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Work of the week – Ryan Wigglesworth: The Winter’s Tale

February 27th, 2017

On 27 February Ryan Wigglesworth’s first opera The Winter’s Tale will receive its world premiere on the main stage at English National Opera. The production is directed by the acclaimed Shakespearean actor Rory Kinnear and features an exceptional cast that includes Iain Paterson, Sophie Bevan and Leigh Melrose. Ryan Wigglesworth himself will conduct.

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Work of the week – Richard Wagner: Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg

February 20th, 2017

On 19 February, Opéra de Monte-Carlo will present the Paris version of Wagner’s Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg with Argentinean tenor José Cura in the lead role, conducted by Nathalie Stutzmann and directed by Jean-Louis Grinda.

The so-called Paris version of Tannhäuser originates from the 1861 Paris performance, which differs in both libretto and score from the opera’s 1845 Dresden premiere. Charles Nuitter translated the opera’s libretto, in close collaboration with Wagner. Musically, Wagner adapted his work to follow the conventions of Parisian opera, but the Paris version was also influenced by Wagner’s compositional development: by this time he had written Tristan und Isolde. The Parisian premiere was not an immediate success, but nevertheless increased Wagner’s popularity in France and to this day is viewed as equal to the Dresden original. Wagner said of the Paris version:

I will therefore write a completely new and more highly developed music for the first scene (call it a ballet) and undertake significant alterations and nominal extensions to Venus whilst retaining the best motifs: for this purpose I have composed new poetic verses for the end of the scene. – Richard Wagner

The determining conflict between excessive and chaste love is most distinct in the Paris version of Tannhäuser. The new opening scene is an extended orgiastic bacchanale contrasting dramatically with the displays of innocent love in the opera. A further addition in the Paris version is the duet at the end of the Venusberg scene, which is clearly related to Tristan und Isolde in its harmonic shape and instrumentation.

Wagner’s Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg: Three versions at a glance

As part of the Richard Wagner Complete Edition, editors Egon Voss, Peter Jost and Reinhard Strohm have dedicated more than thirty years to producing a comprehensive guide to the genesis of Tannhäuser. Based on this edition, Schott Music has published a score, orchestral parts and a piano reduction. These allow comparison between the Dresden and Paris versions, as well as the 1875 Vienna version. Wagner never gave the work a definitive form, leaving the opportunity to combine the different versions in performance.

Evening conversation with Richard concludes with the Shepherd’s song and Pilgrim’s chorus from Tannhäuser. He says he still owes the world Tannhäuser. – diary entry of Cosima Wagner

Tannhäuser und der Sängerkreig auf Wartburg will run from 19 – 28 February at Opéra de Monte-Carlo.

Photo: Alain Hanel

Work of the week: György Ligeti – Le Grand Macabre

February 13th, 2017

This month the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle will present György Ligeti’s opera Le Grand Macabre in a semi-staged production directed by Peter Sellars. Earlier this year the same production was presented by the London Symphony Orchestra also conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

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Work of the week: Gerald Barry – Humiliated and Insulted

February 6th, 2017

This week, Gerald Barry’s Humiliated and Insulted receives its world premiere in Dublin on 10 February. This bold new work for chorus and orchestra will be performed by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Philharmonic Choir with conductor Hans Graf.

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Work of the week: Erich Wolfgang Korngold – Das Wunder der Heliane

January 30th, 2017

This year marks the 120th anniversary of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who would have celebrated his birthday in May. In honour of this occasion, Korngold’s opera Das Wunder der Heliane (The miracle of Heliane) will be performed this week in concert by the Volksoper Wien with conductor Jac van Steen.

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Work of the Week: Peter Eötvös – Love and Other Demons

January 23rd, 2017

On 27 January, the Hungarian premiere of Peter Eötvös’ opera, Love and Other Demons, will take place at the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest. The 2008 world premiere at the Glyndebourne Festival was directed by Silviu Purcãrete, who also directs here, and Eötvös himself will conduct. The opera bases its libretto on and takes its title from Gabriel García Márquez’s novel Del amor y otros demonios.

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Work of the Week – Enjott Schneider: “Ein feste Burg”

January 16th, 2017

To mark the 500th anniversary of The Reformation, the German National Youth Ballet will be presenting the new work “Summit Meetings – Reformation” choreographed by Zhang Disha.  The music includes Enjott Schneider’s symphonic poem Ein feste Burg (A mighty fortress) and will be performed by the German National Youth Orchestra conducted by Alexander Shelley.

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Work of the Week – Jörg Widmann: ARCHE

January 9th, 2017

On 13 January 2017, Jörg Widmann’s new oratorio ARCHE will receive its premiere, marking the opening of the new Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg. Soprano Marlis Petersen and baritone Thomas E. Bauer will perform alongside the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra conducted by Kent Nagano, with the combined choral forces of the Staatsopernchor, the choir of the AUDI Jugendakademie and the Hamburger Alsterspatzen.

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Work of the Week: Bohuslav Martinů  – Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 1

December 17th, 2016

On 17 & 18 December, Bohuslav Martinů’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 1 will be performed by Alban Gerhardt and the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich conducted by Krysztof Urbański at the Musikverein Vienna. They will repeat the performance on 19 December at the Festspielhaus St. Pölten, Austria. Continue reading “Work of the Week: Bohuslav Martinů  – Concerto for Cello and Orchestra No. 1”

Work of the Week – Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto

December 13th, 2016

Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor is a well-established piece in the solo violin repertoire. This month alone, the work will be performed by four different orchestras: on 11 December by the Kodály Philharmonic Debrecen in Budapest, on 11 and 12 by the Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal as well as the Rotterdam Student Orkest and finally on 18 December by the Badische Philharmonie Pforzheim. Continue reading “Work of the Week – Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto”

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