Member Login

Contact the Committee for your Member login setup. Please use CONTACT form.

Reviews 2008

Beyond Celebration: A Rebirth Of Parsifal at Bayreuth 2008

Katie French

It is so easy to feel distinctly outside Time arriving in Bayreuth, two air flights and three train trips after leaving Australia. The centre of town is such a beautiful time-warp of cobble stones, of window boxes and gardens of jasmine and lavender petunias, where 'real time' begins at 4pm when that day's opera begins. Walking up the path through the flower gardens to the Festspielhaus, with the dappled sunlight glinting through leaves just taking on their golden autumn shades, one could almost believe one was crossing that mythical 'rainbow bridge' on the way to Valhalla! There is such a sense of excitement, an excitement captured by the celebratory fanfare of the brass from the balcony of the hall.

This is to be Stefan Herheim's new production of Parsifal (an opera which we've seen previously only on video). In this recreation of the mythical tale of the Kingdom of the Grail, and its dispirited knights, threatened by the magical powers of the envious magician, Klingsor, and his irresistible seductress, Kundry, and in desperate need of redemption by an 'innocent fool', are we going to be challenged, delighted, or confounded - as many were by Katharina Wagner's production of Die Meistersinger the previous evening?

Share |

Read more...

The Glimmerglass Opera Festival's Das Liebersverbot

Terence Watson

(Note: Links in previous year article are not active)

Wagner Society member, Robert Thurling (who was on his way to Bayreuth) and I took a bus from Manhattan to Cooperstown, the nearest town to the Glimmerglass Opera Festival (www.glimmerglass.org). The bus trip was a kind of milkrun, setting down and picking up people through New Jersey and then back into New York state. The countryside was unprepossessing until after Kingston in New Jersey when we started to climb into the Catskill Mountains - very typical wooded landscape for New England, but no hint of Fall colour yet. One highlight was passing through Woodstock, which still clearly cherishes its hippy heritage with plenty of colourful art&craft on display. Robert and I were getting a little worried as we needed to be in our motel to change for Das Liebesverbot by about 7pm at the latest and we were still at Oneonta about 20 miles away at 6pm. We arrived at Cooperstown, the home of baseball (and not much else) at 6:30pm to discover that they had no taxis - we had to call one from Oneonta that arrived at about 6:50pm and, for $60, took us to the 6 miles to the motel where we changed and walked the 3/4 mile to the Alice Busch Opera Theater (and back again afterwards - in full moonlight). Next time we drive!

Share |

Read more...

Lohengrin at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Daryl Colqhoun

To attend was a more or less impulse decision - I was at a conference at Berlin and it turned out that this evening was free, and so I had a look to see what was on. Lohengrin started at 6:00pm and so when business finished at around 5:15pm I pounded off in the direction of the Deutsche Oper and go there with 7 minutes to spare. The first thing I spotted was a man holding up a ticket for sale and so, to save time, I bought it without much regard for where it was in the house. At €27euros it turned out to be quite a long way up, in the upper circle (zwieter Rang). I was pleased to discover that the sound was quite good up there, and I had a good view of the surtitles, but couldn't see much of anything upstage, which included the treatment of the swan.

Share |

Read more...

The Metropolitan Opera Tristan Und Isolde on 28 March 2008

by Richard Mason

The drama started before curtain-up, as a manager came out on stage to be greeted by groans from the audience. Were Ben Heppner and Deborah Voigt doomed never to unite in song? This cursed run of six performances had already suffered from Ben Heppner cancelling the first four, and Deborah Voigt struggling with three different Tristans, falling ill during Act II of the fourth performance and then cancelling the fifth. However, the manager announced that it was 'only good news' as Margaret Jane Wray was ill and to be replaced by Michelle deYoung.

Share |

Read more...

Love/Death: The Tristan Project by Bill Viola

by Katie French

(Note: In previous year articles links are not active)

For those for whom Tristan and Isolde represents Wagner's masterpiece, the recent showing of segments of American video artist Bill Viola's Tristan Project were an aesthetic treat not to be missed.

Share |

Read more...