The Life You Give: Richard Wagner *1813

Richard Wagner, born Wilhelm Richard Wagner, on May 22, 1813, in Leipzig, Germany, is the dramatic composer and theorist whose operas and music had a revolutionary influence on the course of Western music, either by extension of his discoveries or reaction against them. Among his major works are The Flying Dutchman (1843), Tannhäuser (1845), Lohengrin… Continue reading The Life You Give: Richard Wagner *1813

The Life You Give: Simon Estes *March 2 1938

One of just a few African-American male singers who has had a top-rank international operatic career, bass-baritone Simon Estes grew up in Iowa in a house without heat or indoor plumbing. He sang in church as a youth, but when he enrolled at the University of Iowa in the late '50s he had never heard… Continue reading The Life You Give: Simon Estes *March 2 1938

The Life You Give: Waltraut Meier *1956

Though she has achieved much acclaim for her Wagnerian roles -- and rightly so, mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier possesses a vast repertory -- not to mention a consummate skill -- in Italian, French, and even Russian opera, from Bizet's Carmen and Tchaikovsky's Jeanne d'Arc to Verdi's Azucena (Il Trovatore) and Saint-Saëns' Dalila (Samson and Dalila). She… Continue reading The Life You Give: Waltraut Meier *1956

René Kollo, in Tannhäuser (1972)

Libretto: Richard Wagner Music: Richard Wagner World premiere: Court Opera, Dresden, 1845Premiere of revised version: Opéra, Paris, 1861René Kollo — Tannhäuser Helga Dernesch — ElisabethWolfgang Brendel — WolframChrista Ludwig — VenusGeorg SoltiVienna Philharmonic Join us, listening at 8:40pm EST, at the Opera, Blood and Tears Club, on Clubhouse. Started: 8:45 / Duration: 3:07 ACT I… Continue reading René Kollo, in Tannhäuser (1972)

“Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg” premieres 176 years ago in Dresden

“Tannhäuser” (“Tannhäuser and the Minnesingers' Contest at Wartburg”) the three act opera by Richard Wagner (music and libretto) premiered on October 19 1845, at the Königliches Hoftheater Dresden (Royal Court Theatre). Painting of Elisabeth praying for Tannhäuser, by Theodor Pixix (1831-1908)

“Das Rheingold”, by Richard Wagner, premiered on September 22 1869, at the National Theatre, Munich

“In the depths of the Rhine, the three Rhinemaidens guard the Rhinegold, a treasure of immeasurable value. The Nibelung dwarf Alberich is dazzled by the sight of it. The girls explain that whoever wins the gold and forges it into a ring will gain power over the world, but must first renounce love. Frustrated by… Continue reading “Das Rheingold”, by Richard Wagner, premiered on September 22 1869, at the National Theatre, Munich

Wagner & Cigar

~Notes from this book on Richard Wagner — Wagnerism / Art and Politics in the shadow of music, by Alex Ross ~Listening to Jessye Norman, Plácido Domingo, and Kurt Moll in “Parsifal”, by Wagner ~The Royal Salomones from Davidoff

Even a long cigar will not outlast a Wagner

Royal Salomones, Davidoff of Geneva, and Wagnerism, by Alex Ross Just finished listening to Parsifal, Richard Wagner’s last opera. The cigar I celebrated with — the Salomones Royal from Davidoff — lasted three hours. The opera goes for 4:30 hours. A long double pleasure.

“Parsifal” premiered on this day of 1882

ACT I Near the sanctuary of the Holy Grail, the old knight Gurnemanz and two sentries wake and perform their morning prayers, while other knights prepare a bath for their ailing ruler Amfortas, who suffers from an incurable wound. Suddenly, Kundry—a mysterious, ageless woman who serves as the Grail’s messenger—appears. She has brought medicine for… Continue reading “Parsifal” premiered on this day of 1882

Earthly Paradise, the Art of Song Singing

On June 21 of 1868 was the world premiere of “Die Meistersänger von Nürnberg”. “The Song of Praise”, scene of The Meistersinger of Nuremberg, as used in 1889 for advertisement by the meat extract company Liebig. (Liebig picture series #135) Join us on Clubhouse to celebrate four hours in the mastery of song singing, as… Continue reading Earthly Paradise, the Art of Song Singing

Tristan and Isolde premiered June 10 1865

Ludwig and Malvina Schnorr von Carolsfeld as Tristan and Isolde, in the Premiere, conducted by Hans von Bülow (Wikipedia) To celebrate this masterpiece (156 years after it premiered), I will be sharing a couple of productions on Clubhouse — June 10 2021 at 1pm EST.

February 13 1883

Around three in the afternoon, one hundred and thirty-eight years ago today, Dr. Friedrich Keppler established that the great master did not survive a heart attack. Friedrich Nietzsche completed the first part of his Thus Spoke Zarathustra in the “sacred hour of Wagner's death”. After reading the news in the papers the next morning, he… Continue reading February 13 1883