Author Topic: Wagner's Valhalla  (Read 388021 times)

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Online ritter

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2200 on: September 30, 2018, 09:31:16 AM »


As has now become a tradition, the latest Bayreuth Festival production of the Ring, the controversial but fascinating staging by Frank Castorf, with fabulous sets by Aleksandar Denić, which ran from 2013 to 2017 (conducted in its first three years by Kirill Petrenko and then by Marek Janowski—with an isolated offering of Die Walküre under Plácido Domingo in 2018), is the subject of a book, this time published by La Pommerie in France. Full details available here. It seems that the book (with German and French texts) can only be obtained directly from the publisher’s website (I don’t see it listed on any Amazon site).

A “deluxe” edition also includes a “behind the scenes” DVD. Even if the whole production was broadcast live on TV in 2015 and taped, there’s no news of a release on DVD (but there are rumours that the 2018 Walküre will be released next year).

All Bayreuth Ring productions since the legendary Boulez/Chéreau staging of 1976-1980 have been documented and analyzed in one way or another in books:

The Patrice Chéreau/Pierre Boulez Jahrhundertring (French and German editions):
   

Peter Hall/Georg Solti (only in 1983, in subsequent summers the conductor was Peter Schneider)—this is the only one of these books in Englidh AFAIK:


Harry Kupfer/Daniel Barenboim:


Alfred Kirchner/James Levine (focusing on designer Rosalie’s sets):


Jürgen Flimm/Giuseppe Sinopoli (only in its first year—Adam Fischer took over the baton after Sinopoli’s untimely death):


Tankred Dorst/Christian Thielemann:


These books are complemented by this survey of all Ring productions in Bayreuth since the first in 1876 up to the Tankred Dorst in 2006:


Apart from these “official” publications—to which the artists involved and the Festival direction submit texts—there’s been at least two pamphlets viciously attacking, respectively, the Chéreau and Castorf productions. I suppose we’d be hard pressed to find the presentation of one single stage work at one single venue so richly documented as is the case of the Ring at Bayreuth.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 09:45:40 PM by ritter »
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2201 on: October 14, 2019, 08:50:09 PM »
Listened to Astrid Varnay singing in Wagner's Die Walküre.  It was a cheap Membran compilation originating from the Knappertsbusch 1957 Bayreuth performance. Excellent! I haven't listened much to Varnay so it appears as if there is a goldmine of historical recordings. Yay!  >:D

Disc 1 from



Likely originating from

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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2202 on: October 14, 2019, 08:56:19 PM »
And, my usual comment - so quiet in Valhalla.  Aren't we all supposed to be drinking mead in good company?
No love for Wagner?

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Offline Biffo

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2203 on: October 15, 2019, 12:32:54 AM »
And, my usual comment - so quiet in Valhalla.  Aren't we all supposed to be drinking mead in good company?
No love for Wagner?



For some reason my infatuation with the Ring Cycle has fizzled out. This is a shame as I have a pile of recordings of that work waiting to be listened to - Bohm, Janowski, Elder, Goodall and Thielemann. I am sure the madness will return at some point.

Offline Moonfish

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2204 on: October 15, 2019, 01:51:01 AM »
I came across a glowing review of Schüchter's recording of "Das Rheingold" from 1952 (Hamburg).  Looking forward to exploring it.  Schüchter appears to have had a relatively low profile (in the shadow of other great conductors?). He recorded a 'Lohengrin' as well if I recall correctly.  I've been exploring vintage Wagner a bit this evening and it is quite interesting. A lot of discussion about the virtues of orchestras, singers and different soundscapes (and engineering). Quite a topography to wander through.

« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 02:24:59 AM by Moonfish »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2205 on: October 15, 2019, 06:15:34 AM »
And, my usual comment - so quiet in Valhalla.  Aren't we all supposed to be drinking mead in good company?
No love for Wagner?



I like Wagner, but he’s not a composer I can devote so much time to again. I mean it takes four hours to get through Parsifal for example. I know you’re not supposed to sit through it in all one setting as that would be madness, but I simply don’t have four hours to spend on his music. He also does get rather musically redundant after listening to him for awhile. It’s like I know where the music is heading and there’s really no twists or turns along the way that surprise me anymore. My hat is off to people who do find the time for him and then there’s listeners who are absolutely obsessed with his music. I never reached that level and probably never will.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 06:18:11 AM by Mirror Image »
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Offline AlberichUndHagen

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2206 on: October 29, 2019, 06:05:49 AM »
Much has happened during my absence. Among others, I saw a splendid Das Rheingold in last month at Finnish National Opera. The casting was excellent, most splendid singers were Jukka Rasilainen as Alberich and Tuomas Katajala as Loge. Loge actually received clearly the most of the applause. Unfortunately, booing has steadily increased in Finnish national opera during the last few years. On the other hand, I understand the view that it is okay to express displeasure for not liking something that he/she has paid to see but I personally never boo, it just feels mean. Also, sometimes some audience members seem to boo simply because they don't like the character the singer plays morally speaking, as if it were the fault of the singer.

The staging was magnificent, even if a bit traditional (golden apples, mythology-like costumes etc.). Although if what I've heard is correct in this production only Rheingold is set in mythical times. I've heard that Die Walküre which I am going to see next spring would have staging similar to WW2.

While I was familiar with the story of a pencil inscription written in a pillar near Imatrankoski, written according to signature by Richard Wagner (in French, no less!) what I was not familiar with was that this gave birth to rumors that Wagner was composing an opera based on rapids of Imatra, only few years later they found that he was actually writing about Rhine.

Btw, I don't know if coincidental, but this year is the 150th anniversary of the first performance of Das Rheingold.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2207 on: October 29, 2019, 06:15:13 AM »
it takes four hours to get through Parsifal for example. I know you’re not supposed to sit through it in all one setting as that would be madness

Actually, if you go to Bayreuth you're supposed to do exactly that.  ;D
“I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”  --- Rachmaninoff

Offline Biffo

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2208 on: October 29, 2019, 06:53:24 AM »
If you go to a live performance of any Wagner opera you will find there are two intervals; for the very long operas the first one is usually long enough to have a meal. I have never been to a live Parsifal but have seen Götterdämmerung four times, on each occasion there was an interval of one hour after the very lengthy Act I.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2209 on: October 29, 2019, 07:11:03 AM »
If you go to a live performance of any Wagner opera you will find there are two intervals; for the very long operas the first one is usually long enough to have a meal. I have never been to a live Parsifal but have seen Götterdämmerung four times, on each occasion there was an interval of one hour after the very lengthy Act I.

I know but that only extends the length of the whole thing, doesn't it?
“I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”  --- Rachmaninoff

Offline Biffo

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2210 on: October 29, 2019, 07:32:14 AM »
I know but that only extends the length of the whole thing, doesn't it?

Yes, it does. With intervals Götterdämmerung can last over six hours, with a super-slow conductor like Goodall it can run to six-and-a-half hours. I suppose you need to be dedicated.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2211 on: October 29, 2019, 07:34:04 AM »
Yes, it does. With intervals Götterdämmerung can last over six hours, with a super-slow conductor like Goodall it can run to six-and-a-half hours. I suppose you need to be dedicated.

I suppose it, too. There's no way I could be persuaded to live through such an experience.
“I compose music because I must give expression to my feelings, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”  --- Rachmaninoff

Offline Jo498

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2212 on: October 29, 2019, 01:27:34 PM »
I don't remember the details, but I saw two Wagner operas on stage (not Bayreuth, once Parsifal at Berlin Staatsoper and once Siegfried in Bonn). (Götterdämmerung is quite a bit longer than either of them, though) There were two intervals, I think, but they were not as long as in Bayreuth, just regular intervals and the Siegfried started at 5 or 6 p.m. They were long but didn't feel extremely long. Don Giovanni lasts for about 3 hours as well, or sometimes longer with intervals. The St. Matthew is often done without intervals, because in church there is nowhere to go and nothing to do in the intervalm so it is 3 hours straight through.
Of longish operas I found Rosenkavalier much more of a chore to sit through (because except for a handful of scenes/pieces I found it rather boring).
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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2213 on: October 29, 2019, 01:31:04 PM »
I suppose it, too. There's no way I could be persuaded to live through such an experience.

And yet it isn't difficult. I have lived through Holländer, Lohengrin, Rheingold, Walküre and Götterdämmerung. It's true, though, that Tristan and Parsifal would be a trial (although I love them in the comfort of my listening room).

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Offline Maestro267

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2214 on: October 30, 2019, 02:31:31 AM »
Listening to Parsifal for the first time. I listened to Act 1 yesterday. At 107 minutes, that was enough for one day. I'm near the end of Act 2 now, and it's only 10:30am, so I have plenty of time to listen to Act 3 later.

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2215 on: October 30, 2019, 03:36:24 AM »
I know but that only extends the length of the whole thing, doesn't it?

By that logic, I should avoid having a lunch hour during my work day so that I can complete my daily hours sooner.
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Wagner's Valhalla
« Reply #2216 on: December 01, 2019, 09:33:45 AM »
I suppose it, too. There's no way I could be persuaded to live through such an experience.

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