Tag Archives: Wagner

Flying Dutchman SFOpera Review – Who says Wagner is Inaccessible?

In her pre-opera talk on October 28, 2013, Desirée Mays referred to The Flying Dutchman as Wagner-Lite. Since I regard “Lite Beer” as an abomination, I don’t entirely like her term – I’d rather call it Wagner-Accessible or Wagner-User-Friendly. The music is still powerful, but I walk away with a couple of actual melodies running through my head; whereas I walk away from a performance of The Ring thoroughly awed by the cumulative effect and a head full of motifs fighting for my attention.  Continue reading »

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Lohengrin Review – Classic Wagner at its Best

There is opera and there is modern opera – and there is Wagner.  And as I have just discovered, Wagner doesn’t just mean Wagner’s Ring.  Believe it or not, last night, (October 24, 2012) was the first time I had ever seen his Lohengrin.  And have I been missing something wonderful!  Continue reading »

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Götterdämmerung MetHD Review – Conclusion of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle

It seemed like old home week as I settled into my comfortable seat at CinéArts @ Palo Alto Square Theatre at 8:55 AM Saturday morning, February 11, 2012 to begin six hours of immersion in wonderful music and cosmic story-telling.  Sara, Letha Ann, Bruce, and Ellen were with me, as they had been for most of the first three installments of The Ring of the NibelungDas RheingoldDie Walküre, and Siegfried.   Continue reading »

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Siegfried MetHD – A Star is Born

The advance program said that Gary Lehman would sing the part of Siegfried and listed Jay Hunter Morris as his cover.  A week before opening night, Lehman was forced to cancel for health reasons, and Morris took over the role with only one dress rehearsal left before opening night.  He is certainly a quick learner.  Continue reading »

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SF Opera Ring – Part IV, Why Was This Performance So Great?

The quick and easy answer to the title question is – Nina Stemme. More knowledgeable critics than I have praised her singing. For example, Richard Scheinin writes in the San Jose Mercury News, “She has been the cornerstone. She is a singer of arresting power and sheer delicacy, her voice both spacious and focused. And filled with color . . .” Continue reading »

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SF Opera Ring – Part III, How

As Director of the SF Opera Ring Series, Francesca Zambello faced two challenges which are not normally present in opera. First and foremost was the fact that in each act of each opera the music is continuous. Wagner allowed for the fact that it takes a stage crew a substantial number of minutes in real time to make necessary scenery changes by generously filling those minutes with orchestral sound. That’s fine as far as auditory reception goes, but opera also has its visual component. What to do visually during these musical interludes? Continue reading »

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SF Opera Ring – Part II, Who and What

Now I’m ready to tell you about seeing my first live performance of the complete Ring cycle. I’ll begin with an organized list of the dramatis personae, only a few of whom are ordinary mortals. Rather than clutter up the text by giving both the role and the singer each time, I’ll refer only to the role names here and give credit to the singers in an appendix, which lists them all in convenient reference form. Continue reading »

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SF Opera Ring – Part I, Introduction

The past week has been an extraordinary experience. In the course of 6 days I spent some 17 hours in seat R1 of the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco watching and listening to Wagner’s complete Ring cycle; the 3rd and last cycle of the 2011 summer season of the San Francisco Opera. Continue reading »

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Die Walküre at the Met – Part II of Wagner’s epic cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen

PART I    THE OPERA

Last October, as the final curtain descended on Das Reingold, we left our heroes, The Aesir (the gods) ascending the magic rainbow bridge to their new home, Valhalla. Continue reading »

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Das Rheingold HD La Scala Review – See It If You Can

To paraphrase an infamous quote of one of our late presidents, “You seen one Das Rheingold, you seen ‘em all.”  Right?  Wrong!  Continue reading »

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