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Reviews 2011

Die Meistersinger at Glyndebourne - Colleen And Michael Chesterman, Charles Manning

In June this year, Glyndebourne Opera in the Sussex countryside near Lewes opened its season with Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg. This followed a successful 2003 production of Tristan und Isolde, since the larger new theatre built in 1994 enables Glyndebourne to tackle such operas. So great was the enthusiasm that the opera was sold out to members before it reached public sale; Charles went with a subscriber earlier in the season and through obsessive persistence and many 'phone calls we obtained tickets late in the season.

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A Triumphant 'Ring' for San Francisco - Review By Committee Member, Katie French

The San Francisco 'Ring' Cycle is most certainly a triumph. It is not just a triumph for Director Francesca Zambello, but for all who clearly worked as a team on this splendid project - glorious, confident singers (for many of whom this was their first 'Ring'); the tireless Conductor Donald Runnicles, who was clearly inspirational for his musicians; Set Designer Michael Yeargan and Costume Designer Catherine Zuber, whose concepts, when brought to fruition, allowed performers to be at ease on stage in a created world which they clearly felt enhanced their roles; and Lighting and Projection Designers who used today's constantly developing technologies to intensify the understanding and appeal of Wagner's masterwork.

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San Francisco Ring Cycle (Cycle 2) - Max Grubb

The west coast of the United States has been alive to the sound of Wagner' Ring over the last three summers with respective productions at Seattle (2009), Los Angeles (2010) and San Francisco (2011). Having attended all productions, I think it is worth drawing some brief comparisons. Simon Wandsworth's Seattle production, termed the 'Green Ring,' was "inspired by the natural beauties of the forests and mountains of the Pacific Northwest", Achim Freyer's, dubbed the 'Star Wars' Ring, stressed 'timelessness' evoking futuristic images, using hand-held batons to simulate lasers and geometric images of circles, lines and spirals on a steeply raked rotating disc to evoke another time and place. By contrast, Francesco Zambello's San Francisco Ring is termed the 'American Ring.' It encompasses the whole American continent and unfolds in chronological sequence commencing with the Californian 'Gold Rushes' of the 1850's and concluding with the end of the twentieth century. There is much to like in this production. The text in the surtitles is updated to reflect contemporary American vernacular and there is extensive use of moving back projections, particularly in the orchestral preludes, to set the geographical context, not dissimilar to those used in the 2007/2008 Valencia Ring staged by La Fura Dels Baus, but without the acrobatics.

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Wagner Society in NSW Inc member Deborah Humble soars above them all as Erda in Auckland!

Some preliminary thoughts on last night's performance

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Brunnhilde's Trials Beyond Wagner's Dreams

Anthony Tommasini, on 23 April 2011 in another of his always thoughtful reviews for The New York Times reported on the next instalment in the Metropolitan Opera's Ring Cycle. He drew attention to the wonders and pitfalls of Robert Lepage's evolving production. His account gives us some idea of the challenges facing the performers in negotiating their way around, along, over and on top of the innovative set. Tommasini's first memorable moment recalled for your Editor the opening of Das Rheingold, in which the sinuous movement of the planks, together with the evocative lighting, brilliantly suggested the flowing of the Rhine River: (Click on READ MORE to continue this article)

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