Wagner and the Snowy Uplands of Utopia

November 29, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, MUSIC, WAGNER |

Christmas Celebration of the Richard Wagner Society of SA, November 28, 2021 A very pleasant lunch ended the Wagner year with regrets for what could have been (The Ring in Brisbane, for example, cancelled for the 2nd year running) although we are now told it’s to return in December 2023.  The RWS (SA) chose the Tribschen Idyll as its Christmas theme, marking that cold day in 1870 when it was first performed on the steps inside Richard’s and Cosima’s house (main image). Presented as a Birthday / Christmas gift from Wagner to Cosima on 25 December, it features all the…

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Wagner in Russia

February 19, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, MUSIC, WAGNER |

13 February 2021: The Wake for Wagner The Richard Wagner Society of South Australia hosted Konstantin Shamray, an expert pianist and musicologist, for a stimulating and enjoyable lecture on Russian Wagnerism (see main image, Konstantin in conversation with Society President Geoffrey Seidel).  Wagner gave six concerts in St Petersburg in 1863, conducting excerpts from Der fliegende Holländer, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger, Die Walküre and Siegfried. His ‘rock star’ presence ensured a wild commercial success, but as Mr. Shamray explained, critical reaction was mixed, particularly among the Russian composers, whose initial adulation morphed into a local set against “disgusting chromaticism,” a surfeit…

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Wagner’s Parsifal

(The Music of Redemption) by Roger Scruton (2020) Some Brief Words From the Wise on Holy Communion “…it belongs to that class of myths which have been dramatised in ritual, or, to put it otherwise, which have been performed as magical ceremonies for the sake of producing those natural effects which they describe in figurative language. A myth is never so graphic and precise in its details as when it is, so to speak, the book of the words which are spoken and acted by the performers of the sacred rite.”* “It would indeed be impossible to devise a mystery…

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Sturm und Drang vs Screaming Jets

March 1, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, MUSIC, OPERA, Opera, WAGNER |

Richard Wagner Society of South Australia, Wake for Wagner, 23 February 2020 A slightly delayed soiree was held for the Master’s Death in Venice (13 February 1883) where we were entertained by helden-baritone Ian Vayne, veteran of many operas here and overseas (his repertoire is set out below).  He spoke of previous productions (including the unnerving experience of German directorial flourishes which forced him at one stage to wear alarmingly raised boots as the Dutchman, high as stilts but far less steady) and how the local ones only got off the ground due to determined and smart folks like Bill…

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John Wegner – Abschied

January 13, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, OPERA, Opera, WAGNER |

John Wegner AO (16 January 1950 – 17 November 2019) The great Australian Heldenbaritone, John was born in Germany and came to Australia at the tender age of 5.  He started working life as a teacher, but became involved in amateur musicals in his spare time. This led to a choral part in Meistersinger for Australian Opera, and he later joined the company (initially as a Bass) at the behest of Richard Bonynge. Eventually, he became a prominent Wagnerian, here and across Europe: inter alia, Klingsor in Parsifal,  Wotan in the 1998 Ring in Adelaide (and at Düsseldorf), Telramund in…

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