Views & Reviews

Review: My August 2019 trip

By John Banner

Just back from my August trip where I attended the Munich and Salzburg festivals. Here are some of the points of interest.

Before Munich I travelled to Wurzburg where they were doing Götterdämmerung at the Mainfrankentheater. As a smaller company they don’t do the Ring but just the operas individually. Next year they are doing Rheingold.

Review: Four days in Budapest, June 2019

By Terry Clarke

Why do musical directors perform the Ring in four consecutive days? Is it because Wagner did it in 1876 and Cosima and successive directors slavishly followed his lead? There seems to me to be no good reason for doing so and many disadvantages. It is hard on the orchestra; the major roles are frequently doubled thus losing continuity. Even the redoubtable Stefan Vinke said he was daunted by doing the two Siegfrieds on successive nights. It is also hard on the audience, especially when the upholstery on the seats is losing its resilience.

Review: 'Das Reingold', at Longborough Festival Opera, June 2019

By Terry Clarke

Set in the heart of the English Cotswolds, Longborough is a country house opera festival which increases its stature year by year. They are now building their second Ring having completed a cycle in 2013. It is a relatively small opera house made from a converted chicken shed with an audience of about 500 and a small pit so that the orchestra for Wagner is cut down to about 80 players.

Review: 'Die Fliegende Holländer', Malmö, Sweden - 27 & 31 March 2019

By Robert Mitchell

The busy opera company in Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city, presented 10 performances of a new production of Der Fliegende Holländer in February and March 2019. The opening performances were conducted by American Steven Sloane. Making her European conducting debut, Australian Jennifer Condon conducted the majority of the rehearsals and led the final two performances to thunderous applause from both audience and cast.

Review: Triumphant reprise of the Stemme/Skelton 'Tristan und Isolde' in Hobart, Tasmania, November 2016

Tristan und Isolde, Hobart 2016

By Colleen Chesterman
On the night of 19 November 2016, a packed audience in the Federation Concert Hall in Hobart heard Swedish soprano Nina Stemme and Australian tenor Stuart Skelton perform an abridged concert version of Wagner’s magnificent Tristan und Isolde under the baton of Marko Letonja, conducting the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Review: The Longborough Ring, 2013

The Longborough Ring 2013

By Terry & Julie Clarke
I have written before about performances of Wagner’s works in small private opera houses in the English countryside. For the past ten years Lizzie and Martin Graham have pursued the almost impossible dream of mounting a full Ring Cycle at their home in Longborough in the beautiful Cotswolds Hills west of Oxford.

Review: 'Tannhäuser' Und Der Sängerkrieg Auf Wartburg, June 2010

By Richard Mason
Vienna Staatsoper – 16th June 2010 [opening night of a new production]
Johan Botha [Tannhäuser], Anja Kampe [Elisabeth], Michaela Schuster [Venus], Christian Gerhaher [Wolfram], Ain Anger [Landgraf], Gergely Németi [Walther], Alexandru Moisiuc [Biterolf], Marcus Pelz [Reinmar], Alois Mühlbacher [Shepherd]; Production: Claus Guth, Christian Schmidt; Lighting: Olaf Freese; Movement: Konrad Kuhn; Conducted by Franz Welser-Möst

Review: A Polished Vienna Ring, 2009

By Jan Bowen
Given the current global financial crisis, Wotan’s difficulties in coming up with the ready to pay for Valhalla almost certainly struck a chord with many modern day cash- strapped members of the audience. The enduring relevance of Wagner’s magnum opus was strikingly evident in the Vienna Staatsoper’s recent Ring Cycle if for no other reason than its timing.

'Parsifal' - A personal view, 1984

By Trevor O'Brien
[Trevor O’Brien’s meditation on the music-drama is a sensitive introduction to ways of responding to this somewhat enigmatic work - Editor]

Is it that Wagner is hard to comprehend, or is it that only at times when one can relate personally to the emotions and experiences of which Wagner wrote that a clear understanding of his work evolves? Personal interaction with Wagner’s operas at various moments in our own development seem to expand the understanding and give a clear insight into our own lives.