Tristan in Leipzig


Having completed the score of Lohengrin in April 1848, Wagner did one of the things he was best at – getting in his own way through hubris.  In May 1849, he engaged in various revolutionary activities, and by no means benign ones.  Not only does Wagner lose his post in Dresden but, having assisted in violence resulting in the deaths of several of its citizens, has to flee to avoid arrest...

Lohengrin in Leipzig


Stage director Patrick Bialdyga, making his debut at Oper Leipzig, has given us a spare and incisive interpretation of Lohengrin that reveals the very essence and soul of the work. In Bialdyga’s production notes, appearing in the consistently excellent Leipzig programs, the director points out two perceptions of Lohengrin as starting points.  First, though seemingly “grand” in its use of settings...

Tannhäuser in Leipzig


The next step in Oper Leipzig’s chronological presentation of Wagner’s work, his 1845 Tannhäuser, was profoundly undermined and rendered ineffective by the failure of the stage director, Calixto Bieito, to engage the work.  So obstinate and pervasive were the efforts to prevent depiction of the necessary action of the drama, that it was impossible to follow the narrative, understand the...

Fliegende Höllander in Leipzig


Considered as a precursor to Tristan, Meistersinger and Parsifal, Der fliegende Höllander is easy to marginalize or even dismiss.  Considered as the next work after Rienzi, however – as we are invited to do at the Leipzig Wagner 22 festival – it is nothing less than astonishing. Gone is much of the evident structure of opera – recitative leading to aria, pleasing musical ensembles, finales that...

Rienzi in Leipzig


Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s most broadly recognized contribution to English literature is the first sentence of his 1830 novel Paul Clifford: “It was a dark and stormy night.”  This one sentence, in turn, inspired the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest which, for 40 years, has attracted competitive entries for, and awarded international recognition to, the worst opening sentence of a (mercifully) imaginary...

The Wagner Blog

The Wagner Blog is a forum for discussion of contemporary themes arising from the works of Richard Wagner. Discussions relating to Wagner’s musical, literary, theatrical, philosophical, political and theoretic work are all appropriate for this forum.

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