English baritone Roland Wood, accompanied by Simone Luti, gave a rather unusual, themed, recital n the RBA on Tuesday lunchtime. It was structured around the typical career path of a baritone and was narrated engagingly by Wood with lots of fun being had with the traditional rivalry between tenors (useless wimps who always get the girl) and baritones (evil sociopaths who never do).
Tag Archives: wagner
Tuesday’s lunch time concert in the RBA featured some of the people involved in Against the Grain Theatre’s new, updated version of Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle which opens next week at the Fleck Dance Theatre. There was an excellent descripttion of what the project was all about from Gerald Finley (Bluebeard) and Stephen Higgins (conductor and arranger – the orchestration is reduced to a seven person chamber ensemble).
Solti’s Die Walküre
I have now had a chance to listen to the new SACD release of the 1965 Solti recording of Wagner’s Die Walküre. (For some reason Das Rheingold hasn’t arrived yet). I’m not going to do a detailed review of the performance since pretty much everything that could be said about it has been, and by people better qualified than me. As you might expect for a recording twice voted “recording of the century”. I’ve also already written about the technical details of the new transfer in my review of the sampler disk.
DOB Ring – Final thoughts
Before watching the new recording of The Ring from Deutsche Oper Berlin I set out my expectations based on the bonus materials on the recording and my previous engagement with productions by Stefan Herheim. Fifteen hours or so of watching later how do they stand up?
DOB Ring – Götterdämmerung
If you have been following this saga from the beginning you have probably already concluded that Herheim’s approach is radical in some ways and very, very detail oriented. If anything, in Götterdämmerung, it gets denser and more complex with some of the central production features used in somewhat different ways. It’s also spectacular. Not least because of the contributions of lighting designer Ulrich Niepel and video designer Torge Møller. They were important contributors to the first three operas. Here they are even more crucial. This opera also has more going on across the full width of the stage more of the time so it’s actually much harder to film. So let’s get into it.
DOB Ring – Siegfried
So continuing our look at Wagner’s Ring at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, directed by Stefan Herheim, we move on to Siegfried. I think it’s fair to say that all the elements referred to in my introductory post are present in Siegfried with some more thrown in for good measure. Let’s look at it act by act.
DOB Ring – Die Walküre
The second instalment of Deutsche Oper Berlin’s Ring directed by Stefan Herheim, Die Walküre, carries on with much the same iconography as Das Rheingold. Once again the set is largely built up of suitcases, a crowd of refugees observes the action, there’s a piano at centre stage and a white sheet in various forms plays a key role in proceedings. Also, much of the time the characters are working off a score of the piece.
DOB Ring – Das Rheingold
So here we go with the “preliminary evening” of the Deutsche Oper Berlin’s new production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen directed by Stefan Herheim. Das Rheingold opens before the music starts with a crowd of scruffily dressed people with suitcases; presumably refugees, filling a stage which is empty except for a grand piano. One of them starts to put on clown make up. We will soon see that this is Alberich. Another “refugee” sits at the piano and conjures up the first notes of the prelude from the pit. It takes a bit longer for us to realise that this is Wotan.
Wagner’s Ring at the Deutsche Oper Berlin
There’s a new recording out of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen recorded at the Deutsche Oper Berlin last year. Now the DOB claims a special relationship with the music of Wagner (the “Winter Bayreuth”) and it is, of course, in Berlin which adds an unavoidable dimension to the performance history there. It has also had, for more than twenty years, Götz Friedrich’s famous production in its repertoire. So, a new Ring at DOB is a big thing. Given that, what I want to do in terms of engaging with the recording is to bookend reviews of the four videos of the operas in the usual fashion with two general pieces; one laying out my expectations based on the “bonus” material in the boxed set and the booklets, and one as a sort of final conclusion having watched the whole thing. This post is, of course, the first of those.
The Golden Ring
Georg Solti’s recording of Wagner’s Ring cycle made between 1958 and 1966 has probably had more words written about it than any other classical recording. They are perhaps best. summed up by Gramophone Magazines comment that it is “The greatest of all the achievements in the history of the gramophone record”. It’s an amzing cast that no-one could afford to assemble for a studio recording today, it’s the Wiener Philharmoiker and, of course, Solti himself. But most opera lovers and certainly the audiophile ones will know all this. So why am I writing about it?