Karajan’s Walküre – 50 years on

To quote a quite different opera, “it is a curious story”.  In 1967 a production of Wagner’s Die Walküre, heavily influenced by Herbert von Karajan [1] who conducted the Berlin Philharmonic for the performances, opened the very first Osterfestspiele Salzburg.  50 years later it was “remounted” with Vera and Sonja Nemirova directing.  I use inverted commas because it’s actually not entirely clear how much was old and how much new.  It might be more accurate to describe it as a homage to the earlier version.  In any event, it was recorded, in 4K Ultra HD, no less and released as one of the very first opera discs in that format.

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Shattering Parsifal

Dmitri Tcherniakov’s 2015 production of Wagner’s Parsifal recorded at the Staatsoper in Berlin in 2015 left me emotionally drained as I don’t think I’ve ever been after watching a recording.  I can only imagine what it must have been like to experience this live.  The combination of the production, exceptional singing and acting and Daniel Barenboim’s conducting is quite exceptional.  It’s not going to be easy to unpack it all coherently but here goes…

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