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Bayreuth 2010: Of Rats and Men and Lohengrin

No stranger to controversy these days The Bayreuth Festival opened at the end of July with a new production of Lohengrin directed by one of the best-known Regietheater directors, Hans Neuenfels. His tongue-in-cheek take on Richard Wagner's most romantic opera involves setting it in a land overrun by rats. There was laughter at the Festspielhaus, there were loud boos, and there was also the beautiful singing of Jonas Kaufmann and Annette Dasch who ignited opening night with their passionate singing.

Direct download: Bayreuthlohengrinpodcast2010.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:23pm EDT

Bayreuth 2007: Katharina's Meistersinger The Bayreuth Festival opened with a much anticipated production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg directed by Katharina Wagner, daughter of Wolfgang Wagner. As the heir apparent to the family business, Katharina's new production shows that the Festival wants to continue breaking with the traditions of the past. For some, her new production is bold and innovative, while others have dismissed it as insulting Eurotrash. As you will hear, the boos and cheers mixed during this year's opening night.
Direct download: 2007_Bayreuth_Meistersinger.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:06pm EDT

Toscanini at Salzburg: The 1936 Meistersinger Arturo Toscanini was the most sought-after conductor in the 1930's. He became the first Italian to conduct at Bayreuth, and would have continued performing there had the Third Reich not come to power in Germany. He left Bayreuth in protest and went to the Salzburg Festival. His complete recording of Die Meistersinger from 1937 is readily available, but the fragment that exists from a 1936 performance, taken from a shortwave radio recording, is very rare. We present this historical document in this podcast.
Direct download: Toscanini_1936.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:41pm EDT

Richard Wagner: Before the Operas Richard Wagner composed his Symphony in C Major at the age of nineteen. It is clearly the work of a young man influenced by the towering figure and musical innovations of Ludwig van Beethoven. The symphony was given its premiere during the composer's youth, and then remained dormant for decades until Wagner himself resurrected it, leading the orchestra as a birthday gift for his wife Cosima. This private performance took place at Teatro La Fenice in Venice a few months before the composer's death.
Direct download: Symphony_in_C_Major.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:12pm EDT

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