com: Link (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Great-Operas-Bayreuth-Festival/dp/B00159679S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1211452120&sr=1-1)


I'm tempted.  The only recording in the set I have is the Böhm Tristan.

I am now pretty sure that if I traveled two months into the future, I'd find that I bought the set.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Kullervo on May 22, 2008, 06:23:23 AM
Here's an incredible bargain for the Wagner neophyte...or any Wagnerian interested in one or more of these performances from Bayreuth (recordings between 1961-1985): ten operas, 33 CDs for €40, including the '66 Böhm Tristan and Ring. I might get it just for the super-slow Levine Parsifal which I've never heard.

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/1925450


Sarge



 :o Wow! Do you know if libretti are included?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 22, 2008, 06:26:17 AM
:o Wow! Do you know if libretti are included?
Are you kidding me? Of course NOT ! But if you are a diehard Wagnerian you should have the text to most of the operas (like Ring, Tristan, and Parsifal memorized already).

I ordered it from Amazon France a few weeks ago and the expected delivery date is like the end of June or something. Including shipping it costs about $60 which is about the same price you can get it at Amazon U.S. I guess but a few weeks ago Amazon U.S. doesn't have it.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Kullervo on May 22, 2008, 06:58:38 AM
Well, as I've yet to hear an entire Wagner opera, I'd think it be a bit of a stretch to call me a Wagnerian. :D The box seemed  like a cheap alternative to collecting separate recordings of each opera, but as there are no libretti, I think I will take the long way 'round.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on May 22, 2008, 07:04:02 AM
Well, as I've yet to hear an entire Wagner opera, I'd think it be a bit of a stretch to call me a Wagnerian. :D The box seemed  like a cheap alternative to collecting separate recordings of each opera, but as there are no libretti, I think I will take the long way 'round.

The libretti are freely and abundantly available on the mighty Interweb or, for a nominal fee, in book form.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 22, 2008, 07:06:28 AM
Well, as I've yet to hear an entire Wagner opera, I'd think it be a bit of a stretch to call me a Wagnerian. :D The box seemed  like a cheap alternative to collecting separate recordings of each opera, but as there are no libretti, I think I will take the long way 'round.

  Corey seeing as how you are new to Wagner I'd start with the Levine MET Ring on DVD.  Remember those operas were meant to be seen.  After repeated viewing you should start to link the music with the plot without the need for a libretto.  Then you can sit back, set your stereo volume on full blast and listen to the shear power, the phenomenal power of the SOLTI Ring on CD  0:). Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it  0:).

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: MN Dave on May 22, 2008, 07:10:48 AM
 Corey seeing as how you are new to Wagner I'd start with the Levine MET Ring on DVD.  Remember those operas were meant to be seen.  After repeated viewing you should start to link the music with the plot without the need for a libretto.  Then you can sit back, set your stereo volume on full blast and listen to the shear power, the phenomenal power of the SOLTI Ring on CD  0:). Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it  0:).

  marvin

Have you ever noticed that Marvin likes Wagner?  ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 22, 2008, 07:20:08 AM
Have you ever noticed that Marvin likes Wagner?  ;D

   ;D 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on May 22, 2008, 07:21:04 AM
Have you ever noticed that Marvin likes Wagner?  ;D

Now that you mention it, I think MB does like Wagner.

Of course, he does the neophytes no favors by shilling the Solti Ring when Keilberth's Testament set from the 1955 Festspiele is so seductive and so available. Now, the real Solti connoisseurs know that the 1983 Tetralogy from Bayreuth is the one to 'find.' Peter Hall's staging might have flopped, but Solti's orchestral approach is even better than his Decca set - with the Bayreuth band and acoustic to boot. I'm hoping that Orfeo or Testament will get the rights to it for an official release.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 22, 2008, 11:14:45 AM
Now that you mention it, I think MB does like Wagner.

Of course, he does the neophytes no favors by shilling the Solti Ring when Keilberth's Testament set from the 1955 Festspiele is so seductive and so available. Now, the real Solti connoisseurs know that the 1983 Tetralogy from Bayreuth is the one to 'find.' Peter Hall's staging might have flopped, but Solti's orchestral approach is even better than his Decca set - with the Bayreuth band and acoustic to boot. I'm hoping that Orfeo or Testament will get the rights to it for an official release.

  Sorry PSmith08 but here you and I part company  :(.  That Solti Ring on Decca remains my all-time favorite Ring and I firmly believe that it is worth a listen!   I have heard a lot about Keilberth's Ring. Hans Hotter was at his best here and it is a live performance.  I am not sure what the sound is like, I doubt it is anywhere near as good as the Solti's Ring on Decca.  I think what is wonderfull is that there are so many COMPLETE Rings on the market to suit all tastes.  For me SOLTI's Decca studio recording of the Ring is as good as it gets.  To each his own I guess  :-\.

  marvin   
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 22, 2008, 11:35:08 AM
Now, the real Solti connoisseurs know that the 1983 Tetralogy from Bayreuth is the one to 'find.' Peter Hall's staging might have flopped, but Solti's orchestral approach is even better than his Decca set - with the Bayreuth band and acoustic to boot. I'm hoping that Orfeo or Testament will get the rights to it for an official release.
So on which pirate label would you find the '83 Solti cycle? Who is in the cast? I imagine a steady diet of Rene Kollo ?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on May 22, 2008, 01:39:38 PM
So on which pirate label would you find the '83 Solti cycle? Who is in the cast? I imagine a steady diet of Rene Kollo ?

I found it on the mighty Interweb right here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,42.0.html). Solti only conducted the cycle for one season, leaving Peter Schneider (IIRC) to pick up the 1984 performances. Siegfried Jerusalem and Manfred Jung have the major tenor roles. Hildegard Behrens sings Brünnhilde. Siegmund Nimsgern has Wotan. The rest of the cast is at the link down the page a ways. It's a decidedly 1980s cast.

  Sorry PSmith08 but here you and I part company  :(.  That Solti Ring on Decca remains my all-time favorite Ring and I firmly believe that it is worth a listen!   I have heard a lot about Keilberth's Ring. Hans Hotter was at his best here and it is a live performance.  I am not sure what the sound is like, I doubt it is anywhere near as good as the Solti's Ring on Decca.  I think what is wonderfull is that there are so many COMPLETE Rings on the market to suit all tastes.  For me SOLTI's Decca studio recording of the Ring is as good as it gets.  To each his own I guess  :-\.

Well, the sound on the Keilberth Ring isn't nearly as contrived as Culshaw's super-stereo extravaganza, if that's what you mean. It has a more natural feel and perspective, but I can understand how others might prefer a more-engineered approach. It's a little raw and the stereo is 1955-vintage, but it does capture the Festspielhaus acoustic in a less in-your-face way. I think the Decca engineers used a single condenser stereo mike in the rafters to catch everything.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on May 22, 2008, 08:33:18 PM
I have to agree with Marv that the easiest way to get into the Ring is via Levine's DVD set.  Libretto is on the screen for you and later if you no longer need the subtitles, you can turn them off.

In the beginning of Die Walkure, I had to stop and sort out who all these characters were.  Don't hesitate to ask if you have a question.  Enjoy your new adventure.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 22, 2008, 11:42:35 PM
I have to agree with Marv that the easiest way to get into the Ring is via Levine's DVD set.  Libretto is on the screen for you and later if you no longer need the subtitles, you can turn them off.

In the beginning of Die Walkure, I had to stop and sort out who all these characters were.  Don't hesitate to ask if you have a question.  Enjoy your new adventure.

 I went through a similar experience like you Anne. On numerous occasions I had to stop and rewind just to think things through and tie all the peices together.  I found myself wanting to know everything about the plot and the characters.  I wanted to be a part of the adventure and the Levine DVD provided me with an opportunity to do just that. I thought the set designs of the Levine MET production were just incredible and the libretto on the screen matching the singing made it easier and more enjoyable to follow the story line.
 
  marvin   
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: ChamberNut on May 23, 2008, 04:09:57 AM
I am listening to my first full length Wagner opera.  For some reason, Das Rheingold in particular, piqued my interest, as I always enjoyed hearing the 'Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla'

I must say, I enjoyed it.  I just love the dramatic music!  And what a fantastic Prelude.

The CD recording I'm listening to, from the library is:

1958 Performance

Das Rheingold

Wieiner Philharmoniker
Sir Georg Solti
Decca London

 :)

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 23, 2008, 04:43:25 AM
I am listening to my first full length Wagner opera.  For some reason, Das Rheingold in particular, piqued my interest, as I always enjoyed hearing the 'Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla'

I must say, I enjoyed it.  I just love the dramatic music!  And what a fantastic Prelude.

The CD recording I'm listening to, from the library is:

1958 Performance

Das Rheingold

Wieiner Philharmoniker
Sir Georg Solti
Decca London

 :)



  Wait until you get to Solti's Siegfried  0:)!  Solti really shines here! Just listen to Mime hammer away trying to fashion Notung from its fragments all to no avail of course! Later on you will come to Siegfried's  sword forging scene that gives me an adrenaline rush every time I hear it!  Without exaggeration Solti's Siegfried is filled with so much energy and power it will blow the roof off the top of any house  $:)!  Crank the volume up and let the neighbors complain that's what I say!  This is the only way to listen to the Solti Ring $:).  Happy Listening!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 23, 2008, 04:48:18 AM
I found it on the mighty Interweb right here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,42.0.html). Solti only conducted the cycle for one season, leaving Peter Schneider (IIRC) to pick up the 1984 performances. Siegfried Jerusalem and Manfred Jung have the major tenor roles. Hildegard Behrens sings Brünnhilde. Siegmund Nimsgern has Wotan. The rest of the cast is at the link down the page a ways. It's a decidedly 1980s cast.


  PSmith08 I tried searching for this recording on amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, jpc, hmv etc. and I can not seem to find a recording of it anywhere.  Are they ever planning on releasing it to the public?

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 23, 2008, 04:55:41 AM
I found it on the mighty Interweb right here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,42.0.html). Solti only conducted the cycle for one season, leaving Peter Schneider (IIRC) to pick up the 1984 performances. Siegfried Jerusalem and Manfred Jung have the major tenor roles. Hildegard Behrens sings Brünnhilde. Siegmund Nimsgern has Wotan. The rest of the cast is at the link down the page a ways. It's a decidedly 1980s cast.

Well, the sound on the Keilberth Ring isn't nearly as contrived as Culshaw's super-stereo extravaganza, if that's what you mean. It has a more natural feel and perspective, but I can understand how others might prefer a more-engineered approach. It's a little raw and the stereo is 1955-vintage, but it does capture the Festspielhaus acoustic in a less in-your-face way. I think the Decca engineers used a single condenser stereo mike in the rafters to catch everything.
I see the cast here now in your link...not exactly the kind of cast that make you go nuts over. I can't listen to Manfred Jung, I am sorry...

I haven't heard Keiberth, perhaps when the price goes down a bit. I am not exactly hungry for another Ring right now.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: ChamberNut on May 23, 2008, 08:35:51 AM
  Wait until you get to Solti's Siegfried  0:)!  Solti really shines here! Just listen to Mime hammer away trying to fashion Notung from its fragments all to no avail of course! Later on you will come to Siegfried's  sword forging scene that gives me an adrenaline rush every time I hear it!  Without exaggeration Solti's Siegfried is filled with so much energy and power it will blow the roof off the top of any house  $:)!  Crank the volume up and let the neighbors complain that's what I say!  This is the only way to listen to the Solti Ring $:).  Happy Listening!

  marvin

Marvin,

Are you able to rank Richard's operas, from shortest to longest (approx.)?  One reason I also decided to check out 'Das Rheingold' first, was it's relative short length compared to some of his other operas.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: rubio on May 23, 2008, 09:05:25 AM
For the Ring of the Nibelung there exist some books with really good translations of the libretto from German to English, like the below one:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41P7C31S9QL._SL500_BO2,204,203,200_PIlitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_.jpg)

Does there exist some similar good translation book for the Meistersinger? The Meistersinger recordings I plan to buy, Kempe and Kubelik, do not include libretto in English.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on May 23, 2008, 10:54:55 AM
I see the cast here now in your link...not exactly the kind of cast that make you go nuts over. I can't listen to Manfred Jung, I am sorry...

To tell the truth, neither could the audience. His 'Forging Song' was booed pretty roundly, but it's hard to tell how much of that was Jung and how much was Peter Hall. The '83 Ring is worth it for the orchestral conception. It's as powerful as the Decca set, but it's just slightly broader and grander. Really the best of both worlds.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on May 23, 2008, 03:05:27 PM
I'm so glad you are buying that Kubelik Meistersinger.  It is very good.  The first 3 - 4 minutes of act 1 has a beautiful duet by just 2 instruments.  I hope you can find it.  The 3rd act prelude is wonderful.  I have listened to several other conductors' Meistersinger and they don't bring out the beauty of the music as well.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 24, 2008, 01:41:51 AM
Marvin,

Are you able to rank Richard's operas, from shortest to longest (approx.)?  One reason I also decided to check out 'Das Rheingold' first, was it's relative short length compared to some of his other operas.

  Well the shortest operas are the earlier ones. But Wagner's best operas are his later mature ones (IE the longer ones).  I have ignored Wagner's first 2 operas The Fairies and The Ban on Love as I view them as experimental works.  This should give you a general idea.  My ratings designated by the * follow each operas.  I have assigned the angel 0:) to signify operas that are my absolute favorites!

  The Flying Dutchman: 2 hours 15 minutes ****
  The Rheingold:  2 hours 25 minutes *****  0:)
  Tannhauser: 3 hours 5 minutes  ****
  Lohengrin:  3 hours 15 minutes  *** (edit: add 1/2 *)
  Rienzi: 3 hours 35 minutes  ***
  Die Walkure: 3 hours 50 minutes *****  0:)
  Siegfried: 4 hours *****  0:)
  Parsifal: 4 hours  *****
  Tristan und Isolde: 4 hours 15 minutes  *****  0:)  (this is my favorite opera in the entire operatic repertoire!)
  Die Meistersinger: 4 hours 22 minutes   *****  0:)
  Gotterdammerung: 4 hours 30 minutes  *****   0:)

  How did I get these durations you ask??  From my itunes library of course!

  PS: Other Wagnerians on this forum are free to disagree with me of course!

  marvin
               

   
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Operahaven on May 24, 2008, 02:25:03 AM
Marvin,

Those would be my nominations as well...  :)   Btw, Gotterdammerung is a bit longer at 4 hours and  40  minutes... and not a single weak moment..  0:) 

Just curious to hear your reasons for omitting  Parsifal.

I do believe that it contains the most subtle and ravishing music he ever wrote but it also has more weak moments than the other mature operas, especially in Act 1 and 2. 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 24, 2008, 02:37:39 AM
Marvin,

Those would be my nominations as well...  :)   Btw, Gotterdammerung is a bit longer at 4 hours and  40  minutes... and not a single weak moment..  0:) 

Just curious to hear your reasons for omitting  Parsifal.

I do believe that it contains the most subtle and ravishing music he ever wrote but it also has more weak moments than the other mature operas, especially in Act 1 and 2. 

  Parsifal is a great opera indeed don't get me wrong.  That's why I gave it 5 *.    However I find that I have to be in the mood to listen to it.  It's rather slow tempo and its subdued music require me to be in a very patient relaxed state of mind. So I tend to avoid it during the day and only listen to it in the early evening after I have had a glass of red wine.

  By the way which Gotterdammerung do you have, the Solti Gotterdammerung on Decca is 4 CDs with the following durations:
 
 CD1: 1 hour 2 minutes,  CD 2: 57 minutes, CD3: 1 hour 7 minutes, CD4: 1 hour 17 minutes

  Total: 4 hours 23 minues to be exact!
 
 marvin 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: ChamberNut on May 24, 2008, 03:03:56 AM
  Well the shortest operas are the earlier ones. But Wagner's best operas are his later mature ones (IE the longer ones).  I have ignored Wagner's first 2 operas The Fairies and The Ban on Love as I view them as experimental works.  This should give you a general idea.  My ratings designated by the * follow each operas.  I have assigned the angel 0:) to signify operas that are my absolute favorites!

  The Flying Dutchman: 2 hours 15 minutes ****
  The Rheingold:  2 hours 25 minutes *****  0:)
  Tannhauser: 3 hours 5 minutes  ****
  Lohengrin:  3 hours 15 minutes  ***
  Rienzi: 3 hours 35 minutes  ***
  Die Walkure: 3 hours 50 minutes *****  0:)
  Siegfried: 4 hours *****  0:)
  Parsifal: 4 hours  *****
  Tristan und Isolde: 4 hours 15 minutes  *****  0:)  (this is my favorite opera in the entire operatic repertoire!)
  Die Meistersinger: 4 hours 22 minutes   *****  0:)
  Gotterdammerung: 4 hours 30 minutes  *****   0:)

  How did I get these durations you ask??  From my itunes library of course!

  PS: Other Wagnerians on this forum are free to disagree with me of course!

  marvin
               

   

Thank you Marvin for posting those.  I will probably check out the remainder of The Ring operas next.   :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Lethevich on May 24, 2008, 04:38:54 AM
PSmith08 - thanks for linking that Solti Ring, I missed it the first time round and I was surprised that the links are still active (and me DLing it all means they'll be active for one more month at least :)). The sound quality is very clear, even with mp3, meaning a potential CD release at some point will be very viable. The orchestra sounds immense in these recordings.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 24, 2008, 05:20:08 AM
PSmith08 - thanks for linking that Solti Ring, I missed it the first time round and I was surprised that the links are still active (and me DLing it all means they'll be active for one more month at least :)). The sound quality is very clear, even with mp3, meaning a potential CD release at some point will be very viable. The orchestra sounds immense in these recordings.

Seconded + I didn't know about them either.

Manuel must still have a Premium account (like I do), files don't have a time limit then.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on May 24, 2008, 06:01:01 AM
Btw, Gotterdammerung is a bit longer at 4 hours and  40  minutes... and not a single weak moment..  0:) 

Of course, it works this long, there'll be a bit of variation from conductor to conductor, and even from performance to performance in a run.

I would give Lohengrin more than three stars.  I mean, it's gotta have more than Rienzi!   ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 24, 2008, 07:33:31 AM
Of course, it works this long, there'll be a bit of variation from conductor to conductor, and even from performance to performance in a run.

I would give Lohengrin more than three stars.  I mean, it's gotta have more than Rienzi!   ;D

  OK I'm willing to meet you half way and bump it up by 1/2 a star to 3-1/2 stars, if only for the Here Comes the Bride tune!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on May 24, 2008, 10:37:55 AM
  OK I'm willing to meet you half way and bump it up by 1/2 a star to 3-1/2 stars, if only for the Here Comes the Bride tune!

  marvin

You might want to go back and listen to Lohengrin with fresh ears. It's better than you think, though it has more in common with grand opera than music drama.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 24, 2008, 11:42:13 AM
Thank you Marvin for posting those.  I will probably check out the remainder of The Ring operas next.   :)

  Excellent idea.  Seeing as how you are already engaged in the adventure you might as well see it through. 

 

  marvin 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on May 24, 2008, 03:19:48 PM
  OK I'm willing to meet you half way and bump it up by 1/2 a star to 3-1/2 stars, if only for the Here Comes the Bride tune!

  marvin

 :D Personally, I'd take away points for that tune, but Ortrud's music more than makes up for it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 25, 2008, 12:53:18 AM
:D Personally, I'd take away points for that tune, but Ortrud's music more than makes up for it.

 You must be referring to act 2, where Ortrud has that glorious monologue where she summons Wotan and the gods for revenge against Lohengrin and Elsa.  This is  the darkest act in that whole opera and one of my favorite scenes.  You see the trouble I have with Lohengrin is that I love Tannhauser and The Flying Dutchman so much that Lohengrin always finishes in 3rd Place. 

  One thing is for sure though, when it comes to ranking Wagner's operas I feel that I am spoiled for choice  ;D!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Operahaven on May 25, 2008, 05:26:54 PM
By the way which Gotterdammerung do you have ?


Marvin, I have the 1970 Karajan below:

(http://mira.bio.fpu.ac.jp/shiono/MUSIC/ring_karajan.jpg) * (http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/B000001GC1.03.LZZZZZZZ.jpg)

CD 1 - 63.12

CD 2 -  70.86

CD 3 - 64.60

CD 4 - 69.02

And oops it was my mistake...     :-[   

It comes to  4 hours and 28 minutes
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Operahaven on May 25, 2008, 05:33:27 PM
OK I'm willing to meet you half way and bump it up by 1/2 a star to 3-1/2 stars, if only for the Here Comes the Bride tune!

Marvin,

Keep in mind also that the Prelude to  Lohengrin  alone is enough to qualify Wagner as one of the greatest musical geniuses... It is a miracle of inspiration and atmosphere.... absolute musical beauty at its best.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on June 01, 2008, 08:06:29 AM
Marvin,

...   Btw, Gotterdammerung is a bit longer at 4 hours and  40  minutes... and not a single weak moment..  0:) ...


Except for the plot.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 01, 2008, 08:31:45 AM
Except for the plot.

Oh, I dunno...I always thought Wagner's plot was rather nice... ;D



(http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1074/1306537421_a1df60b98d.jpg?v=0)



Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: ChamberNut on June 23, 2008, 08:34:45 AM
I know Wagner purists may cringe, but I'm really enjoying the Symphonic Syntheses by Stokowski Naxos disc that I got over the weekend.  The Liebesnacht from Tristan und Isolde is particularly breathtaking.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: zamyrabyrd on July 08, 2008, 10:04:44 AM
A stunning performance by Callas as Isolde in the death scene:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htsam9HddyI

Who needs supertitles, in fact, who even needs the right language with a voice and expression like this???

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 09, 2008, 12:43:58 AM
A stunning performance by Callas as Isolde in the death scene:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htsam9HddyI

Who needs supertitles, in fact, who even needs the right language with a voice and expression like this???



And to think that this was recorded at the same sessions at which she recorded Elvira's Mad Scene from I Puritani, with immaculate coloratura and a stunning Eb in alt to finish!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzzIskhjpuk&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzzIskhjpuk&feature=related)

Apologies to those Wagner lovers, who can't take to Bellini. But, please remember that Wagner himself had enormous admiration for Bellini's Norma at least.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: rw1883 on July 09, 2008, 02:50:21 PM
Today I received "Wagner: The Great Operas from the Bayreuth Festival" on Decca (33-cd set).  I wish they would have picked another Ring and Tristan (I already own them, as do most Wagner fans), but for only $58 (CD universe) it's still well worth the price.  I'm happy the set includes the Sawallisch Dutchman/Tannhauser/Lohengrin which I never bought on Philips (was that the correct label?).  The main drawback is no libretti (they have track summaries instead), but for the price it's expected.  The set is packaged in a small box with cd-sleeves. 

For those that don't own the Bohm Ring/Tristan it's a steal and it's still available at CDuniverse.com for the sale price...http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=7664875&style=classical (http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=7664875&style=classical)

Paul

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 09, 2008, 06:41:50 PM
Does the set have the 1995 production of Tristan und Isolde with Siegfried Jerusalem and Waltraut Meier?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: rw1883 on July 09, 2008, 06:50:52 PM
Does the set have the 1995 production of Tristan und Isolde with Siegfried Jerusalem and Waltraut Meier?


No, it's the 1966 Tristan with Windgassen & Nilsson with Bohm conducting.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: rw1883 on July 09, 2008, 07:28:45 PM
Just a little modification on the Wagner set mentioned above: the Rheingold and Siegfried are from 1971 and the Walkure and Gotterdammerung are from 1967.  On the original Philips release the whole set was from 1967.  So at least you get two different performances in the Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on July 10, 2008, 01:58:11 AM
Just a little modification on the Wagner set mentioned above: the Rheingold and Siegfried are from 1971 and the Walkure and Gotterdammerung are from 1967.  On the original Philips release the whole set was from 1967.  So at least you get two different performances in the Ring.

The info on the Decca release is wrong.  Böhm didn't conduct the Ring in 1971, Horst Stein did, and Windgassen last sang at the festival in 1970.  Both the original Philips release and the new Decca one come from the 1966 and 1967 festivals.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 10, 2008, 02:29:01 AM
Just a little modification on the Wagner set mentioned above: the Rheingold and Siegfried are from 1971 and the Walkure and Gotterdammerung are from 1967.  On the original Philips release the whole set was from 1967.  So at least you get two different performances in the Ring.

The info on the Decca release is wrong.  Böhm didn't conduct the Ring in 1971, Horst Stein did, and Windgassen last sang at the festival in 1970.  Both the original Philips release and the new Decca one come from the 1966 and 1967 festivals.

Wendell is correct. There's a misprint in the Decca booklet. Compare the casts in the Decca booklet with the Philips and you'll see they are identical; or compare a few tracks.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: karlhenning on July 10, 2008, 02:33:41 AM
Hmm. The editor responsible for the mis-print must be one of them Wagner-Haters™, eh, Sarge?  8)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 10, 2008, 03:03:05 AM
Hmm. The editor responsible for the mis-print must be one of them Wagner-Haters™, eh, Sarge?  8)

Indubitably...a tactic meant to sow confusion and dissension in the ranks.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: rw1883 on July 10, 2008, 09:15:12 AM
Wendell is correct. There's a misprint in the Decca booklet. Compare the casts in the Decca booklet with the Philips and you'll see they are identical; or compare a few tracks.

Sarge

Thanks for the correction about the years and casts for the Ring.  One question though, I always thought the Philips Ring was from 1967 only (at least that what the booklet states for all four operas).  Was that a misprint as well?

Paul
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on July 10, 2008, 10:20:06 AM
Thanks for the correction about the years and casts for the Ring.  One question though, I always thought the Philips Ring was from 1967 only (at least that what the booklet states for all four operas).  Was that a misprint as well?

Paul

As I understand it, Rheingold and Siegfried are from '66, the others from the next years festival.  I'm not sure why they did it that way (The later Boulez Ring was also from two consecutive years).  Gutrune's solo scene in Act III of Götterdämmerung was cut ( :o) in 1966, but restored in 1967, which would partially explain why the recording of that opera comes from 1967.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 12, 2008, 06:15:54 AM
May I make a slightly irreverent, but light hearted observation?

It seems to me that Wagner lovers are a rum lot. For instance, ZB posts a stunning version of Isolde's Liebestod, as sung by Callas in 1949 (at the tender age of 25), and not one person comments on it. Instead they all prattle on about whether Bohm's Ring was recorded in 1967 or 1968, or whether the Philips set was taken from two different series of performances. Do these people actually listen to the music, or do they just enjoy amassing performances of  Der Ring, a time consuming act in itself?

I ask this as someone who enjoys Wagner's music, but who doesn't have the evident passion for the composer that most of the posters in this topic have.






Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: rw1883 on July 12, 2008, 09:21:05 AM
May I make a slightly irreverent, but light hearted observation?

It seems to me that Wagner lovers are a rum lot. For instance, ZB posts a stunning version of Isolde's Liebestod, as sung by Callas in 1949 (at the tender age of 25), and not one person comments on it. Instead they all prattle on about whether Bohm's Ring was recorded in 1967 or 1968, or whether the Philips set was taken from two different series of performances. Do these people actually listen to the music, or do they just enjoy amassing performances of  Der Ring, a time consuming act in itself?

I ask this as someone who enjoys Wagner's music, but who doesn't have the evident passion for the composer that most of the posters in this topic have.









I'll take a stab at a relevant and light-hearted response :)...I've been collecting, or I prefer what you wrote, amassing Rings, Tristans, Hollanders, Lohengrins, Tannhausers, Meistersingers, Parsifals, and even a couple of Rienzis for about 12 years now.  I listen to all the recordings I amass numerous times so I can make a better decision on my favorite recordings, singers, and conductors.  That makes the years very important (again, to me) for my collecting (and hopefully not many duplications).

On to Callas, I remember listening to that performance around the time I fell for Wagner's music.  As you say it's an excellent interpretation, especially for her age.  But I find myself going to Leider, Flagstad, Seinemeyer, Traubel, Braun, Grob-Prandl, Modl, Nilsson, Jones, and even Meier over Callas in this particular opera.  It's very hard to get past the Italian translation, but that's just me being stubborn >:(

Now, time to prattle again... ;)

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 13, 2008, 12:33:29 PM
May I make a slightly irreverent, but light hearted observation?

It seems to me that Wagner lovers are a rum lot. For instance, ZB posts a stunning version of Isolde's Liebestod, as sung by Callas in 1949 (at the tender age of 25), and not one person comments on it. Instead they all prattle on about whether Bohm's Ring was recorded in 1967 or 1968, or whether the Philips set was taken from two different series of performances. Do these people actually listen to the music, or do they just enjoy amassing performances of  Der Ring, a time consuming act in itself?

I ask this as someone who enjoys Wagner's music, but who doesn't have the evident passion for the composer that most of the posters in this topic have.



  Tsaraslondon  8), no one doubts Callas' talents, that's not the issue here.  Personally I like to listen to complete recordings of Wagner's operas and in German.  I also have a tendency to reserve Callas for Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Bellini operas.  That does not mean that I do not recognize Callas' talents as a Wagnerian singer.  I will admit it has been a while since I heard Callas in a Wagnerian piece- I should be more attentive  $:)!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 14, 2008, 12:04:26 AM
  Tsaraslondon  8), no one doubts Callas' talents, that's not the issue here.  Personally I like to listen to complete recordings of Wagner's operas and in German.  I also have a tendency to reserve Callas for Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Bellini operas.  That does not mean that I do not recognize Callas' talents as a Wagnerian singer.  I will admit it has been a while since I heard Callas in a Wagnerian piece- I should be more attentive  $:)!

  marvin

Well that wasn't really my point. The link that ZB posted could have been to any singer really. I was commenting on the fact that she had posted a link to someone actually performing Wagner, and nobody had even commented on it, either to say they liked it or they didn't. Posters were more concerned with the provenance of Bohm's Bayreuth Ring and showing their Knowledge of recording dates. Am I alone in finding this a little anorak like?



Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on July 14, 2008, 12:39:32 PM
We may have been remiss in thanking ZB and I will thank her now.  Thanks for your youtube recording, ZB.  I enjoyed it and didn't know it even existed.

I for one am very happy when others sort out dates as they did for Bohm's recordings.  I helps me learn things.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 14, 2008, 02:26:08 PM
May I make a slightly irreverent, but light hearted observation?

It seems to me that Wagner lovers are a rum lot. For instance, ZB posts a stunning version of Isolde's Liebestod, as sung by Callas in 1949 (at the tender age of 25), and not one person comments on it. Instead they all prattle on about whether Bohm's Ring was recorded in 1967 or 1968, or whether the Philips set was taken from two different series of performances. Do these people actually listen to the music, or do they just enjoy amassing performances of  Der Ring, a time consuming act in itself?

Who has time to listen to Wagner these days? I'm just a collector...that takes up enough of my time.

Seriously, I operate this way normally: if I have nothing good to say about something, I say nothing. I have no desire to rain on anyone's parade. But since you asked: I don't like Callas's Isolde. All one has to do is listen to Varnay or Flagstad or Norman or Nilsson's videos after Callas's to understand why I feel that way. But it was interesting to see (hear) the bear dancing.  ;)  I thank ZB for that.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 14, 2008, 02:44:05 PM
Thanks for the correction about the years and casts for the Ring.  One question though, I always thought the Philips Ring was from 1967 only (at least that what the booklet states for all four operas).  Was that a misprint as well?

Paul

For thirty-five years I've been under the impression this Ring was from 1967 (that's what the old Penguin Guides told me as did other reviews). I checked my box of LPs and although the books included are magnificent, they give no performance dates. The booklets in the old CD version I own don't either. This Bayreuth box is the first version of Böhm's Ring I've seen that does give dates. Should Rheingold and Siegfried be 1966? I don't know. Perhaps Wendell will explain.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: karlhenning on July 14, 2008, 02:48:40 PM
Who has time to listen to Wagner these days?

Nor I, Sarge.  Though I should like to, actually.

Not this side of August, I don't think.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 14, 2008, 02:52:21 PM
Nor I, Sarge.  Though I should like to, actually.

Not this side of August, I don't think.

It's tough, even when one is retired, to find the three or four or more hours needed to give these works the attention they deserve. Webern is more user friendly  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 14, 2008, 05:34:06 PM
Webern is more user friendly  ;D

The ideal composer for our busy modern lives.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 14, 2008, 07:03:48 PM
There are a few advantages to being retired and living alone: I make it a point to set aside each afternoon for my concert or opera or documentary watching. If Wagner is on the schedule, it's one act per day.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 15, 2008, 01:24:07 AM
It's tough, even when one is retired, to find the three or four or more hours needed to give these works the attention they deserve. Webern is more user friendly  ;D

Sarge

  Sarge, I am surprised to tread this.  I have a career, have an active social life, am in a relationship and I still have time to sit and listen/watch a Wagnerian opera.  Usually I reserve the 5:00 -9:00 PM slot after work for Wagner.  That's a good 4 hours to appreciate my favorite composer (The Meistersinger  0:)).  I also have the luxury of working from home every now and then, I'll play Wagner as I am working. 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 15, 2008, 04:20:46 AM
  Sarge, I am surprised to tread this.  I have a career, have an active social life, am in a relationship and I still have time to sit and listen/watch a Wagnerian opera.  Usually I reserve the 5:00 -9:00 PM slot after work for Wagner.  That's a good 4 hours to appreciate my favorite composer (The Meistersinger  0:)).  I also have the luxury of working from home every now and then, I'll play Wagner as I am working. 

  marvin

My problem, Marvin--and it is self-inflicted--is that I like too much music: nearly every style, period and genre, and not just classical. I could listen to Wagner more but then I'd be neglecting composers I love just as much. And you have to admit Wagner does take a considerable amount of time. At my age I'm quickly running out of that commodity.

Sometimes I wish I could focus on a select few composers (many here seem to do that) but I do like variety. I'm probably doomed to listening to my top 300 composers until the day I die  :D

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 15, 2008, 04:40:14 AM
My problem, Marvin--and it is self-inflicted--is that I like too much music: nearly every style, period and genre, and not just classical. I could listen to Wagner more but then I'd be neglecting composers I love just as much. And you have to admit Wagner does take a considerable amount of time. At my age I'm quickly running out of that commodity.

Sometimes I wish I could focus on a select few composers (many here seem to do that) but I do like variety. I'm probably doomed to listening to my top 300 composers until the day I die  :D

Sarge

  First of all let me wish you a long, healthy, happy and  fruitful life,  :)........and don't ever think about leaving GMG!! 

  Liking too much music, I would hardly call that a problem- it is a luxury!  Yes Wagner takes too much time, I realized recently that I should be paying more attention to other composers.  As you can see my avatar has changed and now I am revisiting R. Strauss and concentrating on his operas.  The fact of the matter remains: There is too much good music and so very little time to appreciate it fully that a listening schedule seems necessary.  For the next few weeks, no Wagner for me but a Richard Strauss marathon.  Here's what's on the menu:

  1) Elektra
  2) Salome
  3) Der Rosenkavalier
  4) Ariadne auf naxos
  5) Die Frau ohne schaten
  6) Arabella
  7) Capriccio (I didn't know I had a recording of this opera  :o until I went "digging"  ;D into my collection)
  8 ) Daphne

  Stamina built from Wagnerian operas should come in handy here  ;D! 

  PS: What do you think of my new signature?

  marvin
 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 15, 2008, 08:42:54 AM

All one has to do is listen to Varnay or Flagstad or Norman or Nilsson's videos after Callas's to understand why I feel that way.

Sarge

Well actually I have and I don't. Mainly because you haven't explained why you prefer them . This is not a swipe at those illustrious artists, nor at you. But we all hear and respond to things differently. It is not enough to simply say listen to singer A and you will understand why I prefer them to singer B. It's like saying if you try strawberry ice cream, you will understand why I prefer chocolate.

As it happens, I don't actually respond to that hint of steel in the Isoldes of Nilsson and Flagstad, great voices though they had. For me Isolde, particularly in the Liebestod is a vulnerable, feminine woman, and I don't get much of that from either, though I do rather more from Jessye Norman, who, unlike Callas however, never sang the complete role on stage. My yardstick has always been Frida Leider, because she does sound like a woman of passion, femininity and vulnerability. And that is my preference, though I am always interested to hear other points of view.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Cato on July 15, 2008, 09:11:29 AM
Well actually I have and I don't. Mainly because you haven't explained why you prefer them . This is not a swipe at those illustrious artists, nor at you. But we all hear and respond to things differently. It is not enough to simply say listen to singer A and you will understand why I prefer them to singer B. It's like saying if you try strawberry ice cream, you will understand why I prefer chocolate.

As it happens, I don't actually respond to that hint of steel in the Isoldes of Nilsson and Flagstad, great voices though they had. For me Isolde, particularly in the Liebestod is a vulnerable, feminine woman, and I don't get much of that from either, though I do rather more from Jessye Norman, who, unlike Callas however, never sang the complete role on stage. My yardstick has always been Frida Leider, because she does sound like a woman of passion, femininity and vulnerability. And that is my preference, though I am always interested to hear other points of view.


(My emphasis above)

A few items came to mind through the above adjectives: Jessye Norman's performance of Tove in Schoenberg's Gurrelieder in (one of ?) the first CD's of that work with James Levine and the Boston Symphony (the sound is dreadful: no spaciousness, no sense of an atmosphere larger than life).

The same work on a different recording: Chailly's performance with Brigitte Fassbinder as the Wood Dove: talk about passion and vulnerability combined with outrage!

And Fassbinder and Levine lead me to Strauss' Elektra with Hildegard Behrens in the title role.  One might not think of Elektra as feminine or vulnerable, but one sees that in Behrens' Met performance, especially in the scene with Orestes: I have a tape of a PBS broadcast from about 20 years ago, which for some reason has never been sold commercially, which is another tragedy!   ???

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 17, 2008, 03:13:18 AM
 
  1) Elektra
  2) Salome
  3) Der Rosenkavalier
  4) Ariadne auf naxos
  5) Die Frau ohne schaten
  6) Arabella
  7) Capriccio (I didn't know I had a recording of this opera  :o until I went "digging"  ;D into my collection)
  8 ) Daphne

CDs or DVDs? Conductors, casts...a list please.


PS: What do you think of my new signature?


I think I'm glad a king's command no longer has the authority of law, otherwise I would have missed Elektra at Covent Garden in 1972; missed the greatest operatic experience of my life.

The quote is funny and just goes to show that "lofty birth" does not bestow artistic taste.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 17, 2008, 04:11:03 AM
Well actually I have and I don't. Mainly because you haven't explained why you prefer them . This is not a swipe at those illustrious artists, nor at you. But we all hear and respond to things differently. It is not enough to simply say listen to singer A and you will understand why I prefer them to singer B. It's like saying if you try strawberry ice cream, you will understand why I prefer chocolate.

My apologies if I came across as facetious or simplistic. That wasn't my intent. By citing and comparing those singers to Callas I merely meant to point out the obvious: that they were Wagnerian sopranos and Callas wasn't. Callas didn't have the voice to be a star at Bayreuth anymore than Nilsson had the voice to sing Lucia at La Scala. That her incomparable vocal acting allowed her to sing a very affecting Isolde in the studio doesn't alter the fact that her voice was wrong for the part. At least that's the way I hear her. And since she didn't pursue a career in Wagnerian roles, I assume she knew that to be true.

As it happens, I don't actually respond to that hint of steel in the Isoldes of Nilsson and Flagstad, great voices though they had. For me Isolde, particularly in the Liebestod is a vulnerable, feminine woman, and I don't get much of that from either, though I do rather more from Jessye Norman, who, unlike Callas however, never sang the complete role on stage. My yardstick has always been Frida Leider, because she does sound like a woman of passion, femininity and vulnerability. And that is my preference, though I am always interested to hear other points of view.

I don't disagree. Neither Nilsson nor Flagstad are my favorite Isoldes for precisely the reasons you give. I didn't even own the Böhm Tristan until I bought the Bayreuth box last month. I too want a more vulnerable, feminine Isolde (and Brünnhilde in Siegfried and Götterdämmerung where she's no longer a goddess but a woman). My preferred modern Isoldes are Behrens, Price and Dernesch (I haven't heard Waltraud Meier or Stemme or Voigt), and I agree with you that Frida Leider is the ideal.  But having said that, I can't deny the critical consensus that Nilsson and Flagstad are superb Isoldes even if not my preferred singers in the role. Callas isn't in their league. But switch to her league and it's an entirely different ball game  ;)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on July 17, 2008, 05:10:54 AM
I have read many times that D. Voigt is an excellent singer of Strauss operas.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Cato on July 17, 2008, 05:24:23 AM
I have read many times that D. Voigt is an excellent singer of Strauss operas.

In her plumper years, she sang Chrysothemis in the performance I mentioned above from c. 20 years ago. And she is marvelous as a singer. 

However, it is quite a sight to see the lean Hildegard Behrens "manhandle" her in certain scenes!   0:)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 17, 2008, 05:36:43 AM
I have read many times that D. Voigt is an excellent singer of Strauss operas.

I only own one Strauss recording with her; she's die Kaiserin in Sinopoli's Die Frau ohne Schatten. She has an impressive voice but I really prefer Cheryl Studer here; Studer projects more feeling and, to carry on the topic above, she's more feminine. I suspect I'd appreciate Voigt more in the theater.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 17, 2008, 07:00:50 AM
CDs or DVDs? Conductors, casts...a list please.


  Very Well:  I'll mix and match CDs with DVDs as I see fit.  Here's what's in my collection at the moment:

  1) Elektra : CD:  Solti with VPO,  Nilsson, Resnik, Collier on Decca, DVD: Bohm with VPO on DG with Rysanek, Varnay
  2) Salome:  CD: Solti with VPO,  Nilsson, Stolze, Wachter on Decca, DVD:Bohm on DG with Stratas, Weikl
  3) Der Rosenkavalier: CD: Karajan with Philharmonia Orchestra, Schwarzkopf, Ludwig EMI, DVD: Kleiber at Munich
  4) Ariadne auf Nacos: CD: Masur with Gewandhausorchester Norman, DVD: Levine with MET, Norman, Battle
  5)  Die Frau ohne schaten: CD: Sawallisch with Bavarian Radio Orchestra, DVD: Solti VPO, Studer, Moser, Marton
  6) Arabella: CD: Solti Vienna state opera chorus
  7)  Caprricio: CD: Bohm with Bavarian Symphony Radio Orchestra, Janowitz
  8 ) Daphne: CD: Bohm with VPO, Schoffler, Little, Guden

  Well?  What do you think? Too much Solti? I like him in Strauss  ;D! I still have to pick up a few DVDs for those missing operas.  Funds are limited as you might have expected!  Incidentally I am still saving for that Karajan Ring and looking for a bargain, which never seems to come  >:(.

  marvin

 

 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Tsaraslondon on July 17, 2008, 08:50:14 AM
  Very Well:  I'll mix and match CDs with DVDs as I see fit.  Here's what's in my collection at the moment:

  1) Elektra : CD:  Solti with VPO,  Nilsson, Resnik, Collier on Decca, DVD: Bohm with VPO on DG with Rysanek, Varnay
  2) Salome:  CD: Solti with VPO,  Nilsson, Stolze, Wachter on Decca, DVD:Bohm on DG with Stratas, Weikl
  3) Der Rosenkavalier: CD: Karajan with Philharmonia Orchestra, Schwarzkopf, Ludwig EMI, DVD: Kleiber at Munich
  4) Ariadne auf Nacos: CD: Masur with Gewandhausorchester Norman, DVD: Levine with MET, Norman, Battle
  5)  Die Frau ohne schaten: CD: Sawallisch with Bavarian Radio Orchestra, DVD: Solti VPO, Studer, Moser, Marton
  6) Arabella: CD: Solti Vienna state opera chorus
  7)  Caprricio: CD: Bohm with Bavarian Symphony Radio Orchestra, Janowitz
  8 ) Daphne: CD: Bohm with VPO, Schoffler, Little, Guden

  Well?  What do you think? Too much Solti? I like him in Strauss  ;D! I still have to pick up a few DVDs for those missing operas.  Funds are limited as you might have expected!  Incidentally I am still saving for that Karajan Ring and looking for a bargain, which never seems to come  >:(.

  marvin

 

 

Marvin, though Nilsson's Elektra is impressive, to my ears, she sounds completely wrong as Salome. My preference would be Behrens for Karajan, or the superb Welitsch (live in 1949) for Reiner. Stratas is fantastic in a film, conducted by Bohm, and recently issued on DVD by DG.

I'd also recommend Sawallisch's Capriccio, with Schwarzkopf in what many would say was her greatest role, even better than her Marschallin or Donna Elvira.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on July 17, 2008, 08:55:49 AM
In her plumper years, she sang Chrysothemis in the performance I mentioned above from c. 20 years ago. And she is marvelous as a singer. 

However, it is quite a sight to see the lean Hildegard Behrens "manhandle" her in certain scenes!   0:)

I don't think I have ever seen that but would like to.   ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on July 17, 2008, 09:09:09 AM
I only own one Strauss recording with her; she's die Kaiserin in Sinopoli's Die Frau ohne Schatten. She has an impressive voice but I really prefer Cheryl Studer here; Studer projects more feeling and, to carry on the topic above, she's more feminine. I suspect I'd appreciate Voigt more in the theater.

Sarge

I like Studer also.  This is a little OT but have you heard Studer in Verdi's Atilla?  There is a scene where everyone is singing (chorus).  Atilla has just had a dream and sings about it as from the rear of the stage comes "the pope" and the chorus.  All of a sudden from way up high comes Studer's beautiful soprano voice that just floats above all of the singers.  It is the most beautiful thing.  It is on a dvd from La Scala.

Back on topic.  I only have an aria disc of D. Voigt.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 18, 2008, 05:52:29 AM
I like Studer also.  This is a little OT but have you heard Studer in Verdi's Atilla?  There is a scene where everyone is singing (chorus).  Atilla has just had a dream and sings about it as from the rear of the stage comes "the pope" and the chorus.  All of a sudden from way up high comes Studer's beautiful soprano voice that just floats above all of the singers.  It is the most beautiful thing.  It is on a dvd from La Scala.

I haven't seen that DVD but it sounds marvelous. I have a thing for beautiful soprano voices floating high above the madding crowd  8)

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 18, 2008, 06:30:13 AM
  Very Well:  I'll mix and match CDs with DVDs as I see fit.  Here's what's in my collection at the moment:

1) Elektra : CD:  Solti with VPO,  Nilsson, Resnik, Collier on Decca, DVD: Bohm with VPO on DG with Rysanek, Varnay
2) Salome:  CD: Solti with VPO,  Nilsson, Stolze, Wachter on Decca, DVD:Bohm on DG with Stratas, Weikl
3) Der Rosenkavalier: CD: Karajan with Philharmonia Orchestra, Schwarzkopf, Ludwig EMI, DVD: Kleiber at Munich
4) Ariadne auf Nacos: CD: Masur with Gewandhausorchester Norman, DVD: Levine with MET, Norman, Battle
5)  Die Frau ohne schaten: CD: Sawallisch with Bavarian Radio Orchestra, DVD: Solti VPO, Studer, Moser, Marton
6) Arabella: CD: Solti Vienna state opera chorus
7)  Caprricio: CD: Bohm with Bavarian Symphony Radio Orchestra, Janowitz
8) Daphne: CD: Bohm with VPO, Schoffler, Little, Guden

  Well?  What do you think? Too much Solti?

Not if you like him, no, not too much although I agree with Tsaraslondon about Nilsson's Salome. I recently bought Solti's Rosenkavalier and really like it.

I highlighted the ones I own. I have Levine's Ariadne on CD (Battle's in this one too), and Kleiber's Vienna Rosenkavalier rather than the Munich. I've been thinking about that Solti Schatten DVD. Do you like it?


Quote
I still have to pick up a few DVDs for those missing operas.  Funds are limited as you might have expected!  Incidentally I am still saving for that Karajan Ring and looking for a bargain, which never seems to come  >:(.

I may be in the market for a Karajan Ring too. My old set (first generation CDs) has foam fillers and some of them stuck to the CDs! Maddening. I'm having trouble scrapping the stuff off without scratching the CDs. Does anyone have a solution? I've gone through all my opera boxes and thrown those vile foam things out. Should have done it years ago but wasn't aware then that they'd be a problem.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on July 18, 2008, 07:21:40 AM
foam fillers and some of them stuck to the CDs! Maddening. I'm having trouble scrapping the stuff off without scratching the CDs. Does anyone have a solution? I've gone through all my opera boxes and thrown those vile foam things out. Should have done it years ago but wasn't aware then that they'd be a problem.

Sarge

Yeah, I started hearing about that problem a few years back, but haven't heard a good solution.  I thought I'd disposed of all the ones in my collection, but missed a couple:  Abbado's first recording of Mahler's Seventh was salvageable, but the second disc of the Chailly/Pavarotti/Caballé Andrea Chénier was hopeless. 

I love that Solti DVD of Die Frau ohne Schatten you were asking about.  Some people really don't care for Marton's Dyer's Wife, but I like it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 18, 2008, 10:06:17 AM
  Very Well:  I'll mix and match CDs with DVDs as I see fit.  Here's what's in my collection at the moment:

  1) Elektra : CD:  Solti with VPO,  Nilsson, Resnik, Collier on Decca, DVD: Bohm with VPO on DG with Rysanek, Varnay
  2) Salome:  CD: Solti with VPO,  Nilsson, Stolze, Wachter on Decca, DVD:Bohm on DG with Stratas, Weikl
  3) Der Rosenkavalier: CD: Karajan with Philharmonia Orchestra, Schwarzkopf, Ludwig EMI, DVD: Kleiber at Munich
  4) Ariadne auf Nacos: CD: Masur with Gewandhausorchester Norman, DVD: Levine with MET, Norman, Battle
  5)  Die Frau ohne schaten: CD: Sawallisch with Bavarian Radio Orchestra, DVD: Solti VPO, Studer, Moser, Marton
  6) Arabella: CD: Solti Vienna state opera chorus
  7)  Caprricio: CD: Bohm with Bavarian Symphony Radio Orchestra, Janowitz
  8 ) Daphne: CD: Bohm with VPO, Schoffler, Little, Guden

  Well?  What do you think? Too much Solti? I like him in Strauss  ;D! I still have to pick up a few DVDs for those missing operas.  Funds are limited as you might have expected!  Incidentally I am still saving for that Karajan Ring and looking for a bargain, which never seems to come  >:(.

  marvin

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Karl Böhm's 1977 Die Frau ohne Schatten (DGG) is the one to have. Never mind the cuts he makes, just remember that the cast is about as ideal as you'd ever want and Böhm's way with Strauss was really quite singular. If Böhm's set doesn't do it for you, consider the 1964 Karajan Die Frau from Vienna, DG put it back out after a little while as a hard-to-find set. Speaking of Karajan, his 1978 Salome, which was a product of his contemporary Salzburger Festspiele run, is hard to beat. Solti's is a little too gimmicky as far as the production goes, and, as has been noted, Nilsson, despite having the range and power, isn't too terribly well suited to the role. Presenting the eponymous princess as a steely, strong-willed woman (like Brünnhilde) works, to a point, but it does tend to undermine the overall character a little bit.

Knappertsbusch's 1955 Rosenkavalier (on RCA Red Seal), which was recorded during the Staatsoper reopening festivities, is also worth a listen.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 18, 2008, 10:47:58 AM

I highlighted the ones I own. I have Levine's Ariadne on CD (Battle's in this one too), and Kleiber's Vienna Rosenkavalier rather than the Munich. I've been thinking about that Solti Schatten DVD. Do you like it?



Sarge

  Yes I love the Solti Schatten.  It is uncut, excellent sound, somewhat of a modern adaptation, well worth watching!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on July 18, 2008, 05:24:24 PM

I may be in the market for a Karajan Ring too. My old set (first generation CDs) has foam fillers and some of them stuck to the CDs! Maddening. I'm having trouble scrapping the stuff off without scratching the CDs. Does anyone have a solution? I've gone through all my opera boxes and thrown those vile foam things out. Should have done it years ago but wasn't aware then that they'd be a problem.

Sarge

I don't know if this would help but the situations do seem a little analogous.  My husband and I were trying to remove some foam rubber padding that had been under the living room carpet and were having a difficult time - scraping and scraping.  Dust filled the room and we were not making much progress.

Then I had a brainstorm.  If the dry method didn't work very well, maybe the wet method would?  We got some water which hubby applied with a mop.  Voila!  Right before our eyes that foam came right off that floor with no effort on our part except to apply a little water.  We were all done in 10 minutes.  Maybe that method will work for you as well as it did for us.  I hope so.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 19, 2008, 02:11:04 AM



I may be in the market for a Karajan Ring too. My old set (first generation CDs) has foam fillers and some of them stuck to the CDs! Maddening. I'm having trouble scrapping the stuff off without scratching the CDs. Does anyone have a solution? I've gone through all my opera boxes and thrown those vile foam things out. Should have done it years ago but wasn't aware then that they'd be a problem.

Sarge

  Sarge I am sorry to hear about your foam filler problems, especially as you are having this with the Karajan Ring, your favorite Ring Cycle. Anne's solution just might work but I would caution you do not use any chemicals and don't scrape the CD.  Use a soft cloth and move radially (ie perpendicular to the circumference of the circular CD) I hope all will be well.

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: DavidRoss on July 19, 2008, 03:21:15 AM
I may be in the market for a Karajan Ring too. My old set (first generation CDs) has foam fillers and some of them stuck to the CDs! Maddening. I'm having trouble scrapping the stuff off without scratching the CDs. Does anyone have a solution?
Sarge--just send the set to me and I'll see what I can do.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 19, 2008, 03:33:38 AM
Sarge--just send the set to me and I'll see what I can do.

I smell a trap...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 19, 2008, 03:36:27 AM
Maybe that method will work for you as well as it did for us.  I hope so.

Use a soft cloth and move radially (ie perpendicular to the circumference of the circular CD) I hope all will be well.

Anne, Marvin, thanks. I'll try that.


Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 19, 2008, 04:07:35 AM
Anne, Marvin, thanks. I'll try that.


Sarge
It will get rid of some but there will be some really fine particles that will stick to the cd no matter what you do. But it will be much better. My Karajan Ring suffered the same fate since like you I have the original release. Whatever you do DO NOT USE ANY ALCOHOL_BASED solvent or it will eat right through your cd.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: DavidRoss on July 19, 2008, 06:38:21 AM
I smell a trap...
;D But, seriously, Sarge--I had the same problem with an old Karajan Carmen.  An alcohol solution worked fine for me.  It should not damage the CDs.  Here's proof:
It will get rid of some but there will be some really fine particles that will stick to the cd no matter what you do. But it will be much better. My Karajan Ring suffered the same fate since like you I have the original release. Whatever you do DO NOT USE ANY ALCOHOL_BASED solvent or it will eat right through your cd.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 19, 2008, 08:46:47 AM
Go ahead Sarge, knock yourself out, wipe that cd with an alcohol pad. When it eats through the top lining and make your cd about as transparent as a car's windshield you'll have Mr. Smartass here to thank.

Then again, if you read the warning that comes with any cd it will say:

Should the cd be soiled...it can be wiped with a clean and lint-free soft dry cloth. No solvent or abrasive should ever be used on the disc.

I listened to some idiot in the past and tried to get of of the foam residue on my DECCA Ballo en Maschera set with alcohol and guess what, it ate away all the infomation leaving me with what looks like a see-through plastic disc in my hand. Luckily I was wise enough to try it on music that I don't care about first instead of on Wagner or Strauss cds.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: DavidRoss on July 19, 2008, 09:36:58 AM
If any concerns about the safety of using an alcohol solution linger after your testimony, I'm sure that Sarge is smart enough to test first on some crap CD...and he's probably smart enough to google the issue as well. 

What is an alcohol pad?  If it's anything like a Brillo pad, that could explain a lot!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 19, 2008, 10:27:10 AM

  If it's anything like a Brillo pad, that could explain a lot!
What's a Brillo pad? I just used a small dry cotton based pad dipped in ethanol and it was quite destructive.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 19, 2008, 11:09:25 AM
What's a Brillo pad? I just used a small dry cotton based pad dipped in ethanol and it was quite destructive.

He's joking, PW:

http://www.brillo.com/
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 20, 2008, 03:51:36 AM
Water and a soft cloth worked on the affected Siegfried and Gütterdämmerung discs but the foam wasn't so tightly bound to the discs as in the Walküre and Rheingold boxes. The discs appear to be pitted though and I don't know if that's going to be a problem eventually (they play okay now...at least the parts I checked).

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: DavidRoss on July 20, 2008, 04:28:38 AM
Good news--for now, at least.  I wonder about the chemical reaction between the foam and the label that bound them together...or maybe the adhesive is a by-product of the foam breaking down over time?  In either case, I wonder if that could be the source of the solvent that seems to have caused PW's grief...and if so, then suspect one ought be very gentle when rubbing the disc to remove the adhesive foam.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 20, 2008, 04:40:29 AM
if so, then suspect one ought be very gentle when rubbing the disc to remove the adhesive foam.

We're going to a wine fest this evening. I plan to soak one of the Walküre discs in distilled water while we're gone, hoping that most of the foam comes off without the need of a cloth.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 20, 2008, 05:17:56 AM
I can't help but butt in on this exchange with a question: Why isn't any of you who is having problems with your disc on the cartridge system? I understand you can even have twelve and more discs in a cartridge. I have mine in six discs cartridges and once I insert the new one in the Pioneer cartridge I never have to touch it again, and there is nothing in the cartridge to adhere to a disc.  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 20, 2008, 05:49:09 AM
We're going to a wine fest this evening. I plan to soak one of the Walküre discs in distilled water while we're gone, hoping that most of the foam comes off without the need of a cloth.

Sarge
 

  Sarge I am glad to hear that at least 2 of the operas in Wagner Ring cycle were cleaned without incident  :).  If you are going to be doing any rubbing once again I will remind you to keep it to a minimum and remember always move radially (perpendicular to the circumference) of the CD.  i read somewhere that the music is "embedded" for lack of a better word along the circumference of the CD.  Moving radially is the best method of preventing any scatching and damage along the circumference of the CD which could damage the music!! 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on July 20, 2008, 06:36:05 AM
This is all beginning to sound like open-heart surgery; but more vital.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 20, 2008, 07:16:06 AM
This is all beginning to sound like open-heart surgery; but more vital.

Mike

  It is more vital than one's heart Mike  $:)!  Wagner's music and not just any music, The Holy Ring Cycle  0:) (marvinbrown does the sign of the holy cross)  0:), is at stake here.  We are talking about some of Sarge's most treasured possessions (the Karajan Ring  0:))- move those CDs to the intensive care unit, assign a team of consultants and specialists to deal with the situation  $:) that's what I say!  This is no time to take matters trivially!

  marvin 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 20, 2008, 07:18:19 AM
This is all beginning to sound like open-heart surgery; but more vital.

Mike

Nothing like a downed Wagner disc to rally the troops...

EDIT: Oops, I see Marvin beat me to it.



Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Siedler on July 20, 2008, 02:37:41 PM
I'm just reading Pratchett's Maskerade and this is pretty funny  ;D:
'There goes a figure that should prompt a revival of The Ring of the Nibelungingung,' Undershaft went on. 'Now that was an opera.'

'Three days of gods shouting at one another and twenty minutes of memorable tunes?' said Salzella. 'No, thank you very much.'

'But can't you hear her singing Hildabrun, leader of the Valkyries?'

'Yes. Oh, yes. But unfortunately I can also hear her singing Nobbo the dwarf and lo, Chief of the Gods.'
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 20, 2008, 02:47:37 PM
I'm just reading Pratchett's Maskerade and this is pretty funny  ;D:
'There goes a figure that should prompt a revival of The Ring of the Nibelungingung,' Undershaft went on. 'Now that was an opera.'

'Three days of gods shouting at one another and twenty minutes of memorable tunes?' said Salzella. 'No, thank you very much.'

'But can't you hear her singing Hildabrun, leader of the Valkyries?'

'Yes. Oh, yes. But unfortunately I can also hear her singing Nobbo the dwarf and lo, Chief of the Gods.'

Very good... I wonder whether that name 'Undershaft' is an allusion to a character in one of G.B. Shaw's plays, who, as is well known, was a great Wagnerian...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on July 20, 2008, 03:48:03 PM
Maybe the person working in a large public or college library could help you.  I had a problem with a cd quite a long time ago and the library worker knew just how to fix it.  I was surprised as I had never considered a library worker for help.  I don't remember what the cd problem was.  They have to repair cd's all the time.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 20, 2008, 03:57:04 PM
I'm just reading Pratchett's Maskerade and this is pretty funny  ;D:
'There goes a figure that should prompt a revival of The Ring of the Nibelungingung,' Undershaft went on. 'Now that was an opera.'

'Three days of gods shouting at one another and twenty minutes of memorable tunes?' said Salzella. 'No, thank you very much.'

'But can't you hear her singing Hildabrun, leader of the Valkyries?'

'Yes. Oh, yes. But unfortunately I can also hear her singing Nobbo the dwarf and lo, Chief of the Gods.'
What's so funny about that? Full of the same old platitudes you always hear when clueless idiots talk about Wagner.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 21, 2008, 12:12:56 AM
I'm just reading Pratchett's Maskerade and this is pretty funny  ;D:

'Three days of gods shouting at one another and twenty minutes of memorable tunes?' said Salzella. 'No, thank you very much.'


  Actually it's 3 days and an evening, how soon we forget Das Rheingold,  but who's counting  ;)!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Renfield on July 21, 2008, 01:00:08 AM
  Actually it's 3 days and an evening, how soon we forget Das Rheingold,  but who's counting  ;)!

  marvin

Preliminary evening: some people just seem over-eager to get to the point. ;D ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 21, 2008, 01:58:48 AM
Well, literally 'Vorabend' is 'Eve'. So Rhinegold is Ring's Eve...  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Renfield on July 21, 2008, 02:09:27 AM
Well, literally 'Vorabend' is 'Eve'. So Rhinegold is Ring's Eve...  ;)

I protest innocence: 'twas an English translation I was quoting! $:)

(Although that notwithstanding, do I find the Ring's "Eve" far more appropriately Wagnerian in sound.)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 21, 2008, 02:14:59 AM
I protest innocence: 'twas an English translation I was quoting! $:)

(Although that notwithstanding, do I find the Ring's "Eve" far more appropriately Wagnerian in sound.)

Yes, nicely archaic, isn't it? Like the 'Rape of the Rhinegold' (cf Pope's 'The Rape of the Lock').
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 21, 2008, 02:37:41 AM


  Does it really have to be an evening.  I relish the thought of Das Rheingold being as long as the other 3 operas in the Ring.  Why couldn't Das Rheingold be 4+ hours long??  Why couldn't it span a whole day? Why? oh why? I ask.  I mean there is plenty of material there:
 
  A few possible added scenes:
  1) Wotan forsaking an eye as he drinks from the spring of wisdom and fabricates a spear from the Ash Tree
  2) The Giants Building Valhalla
  3) Alberich fashioning the Ring from the stolen gold
  4) Wotan meets and falls in love with Frea, the Gods assemble
 
  5) Wotan's "love" affair with Erda

  There's plenty of material there, there's plenty of material there!!!

  marvin
 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Renfield on July 21, 2008, 02:51:17 AM
Yes, nicely archaic, isn't it? Like the 'Rape of the Rhinegold' (cf Pope's 'The Rape of the Lock').

I hadn't heard of the work before!

So not only was this a highly cultivated, and successful, pun, but it also gave me something new to look for in my next visit to the bookstore. ;)


Marvin, I think an expansion of the Rheingold would make a number of less-hardcore Wagnerians commit ritual suicide, so to speak. :P
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 21, 2008, 02:56:14 AM
Marvin, I think an expansion of the Rheingold would make a number of less-hardcore Wagnerians commit ritual suicide, so to speak. :P

Don't limit your observation to "less-hardcore Wagnerians" only. Much as I like Rheingold, it is still necessary to understand both what its purpose in the Ring is and why an expansion of its content would be less than ideal.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Renfield on July 21, 2008, 03:08:00 AM
Don't limit your observation to "less-hardcore Wagnerians" only. Much as I like Rheingold, it is still necessary to understand both what its purpose in the Ring is and why an expansion of its content would be less than ideal.

Agreed. Though my jest was more about those who have a problem with Wagner's long-windedness.

Otherwise, I believe "Das Rheingold", relatively speaking, to be quite succinct.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 21, 2008, 03:19:06 AM
Don't limit your observation to "less-hardcore Wagnerians" only. Much as I like Rheingold, it is still necessary to understand both what its purpose in the Ring is and why an expansion of its content would be less than ideal.

  Come on PSmith08 now wouldn't you like to see a scene where Alberich fabricates that Ring with Wagner's sublime dark leitmotif to accompany it.  Also I think the audience would be well served to see how Wotan lost his eye.  I for one would like to see a scene set to music of the Ash Tree losing its branch to become Wotan's spear. 

  I would however like to hear your views why expansion of it contents would be less than ideal.  Siegfried is no longer the fallen hero of the Ring as Wagner had originally envisaged with the "The Death of Siegfried".  Wotan has replaced him, I think some of those scenes I suggested would be most appropriate.

  marvin 

 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 21, 2008, 03:53:03 AM
  Come on PSmith08 now wouldn't you like to see a scene where Alberich fabricates that Ring with Wagner's sublime dark leitmotif to accompany it.  Also I think the audience would be well served to see how Wotan lost his eye.  I for one would like to see a scene set to music of the Ash Tree losing its branch to become Wotan's spear. 

  I would however like to hear your views why expansion of it contents would be less than ideal.  Siegfried is no longer the fallen hero of the Ring as Wagner had originally envisaged with the "The Death of Siegfried".  Wotan has replaced him, I think some of those scenes I suggested would be most appropriate.

  marvin 

They would be, and so would the deletion of Götterdämmerung, if we're playing that game. Since the central problem with the Ring hasn't really materialized yet, there's no real sense bringing in the Wotan-Siegfried issue to say retroactively that Wagner should have done this or that. Clearly, and Götterdämmerung is a testament to this, the issue presented itself without a conscious redraft on Wagner's part; indeed, Wagner did what he could to keep things in order as intended, but there were and are some signs of strain. That is to say, then, that your position would be fine and good if Wagner went in to make the Ring the story of Wotan from the outset. We would have to ignore, though, the fact of the matter.

The broader issues with the Ring aside, one must consider the fact that Rheingold sets up a problem that Wotan attempts to solve in the "time" between the end of Rheingold and the start of Walküre. Wagner's libretto, in fact, offers us a pretty clear hint as to when Wotan solves the problem in his mind. There is also a musical cue that, when read along with Wagner's direction, makes things fairly well obvious, even if we don't yet know what the "big idea" is. The question for Rheingold, then, is what is dramatically necessary to set up the problems to be resolved during the three days. That is to say that we are confronted with a teleological question, and anything that doesn't really answer that question - or enhance the answer to that question - is superfluous. That devolves quickly into a matter of a debate between different dramatic sensibilities, I suppose, but I think framing the question in that way does reveal my position nicely.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 21, 2008, 05:00:39 AM
They would be, and so would the deletion of Götterdämmerung, if we're playing that game. Since the central problem with the Ring hasn't really materialized yet, there's no real sense bringing in the Wotan-Siegfried issue to say retroactively that Wagner should have done this or that. Clearly, and Götterdämmerung is a testament to this, the issue presented itself without a conscious redraft on Wagner's part; indeed, Wagner did what he could to keep things in order as intended, but there were and are some signs of strain. That is to say, then, that your position would be fine and good if Wagner went in to make the Ring the story of Wotan from the outset. We would have to ignore, though, the fact of the matter.

The broader issues with the Ring aside, one must consider the fact that Rheingold sets up a problem that Wotan attempts to solve in the "time" between the end of Rheingold and the start of Walküre. Wagner's libretto, in fact, offers us a pretty clear hint as to when Wotan solves the problem in his mind. There is also a musical cue that, when read along with Wagner's direction, makes things fairly well obvious, even if we don't yet know what the "big idea" is. The question for Rheingold, then, is what is dramatically necessary to set up the problems to be resolved during the three days. That is to say that we are confronted with a teleological question, and anything that doesn't really answer that question - or enhance the answer to that question - is superfluous. That devolves quickly into a matter of a debate between different dramatic sensibilities, I suppose, but I think framing the question in that way does reveal my position nicely.

  You present some very good points here.  Das Rheingold does present problems (the Ring,  love being forsaken for power etc.) which the following 3 operas solve.  In that regard Das rheingold is sufficient in that it serves its purpose. Wotan's 2 monologues in Die Walkure, one with his wife Frea, the other with Brunhilde "fill in the gaps" so to speak between the end of Das Rheingold and the beginning of Die Walkure. However many questions still remain unanswered. The listener has to wait until the beginning of Gotterdammerung and the scene with the 3 Norns to get the full picture of the epic saga.  Wagner unifies the 4 operas with the 3 Norns scene and the common link is revealed:  Wotan.  When the Norn talks about the past it is here that I have this desire to see those scenes where Wotan loses his eye, the Ash Tree branch is made into a spear etc. The distant past just seems not only relevant but important.
 
  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 21, 2008, 07:48:29 AM
Yes, nicely archaic, isn't it? Like the 'Rape of the Rhinegold' (cf Pope's 'The Rape of the Lock').

Yes, except that Pope gets his rape over with in 794 lines of heroic couplets infinitely wittier than anything in Wagner.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 21, 2008, 07:56:03 AM
Yes, except that Pope gets his rape over with in 794 lines of heroic couplets infinitely wittier than anything in Wagner.

Pope was a great poet (and wit was his forte), a master of the mock-epic. Wagner is epic with no 'mock' in sight.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 21, 2008, 08:29:13 AM
Agreed. Though my jest was more about those who have a problem with Wagner's long-windedness.

Otherwise, I believe "Das Rheingold", relatively speaking, to be quite succinct.

Not if you neglect to visit the men's room before the conductor starts the first downbeat.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 21, 2008, 08:35:30 AM
Not if you neglect to visit the men's room before the conductor starts the first downbeat.

 ;D (And the Rhine doesn't help either.)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 21, 2008, 08:39:01 AM
Yes, except that Pope gets his rape over with in 794 lines of heroic couplets infinitely wittier than anything in Wagner.

  Ouch! That's rather harsh and uncalled for  $:).  I will kindly remind you that this is the Wagner appreciation thread  ;)  :)!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Renfield on July 21, 2008, 08:40:22 AM
Not if you neglect to visit the men's room before the conductor starts the first downbeat.

;D (And the Rhine doesn't help either.)

Hah. Well, I suppose the true Wagnerian must possess some sort of special training for such a contingency... Let's ask Marvin.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 21, 2008, 08:46:08 AM
Hah. Well, I suppose the true Wagnerian must possess some sort of special training for such a contingency... Let's ask Marvin.

  Ok avoid alcohol, coffee, Diet Coke, Coke, Red Bull, tea anything with caffeine that stimulates the bladder.  The last thing you want is, as Jezetha so humorously noted, to see the Rhein's gushing water when you have to use the toilet!! 

 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 21, 2008, 08:51:46 AM
  Ouch! That's rather harsh and uncalled for  $:).  I will kindly remind you that this is the Wagner appreciation thread  ;)  :)!

  marvin

How could I forget.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Renfield on July 21, 2008, 08:58:40 AM
  Ok avoid alcohol, coffee, Diet Coke, Coke, Red Bull, tea anything with caffeine that stimulates the bladder.  The last thing you want is, as Jezetha so humorously noted, to see the Rhein's gushing water when you have to use the toilet!! 

 

  marvin

I must admit I had a number of highly comic possible disaster scenarios flash by, while reading the list of things to avoid.

Still, I suppose that's not entirely a joke: particularly with the other three Ring operas, or Parsifal.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 21, 2008, 09:09:00 AM
I must admit I had a number of highly comic possible disaster scenarios flash by, while reading the list of things to avoid.

Still, I suppose that's not entirely a joke: particularly with the other three Ring operas, or Parsifal.

  .........or Die Meistersinger or Tristan und Isolde....... ;)

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Renfield on July 21, 2008, 09:12:08 AM
  .........or Die Meistersinger or Tristan und Isolde....... ;)

  marvin

Well, in Die Meistersinger one could slip out during the fight. And if "Tristan" is as engrossing as people seem to think, it won't matter. ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Don on July 21, 2008, 09:14:03 AM
I would however like to hear your views why expansion of it contents would be less than ideal.   

Because Wagner already completed the work.  As usual, I'll go with the composer's wishes.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 21, 2008, 09:43:21 AM
Well, in Die Meistersinger one could slip out during the fight.

Nah. Act 2 of DM is only an hour long. The five potential "problem" spots in Wagner are Rheingold, Meistersinger 3, G-D 1, Parsifal 1, and Dutchman if played in one act. Before or (especially) after any of these, the lines to the restrooms are piteous to behold.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 21, 2008, 09:51:04 AM
Here's a man, who speaks from bitter experience...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 21, 2008, 10:21:28 AM
Here's a man, who speaks from bitter experience...

Fortunately not. I know the scores too well. But I seen others less well-informed come to a piteous end.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 21, 2008, 10:27:42 AM
(http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/06/28/us/28flood1.600.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 21, 2008, 12:30:58 PM
Because Wagner already completed the work.  As usual, I'll go with the composer's wishes.

  I can respect and relate to that. 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 21, 2008, 04:58:11 PM
, the lines to the restrooms are piteous to behold.

You ain't seen nuttin' yet! Try the ladies restrooms!  ::)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 21, 2008, 05:41:13 PM
You ain't seen nuttin' yet! Try the ladies restrooms!  ::)

I know, I know.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 21, 2008, 07:04:48 PM
I heard a story about the new Seattle Opera including one hundred ladies cubicles in their remodeling, distributed over three floors. Last time I was there I had to walk down to the ten stalls in the lobby!  :o

Had somebody mentioned Richard Wagner on this topic?  ???
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wanderer on July 21, 2008, 10:47:22 PM
Toilet humour. I get it.  :D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Chaszz on July 26, 2008, 09:20:31 PM
Nah. Act 2 of DM is only an hour long. The five potential "problem" spots in Wagner are Rheingold, Meistersinger 3, G-D 1, Parsifal 1, and Dutchman if played in one act. Before or (especially) after any of these, the lines to the restrooms are piteous to behold.

Since most operagoers are older people, and among the male persuasion growth in the prostate often accompanies old age, the lines to the male restrooms during intermissions for any opera are piteous to behold.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 27, 2008, 04:39:13 AM
Since there is no response to the Bayreuth 2008 topic, maybe if I intrude into the urinary popular hot thread I'll meet someone who is listening to the Bayreuth webcasts.

Anybody??  ???
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 27, 2008, 04:51:05 AM
Since there is no response to the Bayreuth 2008 topic, maybe if I intrude into the urinary popular hot thread I'll meet someone who is listening to the Bayreuth webcasts.

Anybody??  ???

I saw your post. But I don't, unfortunately, have the time to listen along with you... But let not that dampen your enthusiasm!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Renfield on July 27, 2008, 05:02:40 AM
I saw your post. But I don't, unfortunately, have the time to listen along with you... But let not that dampen your enthusiasm!

Likewise.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 27, 2008, 05:19:13 AM
Hurrah! Two replies! Thank you!  :-*  :-*

Maybe a better time when the rebroadcasts are on?

http://www.operacast.com/bayreuth08.htm
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 27, 2008, 05:13:35 PM
dampen your enthusiasm!

 :D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 29, 2008, 11:16:07 AM

 Wagner fans I don't believe we have discussed this subject in detail:

 How many of you have been here:

 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/Festspielhaus.jpg)

  If you have been here what performances did you see? Who were the conductor and singers? When did you go? How were the acoustics, how was the production? How did you get your tickets? Was it a long wait? Are the seats comfortable?  Also what else happens at the festival outside of the performances?

  It is my dream to go to Bayreuth  0:) and to see the Ring performed in its entirety and then to catch a performance of Tristan und Isolde  0:).  That's going to be an item on my bucket list  ;)?

  marvin



 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Renfield on July 29, 2008, 01:38:55 PM
Lovely house, Marvin. Is it yours? ;D ;)



(I'm kidding. And of course, no, I have not been to Bayreuth; let alone in there! :))
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 29, 2008, 02:07:41 PM
I haven't been there either! And because I strongly dislike uncomfortable wooden furniture to sit on during a Wagner opera, I don't think I'll even try for a ticket.  :D

But I can give you some second hand snippets. A friend, American expatriot who lived in Bayreuth and taught at the local university told me some of his experiences. Like: would you believe he never had a problem getting a ticket? No, he never applied for one, all he did was to put on his tux, walked up to The Hill with a sign asking for a ticket and he always got one, most of the time even free! Then there were times when he was in hurry, wore his jeans and sport shirt, but stuck his tux and shirt in a bag, made his trip up The Hill, got a ticket from someone who had a spare, went to the men's room, changed his attire, put the jeans in the bag and left it with the Garderobenfrau - something like a hat check girl - who by now already knew him, and he enjoyed the opera. Only once did he get a ticket but did not have his tux with him and he had to walk the gauntlet to his seat, followed by hostile stares and hisses: "How dare he, in jeans???"

Marvin, my best advise: Buy yourself a tux and nice ruffled shirt! Good Luck!  :-*
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Renfield on July 29, 2008, 02:11:51 PM
Only once did he get a ticket but did not have his tux with him and he had to walk the gauntlet to his seat, followed by hostile stares and hisses: "How dare he, in jeans???"

Wagner forbid! :P


Besides the joke, I'm pleasantly surprised that he was allowed to attend in jeans. I'd have expected a dress code to be in place.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 29, 2008, 02:37:49 PM
I haven't been there either! And because I strongly dislike uncomfortable wooden furniture to sit on during a Wagner opera, I don't think I'll even try for a ticket.  :D

But I can give you some second hand snippets. A friend, American expatriot who lived in Bayreuth and taught at the local university told me some of his experiences. Like: would you believe he never had a problem getting a ticket? No, he never applied for one, all he did was to put on his tux, walked up to The Hill with a sign asking for a ticket and he always got one, most of the time even free! Then there were times when he was in hurry, wore his jeans and sport shirt, but stuck his tux and shirt in a bag, made his trip up The Hill, got a ticket from someone who had a spare, went to the men's room, changed his attire, put the jeans in the bag and left it with the Garderobenfrau - something like a hat check girl - who by now already knew him, and he enjoyed the opera. Only once did he get a ticket but did not have his tux with him and he had to walk the gauntlet to his seat, followed by hostile stares and hisses: "How dare he, in jeans???"

If you believe in that I got beachfront property that I'll sell you for cheap.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 29, 2008, 03:24:57 PM
Lovely house, Marvin. Is it yours? ;D ;)



(I'm kidding. And of course, no, I have not been to Bayreuth; let alone in there! :))

  Oh yeah that's my humble abode  ;D!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 29, 2008, 03:37:50 PM
I haven't been there either! And because I strongly dislike uncomfortable wooden furniture to sit on during a Wagner opera, I don't think I'll even try for a ticket.  :D

But I can give you some second hand snippets. A friend, American expatriot who lived in Bayreuth and taught at the local university told me some of his experiences. Like: would you believe he never had a problem getting a ticket? No, he never applied for one, all he did was to put on his tux, walked up to The Hill with a sign asking for a ticket and he always got one, most of the time even free! Then there were times when he was in hurry, wore his jeans and sport shirt, but stuck his tux and shirt in a bag, made his trip up The Hill, got a ticket from someone who had a spare, went to the men's room, changed his attire, put the jeans in the bag and left it with the Garderobenfrau - something like a hat check girl - who by now already knew him, and he enjoyed the opera. Only once did he get a ticket but did not have his tux with him and he had to walk the gauntlet to his seat, followed by hostile stares and hisses: "How dare he, in jeans???"

Marvin, my best advise: Buy yourself a tux and nice ruffled shirt! Good Luck!  :-*

  Lis I already have a tux that's been sitting in my closet gathering dust and moths and what have you.  I guess now would be the time to pull it out and get it cleaned!!  Seeing as how you live in Germany and are a Wagnerian I was surprised that you had never been to Bayreuth  :o!!  But then again I guess if the seats are uncomfortable wooden furniture one might be tempted to stay away.  Incidentally can't one bring a pillow or a cushion to sit on??, or would that also get a hiss from the audience??

  PS:  So Lis, Renfield and PerfectWagnerite have not been to Bayreuth- I guess that leaves Sarge  8), yes I I'll bet he's been there! I also wonder if  Jezetha  8) has been to Bayreuth?? Other than that I can not think of any other Wagner fans GMG members who would have made the journey??  ??? Greta maybe??  I guess I'll have to be the first then!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 29, 2008, 03:49:55 PM
   PS:  So Lis, Renfield and PerfectWagnerite have not been to Bayreuth- I guess that leaves Sarge  8), yes I I'll bet he's been there! I also wonder if  Jezetha  8) has been to Bayreuth?? Other than that I can not think of any other Wagner fans GMG members who would have made the journey??  ??? Greta maybe??  I guess I'll have to be the first then!

Not for nothing but I think I'd rather go to the MET. Call me a homer but I would rather enjoy Wagner in the comfort of my home town only 20 minutes from my house. It's not like the singing, staging and conducting at Bayreuth is better than the MET.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on July 29, 2008, 04:23:49 PM
Not for nothing but I think I'd rather go to the MET. Call me a homer but I would rather enjoy Wagner in the comfort of my home town only 20 minutes from my house. It's not like the singing, staging and conducting at Bayreuth is better than the MET.

While live performance and I don't get along very well, for various reasons, I follow you: I'd rather go to Chicago to catch something, which is three or so hours away than run all the way to Germany. The dollar floundering as it is, I'm not sure I'd want to see the bill for room and board. Also, I don't know that I'd really want to sit through some of the productions of recent years.

Still, I wouldn't mind going to Bayreuth for Parsifal, but that has more to do with sentiment than the realities of modern Wagnerian performance on the Green Hill.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on July 29, 2008, 09:33:26 PM


Still, I wouldn't mind going to Bayreuth for Parsifal, but that has more to do with sentiment than the realities of modern Wagnerian performance on the Green Hill.

  Yes Parsifal is the opera that often comes to mind when considering a trip to Bayreuth as Wagner wanted it to be performed there and ONLY there!  However and as much as I value the opera houses here in London I would imagine that Bayreuth is special in its own way, very special! If only for its historical significance, ambiance etc.. I am also very curious as to what happens at the festival, after all this is a festival.  Aren't there special musical and entertainment events that are hosted outside of performance hours??

  The other thing that has intrigued me is the long waitlist to get tickets to Bayreuth.  I have heard of ridiculous 8-10 years waitlist periods, kind of like a lottery system built on seniority.  How exactly this works I do not know but it is very intriguing that so many people want to go on this long journey to Germany from all over the world,  notwithstanding cost of course.

  marvin

     
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 30, 2008, 03:20:08 AM
  PS:  So Lis, Renfield and PerfectWagnerite have not been to Bayreuth- I guess that leaves Sarge  8), yes I I'll bet he's been there!

I've been to the city of Bayreuth (made the pilgrimmage shortly after I moved to Germany in 1974) but have never attended a performance at the festival. In my youth, when I was an ardent Wagnerite, up for anything, I wanted to see the Ring at Bayreuth but the waiting period between applying for tickets and actually getting the tickets was around eight years. Being in the army, there was no way to plan that far ahead. By the time I retired I'd lost the desire. The thought of spending four to six hours sweating in a tux, enduring the heat of summer, sitting on a hard, uncomfortable chair just isn't appealing. Still, I continue to think about going, not to see a Ring but a Holländer...the shortest opera ;D 

I know there are ways to get tickets sooner. Tickets are still available for this year but you'll pay 1000 to 1500 Euro! That's another reason I don't ever see myself sitting in the Bayreuther Festspielhaus.

Sarge
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 30, 2008, 05:04:00 AM
 I also wonder if  Jezetha  8) has been to Bayreuth??

Alas, no. If I were a tone-deaf German politician and/or celebrity it would have been a piece of cake with no waiting-list in sight... My cousin, though, has seen the Festspielhaus with his own eyes, when he was on holiday in Germany... I still have the postcard he sent me.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wanderer on July 30, 2008, 05:27:31 AM
I'd have expected a dress code to be in place.

I have visited Germany thrice, but have never been in Bayreuth. As things stand, I don't think I'd be much interested in enduring all the required trouble for a potentially uncomfortable semi-religious Wagnerian operatic experience. I would exclude it altogether were there a mandatory dress code. I feel strongly against these things.  $:)

My next trip to Austria - Bavaria (whenever that will be) will probably include a visit to Bayreuth. If I were to attend a performance, I'd opt for either Die Walküre or Lohengrin.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on July 30, 2008, 06:52:17 AM
   Incidentally can't one bring a pillow or a cushion to sit on??, or would that also get a hiss from the audience??

  marvin

Um Gotteswillen! I believe it's not de rigueur to carry a soft object into the hallowed auditorium, unless it's the natural part of body. Evidently leaving the opera with a sore arse is like a badge of honour. My friend is fortunate in that he resembles an aged Ernest Hemingway!  ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 30, 2008, 07:04:39 AM
Not for nothing but I think I'd rather go to the MET. Call me a homer but I would rather enjoy Wagner in the comfort of my home town only 20 minutes from my house. It's not like the singing, staging and conducting at Bayreuth is better than the MET.

Well, now that you can occasionally find someone more lively than Mr. Levine on the podium for the major Wagnerian operas, quite true. (I will wickedly admit that I was secretly relieved he was laid up by a shoulder injury a couple of years ago when I paid an outrageous price to treat a friend to Parsifal in row C of the orchestra section. Peter Schneider was an excellent conductor that night, and I dressed comfortably as well.)

I haven't been to Bayreuth, but I've seen Wagner's house near Lucerne (Tribschen), the place where the Siegfried Idyll was premiered and the Meistersinger composed. That atmosphere was reverent enough, as I described in another post on this thread. But in regards to Bayreuth, I defer to Stravinsky's autobiography:

Quote
The very atmosphere of the theatre, its design and its setting, seemed lugubrious. It was like a crematorium, and a very old-fashioned one at that, and one expected to see the gentleman in black who had been entrusted with the task of singing the praises of the departed. The order to devote oneself to contemplation was given by a blast of trumpets. I sat humble and motionless, but at the end of a quarter of an hour I could bear no more. My limbs were numb and I had to change my position. Crack! Now I had done it! My chair had made a noise which drew down on me the furious scowls of a hundred pairs of eyes. Once more I withdrew into myself, but I could think of only one thing, and that was the end of the act which would put and end to my martyrdom. At last the intermission arrived, and I was rewarded by two sausages and a glass of beer. But hardly had I had time to light a cigarette when the trumpet blast sounded again, demanding another period of contemplation. Another act to be got through, when all my thoughts were concentrated on my cigarette, of which I had had barely a whiff. I managed to bear the second act. Then there were more sausages, more beer, another trumpet blast, another period of contemplation, another act -- finis!"
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on July 30, 2008, 07:05:34 AM
I have visited Germany thrice, but have never been in Bayreuth. As things stand, I don't think I'd be much interested in enduring all the required trouble for a potentially uncomfortable semi-religious Wagnerian operatic experience. I would exclude it altogether were there a mandatory dress code. I feel strongly against these things.  $:)

My next trip to Austria - Bavaria (whenever that will be) will probably include a visit to Bayreuth. If I were to attend a performance, I'd opt for either Die Walküre or Lohengrin.

If you can get tickets. There's usually a 10-year wait, with no guarantee.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wanderer on July 30, 2008, 07:14:58 AM
If you can get tickets. There's usually a 10-year wait, with no guarantee.

I'm well aware of that, hence the rather cryptic yet all inclusive "required trouble" in my previous post.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on August 01, 2008, 09:45:38 AM
Iago has been to Bayreuth.  He had no tickets in advance of his arrival.  He had no trouble getting tickets as he acquired them at performance time the same way as Lis' friend.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on August 03, 2008, 12:18:44 AM
  Sarge, Jezetha, Lis, Anne, Wanderer, PSmith08, Sforzando and other Wagner fans, Wagner affectionados, colleagues and friends thank you all for contributing your experiences, thoughts and impressions regarding Bayreuth! I am on holiday in Spain and have just seen all your responses so please pardon the delay in responding.  First let me say that this was hardly the reaction I was hoping to get from all of you!  But there seems to be a consensus amongst all of you that perhaps there are better, more comfortable and certainly more affordable ways of experiencing Wagner's operas than attending Bayreuth!  I guess in my usual naive over simplistic nature I was drawn to the "allure"....the "fantasy".... of attending what I deemed to be the ultimate Wagnerian experience- seeing an opera at Wagner's opera house!  I now have second doubts about going! I certainly can't afford 1000 to 1500 euros Sarge, and the thought of leaving that opera house with a sore arse is hardly appealing Lis! Stravinsky's autobiographical account does not sweeten the pot either Sforzando!

   Finally, Lis could you please translate  Um Gotteswillen for me??

  marvin

   
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 03, 2008, 12:26:48 AM
Am I allowed, too?

For God's sake! or For heaven's sake!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on August 03, 2008, 12:44:50 AM
Am I allowed, too?

For God's sake! or For heaven's sake!

  LOL thanks Jezetha!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on August 03, 2008, 08:02:34 AM
Am I allowed, too?

For God's sake! or For heaven's sake!

Nice job, Jez!  :-*

Totally OT: Now show your talent with my native Bavarian: Eabbeamamalad!  A hint: It's something you'll have for Friaschdigg.  ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 03, 2008, 08:23:44 AM
Nice job, Jez!  :-*

Totally OT: Now show your talent with my native Bavarian: Eabbeamamalad!  A hint: It's something you'll have for Friaschdigg.  ;D

You tell me what sort of jam Bavarians have for Frühstück!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on August 03, 2008, 08:30:59 AM
You are a genius! I am in awe!  :-*

It's Erdbeermarmelade. Confession: When I read it in a Der Spiegel short article, I had to say it a few times to identify the fruit in the jam!  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 03, 2008, 08:32:46 AM
You are a genius! I am in awe!  :-*

It's Erdbeermarmelade. Confession: When I read it in a Der Spiegel short article, I had to say it a few times to identify the fruit in the jam!  ;)

Now I can hear it too!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on August 03, 2008, 03:09:06 PM
  Sarge, Jezetha, Lis, Anne, Wanderer, PSmith08, Sforzando and other Wagner fans, Wagner affectionados, colleagues and friends thank you all for contributing your experiences, thoughts and impressions regarding Bayreuth! I am on holiday in Spain and have just seen all your responses so please pardon the delay in responding.  First let me say that this was hardly the reaction I was hoping to get from all of you!  But there seems to be a consensus amongst all of you that perhaps there are better, more comfortable and certainly more affordable ways of experiencing Wagner's operas than attending Bayreuth!  I guess in my usual naive over simplistic nature I was drawn to the "allure"....the "fantasy".... of attending what I deemed to be the ultimate Wagnerian experience- seeing an opera at Wagner's opera house!  I now have second doubts about going! I certainly can't afford 1000 to 1500 euros Sarge, and the thought of leaving that opera house with a sore arse is hardly appealing Lis! Stravinsky's autobiographical account does not sweeten the pot either Sforzando!

    marvin

 

Oh Dear Marvin, between your lines I read sadness about being deprived of materialising this lifelong dream of yours: Attending a Wagner opera, in person, in his creation. I didn't intend my post that way, only issuing a warning, and I think so did your other Wagner friends, preparing you for what will await you. By all means, Marvin, put on your old tux, walk up The Hill and hope for a kind soul to give you a ticket. If you don't succeed, you know you have tried. If you don't go through all this, you'll propably live forever with the doubt: "I might have gotten a ticket!" - and then blame at least me for it all! - The sore arse will heal and you'll tell us it was worth the torture! -  :-*
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 03, 2008, 03:33:01 PM
I certainly want to hear Wagner in Bayreuth. I hope I'll become so famous, I can 'jump the queue'...  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Renfield on August 03, 2008, 04:12:48 PM
I certainly want to hear Wagner in Bayreuth. I hope I'll become so famous, I can 'jump the queue'...  ;)

Or you could try to impersonate a guest you can be certain will not attend, through whatever means. >:D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on August 04, 2008, 09:18:51 AM
Oh Dear Marvin, between your lines I read sadness about being deprived of materialising this lifelong dream of yours: Attending a Wagner opera, in person, in his creation. I didn't intend my post that way, only issuing a warning, and I think so did your other Wagner friends, preparing you for what will await you. By all means, Marvin, put on your old tux, walk up The Hill and hope for a kind soul to give you a ticket. If you don't succeed, you know you have tried. If you don't go through all this, you'll propably live forever with the doubt: "I might have gotten a ticket!" - and then blame at least me for it all! - The sore arse will heal and you'll tell us it was worth the torture! -  :-*

  Thanks Lis I will keep that in mind. I have not given up yet and  I am currently doing more research regarding this matter.  I am looking at the Wagner society here in England as they every once in a while get tickets to Bayreuth.  Cost will always be an issue so I will have to budget this accordingly and unlike Jezetha I will never attain "so famous" a status so as to "jump" the queues!

  There is one think I am sure of, being in Bayreuth at that opera house, knowing that Wagner  0:) himself was there, conducting is going to overwhelm me!

  marvin

   
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on August 04, 2008, 09:55:56 AM
I don't think it's that extremely impossible to get tickets if you have some connections. I never heard an actual performance at the Festpielhaus, but my mother and step father went a few times although the last time is already many moons ago. They aren't that much into opera anyway but don't mind going once in a while ;D. I think they got the tickets from friends. I stopped by during the summer once right before the festival began and once when it was already running to visit people I knew in the orchestra, so I had the opportunity to hear some orchestra-only rehearsals (Parsifal with Sinopoli) and some stage rehearsals (Götterdämmerung with Levine) in the theater which was very interesting. The orchestra pit is very interesting, too, really deep and actually getting lower in stages towards the back, unlike most pits which are just flat. The half open lid does mute and darken the color the sound a little bit, but it can still get really loud in the auditorium when the 100 or so handpicked players play full steam ahead. :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 04, 2008, 10:00:16 AM
and unlike Jezetha I will never attain "so famous" a status so as to "jump" the queues!

We're equally unfortunate at the moment, Bayreuth-wise, Marvin! My fame and fate lie in the lap of fickle gods...

(Interesting post, M.)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on August 04, 2008, 10:24:07 AM
You know, while it would require some long-range planning, there really is no reason not to start to send in the ticket forms. While I have now heard several times from several sources that it's not impossible to snag tickets from various sources, it's not a bad idea to get them in a sort of pincer move, assuming that one has the leisure time or the proximity to go hang out in Bayreuth.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: DavidRoss on August 04, 2008, 11:10:41 AM
Or you could try to impersonate a guest you can be certain will not attend, through whatever means. >:D
Sounds like Ripley's solution!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Renfield on August 04, 2008, 11:14:49 AM
Sounds like Ripley's solution!

The Talented Mr Herrenberg.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 04, 2008, 12:21:16 PM
The Talented Mr Herrenberg.

Should be an absorbing film... !  ;)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on August 05, 2008, 01:09:49 AM
I don't think it's that extremely impossible to get tickets if you have some connections. I never heard an actual performance at the Festpielhaus, but my mother and step father went a few times although the last time is already many moons ago. They aren't that much into opera anyway but don't mind going once in a while ;D. I think they got the tickets from friends. I stopped by during the summer once right before the festival began and once when it was already running to visit people I knew in the orchestra, so I had the opportunity to hear some orchestra-only rehearsals (Parsifal with Sinopoli) and some stage rehearsals (Götterdämmerung with Levine) in the theater which was very interesting. The orchestra pit is very interesting, too, really deep and actually getting lower in stages towards the back, unlike most pits which are just flat. The half open lid does mute and darken the color the sound a little bit, but it can still get really loud in the auditorium when the 100 or so handpicked players play full steam ahead. :)

  Thanks M for posting this  :)!  I especially liked the part about how the half open lid of the sunken orchestra pit tends to darken the sound.  I can well imagine the effect that would have say on the opening of Die Walkure or the leitmotif of Fafner the dragon and the Siegfried Funeral March!!

  You mention that you were once at Bayreuth when the festival was already running.  What was the atmosphere, "ambiance",  like? I have been informed that people are in tuxes et al. Were there any special events in between performances that you found interesting?

  Finally regarding tickets I have no connections of any kind in Germany.  I have never even been there. I'll have to start applying for tickets ASAP and see what materializes. High on my priority list is the Ring Cycle and Tristan und Isolde and I am willing to wait a few years to catch either or.  But I fear that in my particular case beggars can't be choosers :-\.  Also as I have never been to Germany I would like to do some site seeing as well on my way to Bayreuth. So much to plan between now and then, let's see what happens??

  marvin     
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on August 05, 2008, 11:21:32 AM
I've been on the internet since 1994 (if I remember correctly - whenever the OJ civil trial was offered on the internet but not on TV - we could read the transcripts).

On one of the sites someone said it was very easy to get tickets from his country.  Apparently a lot of tickets are allotted to that country because it had helped Germany,or Wagner, in the past.  I cannot remember the country but maybe some of you might.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 05, 2008, 11:35:06 AM
I've been on the internet since 1994 (if I remember correctly - whenever the OJ civil trial was offered on the internet but not on TV - we could read the transcripts).

On one of the sites someone said it was very easy to get tickets from his country.  Apparently a lot of tickets are allotted to that country because it had helped Germany,or Wagner, in the past.  I cannot remember the country but maybe some of you might.

Switzerland perhaps, the country Wagner fled to after the failed revolution in Dresden, 1848.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on August 05, 2008, 04:56:39 PM
You may be correct; I don't know.  Maybe if people would start asking other people if it is easy to get tickets in the various countries, perhaps the ID will be discovered again.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Iago on August 05, 2008, 09:45:57 PM
Anne is correct. I was at Bayreuth in 1968 or 1969 (I'm not sure which).
I suppose things have changed in the 40 years  that have passed since then but;...

I flew from NY to Paris. (spent one week there)
Then I took a student flight across the Channel to London. Such flights were also available to teachers. Spent a week in London
Then I took another student flight from London to Amsterdam, where I rented a car.
I drove through most of the European continent. From Amsterdam to Nuremberg, thence to Bayreuth. I arrived in Bayreuth the day prior to the opening of the festival, with NO opera tickets and NO hotel reservation. However, that didn't bother me since I could always sleep in the car if necessary. I did manage to get a room in the Bayreuth Hof, but was told by the Concierge that it would only be for one night as the rooms had been reserved for the entire length of the festival. But I took that room and spent the remainder of the day roaming the areas around the Opera house and visiting Wagners home and burial place.The next morning while reading the "Herald Tribune" in the lobby of the hotel and awaiting "checkout time", I overheard a patron asking the desk clerk, if her opera tickets had yet arrived?. The clerk said no, but I later learned that the mail was delivered two or three times a day in those years and that the hotels ticket allotment would probably be arriving in the 1 PM mail. I asked the clerk if there was a possibility of there being any "unaccounted for" tickets. She said to check back after they arrived. THERE WERE. I managed to purchase a ticket for the OPENING NIGHT - Der Fliegende Hollander under Silvio Varviso, with McIntyre, Talvela and Rysanek in major roles. Amazingly the clerk charged me EXACTLY the price on the face of the ticket. Imagine how much I would have to pay in "fees" if I tried to do the same thing for opening night at the Met?
The performance was stupefyingly awesome, and the opening music of the Overture still resounds in my memory. WHAT A SOUND!!!! Almost tactile.
Now I had no hotel room, but I tried some pensiones about 20 miles from Bayreuth. I managed to find one, where I was made to feel welcome, even though pictures of the landlords son in full Nazi Luftwaffe regalia hung on the walls.
The next day, I returned to the "hill" and managed to actually obtain a ticket for that nights performance of Parsifal, under Horst Stein. (Don't remember the cast- but I think Martha Modl was Kundry). I stayed in that pensione for two nights and then left for Munich.
 From Munich, I drove to Salzburg, Austria, where I was able to attend a performance of Don Giovanni (under Von Karajan). Since I hate Mozart operas, that was a torture, but it was worthwhile to see HvK in Salzburg. Then across the Austrian and Italian Alps to Venice. Then to Pisa, Florence and finally Rome,  where I saw an Aida at the "Baths of Caracalla".   Spectacular production, but actually amateurishly sung, played and conducted.

Flew home from Rome. Trip lasted six weeks, and I never did have to sleep in the car.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 05, 2008, 09:51:46 PM
Thanks for this epic account, Iago!!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Renfield on August 06, 2008, 05:48:56 AM
Thanks for this epic account, Iago!!

Inspirational, even. Thank you from me as well, Iago.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on August 07, 2008, 04:57:09 AM
Anne is correct. I was at Bayreuth in 1968 or 1969 (I'm not sure which).
I suppose things have changed in the 40 years  that have passed since then but;...

I flew from NY to Paris. (spent one week there)
Then I took a student flight across the Channel to London. Such flights were also available to teachers. Spent a week in London
Then I took another student flight from London to Amsterdam, where I rented a car.
I drove through most of the European continent. From Amsterdam to Nuremberg, thence to Bayreuth. I arrived in Bayreuth the day prior to the opening of the festival, with NO opera tickets and NO hotel reservation. However, that didn't bother me since I could always sleep in the car if necessary. I did manage to get a room in the Bayreuth Hof, but was told by the Concierge that it would only be for one night as the rooms had been reserved for the entire length of the festival. But I took that room and spent the remainder of the day roaming the areas around the Opera house and visiting Wagners home and burial place.The next morning while reading the "Herald Tribune" in the lobby of the hotel and awaiting "checkout time", I overheard a patron asking the desk clerk, if her opera tickets had yet arrived?. The clerk said no, but I later learned that the mail was delivered two or three times a day in those years and that the hotels ticket allotment would probably be arriving in the 1 PM mail. I asked the clerk if there was a possibility of there being any "unaccounted for" tickets. She said to check back after they arrived. THERE WERE. I managed to purchase a ticket for the OPENING NIGHT - Der Fliegende Hollander under Silvio Varviso, with McIntyre, Talvela and Rysanek in major roles. Amazingly the clerk charged me EXACTLY the price on the face of the ticket. Imagine how much I would have to pay in "fees" if I tried to do the same thing for opening night at the Met?
The performance was stupefyingly awesome, and the opening music of the Overture still resounds in my memory. WHAT A SOUND!!!! Almost tactile.
Now I had no hotel room, but I tried some pensiones about 20 miles from Bayreuth. I managed to find one, where I was made to feel welcome, even though pictures of the landlords son in full Nazi Luftwaffe regalia hung on the walls.
The next day, I returned to the "hill" and managed to actually obtain a ticket for that nights performance of Parsifal, under Horst Stein. (Don't remember the cast- but I think Martha Modl was Kundry). I stayed in that pensione for two nights and then left for Munich.
 From Munich, I drove to Salzburg, Austria, where I was able to attend a performance of Don Giovanni (under Von Karajan). Since I hate Mozart operas, that was a torture, but it was worthwhile to see HvK in Salzburg. Then across the Austrian and Italian Alps to Venice. Then to Pisa, Florence and finally Rome,  where I saw an Aida at the "Baths of Caracalla".   Spectacular production, but actually amateurishly sung, played and conducted.

Flew home from Rome. Trip lasted six weeks, and I never did have to sleep in the car.

  WOW Iago wonderful, absolutely wonderful thank you so much for contributing.  Now.....now,  if only I can be so lucky!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: zamyrabyrd on August 09, 2008, 08:25:04 PM
Cool.

Then to Pisa, Florence and finally Rome,  where I saw an Aida at the "Baths of Caracalla".   Spectacular production, but actually amateurishly sung, played and conducted.

Apart from La Scala, isn't the above more the rule rather than the exception in Italy?

ZB
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: M forever on August 09, 2008, 09:40:45 PM
Yes, it is. That is why, apart from the few people who work at La Scala, all musicians in Italy are amateurs. That is also why there are no professional conductors, singers, or instrumentalists from Italy who work elsewhere.  ::)


Seriously now, do you Americans all get dropped on your head right after you are born? What does it feel like to be so ............?

Edited by Knight
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on August 09, 2008, 09:49:06 PM
I agree with M, many of the provincial theatres have a good and long tradition. Abbado and Roberto Abbado, Muti and Chailly are just four good conductors who worked on a regular basis with provincial companies. Rome can often get its act together when the unions are not in dispute, Venice produces first class opera on a regular basis, Verona with its festival is neither entirely unknown or undistinguished.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: zamyrabyrd on August 10, 2008, 02:54:02 AM
I agree with M, many of the provincial theatres have a good and long tradition. Abbado and Roberto Abbado, Muti and Chailly are just four good conductors who worked on a regular basis with provincial companies. Rome can often get its act together when the unions are not in dispute, Venice produces first class opera on a regular basis, Verona with its festival is neither entirely unknown or undistinguished.
Mike

So you're all saying that first class opera is the rule rather than the exception in Italy, with all those homegrown contemporary great singers and conductors? Can you recommend any recent great DVD's apart from La Scala so I can run out and go buy them?

ZB
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on August 10, 2008, 03:29:59 AM
You are being sarcastic now....have a look through the catalogues for your self, but remember, there are masses of very good artists who never get recorded. What evidence have you that La Scala is the only company worth listening to?

I mentioned some and add to the list Naples, Palermo and Parma. Just as with other countries, they employ musicians from other countries. Opera Mag reviews them on occasion and often in the past I have noted favourably. Of course there can be variable standards.....rather like I have noticed at all the opera companies in the UK. Provincial opera companies in Italy is not my specialist subject. However, to suggest there is only one company worth listening to is absurd. 

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: zamyrabyrd on August 10, 2008, 05:26:20 AM
You are being sarcastic now....have a look through the catalogues for yourself, but remember, there are masses of very good artists who never get recorded. What evidence have you that La Scala is the only company worth listening to?

I mentioned some and add to the list Naples, Palermo and Parma. Just as with other countries, they employ musicians from other countries. Opera Mag reviews them on occasion and often in the past I have noted favourably. Of course there can be variable standards.....rather like I have noticed at all the opera companies in the UK. Provincial opera companies in Italy is not my specialist subject. However, to suggest there is only one company worth listening to is absurd. 

Mike

Mike, sweetheart, first of all, a QUESTION does not deserve an insult. I don't know what sharkface wrote and I don't appreciate either of you twisting what I said. I didn't say there was NO opera outside La Scala. I was just questioning whether outside its hallowed halls in Italy the rule is top quality. I have seen on many occasions Italian opera productions that were downright silly, in particular, Aida, that seems to be popular. Actually both of you can answer without being insulting. And it is a good question.

Because Opera may have originated in Italy back in 1600 and because so much development happened there, there is a lingering impression that it is still the cutting edge of vocal music. From what I read and heard that doesn't seems to be true. And Italians I have spoken to seem to think that opera ended with Puccini. But I MAY be wrong.

Instead, the focus on the HIGHEST levels SEEMS to have shifted to places like Berlin, Bayreuth, Vienna, London, Paris, Milan (of course) and the main companies of the US.

If any of you can't bother to be civil, don't bother to answer.

ZB

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on August 10, 2008, 01:19:06 PM
Can you recommend any recent great DVD's apart from La Scala so I can run out and go buy them?


I've enjoyed the DVDs of Strauss' Daphne and Massenet's Thaïs from Venice's Teatro la Fenice, and Vivaldi's Ercole su'l Termodonte from the Spoleto Fetival.  I haven't actually seen them, but I've heard good things an Ariodante (also from Spoleto) and an Abbado-led Simon Boccanegra from the Florence May Festival.

Not on DVD but the CD recording of Le Comte Ory with Flórez from the Rossini Festival in Pesaro is pretty good, and I've heard good things about a live recording of Die Zauberflöte from Modena with Abbado conduting.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on August 10, 2008, 01:43:11 PM
You won't believe what my favorite Aida on DVD is: A 2001 production at the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi, directed by Franco Zefferelli, and staring students and recent graduates of that Busseto school. No big stars, a conductor I never heard of, and Zefferelli is definitely not my favourite director.

The enthusiasm and dedication to the opera displayed by everybody involved proved to me there is hope for the future of opera. Scott Piper a young black American, was moved to the brink of tears by the thundering applause he received not only for the big hit beginning aria, but at the end of the performance. There is not one bad voice in the entire cast, I love it!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sarastro on August 11, 2008, 04:39:08 PM
As an Italian-oriented opera lover just started with Wagner. Nothing very special, "Tristan und Isolde" with Nilsson and Windgassen. Stunning!!! Re-listened several times. Definitely, I must hear some more Wagner.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on August 12, 2008, 01:59:56 AM
As an Italian-oriented opera lover just started with Wagner. Nothing very special, "Tristan und Isolde" with Nilsson and Windgassen. Stunning!!! Re-listened several times. Definitely, I must hear some more Wagner.

  Be prepared to be blown away by the Ring  0:)!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sarastro on August 12, 2008, 10:27:20 AM
  Be prepared to be blown away by the Ring  0:)!

I am already blown away by Salome! What is left of me for the Ring? ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 12, 2008, 10:39:18 AM
I am already blown away by Salome! What is left of me for the Ring? ;D
Salome? Salome ain't a pimple compared to the Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: uffeviking on August 12, 2008, 10:41:02 AM
No, next post is not about Wagner, but you mentioned Salome and I wonder which performance it was that blew you away. Not this one, it's not released yet, but here is little taste of it:

http://www.opusarte.com/pages/product.asp?ProductID=253

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Sarastro on August 12, 2008, 11:13:44 AM
No, next post is not about Wagner, but you mentioned Salome and I wonder which performance it was that blew you away. Not this one, it's not released yet, but here is little taste of it:

http://www.opusarte.com/pages/product.asp?ProductID=253

Scary pictures, indeed. I'd better stay with the music only. ;D Salome is so electrifying, I must hear some more Strauss either!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on September 01, 2008, 04:40:54 AM
It's tough, even when one is retired, to find the three or four or more hours needed to give these works the attention they deserve. Webern is more user friendly  ;D

Sarge




I'm very lucky; with my schedule of students I have plenty of time to enjoy, study, and venerate my Wagner collection.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on September 01, 2008, 04:50:31 AM
   7) Capriccio (I didn't know I had a recording of this opera  :o until I went "digging"  ;D into my collection)

  marvin
 


Love that opera. I have the Sawallisch/EMI, but am hoping for this one:
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on September 18, 2008, 11:57:30 AM
  Wagner fans I came across this and just had to post it:

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcfaC4yhUvs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcfaC4yhUvs)

  Fast forward to 2:14 minutes sit back and enjoy......I love it.... it's deliciously amusing!  I hope you find it as intriguing as I did.


  Edit:  Sorry stop at minute 4:24!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on September 18, 2008, 02:42:23 PM
Edit:  Sorry stop at minute 4:24!


Or don't.  I liked the Wagner bit, but what follows is BLEEPin' hilarious!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on September 19, 2008, 04:34:46 PM
Or don't.  I liked the Wagner bit, but what follows is BLEEPin' hilarious!

Right. I ended up watching the whole program. There's no such thing as a bad time with Stephen Fry.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Anne on September 19, 2008, 08:08:07 PM
I watched the whole program also.  Thanks, Marv!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 19, 2008, 10:33:56 PM
Stephen Fry - brilliant chap. Great link, Marvin.

Btw - did anybody notice that the guy singing Wolfram's 'aria' about the evening star (O du mein holder Abendstern) from the Third Act of Tannhäuser was doing so not in German, but in Italian, Spanish??
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on September 20, 2008, 02:29:38 AM
Btw - did anybody notice that the guy singing Wolfram's 'aria' about the evening star (O du mein holder Abendstern) from the Third Act of Tannhäuser was doing so not in German, but in Italian, Spanish??

Ummm.  It's in English.  He sings "Star of eve, your tender beam".  I did some googling, and the next line in the translation, which you can't hear that well on the video, is "Falls on my spirit's troubled dream".
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 20, 2008, 02:39:45 AM
Ummm.  It's in English.  He sings "Star of Eve, your tender beam".  I did some googling, and the next line in the translation, which you can't hear that well on the video, is "Falls on my spirit's troubled dream".

English!! I couldn't hear it. I didn't listen very closely... ;D :-[
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on September 20, 2008, 04:43:27 AM

  Wendell_E, Jezetha, Anne, PSmith08 I am glad you enjoyed it!  I have not been contributing much lately as I am so busy with work, my relationship, life etc. but when I saw this clip and especially the part on Wagner I thought.....you must post this for others to see :D!!


  PS: I can't make out the language of that aria either...but it does not sound English  ??? ?? 
 
  marvin 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on October 21, 2008, 07:36:19 AM
  Wagner fans! Where are you?  What? No one has posted here in over a month??  :(  Have we abandoned this very fine composer?  Have we lost all appetite for his operas??  A few weeks ago on the SkyArts channel I was lucky enough to catch the 3rd Act of this production of Tristan und Isolde:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TW68YV6HL._SS500_.jpg)

  From what I saw it proved to be a rather dark, sombre production of this opera. What you see on the cover (excluding the blue sea)  is the set design for Act 3. Kollo had aged, I felt he was a bit too old appearancewise to be Tristan but he delivered vocally nontheless. Jones was good as Isolde, passionate and attractive.  I can not comment further as I have only seen Act 3. I would have liked to see Acts 1 and 2 but I can not find a recording of this opera anywhere  >:(!  amazon.co.uk lists it as currently unavailable  >:( >:(!

  so did anyone else watch a Wagnerian opera recently? If yes,  what did you see?

  marvin 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on October 21, 2008, 01:22:19 PM
  Wagner fans! Where are you?  What? No one has posted here in over a month??  :(  Have we abandoned this very fine composer?  Have we lost all appetite for his operas??  A few weeks ago on the SkyArts channel I was lucky enough to catch the 3rd Act of this production of Tristan und Isolde:

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TW68YV6HL._SS500_.jpg)

  From what I saw it proved to be a rather dark, sombre production of this opera. What you see on the cover (excluding the blue sea)  is the set design for Act 3. Kollo had aged, I felt he was a bit too old appearancewise to be Tristan but he delivered vocally nontheless. Jones was good as Isolde, passionate and attractive.  I can not comment further as I have only seen Act 3. I would have liked to see Acts 1 and 2 but I can not find a recording of this opera anywhere  >:(!  amazon.co.uk lists it as currently unavailable  >:( >:(!

  so did anyone else watch a Wagnerian opera recently? If yes,  what did you see?

  marvin 


I listen to Wagner every day. Today Solti's Gotterdammerung, Act III. Also the Barenboim Tristan und Isolde dvd, Act III.

I think I've heard that dvd on a live broadcast radio performance. Very good.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on October 21, 2008, 01:53:11 PM
I listen to Wagner every day.

Are you sure that's healthy?   ;D

I listened to Hollreiser's EMI recording of Rienzi yesterday.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 21, 2008, 02:06:32 PM

I listen to Wagner every day.

Where do you find the time?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on October 21, 2008, 02:24:35 PM
I am watching Wagner right now! It's a 1966 production of Lohengrin with Gösta Winbergh and Karita Mattila. Somehow I have my doubt about the date listed because it would make Mattila now in her sixties. Somebody taped it from a web cast with James Conlon conducting the Robert Carsen direction.

You are asking what am I doing sitting in my study posting at GMG with Lohengrin on the projection set in the music room? For one, this it not one of my favorite Wagner works, and second the production is almost black and white with a bright blue sky adding the only colour. Maybe it will improve when the shining knight adds some life to the drab set.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on October 21, 2008, 02:42:50 PM

Also the Barenboim Tristan und Isolde dvd, Act III.

I think I've heard that dvd on a live broadcast radio performance. Very good.

  Which Barenboim Andy  8)? , I have the one with Kollo, Meier (Johanna) at Bayreuth.  You know the one with the rather strange ending.

Are you sure that's healthy?   ;D

I listened to Hollreiser's EMI recording of Rienzi yesterday.

  I have that same recording although it has been a while since I gave it a spin.  I really do wish they would stage that opera and release it on DVD, all to the dismay of Wagner I am sure (he hated its neverending popularity).

  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/417FE26P96L._SS400_.jpg)

I am watching Wagner right now! It's a 1966 production of Lohengrin with Gösta Winbergh and Karita Mattila. Somehow I have my doubt about the date listed because it would make Mattila now in her sixties. Somebody taped it from a web cast with James Conlon conducting the Robert Carsen direction.

You are asking what am I doing sitting in my study posting at GMG with Lohengrin on the projection set in the music room? For one, this it not one of my favorite Wagner works, and second the production is almost black and white with a bright blue sky adding the only colour. Maybe it will improve when the shining knight adds some life to the drab set.

  Black and white ?? I don't think I like the sound of that.  But I do agree with you that Lohengrin always remains my least favorite of Wagner's opera.  Sure it has some fine moments, especially the dark moments involving Ortrud summoning the Gods (Wotan et al.) for revenge against Lohengrin and that ever popular "Here Comes the Bride" tune. However I find that it has a fair amount of oh what's the expression I am looking for "dead wood".  It doesn't flow as well as Wagner's other operas. I must be in the minority here but I much prefer Tannhauser to Lohengrin. 

and finally.....
Where do you find the time?

  we make time Tsaraslondon, on top of my career, my relationship, my friendships, all time consumming mind you I have to "squeeze" Wagner in otherwise I'd go insane  ;D!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on October 21, 2008, 04:04:26 PM
Where do you find the time?


a) I work out of my home.
b) I have a very tolerant fiancee, whom is an opera fan as well (she's weird, she loves Der Fliegende Hollander best...still a great one).


My "Wagner Experience" has been on of the most positive experiences of my life. Wagner's use of psychological archetypes helps me learn things about myself and the things/events and people in my life. It also helps to go deeper and deeper in to the works, listening to at least pieces of them alot.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on October 21, 2008, 04:11:13 PM
  Which Barenboim Andy  8)? , I have the one with Kollo, Meier (Johanna) at Bayreuth.  You know the one with the rather strange ending.

That's the one, Marvin. I actually thought that ending was very sad and beautiful in a way. But I also spin the HvK alot.

I didn't like the second act in the Barenboin/Kollo dvd. I thought the pacing was at times sluggish.


   
we make time Tsaraslondon, on top of my career, my relationship, my friendships, all time consumming mind you I have to "squeeze" Wagner in otherwise I'd go insane  ;D!

  marvin

JA!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: ChamberNut on October 21, 2008, 05:20:31 PM
Marvin,

No worries, I've been listening to a lot of Wagner recently too.  Lately, Die Walkure and Siegfried.

Since May of this year, I've listened to Wagner more than any other composer, and that's not a sentence I thought I'd ever write.   ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on October 22, 2008, 03:15:08 AM
Marvin,

No worries, I've been listening to a lot of Wagner recently too.  Lately, Die Walkure and Siegfried.

Since May of this year, I've listened to Wagner more than any other composer, and that's not a sentence I thought I'd ever write.   ;D


It's been the same for me in 2008. Although I've spun a whole bunch of latter-era Anton Bruckner this year (there's not a huge amount of difference between the two now, is there), Wagner has been my primary listening by far.

Wagner, and Metal.

But I guess there isn't too terribly much of a difference between the above variables, really.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on October 22, 2008, 03:22:56 AM
I am watching Wagner right now! It's a 1966 production of Lohengrin with Gösta Winbergh and Karita Mattila. Somehow I have my doubt about the date listed because it would make Mattila now in her sixties.

I guess that was the Paris production, with Gwyneth Jones?  If so, 1996 is the correct date.  Mattila would have been six years old in 1966 and Winbergh would have been twenty-two.  That'd be creepy.   :o
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Harry on October 22, 2008, 03:23:38 AM

Wagner, and Metal.

But I guess there isn't too terribly much of a difference between the above variables, really.

Agreed! ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on October 22, 2008, 07:49:00 AM
Agreed! ;D


Rock on, Harry dude.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on October 22, 2008, 10:17:35 AM
I guess that was the Paris production, with Gwyneth Jones?  If so, 1996 is the correct date.  Mattila would have been six years old in 1966 and Winbergh would have been twenty-two.  That'd be creepy.   :o

Thank you, Wendell! I contacted my giving friend and he admitted to doing an odd thing on the disc with the sixes, '1996'.

Have you seen this production? Don't bother to look for it, it's awful! Unless of course you are a Carson fan.  ::)

Jones is at her best turkey imitation, which is a shame because I admired her Brünnhilde with John Tomlinson's Wotan.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Lilas Pastia on October 22, 2008, 06:59:21 PM
Has anybody read Nietzsche's Der Fall Wagner (The Wagner Case) ?

I find some of its iconoclastic pronouncements quite illuminating. Such as Wagner is a disease, which is one of the less provocative ones. Nietzsche had gone full circle from convert to ardent foe. Of course he knew Wagner the man, so this may have something to do with it.

Bracing myself to a Frida Leider Götterdämmerung repast. 0:)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on October 22, 2008, 07:45:14 PM
Has anybody read Nietzsche's Der Fall Wagner (The Wagner Case) ?


Yes, André, I did. I wish I would have been able to get the book in it's original language, but I accept Walter Kaufmann's translation. Somehow I can't forget my immediate reaction to reading it: 'Friedrich, you are sore because Richard walked out of the room laughing when you played for him your own piano composition!'

There is another book with the same subjects: Nietzche & Wagner, subtitled A Lesson in Subjugation by Joachim Köhler. It's been some time since I read it, but it must be good, otherwise I would not have kept it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on October 23, 2008, 09:59:38 AM
Has anybody read Nietzsche's Der Fall Wagner (The Wagner Case) ?

I find some of its iconoclastic pronouncements quite illuminating. Such as Wagner is a disease, which is one of the less provocative ones. Nietzsche had gone full circle from convert to ardent foe. Of course he knew Wagner the man, so this may have something to do with it.

Bracing myself to a Frida Leider Götterdämmerung repast. 0:)


I've read all of Nietzsche's Wagner writings. I put them squarely in the category of sour grapes: Nietzsche wanted to be a composer/artiste. Wagner told him the truth about his composing skills, and he held it against him. There's also the "Son wanting to completely distance himself from the Father" archetype between the two men. In fact, the Wagner/Nietzsche relationship is a textbook example of this.


I must be completely fair here and point out that Nietzsche was often a very brilliant writer for a philosopher, whereas Wagner was a poor writer and lame philosopher. Wagner's genius, as you all know, involved the way he made character and situational motifs into psychological profiles in his operas. Without the music, his writings falter for the most part.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on October 23, 2008, 11:06:07 AM
I've read all of Nietzsche's Wagner writings. I put them squarely in the category of sour grapes: Nietzsche wanted to be a composer/artiste. Wagner told him the truth about his composing skills, and he held it against him. There's also the "Son wanting to completely distance himself from the Father" archetype between the two men. In fact, the Wagner/Nietzsche relationship is a textbook example of this.

I don't know that there's any need to resort to archetypes in analyzing what happened between Wagner and Nietzsche. We're not talking about Götterdämmerung here, but, rather, a conflict between a great artist and a great intellect. The relationship began to sour around 1874 and Nietzsche reported that he had said farewell to Wagner in his heart (paraphrasing, but not by much) during the first Festspiele in 1876. This is, of course, complicated by the completion and publication of Richard Wagner in Bayreuth at roughly the same time, which work -- collected in Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen -- makes the "squarely in the category of sour grapes" judgment somewhat complicated if not untenable.

Indeed, when one looks at the comments on Wagner in Die Geburt der Tragödie, one sees that Nietzsche, at least in 1872, saw Wagner as some sort of heir to the Greek tragedians about whom he wrote. That doesn't sound like "sour grapes" to me. Reading all of Nietzsche's works on Wagner, it is easy to see that Nietzsche never abandoned the Geburt way of approaching art in his praise and, then, criticism of Wagner -- Wagner in Bayreuth is full of language that echoes Geburt. The critique of Wagner in Der Fall Wagner and Nietzsche Contra Wagner, furthermore, glances at some of the ideas in Geburt, though some of Nietzsche's later philosophy makes a greater contribution in the later works. I think that the personal friction between Wagner and Nietzsche, which had something to do with Nietzsche's fondness for Brahms, too, is one element in approaching the Wagner works, but leaving out the sweep of his thought on the matter and his other theories would be an error.

It is tempting to cast Nietzsche as the hurt admirer turning his formidable intellect against Wagner, but there's more to it than that. Nietzsche's critique maintains a sort of internal consistency, both within the Wagner works and within his works more broadly. I don't think that Nietzsche-as-hurt-admirer or Nietzsche-as-rebellious-child can quite explain a thematic and intellectual consistency, which makes the arguments interesting if not cogent. The psychologist need not speak up when the philosopher can handle the problem. The fact of the matter is that the situation was complicated and some of Wagner's positions and works naturally cut against some of Nietzsche's theories on the art and life. This is, of course, not all that important, since Wagner and Nietzsche can both be appreciated -- for different reasons -- without recreating the conflict (which was pretty one-sided).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: samuel on November 03, 2008, 11:46:51 AM
(http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z208/samdrophy/knapp.jpg)

I would just like to take the time to draw attention to this very special recording of Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg, my favorite opera. This was the first studio recording of Die Meistersinger, recorded in 1950 and 1951 with Hans Knappertsbusch conducting the Vienna Philharmonic and an excellent cast of singers. Above all, Paul Schoeffler's portrayal of Hans Sachs has so much warmth and humanity that I am convinced it is one of the most moving Wagner performances on record. Hilde Gueden, who has always impressed me in her lyric soprano roles (Susanna, Zerlina, Sophie, etc.), brings such youthful radiance to her portrayal of Eva that I cannot imagine a more heartfelt voice in that role. And Anton Dermota, one of the great lyric tenors in Mozart and Strauss, is a note-perfect David. The rest of the cast includes Guenther Treptow as Walther, Otto Edelmann as Pogner, and Karl Doench as Beckmesser. Knappertsbusch, who is known for controversial tempos, is surprisingly fleet and graceful here. The opening prelude has never sounded so lively and noble, while the prelude to Act III is serene and poignant. The excellent combination of conducting and singing on this set make it, along with Erich Kleiber's Figaro and Rosenkavalier, one of the three opera recordings I would take to the desert island.

Note: The Decca Historical Series version of this set as pictured above is OOP ($49.99 on ArkivMusic); however I believe Naxos has released it as part of their series of historical opera recordings. I urge you to give it a listen if you haven't already done so!

Sam =) 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on December 12, 2008, 12:02:19 AM
On impulse I bought the Chandos single CD issue of 'Wagner's Ring, An Orchestral Adventure'. I had read that instead of bleeding chunks, we get a symphony in four movements. True up to a point. It is satisfying and frustrating in equal measures. Lots of passages any Wagnerian would able to whistle complete are foreshortened in favour of some being touched upon. Of course, there are problems condensing 15 hours to one, lots has to go, including lots one might like to have heard. Some passages are more complete than others, for example, the final few minutes of Gotterdammerung.

Sometimes the vocal line is there, but often it is not and the arranger, Henk de Viger, seems to have stuck pretty well to Wagner's orchestrations, rather than allocate instruments to the missing vocal lines. I think the vocal line only appears where it is shadowed by an instrument in the original.

The booklet does explain the symphonic structure, Rheingold providing a first movement, Walkure a Scherzo, Siegfried a slow movement and Gotterdammerung, with recapitulations from elsewhere in the cycle, a satisfying final movement.

Possibly it might come across that way to someone who did not know the music; but I find the four movements to have all the contrasts of each opera within them and no long breathed themes with variations that symphonists usually play with. The cycle is so protean that really we get an extended suite packed with great music.

Where this version scores over the bleeding chunks approach, or Maazel's Ring Without Words, is that the tailoring of one part of the music to join another has no unpleasant bumps, the bridges are pretty much all Wagner's. There are some modulations to get from one place to another that Wagner did not use, but the music is his rather than invented Wagner-like passages.

I could not detect any ideological bringing together of motifs in a new way. I am surprised no one has tried this. We get an episodic progression through the Ring.

The CD cover has it right, forget the 'Symphony' concept; treat it more akin to one of Liszt's Opera Paraphrases. On that level it is very enjoyable.

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra is on good form, lots of superb horn opportunities. Neeme Jarvi guides them through, but I think some of the real drama could be brought out more, especially around Siegfried's Funeral music, which can be jaw dropping.

Not a disc for purists, very much a good introduction for people who don't like either vocal music or hardcore Wagner. I know I will listen to it on my iPod quite often; as I enjoyed spotting the transitions and it does have such great music, even though so much is inevitably missing.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on December 22, 2008, 04:56:59 PM
Now that sounds really cool, Mike. I can't believe I hadn't heard of it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: karlhenning on December 22, 2008, 05:01:51 PM
Very interesting, Mike (and Andy).

(And, no, I haven't cracked open most of the Ring in the Big Bayreuth Box.)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on December 22, 2008, 05:03:48 PM
Very interesting, Mike (and Andy).

(And, no, I haven't cracked open most of the Ring in the Big Bayreuth Box.)


Hey, there is a Big Bayreuth Box!?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: karlhenning on December 22, 2008, 05:06:02 PM

Hey, there is a Big Bayreuth Box!?

Behold!

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31-flS6c96L._SL500_AA180_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on December 22, 2008, 05:37:37 PM

Hey, there is a Big Bayreuth Box!?

  Andy   8) it's got one of the best Tristan und Isoldes on record! The 1966 recording at Bayreuth with Nilsson and Windgassen  0:).  It is also very affordable, I recently saw it at HMV for £35 (about $50). 

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on December 22, 2008, 10:19:24 PM
  Andy   8) it's got one of the best Tristan und Isoldes on record! The 1966 recording at Bayreuth with Nilsson and Windgassen  0:).  It is also very affordable, I recently saw it at HMV for £35 (about $50). 

  marvin

Let's not forget, however, that James Levine's 1985 Parsifal is not entirely successful. Where a conductor like Leonard Bernstein could slow a Wagner score, namely Tristan, down a bit to plumb the emotional depths of Wagner's work, Levine (c. 1985) merely produced a self-consciously grand reading, which was, I should note, a far cry from the best recordings of Knappertsbusch, when he put on the brakes. Of course, the set makes up for this weak patch with Silvio Varviso's deeply interesting 1974 Meistersinger. Probably not the best-cast, which crown goes to Reiner's 1955 Vienna Staatsoper set or Böhm's 1968 Bayreuth set, but as far as the orchestra goes, Varviso's set is a winner. The Böhm Tristan is, or should be, a known quantity. It's a fine starter, but one will want either Kleiber or Bernstein (and probably either Furtwängler or Runnicles, too) after a while.

The Wagner Cube is a great set and a great bargain, largely because many of its included components were last available in the now-OOP Philips Richard Wagner Edition (which substituted, as I recall, most notably Boulez for Böhm in the Ring, Nelsson for Sawallisch in Holländer, and Schneider for Sawallisch in Lohengrin -- which recordings are, by and large, available elsewhere. Except, maybe, Schneider's Lohengrin on CD).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on December 23, 2008, 07:47:47 AM
Heyyy....sounds like magnificent T und I! Pretty inexpensive as well....
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Lilas Pastia on December 26, 2008, 08:00:53 PM
Behold!

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31-flS6c96L._SL500_AA180_.jpg)

Available for peanuts and, as such things go, with no notes or librettos. Instead we have a cursory but detailed enough  scene by scene, track by track plot description. For less than 60$, I don't think one could possibly quibble about the contents. From what I gather, the aim was to present stereo productions form Bayreuth that were once available on one of the Polygram conglomerate labels (Decca, DGG, Philips). What we get is an assemblage of performances that center round two strong, no-nonsense men of the pit, Sawallisch (Lohengrin, Tannhaüser, Fliegende Holländer) and Böhm (Ring, Tristan). The series is completed with Varviso's Meistersinger and Levine's Parsifal.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on December 26, 2008, 10:45:41 PM
Available for peanuts and, as such things go, with no notes or librettos. Instead we have a cursory but detailed enough  scene by scene, track by track plot description. For less than 60$, I don't think one could possibly quibble about the contents. From what I gather, the aim was to present stereo productions form Bayreuth that were once available on one of the Polygram conglomerate labels (Decca, DGG, Philips). What we get is an assemblage of performances that center round two strong, no-nonsense men of the pit, Sawallisch (Lohengrin, Tannhaüser, Fliegende Holländer) and Böhm (Ring, Tristan). The series is completed with Varviso's Meistersinger and Levine's Parsifal.

The only bargain reissue, to my knowledge, that has gotten the libretto situation even remotely correct was, oddly enough, Warner's issue of Barenboim's Bayreuth Ring. In that case, they merely reissued the texts that came with the individual original issues. That was nice because, in addition to the reasonably good essays and synopses, the libretti were illustrated with the relevant Leitmotiven. While a separate volume or other such source is helpful for real study of the Ring, the libretti with that Teldec/Warner set were pretty solid starting points.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: greg on January 23, 2009, 09:21:47 PM
I have a question..... i don't know how to put it- i'll just say it like this: I'm interested in learning about the influence that Tristan und Isolde has had on Mahler's use of harmony. Are there any recorded thoughts of his about this opera. Obviously, he's conducted it before, but, specifically, what did he think about it?

Also, what was Wagner thinking when he wrote it? I'm thinking about the Prelude and ending, since i'm not familiar with much else. What made him start writing with all of these suspensions? What was he thinking? (i'm dying to learn about this!)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 24, 2009, 11:32:59 AM
I have a question..... i don't know how to put it- i'll just say it like this: I'm interested in learning about the influence that Tristan und Isolde has had on Mahler's use of harmony. Are there any recorded thoughts of his about this opera. Obviously, he's conducted it before, but, specifically, what did he think about it?

Also, what was Wagner thinking when he wrote it? I'm thinking about the Prelude and ending, since i'm not familiar with much else. What made him start writing with all of these suspensions? What was he thinking? (i'm dying to learn about this!)

To get the second answer to your question, you'd probably need to seek out Cosima Wagner's diaries, which are only marginally more reliable than Wagner's own Mein Leben, Wagner's correspondence, and perhaps his notes from the time surrounding the composition. You could also check out some of the standard scholarly biographies and commentaries on the work. In other words, you would probably have to do a fairly substantial research project, since I'm unaware of some pithy quote on the subject. Maybe there is one, but it's not coming to mind immediately.

As to Mahler, De la Grange surely has an answer to your question.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on January 24, 2009, 03:04:26 PM
To get the second answer to your question, you'd probably need to seek out Cosima Wagner's diaries, which are only marginally more reliable than Wagner's own Mein Leben, Wagner's correspondence, and perhaps his notes from the time surrounding the composition. You could also check out some of the standard scholarly biographies and commentaries on the work. In other words, you would probably have to do a fairly substantial research project, since I'm unaware of some pithy quote on the subject. Maybe there is one, but it's not coming to mind immediately.

As to Mahler, De la Grange surely has an answer to your question.


First off, Congratulations on your excellent site!

I wonder if Wagner might have written something as radical as Tristan und Isolde because he finally had the freedom to write it. Although Lohengrin and the first 2/3 (roughly) of the Ring certainly had some harmonic daredeviltries, T und I is just a blockbuster of innovation easily comparable to the Grosse Fuge (my opinion). Sonata form was mostly thrown out the window, though one could argue for its presence as an antagonistic element.

Anyhoo, sorry for the self-conscious rant (only thing I'm good for here, besides pictures of my girl), but yeah I am guessing at least part of the reason T und I came into being was because Wagner had the relative freedom to do it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: greg on January 24, 2009, 04:37:39 PM
To get the second answer to your question, you'd probably need to seek out Cosima Wagner's diaries, which are only marginally more reliable than Wagner's own Mein Leben, Wagner's correspondence, and perhaps his notes from the time surrounding the composition. You could also check out some of the standard scholarly biographies and commentaries on the work. In other words, you would probably have to do a fairly substantial research project, since I'm unaware of some pithy quote on the subject. Maybe there is one, but it's not coming to mind immediately.

As to Mahler, De la Grange surely has an answer to your question.
Thanks for the references.  :) I'll get to that...
but for now, no quick summary, like a sentence? It'd be nice, though I'd understand if something like this couldn't be summarized in just a few words.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 24, 2009, 06:31:34 PM
Thanks for the references.  :) I'll get to that...
but for now, no quick summary, like a sentence? It'd be nice, though I'd understand if something like this couldn't be summarized in just a few words.

To be honest, I'm not sufficiently well-versed in Wagner's own comments on the composition of Tristan to give you a summary. I get the sense that there's no easy answer to your question. The time of Tristan was a very active time in Wagner's life, not that he too many inactive moments, and I'm not sure that he wrote his motivations down in the detail you want. I could be wrong, and someone who is better versed in Wagner's prose and correspondence might be able to answer your question definitively.

Wagner undoubtedly had a reason for doing what he did, one -- I'm sure -- that would be eminently reasonable and obvious, largely because once a genius explains himself, you realize that there is no other acceptable way to do it. Whether or not he sat down and explained it is another question.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: greg on January 24, 2009, 08:02:03 PM
Or maybe it could be just a simple choice to make use of certain ideas just by playing around with them? Either way, it'd be interesting to know.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Josquin des Prez on January 27, 2009, 11:59:51 AM
I don't see how Wagner influenced Mahler at all. Bruckner, Liszt, Berlioz, Beethoven, i see all of these in his music, but no Wagner. 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: greg on January 27, 2009, 12:18:11 PM
I don't see how Wagner influenced Mahler at all. Bruckner, Liszt, Berlioz, Beethoven, i see all of these in his music, but no Wagner. 
Ha, really? No connection between much of Mahler's idiom and the ending of Tristan und Isolde?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on January 30, 2009, 07:15:12 AM
I don't see how Wagner influenced Mahler at all. Bruckner, Liszt, Berlioz, Beethoven, i see all of these in his music, but no Wagner. 

I suppose that, were one to have never made it past the first part of Mahler's 8th, there might be something to that.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 06, 2009, 04:09:42 AM
G$, why not read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tristan_chord

There is a vast literature about Tristan's harmonic language. 'All these suspensions' you talk about are to do with Tristan's central idea - unfulfilled longing. Resolution only comes in the end (E major) when both protagonists find fulfilment in death. I simplify, but this is what it boils down to. You could also study the relationship Schopenhauer-Wagner. Schopenhauer's philosophy underpins T & I.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 06, 2009, 03:06:41 PM
G$, why not read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tristan_chord

There is a vast literature about Tristan's harmonic language. 'All these suspensions' you talk about are to do with Tristan's central idea - unfulfilled longing. Resolution only comes in the end (E major) when both protagonists find fulfilment in death. I simplify, but this is what it boils down to. You could also study the relationship Schopenhauer-Wagner. Schopenhauer's philosophy underpins T & I.


Great post! Bryan Magee's book The Tristan Chord goes on at fascinating length in regard to the relationship between T and I and Schoepenhauer.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on February 06, 2009, 04:36:31 PM
Stepping away from T&I for a few seconds:

And there is Michael Kristensen as an indescribable greatest acting Loge in the much talked about Copenhagen Ring which the mailman brought me less than two hours ago. First act just finished but I had to take time out to catch my breath, and to assure you, this Ring is not as bad as has been written and talked about, at least not as the first act of Rheingold is concerned. Of course there is a lot more ahead of me - and you! - but I am still overwhelmed by the perfect singing, and also this truly great acting of Kristensen.

The music played by the Royal Danish Opera under Michel Schønwandt is nothing to sneeze at either! On my way down to Nibelheim, see you later!

Lis
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: greg on February 06, 2009, 05:24:27 PM
G$, why not read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tristan_chord

There is a vast literature about Tristan's harmonic language. 'All these suspensions' you talk about are to do with Tristan's central idea - unfulfilled longing. Resolution only comes in the end (E major) when both protagonists find fulfilment in death. I simplify, but this is what it boils down to. You could also study the relationship Schopenhauer-Wagner. Schopenhauer's philosophy underpins T & I.
I've read that article. Makes sense to me if analyzed on the second degree in A Minor, with just the D# thrown in as a chromatic.


Great post! Bryan Magee's book The Tristan Chord goes on at fascinating length in regard to the relationship between T and I and Schoepenhauer.
Wow, a whole book about that?  :D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on February 06, 2009, 08:59:42 PM
Something for all Georg Solti and Schenk/Levine worshippers to start tongue-wagging:
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: T-C on February 06, 2009, 11:37:14 PM
In Das Rheingold, Johan Reuter sings Wotan and he is Ok, but the Wotan of the remaining operas - James Johnson - is the better singer and actor. He is one of the best singers in the Copenhagen Ring.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 07, 2009, 12:18:02 AM
Stepping away from T&I for a few seconds:

And there is Michael Kristensen as an indescribable greatest acting Loge in the much talked about Copenhagen Ring which the mailman brought me less than two hours ago. First act just finished but I had to take time out to catch my breath, and to assure you, this Ring is not as bad as has been written and talked about, at least not as the first act of Rheingold is concerned. Of course there is a lot more ahead of me - and you! - but I am still overwhelmed by the perfect singing, and also this truly great acting of Kristensen.

The music played by the Royal Danish Opera under Michel Schønwandt is nothing to sneeze at either! On my way down to Nibelheim, see you later!

Lis

Give my regards to Alberich.

And thanks for the info about this performance!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on February 07, 2009, 12:27:42 AM
John Reuter was Theseus in Birtwistle's Minotaur, very impressing then and I was kind of looking forward to hear and see his Wotan in Die Walküre, hear him sing "Leb' wohl"!

If you say Johnson is even better, I'll take your word for it and am looking forward to tomorrow's afternoon in my music room.

What do you think of Michael Kristensen? What a Loge! I love the way the director Kasper Bech Holten is making all the performers move; no idle standing around, if not singing, their facial expressions were getting my attention.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: T-C on February 07, 2009, 01:15:05 AM
That’s the word: What a Loge!

And the Mime in Siegfried is another example for an excellent singer-actor. His performance is really hilarious, especially when he is cooking the meal while Siegfried is forging his sword…
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 07, 2009, 04:48:21 AM
Something for all Georg Solti and Schenk/Levine worshippers to start tongue-wagging:


M you lost some weight! Glad ta have you back >:D!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 07, 2009, 04:49:41 AM
In Das Rheingold, Johan Reuter sings Wotan and he is Ok, but the Wotan of the remaining operas - James Johnson - is the better singer and actor. He is one of the best singers in the Copenhagen Ring.



Just how good is this Copenhagen Ring?

Next to Solti? Bohm? Krauss? Karajan? Boulez?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on February 07, 2009, 07:26:38 AM
Schønwandt is right there in your line-up, just as is Haenchen from Amsterdam, Barenboim and Thielemann from Bayreuth.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 07, 2009, 07:46:31 AM
Schønwandt is right there in your line-up, just as is Haenchen from Amsterdam, Barenboim and Thielemann from Bayreuth.


This must be good.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on February 07, 2009, 03:34:41 PM
 I screwed up! - joining the President and the Pope! I, the one who has been preaching open-mindedness, goofed by believing the reviews and opinions of others, critics and reviewers, and rejected this Ring des Nibelungen. It finally dawned on me to listen to my own admonishments, and be open-minded and to watch it and then make up my mind.

So far I have watched the DVD of Das Rheingold and have nothing but praise for the director's brilliant ideas, the singers superb singing and acting, and the musicians fabulous playing guided by this vibrant conductor, Michael Schønwandt. It's a film, not an opera! Multiple handheld cameras were used at every angle possible to show the lively action. Never a moment where the performers stand in the corner, doing nothing but waiting for the other person to finish his singing, no, their faces show their reaction to what was being sung.

To be continued!

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wilhelm Richard on February 15, 2009, 08:32:05 AM
This is too good...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTlvrIQ99y8

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on February 15, 2009, 08:48:30 AM
youtube is chuckfull of garbage, but this one has to be rated as the most stupid of them all.  >:D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Mandryka on February 15, 2009, 01:04:08 PM
Hi everyone.

Has anyone here read A sense of Ending by Phillip Kitcher and Richard Schacht?

I have recently finished it and I like it -- especially the discussion of love in The Ring. I'm kind of curious to know how well it has been received.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: greg on February 15, 2009, 06:51:53 PM
This is too good...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTlvrIQ99y8


:D
inferior...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 16, 2009, 06:42:15 AM
Hi everyone.

Has anyone here read A sense of Ending by Phillip Kitcher and Richard Schacht?

I have recently finished it and I like it -- especially the discussion of love in The Ring. I'm kind of curious to know how well it has been received.


That ws a very good book. From what I've read of reviews, it's been well received. I've read better books on the subject (Ernest Newman's The Wagner Operas is the definitive, especially on the Ring, and Bryan Magee's The Tristan Chord is excellently done from a philosophical perspective).
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Mandryka on February 16, 2009, 08:27:23 AM

That ws a very good book. From what I've read of reviews, it's been well received. I've read better books on the subject (Ernest Newman's The Wagner Operas is the definitive, especially on the Ring, and Bryan Magee's The Tristan Chord is excellently done from a philosophical perspective).

Sory mate, I think A Sense of ending goes way deeper than Newman, and McGee for that matter.

I am particularly interested their idea that The Ring is an attempt by Wagner to demonstrate the uselessness of love when confronted ny the real world challenges of the likes of Hagen and Gunter.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 16, 2009, 10:55:02 AM
Sory mate, I think A Sense of ending goes way deeper than Newman, and McGee for that matter.

I am particularly interested their idea that The Ring is an attempt by Wagner to demonstrate the uselessness of love when confronted ny the real world challenges of the likes of Hagen and Gunter.


Ehhh...well, that's one opinion on what the opera Der Ring Des Nibelungen means.

Although it was a fun thought experiment, overall I don't think that your "Finding an Ending" had any idea of what it was talking about. The entirety of Gotterdammerung was written under the influence of Schoepenhauer, Wagner threw away any Feuerbach influence way before he'd started the last part of Siegfried. If you dispute that, read the letters of Wagner and also his wife Cosima during the writing of the aforementioned pieces.

Also, the fact that the writer of Finding an Ending dismisses Parsifal has to be one to be the most crippling mistake toward the author's argument (besides his obvious lack of biographical knowledge comcerning Wagner). Even from a strictly musical standpoint, Parsifal is just as strong a composition as any of the last four Wagner operas. Some people see it even as the crown jewel of Wagner's output.

I highly reccomend you read Wagner's Brown Book, as well as Cosima's diaries from around the time of the composition of the Ring, before you parade around "Finding an Ending".

And please, read the Magee and Newman before you place a book above them. Or at least set alongside the main arguments from each author's books so we can have a more informed discussion.

Please forgive if I sound a little too knowledgeable. I don't mean to be condescending. But as of this month I've been studying Wagner's works, in particular the Ring and Parsifal, for the better part of two years now. This includes the scores (at length), as well as biographical information on the works and composer.

I know what I'm talking about. I believe that you're capable of the same. don't be indignant.

Learn.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Mandryka on February 16, 2009, 12:20:38 PM

Ehhh...well, that's one opinion on what the opera Der Ring Des Nibelungen means.

Although it was a fun thought experiment, overall I don't think that your "Finding an Ending" had any idea of what it was talking about. The entirety of Gotterdammerung was written under the influence of Schoepenhauer, Wagner threw away any Feuerbach influence way before he'd started the last part of Siegfried. If you dispute that, read the letters of Wagner and also his wife Cosima during the writing of the aforementioned pieces.

Also, the fact that the writer of Finding an Ending dismisses Parsifal has to be one to be the most crippling mistake toward the author's argument (besides his obvious lack of biographical knowledge comcerning Wagner). Even from a strictly musical standpoint, Parsifal is just as strong a composition as any of the last four Wagner operas. Some people see it even as the crown jewel of Wagner's output.

I highly reccomend you read Wagner's Brown Book, as well as Cosima's diaries from around the time of the composition of the Ring, before you parade around "Finding an Ending".

And please, read the Magee and Newman before you place a book above them. Or at least set alongside the main arguments from each author's books so we can have a more informed discussion.

Please forgive if I sound a little too knowledgeable. I don't mean to be condescending. But as of this month I've been studying Wagner's works, in particular the Ring and Parsifal, for the better part of two years now. This includes the scores (at length), as well as biographical information on the works and composer.

I know what I'm talking about. I believe that you're capable of the same. don't be indignant.

Learn.

Hey AndyD

Why do you think Brunhilde kills herself at the end of the Ring?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 16, 2009, 12:26:52 PM
Hey AndyD

Why do you think Brunhilde kills herself at the end of the Ring?


That's a loaded question. There are countless interpretations, all are fascinating. That's what makes great Art, trying on all the possible answers. Just like Shakespeare's sonnets.

Paucis verbis, there is no one answer. Art never has just one, otherwise it would be all surface.

You do know that, I trust.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: ChamberNut on February 16, 2009, 12:52:07 PM
Hey AndyD

Why do you think Brunhilde kills herself at the end of the Ring?

Because it was Wotan's (ie. God's will)?  :-\  Just a thought?  It was to fulfill the destiny?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: ChamberNut on February 16, 2009, 12:54:46 PM
I am now curious as to why the character "Mime" is seen as an "anti-semitic caricature"?  M. Owen Lee makes this comment about Mime, in Siegfried, being a "low point" and an embarrassment.  Why is Mime deemed to be looked at as a anti-semitic symbol?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 16, 2009, 01:04:51 PM
I am now curious as to why the character "Mime" is seen as an "anti-semitic caricature"?  M. Owen Lee makes this comment about Mime, in Siegfried, being a "low point" and an embarrassment.  Why is Mime deemed to be looked at as a anti-semitic symbol?


Lee tended to demonize Wagner (not that Wagner needed any help in that department, he was very much an officious anti-semite). I think pretty much any open minded person today can watch the portrayal of Mime and see that it's simply a portrayal of a miserable, misanthropic person. And there are plenty of those in all "races" aren't there.

Lee even wrote a book (correct me if I'm wrong please) with the title (paraphrased "Wagner: the Terrible Man"). That last pretty much says it all.

I feel about Wagner the way the great conductor Toscaninni felt about R. Strauss: to the composer Wagner, I tip my hat. To the man Wagner, I put it back on.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Mandryka on February 16, 2009, 02:12:44 PM
Because it was Wotan's (ie. God's will)?  :-\  Just a thought?  It was to fulfill the destiny?

But why should Wotan want Brunhilde to die?

I can see why he might think the world would be better if he were gone -- the events of The Ring have shown that he is a pretty useless god. But what's to be gained by getting rid of his daughter?

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: ChamberNut on February 16, 2009, 05:35:19 PM
But why should Wotan want Brunhilde to die?

I can see why he might think the world would be better if he were gone -- the events of The Ring have shown that he is a pretty useless god. But what's to be gained by getting rid of his daughter?



Since Brunnhilde betrayed Wotan (in the beginning, by trying to protect Siegmund and Sieglinde), he had to turn her into a mortal to appease the Gods for her going against his wishes.  I think this is correct?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on February 16, 2009, 08:41:07 PM
Hey AndyD

Why do you think Brunhilde kills herself at the end of the Ring?

Does she?

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Mandryka on February 17, 2009, 05:21:17 AM
Does she?



Are you serious? Do you think there's a reading where she survives this?

She has jumped on to the horse and with one bound leaps into the burning pyre. The flames immediately crackle and flare up high, so that the fire fills the whole space in front of the hall and seems to seize on this too. Terrified, the men and women press to the extreme foreground
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Mandryka on February 17, 2009, 05:33:31 AM
Since Brunnhilde betrayed Wotan (in the beginning, by trying to protect Siegmund and Sieglinde), he had to turn her into a mortal to appease the Gods for her going against his wishes.  I think this is correct?

I'm not sure about appeasing the gods.

All he says to erda when he explains the situation is:

She flouted the father of the storms,
when in his might he had mastered himself.
What the controller of combats
longed to do
but restrained himself
against his will,
all too confidently
the defiant girl -
Brünnhilde in the brunt of battle -
dared to accomplish for herself.
The father of conflicts
punished the maid:
in her eyes he pressed sleep:
on the fell she is fast asleep.
The consecrated one
will waken
only when a man woos her for his wife.


 And when he explains himself to his daughter in Walkure he makes it clear that the punishment is his decision -- because she has renounced him by her defiance:

You have renounced me.
I must keep away from you,
and in company with you
I can never again meditate plans.
We are separated
and cannot work together any more.
While life breath last
the god must never meet you again.


 and later

Girl, do not try
to alter my decision.
Await your lot
as it falls to you;
I cannot choose it for you;
And now I must go,
travel far away.
I have stayed here too long.
As you turned away
I must turn from you.
I may not know
what you wish for yourself:
only your punishment
I must see exacted.


Nothing about appeasment in any of this.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on February 22, 2009, 08:51:29 PM
Los Angeles New Ring

Take the time and read about it in ACD's blog entry, including hot off the press reviews:

http://www.soundsandfury.com/soundsandfury/2009/02/its-going-to-be-a-bumpy-night.html
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on February 22, 2009, 08:56:20 PM
One picture of the LA production:

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Häuschen on February 27, 2009, 08:59:33 AM
Just purchased my ticket for the March 8 performance and sooooooo looking forward to Der Ring in 2010.  This will be my first complete Ring and I'm seriously considering tickets to both complete performances if I can swing the finances.

Can anyone comment on this Erich Kleiber recording?

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/45/453483.JPG)

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=53035

Kleiber is one of my favorite conductors but I'm not familiar with the singers, nor the reputation of the Colon Theatre.  For $40 it's probably worth a try.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Häuschen on February 27, 2009, 09:03:58 AM
I meant to add that all this week I've been listening to the Clemens Krauss recording from Bayreuth in 1953.  Superb singing and sound quality, if a little echoey at times on the Das Rheingold discs.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on February 27, 2009, 11:23:42 AM
I meant to add that all this week I've been listening to the Clemens Krauss recording from Bayreuth in 1953.  Superb singing and sound quality, if a little echoey at times on the Das Rheingold discs.


It's an excellent, mono performance.

The Kleiber is very good. I'd grab the Krauss over that particular Kleiber recording, however. Better singers mostly.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Mandryka on March 07, 2009, 11:41:27 AM
Does anyone know if Nilson, Hotter and Vickers ever sang in the Ring together - and if so, how can I get the record?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Lilas Pastia on March 07, 2009, 08:33:49 PM
I don't think so. Hotter was already retired when Nilsson and Vickers started singing together in Bayreuth Ring productions. But I may be wrong. A Walküre maybe?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Mandryka on March 07, 2009, 11:20:00 PM
I don't think so. Hotter was already retired when Nilsson and Vickers started singing together in Bayreuth Ring productions. But I may be wrong. A Walküre maybe?

That's interesting -- I didn;t realise Hotter retired so early.

I last say him about 10 years ago in a prom -- the sprecher in Gurre-lieder.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on March 08, 2009, 11:21:58 AM
There is a Vickers/Nilsson Walkure with George London, it dates from 1962. The LSO is conducted by Leinsdorf and its most recent incarnation was on Decca. It is excellent in may ways, probably one of Leinsdorf's best sets.

If there is a live set with your dream cast, I don't know about it. Hotter was born in 1909, so may have been in casts with the other two. In the 1060s he had started to direct Wagner productions. He retired in 1972 from the headline roles.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Mandryka on March 08, 2009, 12:16:58 PM
There is a Vickers/Nilsson Walkure with George London, it dates from 1962. The LSO is conducted by Leinsdorf and its most recent incarnation was on Decca. It is excellent in may ways, probably one of Leinsdorf's best sets.

If there is a live set with your dream cast, I don't know about it. Hotter was born in 1909, so may have been in casts with the other two. In the 1060s he had started to direct Wagner productions. He retired in 1972 from the headline roles.

Mike

I know the George London set and I'm afraid to say that he's my least favourire Wotan ever.

But thanks for trying!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Lilas Pastia on March 08, 2009, 02:37:20 PM
There is a Vickers/Nilsson Walkure with George London, it dates from 1962. The LSO is conducted by Leinsdorf and its most recent incarnation was on Decca. It is excellent in may ways, probably one of Leinsdorf's best sets.

If there is a live set with your dream cast, I don't know about it. Hotter was born in 1909, so may have been in casts with the other two. In the 1060s he had started to direct Wagner productions. He retired in 1972 from the headline roles.

Mike

Vickers first sang with Nilsson in 1971 (Tristan und Isolde) . IIRC they partnered each other numerous times in Tristan during the seventies. Vickers did sing with Hotter (Parsifal to his Gurnemanz) in the early sixties. The trio did sing together once, but in Beethoven (Fidelio), not Wagner.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on March 09, 2009, 10:03:02 AM
Andre, I am not at home, so cannot look again at my box set. Did I quote the wrong date of the Leinsdorf Walkure recording?

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on March 09, 2009, 11:07:10 AM
Andre, I am not at home, so cannot look again at my box set. Did I quote the wrong date of the Leinsdorf Walkure recording?

Mike

I don't know about the date of that recording, but Vickers and Nilsson did sing together before 1971.  The Met archives show their first performance together there was a Walküre on February 9, 1960.  Four days later, the did a Fidelio together.  Unfortunately, Hotter last sang at the Met in 1954 (repertory disagreements with Bing, IIRC), so there's no Nilsson/Vickers/Hotter broadcast from the Met, either. 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Lilas Pastia on March 09, 2009, 04:49:14 PM
A 1960 Fidelio has survived (from La Scala, under Karajan :o - this is the one I referred to):
   (http://www.hbdirect.com/coverm/15/1028015.jpg)
But there is no recorded evidence of a 1960 Walküre (Nilsson-Vickers recordings had to wait until 1971). Unless there is a live pirate recording I'm not aware of. In any case, until the 50 year copyright date has elapsed, any Met performance is guarded by the local Fafner. Let's wait until next year, then!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on March 10, 2009, 03:13:25 AM
But there is no recorded evidence of a 1960 Walküre (Nilsson-Vickers recordings had to wait until 1971). Unless there is a live pirate recording I'm not aware of. In any case, until the 50 year copyright date has elapsed, any Met performance is guarded by the local Fafner. Let's wait until next year, then!

You can listen to the February 24, 1968 Met broadcast at http://www.rhapsody.com/richard-wagner/wagner-die-walkure-february-24-1968.  You have to be a rhapsody subscriber to hear the whole thing, but even if you're not, you can listen to up to 25 tracks per month for free (more than enough for, say, a complete Act I and the Todesverkundigung).  The cast also includes Thomas Stewart, Leonie Rysanek, Christa Ludwig, and Karl Ridderbusch.   Karajan had conducted the premiere, but had left by the time of the broadcast, so we get Berislav Klobučar instead.

The Met did broadcast both Fidelio and Die Walküre with Nilsson and Vickers in Feb. 1960, but so far that 1968 broadcast is the only one that's showed up on Sirius or Rhapsody.  Maybe one day.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on March 10, 2009, 02:57:32 PM
I am not sure whether the mystery is solved of my Leinsdorf recording. I am home now and can confirm the box shows 1961, re-release 2002, Decca. I will do a little research. I have a feeling it was licenced to RCA until recently.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on March 10, 2009, 03:04:11 PM
From the Gramophone archive; it confirms 1962 as the date of the recording.

Mike

WAGNER. DIE WALKURE. Jon Vickers (ten) Siegmund; Grê Brouwenstijn (sop) Sieglinde; Birgit Nilsson (sop) Briinnhilde; George London (bass-bar) Wotan; Rita Gorr (mez) Fricka; David Ward (bass) Hunding; Marie Collier (sop) Gerhilde; Judith Pierce (sop) Helmwige; Julia Malyon (sop) Ortlinde; Mar- greta Elkins (mez) Waltraute; Josephine Veasey (mez) Rossweisse; Noreen Berry (mez) Siegrune; Maureen Guy (mez) Grimgerde; Joan Edwards (contr) Schwertleite; London Symphony Orchestra / Erich Leinsdorf. Decca Grand Opera 0 (D 430 391-2DM3 (three discs, nas: 216 minutes: ADD). Notes, text and translation included. From RCA LDS6706 (9/62).
 
 This performance, made during the period when Decca's Ring was in progress, has in consequence tended to be overlooked. Leinsdorf was an experienced Wagnerian, having taken over the Wagner repertory from Bodanzky at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1930s, restoring all the cuts made by his predecessor. He paces the work firmly and stamps his authority on the LSO of the day, but finds it hard to relax or to peer into the more metaphysical side of the score as would a Furtwängler or a Goodall. His reading is more to be equated with that of Levine today, having the same visceral excitement, as in the fight at the end of Act 2 and the departure of the Valkyries in Act 3. Leinsdorf also evinces an understanding of the larger paragraph; what I find missing is that extra, hard-to-describe inward quality which should inform Wotan's Narration and his relationship with his erring daughter; it is something instinctive that cannot be learnt. George London's Wotan doesn't help. For all the security and resplendence of his singing, so like that of James Morris today, it wants the verbal understanding and subtlety of phrase brought to the role by Hotter and Bailey. Indeed, even Nilsson—in the Todesverkiindigung and elsewhere—doesn't approach the insights and understanding she showed for Solti (Decca), and BOhm (Philips) some five or six years later. That said, her performance leaves many others standing in its strength of voice and intelligence of delivery. The Valkyries comprise many excellent British singers of the day.
 
 Act 1 offers many rewards in the fervent, heroically sung Siegmund of Vickers, heard to greater advantage here than for Karajan in his complete Ring on DG, and in the imaginative, deeply felt Sieglinde of Brouwenstijn, who manages the storytelling of "Der Manner Sippe" as well as any Sieglinde on disc. It was also a pleasure to hear again the sonorous bass of David Ward, even if Hunding needs a more granite-like tone than he can provide (he was soon to become an appreciable Wotan). In Act 2, Rita Gorr is a powerful but unsubtle Fricka—and perhaps those epithets characterize the performance as a whole. The recording is over-resonant and not very atmospheric. A.B.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Lilas Pastia on March 10, 2009, 03:23:56 PM
You can listen to the February 24, 1968 Met broadcast at http://www.rhapsody.com/richard-wagner/wagner-die-walkure-february-24-1968.  You have to be a rhapsody subscriber to hear the whole thing, but even if you're not, you can listen to up to 25 tracks per month for free (more than enough for, say, a complete Act I and the Todesverkundigung).  The cast also includes Thomas Stewart, Leonie Rysanek, Christa Ludwig, and Karl Ridderbusch.   Karajan had conducted the premiere, but had left by the time of the broadcast, so we get Berislav Klobučar instead.

The Met did broadcast both Fidelio and Die Walküre with Nilsson and Vickers in Feb. 1960, but so far that 1968 broadcast is the only one that's showed up on Sirius or Rhapsody.  Maybe one day.

Unfortunately I get this message:

U.S. Only. We're sorry. We have detected that you are outside of the United States. This service is currently only available to residents within the United States.


Booohooohooo!  :'(
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wanderer on March 11, 2009, 12:13:14 AM
Unfortunately I get this message:

U.S. Only. We're sorry. We have detected that you are outside of the United States. This service is currently only available to residents within the United States.


This is ridiculous. Things like that shouldn't be an issue on the internet age.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on March 11, 2009, 03:34:12 AM
This is ridiculous. Things like that shouldn't be an issue on the internet age.

Yeah, I had a similar problem when the BBC had the English National Opera Carmen available for online viewing.  I actually was able to watch it once, right after they put it up, but just a couple of hours later, they'd restricted it.

I did use my 25 free tracks on Rhapsody yesterday to listen to as much of that Walküre as I could (through Wotan's "So nimm meinen Segen, Niblungen-Sohn!"), the rest will have to wait 'til next month.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wilhelm Richard on May 22, 2009, 04:45:15 AM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HERR WAGNER!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Coopmv on May 22, 2009, 04:59:54 AM
Bernstein's Wagner - my first Wagner recording ...    ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 22, 2009, 05:15:56 AM
From the Gramophone archive; it confirms 1962 as the date of the recording.

Mike

WAGNER. DIE WALKURE. Jon Vickers (ten) Siegmund; Grê Brouwenstijn (sop) Sieglinde; Birgit Nilsson (sop) Briinnhilde; George London (bass-bar) Wotan; Rita Gorr (mez) Fricka; David Ward (bass) Hunding; Marie Collier (sop) Gerhilde; Judith Pierce (sop) Helmwige; Julia Malyon (sop) Ortlinde; Mar- greta Elkins (mez) Waltraute; Josephine Veasey (mez) Rossweisse; Noreen Berry (mez) Siegrune; Maureen Guy (mez) Grimgerde; Joan Edwards (contr) Schwertleite; London Symphony Orchestra / Erich Leinsdorf. Decca Grand Opera 0 (D 430 391-2DM3 (three discs, nas: 216 minutes: ADD). Notes, text and translation included. From RCA LDS6706 (9/62).
 
 This performance, made during the period when Decca's Ring was in progress, has in consequence tended to be overlooked. Leinsdorf was an experienced Wagnerian, having taken over the Wagner repertory from Bodanzky at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1930s, restoring all the cuts made by his predecessor. He paces the work firmly and stamps his authority on the LSO of the day, but finds it hard to relax or to peer into the more metaphysical side of the score as would a Furtwängler or a Goodall. His reading is more to be equated with that of Levine today, having the same visceral excitement, as in the fight at the end of Act 2 and the departure of the Valkyries in Act 3. Leinsdorf also evinces an understanding of the larger paragraph; what I find missing is that extra, hard-to-describe inward quality which should inform Wotan's Narration and his relationship with his erring daughter; it is something instinctive that cannot be learnt. George London's Wotan doesn't help. For all the security and resplendence of his singing, so like that of James Morris today, it wants the verbal understanding and subtlety of phrase brought to the role by Hotter and Bailey. Indeed, even Nilsson—in the Todesverkiindigung and elsewhere—doesn't approach the insights and understanding she showed for Solti (Decca), and BOhm (Philips) some five or six years later. That said, her performance leaves many others standing in its strength of voice and intelligence of delivery. The Valkyries comprise many excellent British singers of the day.
 
 Act 1 offers many rewards in the fervent, heroically sung Siegmund of Vickers, heard to greater advantage here than for Karajan in his complete Ring on DG, and in the imaginative, deeply felt Sieglinde of Brouwenstijn, who manages the storytelling of "Der Manner Sippe" as well as any Sieglinde on disc. It was also a pleasure to hear again the sonorous bass of David Ward, even if Hunding needs a more granite-like tone than he can provide (he was soon to become an appreciable Wotan). In Act 2, Rita Gorr is a powerful but unsubtle Fricka—and perhaps those epithets characterize the performance as a whole. The recording is over-resonant and not very atmospheric. A.B.

Some good points in that review, but you can smell the British bias a mile away. The reviewer employs the often-used tactic of throwing a few truths in there hoping that people will take everything he writes as gospel. For example this:

He paces the work firmly and stamps his authority on the LSO of the day, but finds it hard to relax or to peer into the more metaphysical side of the score as would a Furtwängler or a Goodall.

Furtwangler yes, Goodall hell no, unless by metaphysical you take it to mean 30% longer than everyone else, tolerant of bad orchestral playing, and the same stodgy tempo throughout.

Or this:

For all the security and resplendence of his singing, so like that of James Morris today, it wants the verbal understanding and subtlety of phrase brought to the role by Hotter and Bailey.

Again, Hotter yes, Baily not even close.

I think the Leinsdorf is an okay recording. Personally if you want Vickers/Brouwenstijn I would go with Karajan. It is completely false that somehow Vickers and Brouwenstijn's performance is somehow superior in the Leinsdorf set. Vickers sings this role better than anyone else and on either set he is on top form. Brouwenstijn is not my favorite Sieglinde (for that you go with a young Regine Resnick on the Krauss set) but she is pretty decent on either set as well. I go with Karajan for the discipline and polish of the orchestral playing.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 22, 2009, 05:22:17 AM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HERR WAGNER!


  HAPPY BIRTHDAY HERR WAGNER INDEED! Oh yes, Herr Wagner  0:) born May 22, 1813 would over the course of his very turbulent, tumultous and highly controversial life not only put Germany on the opera map but have it dominate over every other nation!!  What I love most about this great man is that he risked everything for his artwork, he made no compromises of any kind whatsoever to anyone!  He taught me that life is for those who DARE! It is not for those who play it safe!

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Tsaraslondon on May 22, 2009, 06:09:55 AM
Vickers sings this role better than anyone else and on either set he is on top form. Brouwenstijn is not my favorite Sieglinde (for that you go with a young Regine Resnick on the Krauss set) but she is pretty decent on either set as well. I go with Karajan for the discipline and polish of the orchestral playing.



Brouwenstijn isn't the Sieglinde on the Karajan set. It's Janowitz - and mighty fine she is too.

And enough of this British bias rubbish. Gramophone is a British publication so there is bound to be a bias in that direction. American magazines tend to have a bias towards American singers and conductors. French magazines have a different bias altogether - you'd think nobody does early and baroque better than the French. And so on and so forth. It's a fact of life. Accept it.





Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 22, 2009, 06:43:27 AM


HAPPY BIRTHDAY HERR WAGNER INDEED! Oh yes, Herr Wagner  0:) born May 22, 1813 would over the course of his very turbulent, tumultous and highly controversial life not only put Germany on the opera map but have it dominate over every other nation!!  What I love most about this great man is that he risked everything for his artwork, he made no compromises of any kind whatsoever to anyone!  He taught me that life is for those who DARE! It is not for those who play it safe!

THIRDED!

Wagner has been my great example, too. Persevere, and you will be rewarded.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 22, 2009, 06:47:08 AM
Brouwenstijn isn't the Sieglinde on the Karajan set. It's Janowitz - and mighty fine she is too.

Oh yeah, sorry. Absolutely, Janowitz is a wonderful Sieglinde.

I was listening to the Keilberth this morning so Brouwenstijn as Sieglinde sort of got stuck in my mind.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on May 22, 2009, 11:23:46 AM
I don't think I was trying to put one performance up against the other. The main issue was settling a question with Andre about the date of the recording. But if it comes to it, I think Karajan mauls the vital Wintersturme moment with Vickers and the relatively penny plain Leinsdorf scores there. I never have been able to enjoy Crespin, Big Birgit is much to be preferred. So although there is a lot I like about the Karajan, Janowitz included, I will not be throwing the Leinsdorf out.

BTW, I have no great fondness for Leinsdorf, though do enjoy his Butterfly with Leontine Price; but I was in a Mahler 8th when he was conducting; out of his depth, it was often at near break-down, but by then he was 14 years older.

Ditto the British bias.....at whose expense? I read US critics who rave about Morris and his singing of Wotan; if there is a duller exponent, point him out to me.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: greg on May 22, 2009, 05:11:48 PM
I have a random question, and I might have asked it before. Has all of Wagner's music been recorded? I notice that he's written A LOT besides his operas, and I've heard about almost none of it.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wendell_E on May 23, 2009, 02:07:06 AM
Quote
Has all of Wagner's music been recorded? I notice that he's written A LOT besides his operas, and I've heard about almost none of it.

The record companies may be trying to protect his reputation.

I celebrated yesterday with Futwängler's EMI recording of Tristan und Isolde.  Wonderful recording, except for the awful British orchestra, chorus, and producer.  I'm just kidding about the British, of course.  ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Coopmv on May 23, 2009, 05:24:24 AM
This is an excellent Parsifal.  I bought this set about 2 years ago ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31Y6CZETR3L._SL500_AA211_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Coopmv on May 23, 2009, 05:35:34 AM
The record companies may be trying to protect his reputation.

I celebrated yesterday with Futwängler's EMI recording of Tristan und Isolde.  Wonderful recording, except for the awful British orchestra, chorus, and producer.  I'm just kidding about the British, of course.  ;D
 

Sir Colin directed an excellent performance of this Tannhauser at Bayreuth in the mid 70's with Gwyneth Jones, etc.  I have this DVD.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/412NRNYdexL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Coopmv on May 24, 2009, 10:49:05 AM
Here are the sets from one of the three Ring Cycles (1 cycle on CD and 2 cycles on LP) I have, all by Karajan ...


Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Coopmv on May 24, 2009, 10:51:16 AM
Two more to go ...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: greg on May 24, 2009, 08:00:41 PM
The record companies may be trying to protect his reputation.
Well, that's a really interesting answer.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on May 26, 2009, 01:15:47 PM
I have a random question, and I might have asked it before. Has all of Wagner's music been recorded? I notice that he's written A LOT besides his operas, and I've heard about almost none of it.

 Wagner struggled (and to a certain extent failed) to make ends meet by writing piano transcriptions for what IMHO are "second rate" operas, those of Jacques Halevy for example.  He hated this work, he considered it slave work but necessary to earn much needed money. I see no reason to record these compositions nor to have them in my collection. These piano transcriptions are not representative of Wagner's genius. I do not have any interest in hearing them, much less the operas that they came from.  


  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: greg on May 26, 2009, 01:17:48 PM
Wagner struggled (and to a certain extent failed) to make ends meet by writing piano transcriptions for what IMHO are "second rate" operas, those of Jacques Halevy for example.  He hated this work, he considered it slave work but necessary to earn much needed money. I see no reason to record these compositions nor to have them in my collection. These piano transcriptions are not representative of Wagner's genius nor do I have any interest in hearing them, much less the operas that they came from.   


  marvin
Ah, well, that's enlightening!  :)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Valentino on May 30, 2009, 01:50:22 AM
Is this the Wagner trhead? May I enter? ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 02:13:14 AM
Is this the Wagner trhead? May I enter? ;D
 

Yes, but I have not really noticed any serious discussion of his operas yet ...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Valentino on May 30, 2009, 03:23:30 AM
I can see (touching is not allowed) Flagstad's Brünnhilde costume from the Met almost everyday if I want to. When I look at it I giggle...
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 03:37:27 AM
I can see (touching is not allowed) Flagstad's Brünnhilde costume from the Met almost everyday if I want to. When I look at it I giggle...

Yeah, Kirsten Flagstad, the great Norwegian opera soprano.  Unfortunately, all her recordings are probably monaural ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirsten_Flagstad

check it out (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAo_fTiZ2hY)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 03:41:05 AM
I can see (touching is not allowed) Flagstad's Brünnhilde costume from the Met almost everyday if I want to. When I look at it I giggle...

So you live in Hamar, Norway.  Mystery solved ...    ;D

Here is an excerpt from the link I posted previously ...

The Kirsten Flagstad Museum in Hamar, Norway, contains a private collection of opera artifacts. Her costumes draw special attention, and include several examples on loan from the Metropolitan Opera Archives. Her portrait appears on the Norwegian 100 kroner bill.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 03:48:17 AM
Here is one of my treasured LP-sets, an EMI recording.  Furtwangler and Flagstad, what a combo ...

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on June 16, 2009, 12:31:22 PM


  Wagner fans, friends and colleagues I post here with distressing news......most distressing news.  A few weeks ago I was watching Tristan und Isolde (Levine MET) on SkyArts 2 here in London and in between Acts they interviewed the casting director at the MET.  This casting director, a lady, claimed that the role of Tristan is very difficult to cast since there are only 11 men...that's right only 11 men in the world today that can sing that role.  My God only 11....where is the next generation of Wagnerian singers?? What does this say of the role of Wotan and Siegfried and Parsifal?  On another thread here at GMG it was pointed out that performances of Die Meistersinger are few and far between. Could live performances of Wagner's operas become extinct simply due to casting problems?  Only 11 Tristans, only 11 men can fulfill the challenges of that role  :o :o :o......... :'( :'( :'( oh where are you Wolfgang Windgassen....I miss Hans Hotter, those were the days my dear Wagnerians, those were the days  :'( :'(!

  marvin 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on June 16, 2009, 01:04:42 PM
This is an excellent Parsifal.  I bought this set about 2 years ago ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31Y6CZETR3L._SL500_AA211_.jpg)


It is often spectacularly good. Bernd Weikl, whom was a tiny bit dragging in the otherwise really good Bayreuth dvd, comes through with flying colors here. A terrific set that I most highly reccomend, along with all the Knap recordings.

 

Sir Colin directed an excellent performance of this Tannhauser at Bayreuth in the mid 70's with Gwyneth Jones, etc.  I have this DVD.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/412NRNYdexL._SS500_.jpg)

I have to get this. It's been too long already.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on June 16, 2009, 01:07:44 PM
Two more to go ...



You have alot to look forward to, especially the Karajan Rheingold. I wasn't wild about his Gotterdammerung or Siegfried, but that might be because I prefer a more visceral, booming, "Heavy Metal Wagner". The Karajan Walkure is the cream of the crop, mostly for its unbeatable first act. Perfect example of applied dynamics.

Just my opinion.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on June 16, 2009, 01:08:16 PM
Here is one of my treasured LP-sets, an EMI recording.  Furtwangler and Flagstad, what a combo ...





Tremendous.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wilhelm Richard on June 16, 2009, 01:13:01 PM

  Wagner fans, friends and colleagues I post here with distressing news......most distressing news.  A few weeks ago I was watching Tristan und Isolde (Levine MET) on SkyArts 2 here in London and in between Acts they interviewed the casting director at the MET.  This casting director, a lady, claimed that the role of Tristan is very difficult to cast since there are only 11 men...that's right only 11 men in the world today that can sing that role.  My God only 11....where is the next generation of Wagnerian singers?? What does this say of the role of Wotan and Siegfried and Parsifal?  On another thread here at GMG it was pointed out that performances of Die Meistersinger are few and far between. Could live performances of Wagner's operas become extinct simply due to casting problems?  Only 11 Tristans, only 11 men can fulfill the challenges of that role  :o :o :o......... :'( :'( :'( oh where are you Wolfgang Windgassen....I miss Hans Hotter, those were the days my dear Wagnerians, those were the days  :'( :'(!

  marvin  

Distressing times indeed.  But it always seems as though some more show up...folks have been fearing the extinction of the heldentenor since Melchior.
How many of today's conductors can meet the challenges of Tristan (or any other mature Wagner opera's) score?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on June 16, 2009, 01:14:39 PM

  Wagner fans, friends and colleagues I post here with distressing news......most distressing news.  A few weeks ago I was watching Tristan und Isolde (Levine MET) on SkyArts 2 here in London and in between Acts they interviewed the casting director at the MET.  This casting director, a lady, claimed that the role of Tristan is very difficult to cast since there are only 11 men...that's right only 11 men in the world today that can sing that role.  My God only 11....where is the next generation of Wagnerian singers?? What does this say of the role of Wotan and Siegfried and Parsifal?  On another thread here at GMG it was pointed out that performances of Die Meistersinger are few and far between. Could live performances of Wagner's operas become extinct simply due to casting problems?  Only 11 Tristans, only 11 men can fulfill the challenges of that role  :o :o :o......... :'( :'( :'( oh where are you Wolfgang Windgassen....I miss Hans Hotter, those were the days my dear Wagnerians, those were the days  :'( :'(!

  marvin 



This news doesn't surprise me. Wagner is considered someone to have been "progressed from" by most young people today. Younger folks seem to be convinced that just because something is from "today" it automatically trumps what came from "the day". Today I see Tupac Shakur being labelled a great composer on several popular forums..right up there with Mozart, Beethoven, and Wagner.

Until more people are educated about Our Music, and learn how to listen with their ears and not eyes, the state of modern opera as a rule will remain in decline.

Again, this is all my opinion. I'm just devastatingly grateful that we have the recordings available that we do.

By the way:


 

Yes, but I have not really noticed any serious discussion of his operas yet ...


What would you like to talk about?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: ChamberNut on June 16, 2009, 01:55:06 PM
because I prefer a more visceral, booming, "Heavy Metal Wagner".


Oh yeah!  That's the sound of Solti and WP!  8)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: ChamberNut on June 16, 2009, 01:56:46 PM
Today I see Tupac Shakur being labelled a great composer on several popular forums..right up there with Mozart, Beethoven, and Wagner.

Ohhhh Andy.  PLEASE tell me you are joking.  :(
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on June 16, 2009, 02:12:29 PM
Ohhhh Andy.  PLEASE tell me you are joking.  :(



I really love your avatar, Ray.

Oh yeah, on two of the Amazon forums that subject came up. Notorious BIG and Tupac are asserted consistently as great composers. I guess it's hard for me to blame them, when I was alot younger I just assumed that the music of today was "it" from a progressive level. It was only when I started studying music that I found out differently.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Scarpia on June 16, 2009, 02:45:24 PM
Distressing times indeed.  But it always seems as though some more show up...folks have been fearing the extinction of the heldentenor since Melchior.
How many of today's conductors can meet the challenges of Tristan (or any other mature Wagner opera's) score?

Maybe this should be called the "chicken little" thread.  There are more conductors and orchestras that can perform Tristan than there have ever been.  I am certain there are more tenors who can perform the role.  The thing we seem to have in particular abundance is people clutching their old records claiming that nothing is as good as it was in the good old days.

Oh yeah, on two of the Amazon forums that subject came up. Notorious BIG and Tupac are asserted consistently as great composers. I guess it's hard for me to blame them, when I was alot younger I just assumed that the music of today was "it" from a progressive level. It was only when I started studying music that I found out differently.

Now Amazon forums are the annals of good taste?  Do you have statistics on many fools thought Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley were better composers than Shostakovich and Hindemith?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on June 16, 2009, 02:50:36 PM


Now Amazon forums are the annals of good taste?  Do you have statistics on many fools thought Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley were better composers than Shostakovich and Hindemith?



I never asserted that Amazon was the quintessence of good taste.

I also don't tend to judge people as fools who have different opinions from mine. Especially when it comes to musical opinion.

But, to each his or her own.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wilhelm Richard on June 16, 2009, 03:52:05 PM
Maybe this should be called the "chicken little" thread.  There are more conductors and orchestras that can perform Tristan than there have ever been.  

Do you really think so?  Because I would love for it to be demonstrated that this is in fact the case.  It would certainly make my life much happier. 
As far as I know, orchestras exist which are capable, of course, conductors, not so much.  I am not just talking about performing...I am talking about performing effectively.

Though I am not sure if the sort of Standards in Wagner Performance a Puccini fan has can be taken very seriously.*
 ;)

Quote
The thing we seem to have in particular abundance is people clutching their old records claiming that nothing is as good as it was in the good old days.

Maybe they were...why don't you have a photograph of a modern Scarpia as your avatar?  :)










*Sarcasm



Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Valentino on June 17, 2009, 03:34:03 AM
You have alot to look forward to, especially the Karajan Rheingold.
Damn right you were. The Karajan Rheingold hits home all right.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Valentino on June 17, 2009, 04:49:39 AM
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/classical/thering/synopsis100.shtml
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on June 17, 2009, 01:22:30 PM
Maybe this should be called the "chicken little" thread.  There are more conductors and orchestras that can perform Tristan than there have ever been.  I am certain there are more tenors who can perform the role.  The thing we seem to have in particular abundance is people clutching their old records claiming that nothing is as good as it was in the good old days.



  Scarpia the orchestras and conductors may well be there! but this criticism has come from the CASTING DIRECTOR at the MET  :o, I submit to you that there may be a lot of orchestras that can play the score of  Tristan und Isolde but the difficulty lies in the vocals as well. I am not sure that many tenors can make the grade! Tristan carries the majority of Act 3, his monologue is long, the agony palpable....and only 11 men in the world today are up to that challenge.....I truly believe that the "sky is falling" ;)! Perhaps Wagner set the bar far too high here??

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on June 17, 2009, 01:39:43 PM


This news doesn't surprise me. Wagner is considered someone to have been "progressed from" by most young people today. Younger folks seem to be convinced that just because something is from "today" it automatically trumps what came from "the day". Today I see Tupac Shakur being labelled a great composer on several popular forums..right up there with Mozart, Beethoven, and Wagner.



  That is really sad and unfortunate Andy.  Maybe Wagner's operas are not accessible to the first time listener but there is much to admire and appreciate in all of the mature operas.  Oh well it is their loss.....

  marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: ChamberNut on June 17, 2009, 01:42:00 PM
 Oh well it is their loss.....

  marvin

Well said Marvin.  Let them have their 'Tupac'.  We have WAGNER!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Valentino on June 17, 2009, 01:52:09 PM
Based on my own experience I dare say that all is not lost. I was almost 44 before I found the key. But I must admit that I had a lookout for it for quite a while.

(http://www.artpassions.net/galleries/rackham/ring/ring22.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Scarpia on June 17, 2009, 02:10:13 PM
 Scarpia the orchestras and conductors may well be there! but this criticism has come from the CASTING DIRECTOR at the MET  :o, I submit to you that there may be a lot of orchestras that can play the score of  Tristan und Isolde but the difficulty lies in the vocals as well. I am not sure that many tenors can make the grade! Tristan carries the majority of Act 3, his monologue is long, the agony palpable....and only 11 men in the world today are up to that challenge.....I truly believe that the "sky is falling" ;)! Perhaps Wagner set the bar far too high here??

Maybe there are 11 that can be engaged at the Met, a big hall, a big orchestra and arguably the best opera house in the world with the pickiest audience.  That doesn't mean there aren't others who can sing the role if expectations are out of the stratosphere.  I am still somewhat skeptical that in the "good old days" there were many more who could do the job. 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on June 17, 2009, 02:14:13 PM
When I finally broke myself of my stupid, "everything has to resolve neatly" mindset toward music, and learned how to understand Wagner's language, my life itself was overall improved. Time and again. Wagner's music is truly the Art that keeps on giving. There's always something to be had, discovered, internalised from his music.

I firmly believe (through personal experience) that the archetypes that lie behind the characters and situations in the great Wagner operas help us to learn about ourselves, as well as the world around us.

For me, only Beethoven's late string quartets (and probably that standby, the trusty 9th), have continually, consistently paid off as much as Wagner's operas. They are examples of art that actually made my life one heck of a lot better. They can be like love itself.
 
Wagner, to paraphrase Nietzsche, is one of the great great benefactors of my life.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Lilas Pastia on June 17, 2009, 04:28:45 PM
Maybe there are 11 that can be engaged at the Met, a big hall, a big orchestra and arguably the best opera house in the world with the pickiest audience.  That doesn't mean there aren't others who can sing the role if expectations are out of the stratosphere.  I am still somewhat skeptical that in the "good old days" there were many more who could do the job.  

I'm actually quite certain that 'the good old days' didn't boast more Tristans than now. If that had been the case, we'd have them on record. Especially since the Bayreuth Festival was such a powerful magnet after the War (it reopened in 1951). In an interview with three Isoldes (and Brünnhildes) on the Bavarian Radio and TV in the early 2000s, Martha Mödl, Astrid Varnay and Birgit Nilsson, all three mentioned how selective the Bayreuth management was in hiring singers. "Only the best were allowed to sing" - "now it's a workshop of course" (that's Mödl and Nilsson speaking IIRC). And yet, how many Tristans have the Bayreuth productions fielded since 1951? Vinay (1952-53), Windgassen (1957-1970, Helge Brilioth, René Kollo and Jerusalem in the seventies-eighties. All three estimable singers that could have sung Siegmund but had no business attempting to fill in Tristan's shoes. And a few nobodies that I'ver never come across before. I mean who was Spas Wenkoff?  ??? Well, he was deemed good enough to sing 5 Tristans between 1976 and 1985. Nilsson was right. Much of the casting at Bayreuth has been that of a workshop since the Windgassen days. If there are still 11 Tristans around today, that's not bad at all !
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: eyeresist on June 17, 2009, 06:25:57 PM
(http://www.artpassions.net/galleries/rackham/ring/ring22.jpg)
That's not Wagner, that's Gershwin: Can't help loving that moose of mine.

Statistically, I don't understand why there should be fewer capable Wagner singers now. Surely there are more singing students in conservatories than ever before. So, unless the human race has undergone some sort of genetic decline, how could we have more singers but fewer heldentenors?

Maybe singers need to start smoking and drinking again? ;)
 
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 17, 2009, 07:20:35 PM
Maybe singers need to start smoking and drinking again? ;)

Well, you may be onto something there. I once read a passage from either Varnay or Mödl (forget which) in a book on singing and the one criticism she (one of the she's) had with female singers today is they didn't have enough meat on their bones to belt out the chest music. I guess thinness and power don't go together so perhaps (just perhaps) it's the age we live in after all that's contributing to the "decline".
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on June 17, 2009, 07:51:53 PM
 The thing we seem to have in particular abundance is people clutching their old records claiming that nothing is as good as it was in the good old days.


That has been my line for years! Those dear people are in abundance on all opera fora; they won't believe you nor me. An example is this awesome Tristan und Isolde at the Scala, Milano, Barenboim conducting and working spendidly with the director Patrice Chéreau. In my collection it is at the top of the list of T&I because the connection between Ian Storey, Tristan, and Waltraud Meier, Isolde. Those two are not only great singers, they are interacting with each other. Watching those old productions, all I see are singers doing their thing: Singing; they barely look at each other. To hell with acting. And Storey does not weaken in the third act, he is as strong as in the beginning.

But of course people have to see this DVD to believe me - and you! - that there are contemporary tenors as good, if not better than the past idols.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 17, 2009, 08:15:47 PM
That has been my line for years!

Despite my quip above about 'thin singers' I'm absolutely on board with this quote. I've lost count of the 'golden age' and 'silver age' recording's I've had over the years but nothing to my ears outright K-O's anything from today. Yes, the singing might be "different", and might be more to someone's liking than something contemporary, but it's certainly not the last word in quality.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on June 17, 2009, 09:04:54 PM
As Scarpia says, there is a difference between the demands of the Met and who can actually sing the part for other houses. 11 does not sound all that bad. I wonder how many productions there are in any year? Though I guess if there were 100 such tenors, there would be more productions. My guess is that there may be more houses worldwide now with the capability to mount T&I, as against 60 years ago.

However, I have read several times over the years that we have fewer tenors than we used to. Seemingly it is the fault of pollution. This has lowered men's voices. (Why not women's?) Certainly, there is any number of superb baritones around.

One article I read instanced countries that once produced world class tenors, but now don't; Nordic countries were specified, where there used to be next to no pollution, but now supposedly, enough to eradicate tenors. I have no idea whether there is really anything in the idea. But we all know there used to be a deal of Italian tenors around, to the extent they were caricatured. How many can we name today or over the last 20 years, apart from Pavarotti?

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on June 17, 2009, 09:11:06 PM
In my view, we really haven't had a perfect Wagnerian Heldentenor since Melchior. We have, however, had some excellent tenors making a gallant effort to fill the void. I refer, specifically, to James King, Jon Vickers, and Jess Thomas. We have had other great tenors, too, like Windgassen, Ramón Vinay, and Sándor Kónya. More modern singers like Siegfried Jerusalem and Ben Heppner haven't been terrible, but I'd hesitate before including them in the first rank. At the same time, however, I think we really should consider what this means. How many perfect exponents have there been of Figaro, Radames, Calaf, or Rigoletto? When you think about it, it isn't all that extraordinary to say that Melchior was the last (only?) perfect Heldentenor.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Valentino on June 17, 2009, 10:22:05 PM
On which recordings can Melchior be heard?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on June 17, 2009, 10:27:26 PM


http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/qid=1245309997/ref=a9_sc_1?ie=UTF8&search-alias=classical&field-keywords=melchior
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Valentino on June 17, 2009, 10:47:28 PM
Thanks. I have a lot of listening to do.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on June 17, 2009, 11:12:43 PM
Looking through that list cost me some money thank you! A little bit anyway. I ordered the Naxos duets disc with Flagstad. I have his Tristan live and a disc of arias, but I succumbed to yet more.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Drasko on June 18, 2009, 02:48:28 AM

 This casting director, a lady, claimed that the role of Tristan is very difficult to cast since there are only 11 men...that's right only 11 men in the world today that can sing that role.  My God only 11....

And that is not enough? Don't think I can count 11 Otellos in recorded history.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on June 18, 2009, 03:09:30 AM
Vickers, Domingo, Pavarotti, Del Monaco, Vinay, Cossutta, Craig, Martinelli, Dermota, McCracken....now I am stuck. Cura sings it and so did Melchior. But it is not all that easy to come up with a dozen even within the last 30 years.

Mike

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: PSmith08 on June 18, 2009, 04:20:48 AM
On which recordings can Melchior be heard?

I am generally of the opinion that the best places to hear Melchior are on the justly famous 1935 Walküre act 1 from Vienna, led by Bruno Walter, and the potted HMV Siegfried, led by various conductors. Both were (are?) available on Naxos' "Great Opera Recordings" in fine transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn and Ward Marston, respectively. I'll put it like this: while you'll want to hear more, you'll more than get your range on Melchior with those sets.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on June 18, 2009, 04:32:24 AM
I am generally of the opinion that the best places to hear Melchior are on the justly famous 1935 Walküre act 1 from Vienna, led by Bruno Walter, and the potted HMV Siegfried, led by various conductors. Both were (are?) available on Naxos' "Great Opera Recordings" in fine transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn and Ward Marston, respectively. I'll put it like this: while you'll want to hear more, you'll more than get your range on Melchior with those sets.

After reading your excellent blog, I have to check out Melchior.

Off topic, but pretty cool reading about Nefertiti as well, and I'm so happy you mentioned Keith Jarrett. I hadn't thought of him in years. Great stuff!
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Drasko on June 18, 2009, 05:40:12 AM
Vickers, Domingo, Pavarotti, Del Monaco, Vinay, Cossutta, Craig, Martinelli, Dermota, McCracken....now I am stuck. Cura sings it and so did Melchior. But it is not all that easy to come up with a dozen even within the last 30 years.

You got further than me, I had to google who is Craig, and are you sure Dermota sung Otello? I'm only aware of Cassio under Furtwangler. I'm not sure he had the voice for Otello (he did sing very beautiful, if generously miked, Das Lied von der Erde under Klemperer though). Drop Martinelli and the rest is I think complete post WWII Otelldom. Maybe Kaufmann would make nice Otello in some years.

Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: marvinbrown on June 18, 2009, 06:18:29 AM


  Alright alright all of you have made your point and proved me "somewhat" wrong....that said I can't remember the last time Tristan und Isolde played in London  :-\ :-\......

    marvin
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: knight66 on June 18, 2009, 06:58:59 AM
You got further than me, I had to google who is Craig, and are you sure Dermota sung Otello? I'm only aware of Cassio under Furtwangler. I'm not sure he had the voice for Otello (he did sing very beautiful, if generously miked, Das Lied von der Erde under Klemperer though). Drop Martinelli and the rest is I think complete post WWII Otelldom. Maybe Kaufmann would make nice Otello in some years.



You may well be right there Drasko. I thought I had read of him doing it in German, but I may well be wrong, as I more associate him with Mozart, which is at the opposite end of the spectrum.

As to Melchior...yes, that Act1 Walkure might in fact be the most vital of his discs if you only bought one. I had forgotten about it.

Mike
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Wilhelm Richard on June 18, 2009, 09:05:43 AM
My kind of stimulus check...

Quote
(AP) — BERLIN - Germany's government has pledged ?500,000 ($700,000) to renovate the Wahnfried villa that houses the archive of legendary German composer Richard Wagner.

The government said Thursday the money to renovate Wagner's former house in the southern city of Bayreuth would come from an economic stimulus package that earmarks funds for improving infrastructure.

Museum head Sven Friedrich said the renovation would include a new display documenting the composer's life and working environment. He said an exhibit on the Wagner family's role during the Nazi-era will also be added.

http://www.nj.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-3/1245344175229900.xml&storylist=entertainment
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Coopmv on June 18, 2009, 04:52:05 PM
My kind of stimulus check...

http://www.nj.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-3/1245344175229900.xml&storylist=entertainment

shovel and jackhammer-ready?     ;D
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Valentino on June 18, 2009, 09:50:10 PM
Anybody else who get the Nibelheim-Musik (anvils and all) in their head now?
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on June 19, 2009, 12:54:35 AM
Anybody else who get the Nibelheim-Musik (anvils and all) in their head now?


Oh yeah, especially doing chores.
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Lilas Pastia on June 19, 2009, 04:36:55 PM
Quote
Recital Lauritz Melchior  €1.00

- Lauritz Melchior

“Allmächt’ger Vater” from Rienzi by Wagner, “Ein Schwert verhiess mir der Vater” from Die Walküre by Wagner, “Gia Sacerdoti adunasi” (with Margarethe Arndt-Ober) from Aida by Verdi, “Inbrunst im Herzen” from Tannhäuser by Wagner, “O paradise” from L’Africaine by Meyerbeer, “Dio mi potevi scagliar” and “Niun me tema” from Otello by Verdi, “Die Selige Frau” (with Lotte Lehmann) from Die Walküre by Wagner, “Nur eine Waffe taugt” from Parsifal by Wagner, “In fernem Land” from Lohengrin by Wagner, “Am stille Herd” and “Morgenlich leuchtend im rosigen Schein” from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg by Wagner (all sung in german) - Lauritz Melchior (tenor) Recorded in 1923-1939 Duration: 53 minutes 18 seconds  File: RecitalMelchior.mp3

Listen to an extract   http://www.classicalmusicmobile.com/catalog/extracts/RecitalMelchiorExtract.mp3

The whole thing is available for download: 1 euro, please.


Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Coopmv on June 20, 2009, 07:04:01 PM
Here is an excellent recording of music for Wagner's Valhalla, among the some three dozen Telarc CD's I own ...   ;D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AKKRH9MPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wagner's Valhalla
Post by: Haffner on June 21, 2009, 12:17:29 AM