Your Favorite Wagner Opera (That Isn't The Ring)

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Tristan & Isolde" with Jessica Giannone, Andrew Mauney (Dixie Sheridan)

The annual Wagner Festival opens this week in Bayreuth, Germany. For the first time in several years, there's no Ring cycle on the program. Three Wagner operas that are on tap this summer, however, are Tristan and Isolde, Tannhauser and Parsifal. You told us Tristan and Isolde was your favorite and we played orchestral music from it at 12 noon.

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Comments [31]

Stan from Northampton

How can one decide? Meistersinger is a masterpiece quite separate and distinct from Tristan or Parsifal - all three should be in their respective categories as the most sublime "comedy", "tragedy - love affair", "allegory". Of course, the Ring is in a class by itself on many levels; the epic to end all epics!

Aug. 03 2011 10:00 AM
Frank Feldman

I can no longer sit through a Wagner opera from beginning to end, BUT, I'll vote for Act 2 Meistersinger, along with the Act 3 quintet, much of Parsifal when Gurnemanz keeps his mouth shut, and the Tristan love duet, beginning at "O sink hernieder" and ending when that big load King Marke begins to sing.

Jul. 27 2011 10:13 PM

Please don't deny me "o du mein holder abendstern".

Jul. 27 2011 04:44 PM
Carolyn from New York

Even if it's over, Tristan is my winner - only by a hair over Lohengrin.

Jul. 27 2011 01:51 PM
Jan Schwartz from Vacaville, CA

I'm pleased that Tristan & Isolde won the showdown... but WHY didn't you play some of the vocal score? The orchestration is beautiful, but if we're voting on OPERA, we should have been able to hear some singing...

Jul. 27 2011 12:21 PM
eleanor from Edgewater, New Jersey

Sorry that I missed the showdown.
This was to be my first time.

I would have voted for Parsifal. Has the Met plans for doing Parsifal in the near future. I had seen it last with Placido Domingo.

Eleanor

Jul. 27 2011 12:07 PM
Stan

Tristan and Isolde gets my vote for the work to play, and Jeff Spurgeon should get a special "nooner" award for his comment this morning that this piece is so lushly erotic and romantic that you'll want a cigarette later.

Jul. 27 2011 11:59 AM
Miles

I chose Tristan and Isolde because love ending in tragedy trumps power and majesty, as masterful as the latter may be. The love and death music of this opera is magnificently heartrending, and Wagner's genius is further evidenced by the fact that much of the music that is written for voice and orchestra can also stand alone without the singing, and indeed is often performed that way. Few, if any, composers have ever been able to achieve such a feat.

Jul. 27 2011 11:57 AM
judith from boston, ma

In response to Felix of Woodbridge, NJ - I could hardly say that I dislike most of Wagner's music if I hadn't listened to much of it, now could I? That would be very short-sighted of me, and unfair to Wagner. Nonetheless, having done so, I still maintain that I dislike most of his music. I also dislike vanilla ice cream, which most people in this country enjoy very much. It's a matter of taste.

Jul. 27 2011 11:30 AM
Listener

Tristan and Isolde will probably win, in part, because it's first on the list. I didn't intend to vote, but I voted because I accidentally clicked on the Tristan and Isolde box, which was on top. I mistakenly thought that by clicking on each box we might be able to hear a little selection from each work.

Jul. 27 2011 11:26 AM
grace from Hartsdale,NY

I'll take Parsifal though I know that Tristan will win.
Thanks anyway,
grace

Jul. 27 2011 11:15 AM
George

The Ring and Die Meistersinger have historically been my favorites, but I have recently come to appreciate the unrivaled subtlety and yet power of Parsifal (anomolous but true).

Jul. 27 2011 10:50 AM
Tom from Montclair

Wagner is not my favorite composer, by any means. His music is great; his views, not so much. Tannhäuser gets my vote, but I'd really rather hear The Flying Dutchman.

Jul. 27 2011 10:45 AM
Maureen Sullivan from NJ

I have requested that the Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde be played at lunch hour for the last two weeks! I hope that it wins and you play it today. As I mentioned in my post for lunch hour request, it is a great piece to fall in love to and with.

Jul. 27 2011 10:38 AM
Siggy from New York, NY

I voted for Parsifal, which is my second favorite - my favorite is Dutchman, but it was not on the ballot.
For any listeners who are not yet "into" Wagner - give it time, it grows on you. And it's never too late to learn new things, especially when music is involved!

Jul. 27 2011 10:36 AM
john r wilson jr

Maybe Tristan is leading in the vote, but Parsifal is my favorite by far.

Jul. 27 2011 10:34 AM
Andre from Manhattan

It's a shame that the Flying Dutchman isn't on the list as it was my first Wagner opera I was able to see live. I appreciate his more tuneful works. Tannhäuser is one of these, with some of the Venus music being the most rousing. Perhaps we'll even get to hear a bit of singing in the opera clips played rather than orchestral music and overtures all the time?

Jul. 27 2011 10:30 AM
Gary from Dallas, TX

All Wagner and Wagnerians have a special place in my heart as through my late father's Skandinavian heritage I was related to two, Melchior and Nilsson. Tannhauser was, alas the only Wagner where I got to hear Nilsson live as Melchoir had retired by the time I was old enough to understand what I was hearing. What power and majesty in the lines given to Elisabeth by Herr Wagner, sumptuous music that lives for the ages.

Jul. 27 2011 10:27 AM
Nancy Passow from Englewood, NJ

In college I took a music appreciation class; we had "listening" sessions outside of class (given by the grad student aide). I still remember listening with him to the finale of Tristan & Isolde, while we were eating our lunches. OMG, talk about beautiful, awe-inspiring music (needless to say, my sandwich didn't get finished).

Jul. 27 2011 10:23 AM

My beloved niece played "Tannhauser" with her HS orchestra. I still have beautiful memories of that day!

Jul. 27 2011 10:01 AM
Rita from New Jersey

Wagner's operas don't thrill me, except for Tannhauser. The first time I saw it was with Gwyneth Jones as Venus.She was unforgettable.

Jul. 27 2011 10:00 AM

"Tannhäuser" is far and away my favorite of Wagner's operas, and indeed one of my favorites by any composer. I don't love all of Wagner's music, but "Tannhäuser" is something special, especially the Pilgrims' chorus in the last act. It gives me goosebumps!

Jul. 27 2011 09:47 AM
Felix from Woodbridge, NJ

Judith (of Boston, MA from 1st comment): I voted thumbs down to your comment 'cause you don't know how much you've missed out by not immensing/indulging into Wagner music. Start doing so, maybe it's not too late.

Jul. 27 2011 09:28 AM
Judith Sebestyen from boston, ma

I'm hardly a fan of Wagner's, in fact, I dislike most of his music. However, based on the overture alone, I would like to hear something from Rienzi, even though it's not one of the options for today's showdown. Perhaps another time?

Jul. 27 2011 09:02 AM
Menon Dwarka from NYC

Tristan. This music seems to stop time in several places, creating an eternal space where only the love of the two main characters exists.

Jul. 27 2011 08:52 AM
Stan Lenkowsky from NY, NY

How about "Parsifal" a break, folks. There are plenty of orchestral interludes that give me the goosebumps. And we don't hear "Parsifal" on the radio, except on Good Friday.

Jul. 27 2011 08:49 AM
concetta nardone from Elmont, NY

Tannhauser. The finale still sends chills through me after all these years.

Jul. 27 2011 08:10 AM
Tim Brown from Washington, DC

Back in the day, I wore the grooves off of my old LPs of both Tristan & Isolde, and Tannhauser. Love them both but it is Tristan that has the staying power, and the one that gets my vote.

Jul. 27 2011 07:39 AM
Counce from CT

When I tried to vote - the computer said I had already entered the contest. I have not voted yet to my knowledge. I vote forTannhauser.

Jul. 27 2011 07:30 AM
Ira Bindman from NYC

Wagner is not my favorite composer, because of his anti-semetic leanings, but his music is sublime. Of the 3 choices, I love Tristan and Isolde best--it's sad love theme touches my heart. Please play that one.

Jul. 27 2011 07:16 AM
Lee Lieberman from Fort Lee, NJ

I like Der Meistersinger best.
I especially remember classic performances by Frederick Schorr with his incredible legato as Hans Sachs.

Jul. 27 2011 01:06 AM

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