Scion's "Meistersinger" Eagerly Awaited
Going Backstage With Bayreuth Festival Singers [Real Player]
Opera-less in the Realm of Wagner
Opera 101 [Macromedia Flash Player]
Opera Scores: Richard Wagner
Art, Life, and Theories of Richard Wagner
In his "Autobiography", Richard Wagner remarked that when he was seven, his stepfather said to his mother, "What if he should have a talent for music?" Of course, Wagner's own narrative in his autobiography seems to be a bit heavy on the foreshadowing, but his marvelous works and his ideas about Gesamtunkstwerk (or "total art") remain tremendously important within the world of music and the arts more generally. Since 1876, Wagner devotees have made the pilgrimage to his beloved Festspielhaus in the Bavarian town of Bayreuth. The festival began this past Wednesday with a new production of "Die Meistersinger von Nurmberg", under the direction of Katharina Wagner, the great-granddaughter of Richard Wagner. Katharina's work on this new production has also received a great deal of media attention, as some commentators believe she will take over the festival from her father, Wolfgang. Obtaining tickets to the Bayreuth festival is quite difficult, as the waiting list is over ten years long at present. This past year, approximately half a million people applied for the annual allocation of 55,000 tickets. Wagnerians are never easily deterred, and there have even been those without tickets who have journeyed to Bayreuth looking forlorn and held up signs that simply read "Suche Karte", which means "Looking for Ticket".
At the first link, visitors can read Kate Connolly's piece from this Wednesday's Guardian which discusses Katharina Wagner and the future of this celebrated music festival. The second link will take readers to a Washington Post article which elaborates on some of the additional controversies surrounding the succession of power at Bayreuth. Moving on, the third link will take visitors to an excellent piece from Deutsche Welle that includes audio interviews with some of the festival's singers, including Stephen Gould who is Siegfried is this year"s production of "Der Ring des Nibelungen". The fourth link leads to a travel essay from the New York Times on what to do with (or without) a ticket to the festival while in the charming city of Bayreuth. For those who don't know their recitative from their Rheingold, the Seattle Opera has created the fifth site offered here, titled "Opera 101". It includes sections on Wagner, a "First Timer's Guide", and a chronological history of the art form. Persons interested in getting a small group together to perform "Parsifal" will appreciate the sixth site, which contains vocal scores for a number of operas by Wagner and other composers, including Mozart, Handel, and Purcell. The last link will take users to a digitized version of some of Wagner's better-known prose works, such as "A Pilgrimage to Beethoven".