Valentine’s Day

February 15, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, MUSIC, Ulalume, WAGNER |

St. Valentine (from 'Picnic at Hanging Rock'

(2015 – ASO) After champagne and real Turkish delight, and the annual re-run of Picnic at Hanging Rock, it was time to head through Adelaide’s February furnace to the Festival Theatre, where Arvo Volmer conducted the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s version of a concert, curiously and incongruously entitled “Passionate Tchaikovsky”.  We had the Russian composer’s Violin Concerto, with Ilya Gringolts sublime on lead violin, wearing a frock coat straight from Fiddler on the Roof.  Written in 1878 to console its creator for the unfortunate and instantly-regretted decision to marry the loopy and self-centred Antonina Milyukova, the piece was not played till…

Continue Reading →

Der Freischutz

February 5, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, Opera, THEATRE, Ulalume, WAGNER |

(By Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber, premiering in Berlin on 18 June, 1821) It is good news that Melbourne Opera staged this neglected gem not so long ago – bad news that TVC couldn’t get there to see it, and at the Athanaeum what’s more!  It was reviewed by Peter Burch in ‘The Australian’.  Quite daring when first staged in 1821, as much for the lower class characters as the ghostly theme that enchanted a young Wagner, Weber’s music is accomplished and highly accessible (touches redolent of Beethoven, and even, in overture, AIbioni) with effects used to great advantage, especially in the…

Continue Reading →

Wagner, Verdi and Murano Bugs in Venice

February 4, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | TRAVEL, Ulalume, WAGNER |

2013 Our train from Naples was not direttissima but it sure was a case of molto ritardo.   An unexpected change in Firenze, back a couple of stops on a local caboose, onward through Bologna and finally, we were emptied out on a water taxi through the Grand Canal to Locanda Vivaldi (Venice being his birthplace).   We dined there on a lovely high terrace overlooking Canal Grande, heroically overlooking the warning note: A volte alcuni prodotti potrebbero essere passati per la catena del freddo which we translated as ‘Sometimes some products might be passed by the cold chain’ which we parsed…

Continue Reading →

The Richard Wagner Society

January 22, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, Modern Music, MUSIC, Opera, Ulalume, WAGNER |

Wagner laughing at himself

14 April 2014 The Richard Wagner Society of SA presented Timothy Sexton, Artistic Director of State Opera SA, to present the inaugural Brian Coghlan Lecture in honour of its Past President.  Sexton, who presented the Glass Trilogy in August 2014, was given the difficult brief of proving a link between Wagner and Glass, which he heroically did in an erudite and entertaining way, enlivened by musical examples.  Although TVC‘s response to the lecture’s sub text “Was Richard Wagner the first experimental minimalist composer?” is a resounding “No”, we are now prepared to water down that ‘narrow-minded’ position a tad. Wagnerites…

Continue Reading →

Tristan und Isolde

November 5, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, MUSIC, Opera, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WAGNER |

Beware matchmakers.  Beware writing opera when in lust with Mathilde Wesendonck.  Beware love-of-death; it leads to the death of love, or death-porn.  Wagner must have seen himself as Tristan to Mathilde’s Iseult, Lancelot to her Guinevere, when he shelved the Ring and forged perhaps the most beautiful opera of all. T & I poses a number of problems.  Its staging should be spare yet lush.  It requires a measure of taste and discretion, for Wagner wrote this work while well-unzipped (he expected the work to be censored unless it was played as parody) and the material can stray dangerously near…

Continue Reading →

© Copyright 2014 The Varnished Culture All Rights Reserved. TVC Disclaimer. Site by KWD&D.