Richard Wagner has aroused both the most unyielding passions and the fiercest hatred alike. Quickly drawn to the world of theatre, in his childhood Wagner staged the mythological dramas he wrote and had his mother, brothers and sisters play their parts. He managed to accomplish great projects from his self-taught education. A choir master in 1833, a conductor in 1834, he composed his first operas in the great Germanic singspiel tradition.
After having composed Rienzi, Richard Wagner left town under threat from his creditors. Years of exile began. His creative genius received uneasy welcome in Paris and the composer took refuge in Switzerland where he wrote some theoretical essays. The passionate love affairs and composition of Tristan and Isolde between 1852 and 1857 were years of great productivity. In 1864, Wagner received the unconditional support of the Bavarian king, Ludwig II whose excessive Romanticism entirely suited the composer’s genius. Having finally gained financial support, Wagner abused the king’s trust and built himself a temple in Bayreuth solely for the performances of his own music. The drama of Parsifal was conceived for this location.
If Richard Wagner dreamed of a total art, he succeeded via opera in unifying poetry, drama, music, theatre and visual arts. He also forged a totally new harmonic and instrumental language whose expressive intensity remains completely coherent to the present day. Imbued with magical mythology, Wagner discovered unique vocal phrasing, a mysterious atmosphere and powerful ideas, which would seem unsurpassable for the generations to follow.
Pinchas Steinberg, Jorge Lavelli – With Torsten Kerl (Rienzi) and Marika Schönberg (Irène) – Théâtre du Capitole
Christian Thielemann, Jan Philipp Gloger – With Ricarda Merbeth (Senta) and Franz-Josef Selig (Daland) – Bayreuth Festival
Peter Schneider, Christoph Marthaler – Robert Dean Smith (Tristan), Robert Holl (King Marke) – Bayreuther Festspielhaus
Sebastian Weigle, Katharina Wagner – Charles Reid (Kunz Vogelgesang), Klaus Florian Vogt (Walther von Stolzing) – Bayreuther Festspielhaus
Kent Nagano, Nikolaus Lehnhoff – Tom Fox (Friedrich von Telramund), Klaus Florian Vogt (Lohengrin) – Festspielhaus Baden-Baden
2004 Lucerne Festival Opening Concert
A documentary by Hans Christoph von Bock
David McVicar, Vladimir Jurowski – Marco Jentzsch (Walther von Stolzing), Anna Gabler (Eva), Michaela Selinger (Magdalene)...
Boston Symphony Orchestra, 1959-1961
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Europakonzert 2010, Oxford
Waldbühne 2010: Night of Love – Berliner Philharmoniker
Wagner, Dvořák, Gershwin, Bizet, Bernstein
Angela Denoke, Burkhardt Fritz, Waltraud Meier, René Pape
A documentary on Nikolaus Lehnhoff's production – With Keng Nagano, Waltraud Meier, Thomas Hampson...
Lothar Zagrosek, Peter Konwitschny – Albert Bonnema (Siegfried), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Gutrune) – Staatsoper Stuttgart
Lothar Zagrosek, Joachim Schlömer – Bernhard Schneider (Froh), Wolfgang Probst (Wotan), Robert Künzle (Loge) – Staatsoper Stuttgart
Lothar Zagrosek, Jossi Wieler – Jon Fredric West (Siegfried), Wolfgang Schöne (The wanderer), Gabriela Herrera (A woodbird) – Staatsoper Stuttgart
Lucerne Festival 2003
London Philharmonic Orchestra