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June 2006
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Adrianne Pieczonka & Ben Heppner in Concert For many opera lovers around the world, Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka became a household word this summer after her critically praised performance as Sieglinde at this year's Bayreuth Festival. In this podcast, recorded from the Ballroom of Rideau Hall in Ottawa, you will hear two of Canada's finest singers together in concert for the first time. Superstar heldentenor Ben Heppner joins Ms. Pieczonka to perform Richard Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder, as well as arias from Die Walküre.
Direct download: Adrianne_and_Ben.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:56pm EDT

In Memoriam: Astrid Varnay (1918-2006)

On September of this year, soprano Astrid Varnay died in Munich, Germany. She was one of the great Wagnerian sopranos of our times, and one of the artists chosen by Wieland Wagner to re-open the Bayreuth Festival in 1951. Astrid Varnay was one of the most successful sopranos of the 1950's and 60's. In the mid 1970's she came back to the stage in character roles. In this podcast you will hear her in the role of Brünnhilde in the 1955 stereo recording of Siegfried from the Bayreuth Festspielhaus.

Direct download: astrid_varnay.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:00pm EDT

Bayreuth Festival 2006: Götterdämmerung This performance of Götterdämmerung brings to a close the new production of the Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Bayreuth Festival. One of the shining stars of the last evening was Hans-Peter König who, in the role of Hagen, is positively chilling in the third scene of Act II. You will also hear Christian Thielemann conducting the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra in Siegfried's Funeral Music, as well as the thrilling voice of Linda Watson as Brünnhilde in the climactic Immolation Scene which ends the work.
Direct download: Bayreuth_2006_Twilight.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:29pm EDT

Bayreuth Festival 2006: Siegfried One of the delights of the past two Bayreuth Festivals was listening to tenor Stephen Gould mesmerize audiences with his impressive performances of Tannhäuser. This summer he is making the crowds at the "Green Hill" go wild once again, this time with his volcanic interpretation of the title role in Siegfried. In this podcast you will hear him sing this role, alongside tenor Gerhard Siegel (Mime), in the Act I Forging Song, and in the final scene of Act III with soprano Linda Watson (Brünnhilde).
Direct download: Bayreuth_2006_Siegfried.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:43pm EDT

Bayreuth Festival 2006: Die Walküre  At this year's Bayreuth Festival, one thing is certain: the new production of the Ring is receiving standing ovations thanks to the vision of director Tankred Dorst, the incredible conducting of Christian Thielemann, who leaves no doubt that he is one of the great Wagnerians of our times, and the amazing singing of Adrianne Pieczonka as Sieglinde. In this presentation of excerpts from Die Walküre you will also hear Endrik Wottrich as Siegmund, Linda Watson as Brünnhilde, and Falk Struckmann as Wotan.
Direct download: Bayreuth_2006_Walkure.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:34pm EDT

Bayreuth Festival 2006: Das Rheingold

The highlight of this year's Bayreuth Festival is the new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, staged by director Tankred Dorst, and conducted by Christian Thielemann. This new production of Das Rheingold, the prelude to Wagner's "Ring," premiered on July 26, 2006. In this program you will hear extended excerpts from this performance, which was broadcast live to the world on Radio Bavaria. The cast features baritone Falk Struckmann as Wotan.

Direct download: Bayreuth_Rheingold_2006.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:52pm EDT

The Golden Age of Wagnerian Opera at the MET Most critics will agree that the richest period of Wagnerian singing in The United States took place during the 1940's, and '50's at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. This podcast pays homage to the incredible talent of those historic decades, and features performances by Lauritz Melchior, Helen Traubel, Herbert Janssen, Ramón Vinay, Margaret Harshaw, Otto Edelmann and others. Their voices are heard in live excerpts from Tristan und Isolde, Tannhäuser, and Die Walküre.
Direct download: GoldenAgeMet.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:32pm EDT

Bayreuth 2006 Opening Night: A Preview The Bayreuth Festival will open this year on July 25 with a performance of Der fliegende Holländer, Wagner's first "mature" opera. This production is a controversial modern, Freudian staging of the work that has been greeted with boos year after year since the first time that it premiered in 2003. In this podcast we will listen to excerpts from last year's production (whose cast is almost identical to this summer's scheduled artists) as well as classic and rare examples of past performances of this romantic opera.
Direct download: bayreuthdutchman2005.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:24pm EDT

The 2005 Bayreuth Tristan und Isolde In contrast to the first "complete" recording ever made at the Bayreuth Festival in 1928, which was the subject of our two previous podcasts, we now offer excerpts from the latest Tristan und Isolde from the Festspielhaus. This modern dress production premiered on July 25, 2005, and the action of the opera takes place aboard an ocean liner. This "Ship of Fools" production, as the European press dubbed it, stars soprano Nina Stemme and tenor Robert Dean Smith. The Bayreuth Orchestra is under the direction of Eiji Oue.
Direct download: 2005_Bayreuth_Tristan.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

The 1928 Bayreuth Tristan und Isolde (Part 2) In our second and last podcast in this series celebrating the historic recording of the 1928 Bayreuth production of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, we take a look at the Act II Love Duet and the last act of this work. Although Act III was the most heavily edited portion of this entire recording, and most of the demanding music of this complex score is not heard on this recording, it is interesting to get a glimpse of what these memorable singers must have been like during the actual performances of the work during that summer's festival.
Direct download: 1928_Tristan_Conclusion.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:04pm EDT