Richard Wagner's 15-hour Ring Cycle will be broadcast in its entirety on one day over Easter on BBC Radio 3. The performance, conducted by Daniel Barenboim in Bayreuth, Germany in the early 1990s, will be aired on 17 April, a UK bank holiday. Yet another example of media- friendly programming from Radio 3. But, though the BBC press release doesn't say so, I assume the broadcast is from the commercial recording made of the 1991 Bayreuth Ring. Sorry to be a licence paying party-pooper, but broadcasting a very fine, but fifteen year old, commercial recording non-stop is more a PR event than artistic coup. It is also cheap air-time that doesn't make any use of the five fine orchestras employed by the BBC.
The day-long event, part of Radio 3's 60th birthday celebrations, will include just four 15-minute breaks. The Ring Cycle features Anne Evans as Brünnhilde, Siegfried Jerusalem as Siegfried and John Tomlinson as Wotan. A BBC presenter will guide listeners through the day from 0800 GMT, with synopses and beginners' guides available online. Another Macleod on the horizon is the presenter is classical music 'populariser' Donald Macleod. I just hope the continuity links aren't as banal and intrusive as they were for the BBC's Bach Christmas.
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