Wagner Week: Do Not Grab This 'Ring' Casually

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

There's nothing remotely casual about Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).

Written over 26 years, Wagner's Ring Cycle takes 16 hours to perform from start to finish. Its tale – about a gold ring nabbed from Rhine maidens by an evil dwarf named Alberich – spins through allegories about greed, power and original sin. The "hero," a human warrior who does the bidding of the gods to help return the ring, doesn't appear until part three. It's a drawn-out saga, to put it mildly.

The story has plenty to enchant not just opera lovers but video gamers and geeks immersed in Dungeons and Dragons-style role-play.

Opera fans all have their favorite Ring operas (and haters have the one they hate the least). Take our poll and tell us yours.

Programming Highlights for Wednesday, July 24

7 am Das Rheingold: Suite of orchestral music (Edo de Waart)

9 am  Die Walkure: Ride of the Valkyries (Mariss Jansons)

11 am Gotterdammerung: Siegfried's Rhine Journey (Ivan Fischer)

1 pm  Siegfried: Forest Murmurs (James Levine)

3 pm  Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, WWV 21, Op. 1 (Pier Paolo Vincenzi)

      Das Rheingold: Entry of the Gods into Valhalla (Klaus Tennstedt)

5 pm  Gotterdammerung: Siegfried's Death and Funeral Music  (Sir Adrian Boult)

7 pm  Gotterdammerung: Chorus of Vassals  (Fabio Luisi)

8 pm  The Ring and I

Operavore Highlights for Wednesday, July 24

The Ring Cycle at Bayreuth: Taken from a recently reissued recording by conductor Clemens Krauss and the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra

8 am Das Rheingold

Wotan – Hans Hotter
Donner – Hermann Uhde
Froh – Gerhard Stolz
Loge – Erich Witte
Alberich –Gustav Neidlinger
Mime – Paul Kuen
Fasolt – Ludwig Weber
Fafner – Josef Greindl
Fricka – Ira Malaniuk
Freia – Bruni Falcon
Erda – Maria von Ilosvay
Woglinde – Erika Zimmermann
Wellgunde – Hetty Plumacher
Flosshilde – Gisela Litz
 
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus
Clemens Krauss, conductor
Opera d’Oro – 1504

10:30 am  Die Walkure

Siegmund – Ramon Vinay
Hunding – Josef Greindl
Wotan – Hans Hotter
Sieglinde – Regina Resnik
Brunnhilde – Astrid Varnay
Fricka – Ira Malaniuk
Gerhilde – Brunnhild Friedland
Ortlinde – Bruni Falcon
Waltraute – Lise Sorrell
Schwertleite – Maria von Ilosvay
Helmwige – Liselotte Thomamuller
Siegrune – Gisela Litz
Grimgerde – Sibylla Plate
Rossweisse – Erika Schubert
 
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus
Clemens Krauss, conductor
Opera d’Oro – 1504

2 pm Siegfried


Siegfried – Wolfgang Windgassen
Mime – Paul Kuen
Der Wanderer – Hans Hotter
Alberich – Gustav Neidlinger
Fafner – Josef Greindl
Erda –Maria von Ilosvay
Brunnhilde – Astrid Varnay
Der Waldvogel – Rita Streich
 
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus
Clemens Krauss, conductor
Opera d’Oro – 1504
 
 
6 pm Gotterdamerung
 
Siegfried – Wolfgang Windgassen
Gunther – Hermann Uhde
Hagen – Josef Greindl
Alberich – Gustav Neidlingr
Brunnhilde – Astrid Varnay
Gutrune – Natalie Hinsch-Grondahl
Waltraute – Ira Malaniuk
First Norn – Maria von Ilosvay
Second Norn – Ira Malaniuk
Third Norn – Regina Resnik
Woglinde – Erika Zimmermann
Wellgunde – Hetty Plumacher
Flosshilde – Gisela Litz
 
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus
Clemens Krauss, conductor
Opera d’Oro – 1504

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Comments [3]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

FRANZ LISZT who had been a friend of Wagner for many years and had transcribed many of Wagner's choicest selections maintaining their essence and allowing for virtuoso display with elan, also prepared LOHENGRIN's world premiere when Wagner was for political reasons unable to participate. COSIMA, Liszt's daughter became Wagner's second wife and was intimately involved in all matters that touched on Wagner's aspirations and enterprises. Just as BACH's music is performed by all sorts of instrumental ensembles , even the MOOG, so Wagner's music may be thoroughly enjoyed in piano arrangements, but their original versions with singers are the definitive versions. The incandescent beauty and intoxicating spirituality are so transformational in Wagner's oeuvre that any religious belief may be accommodated and synthesized to replicate the sense of selfless empathy for the welfare of others that the sacrificed UNICO represents to us all. That may explain why so many famous JEWISH singers GEORGE LONDON, RICHARD TAUBER, HERMANN JADLOWKER, MELANIE KURT, FRIEDRICH SCHORR, ALEXANDER KIPNIS, EMANUEL LIST, JONAS KAUFMANN, OTTILIE METZGER, LILLI LEHMANN, HERMANN WEIL, DESZO ERNSTER, HERTA GLAZ, MARGARETE MATZENAUER, SOPHIE BRASLAU, WALTER OLITZKY, GERHARD PECHNER, ESTELLE LIEBLING, MONA PAULEE, GUNTHER TREPTOW, PAULA LENCHNER, ALMA GLUCK, ADOLF ROBINSON, IRENE JESSNER, MAX BLOCH, ERNESTINE SCHUMANN-HEINK, HERMANN SCHRAMM, SIEGFRIED JERUSALEM, PAUL KALISCH, ETC], conductors LEONARD BERNSTEIN, JAMES LEVINE, BRUNO WALTER, ALFRED HERTZ, DANIEL BARENBOIM, GEORG SOLTI, WALTER AND LEOPOLD DAMROSCH, ARTUR RODZINSKY, RICHARD FRANK GOLDMAN AND HIS FATHER THE FOUNDER OF THE GOLDMAN BAND THAT PERFORMED BRASS INSTRUMENT VERSIONS OF THE WAGNER "REP," FRITZ REINER, SERGE KOUSSEVITZKY, FABIEN SEVITSKY, ERICH LEINSDORF, and HERMANN LEVI, the conductor whom Wagner himself appointed to premiere PARSIFAL at Bayreuth, Levi's father being a rabbi, and Levi reportedly denied Wagner's request for him to turn Christian, still Wagner decided LEVI was the best one to cinduct his work, ETC. and stage directors HERBERT GRAF AND LEOPOLD SACHSE dedicated the fullest portion of their careers to performing Wagner's music dramas.

Jul. 25 2013 07:22 PM

Jul. 25 2013 07:37 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

As Bernie has pointed out, it is only to be expected that solo singers should be represented in respect to WAGNER WEEK on your PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHTS. Here a few suggestions of truly representative GREAT, LEGENDARY singers.RICHARD WAGNER's innovations go beyond the use of his introductionj into the opera orchestra of brass, for instance, the Wagner tuba, and woodwind instruments invented for the their immediate use in his galactic projects. Wagner's chromatisim in TRISTAN to enhance the sensual, his use of swiftly changing meters, tempi, and extended or shortened phrase lengths to comport with the ever changing landscape and his mentally conceived synonymous sketching of leit motives, short leading melodies to indicate emotions, persons, things or concepts was extensively utilized throughout his oeuvre. Toscaninni's DIE MEISTERSINGER performance at the Slazburg Festival of 1937 on the Andante CD label, George Szell's Met Opera TANNHAUSER of December 19, 1942 with Melchior, Traubel and Kipnis on THE RADIO YEARS CD label, Artur Bodansky's Met Opera TRISTAN of January 2, 1937 with Melchior, Flagstad and Huehn on THE FORTIES CD label, Fritz Busch's Met Opera LOHENGRIN of January 25th, 1947 with Melchior and Melchior and Traubel on the Walhall CD label, Melchior's final Met Opera broadcast LOHENGRIN, conducted by Fritz Stiedry with Traubel and Varnay on January 7th, 1950 on the Danacord CD label and Etich Leinsdorf Met Opera TRISTAN of 1941 with Melchior, Flagstad and Kipnis on the Melodram CD label are some of the best commercially obtainable examples of Wagnerian singing at its best. For a living, performing currently, heldentenor may I be so bold as to offer my singing, recorded live, of Otello, Tristan, Siegfried, Gotterdammerung Siegfried, Walther von stolzing, Siegmund and Parsifal downloadable from my website www.WagnerOpera.com, going to the Recorded Selections venue.

Jul. 25 2013 02:20 PM
Bernie from UWS

Curious that of all the programming highlights you play from the Ring, there's not a single singer listed. All orchestral music or chorus. Call me naive, but isn't the whole point of opera to hear singers? Odd...

Jul. 24 2013 06:56 AM

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