Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A fresh face in the house of Wagner


Today's Guardian reports - The 29-year old great-granddaughter of the German composer Richard Wagner will face a crucial moment in her young career tonight when her production of the nation's most controversial opera is staged for the first time. The critical success or failure of Katharina Wagner's (above) Bayreuth Festival debut will not only decide on the future of what is arguably one of the most important musical extravaganzas in the world, but also on who takes pole position in the Wagner dynasty.

Everything depends on the reactions to her production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - from the critics and from those of her father and festival head, 87-year-old Wolfgang Wagner. If the opera is thought a success, she is likely to be chosen by the Wagner Foundation as the successor to the Richard Wagner throne.


The 2007 Bayreuth Festival performances, including today's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, are being webcast on Polskie Radio Dwoja, Warsaw. Click here to listen via the Radeo internet player, and here for schedules. And for more on the Wagner dynasty follow this path.

Picture credit MorgenWeb, and what a change to run a Bayreuth story that doesn't use a picture of Wolfgang Wagner or Hitler! Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

5 comments:

Pliable said...

3.15pm BST July 25 - the technology, and the vision, works.

I'm sitting here in East Anglia listening live to the Prelude from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg via Polskie Radio Dwoja, Warsaw and the Radeo internet player.

The sound quality is excellent - viva internet radio!

Pliable said...

Very useful list of contemporary music internet radio stations here.

Scott said...

...when her production of the nation's most controversial opera

I realize that these aren't your words, but I'd be interested in your opinion as to why Meistersinger has this "honour," and whether this opinion is more broadly held.

Pliable said...

Scott, as you say the Guardian's words, not mine.

I would guess Meistersinger is considered controversial due to its connections with Hitler, who said:

I once said that Meistersinger is really one of Richard Wagner's finest operas, so since then it's supposed to be my favourite opera and I don't get to hear anything else.

Scott said...

Interesting. I had been wondering if it was more a "Hitler association" than a "content judgment."

I suppose it's a comment on the power of the "Nazi association," given that Wagner died several years before Hitler was born. It's true that there's the connective tissue of anti-semitism, which is tough to ignore.

I read your post in the context of several items I've read recently about the Nazi associations of various musicians. I got started on it through Gerhard Husch, and then wandered through Clemens Krauss, Karl Bohm, Schwarzkopf, and so on (not to ignore your items on Furtwangler, etc.).

As an aside, I once asked an American friend if he knew that the commander of the US forces during the first Gulf War had an aunt who was a member of the Nazi party.

The whole question of "associations" and "attitudes" is a fascinating one. I find it tough to really decide what effect (if any) it should have on my attitude toward the creators of art, and what effect (if any) the passage of time should have. If Buxtehude were shown to be a virulent anti-semite, should I not pay money to hear his music?