Search Results for: wagner

Alfred Pringsheim, beer-mug thumper

At the time of the 1876 Bayreuth premiere of Der Ring des Nibelungen, Alfred Pringsheim, the future mathematician and father-in-law of Thomas Mann, then a 25-year-old postgraduate student, displayed a sometimes unseemly fervor for Wagner’s masterpiece. In October of that … Continue reading

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Filed under Curiosities, Humor, Romantic era

Toscanini’s annotations

  Critics, scholars, and performers have long noted that Arturo Toscanini’s reputation for absolute fidelity to the printed score was little more than a public relations myth. Now that the legendary conductor’s annotated scores are available for study, three types … Continue reading

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Filed under Performance practice, Performers

Grace Bumbry, Black Venus

  When Wieland Wagner engaged the 24-year-old Grace Bumbry for the role of Venus in the 1961 Bayreuth production of Tannhäuser he received hundreds of letters of protest, and the German press exploded with sensational headlines about the Black intruder … Continue reading

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Filed under Black studies, Opera, Performers, Romantic era

Bryn Terfel’s physical fitness

  In a 2011 interview, Bryn Terfel noted that a strong constitution is essential for the role of Wotan in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which he was currently performing at the Metropolitan Opera. “If you’re not one hundred percent, … Continue reading

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Filed under Opera, Performers

Louis Sullivan and the Chicago Auditorium

Louis Sullivan’s interior designs for the theater of the Chicago Auditorium Building (1889) reflect the ideas of Wagner and of the transcendentalist and music critic John Sullivan Dwight. Especially significant are the murals, supervised by Sullivan, which allude to multiple … Continue reading

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Filed under Architecture, Iconography

Sämtliche Orgelwerke/Complete Organ Works

In 2013 Breitkopf & Härtel launched the Bach series Sämtliche Orgelwerke/Complete Organ Works with Präludien und fugen I/Preludes and fugues I, edited by David Schulenberg. In this new edition Schulenberg presents a new evaluation of the extant sources, based as faithfully as possible on the manuscripts … Continue reading

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Filed under Baroque era, New editions, New series

A new Otakar Zich edition

The opera Vina (Guilt) by the Czech composer Otakar Zich (above, 1879–1934) was one of the most highly anticipated—and hotly debated—musical premieres at Prague’s National Theatre in 1922. Composed between 1911 and 1915, Vina’s three-act score reflects many trends of … Continue reading

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Filed under New editions, Romantic era

Brahms and the “cremation cantata”

Mathilde Wesendonck (above) is known to music historians for her romantic entanglement with and artistic influence on Wagner in the 1850s. What is less commonly known is that once her relationship with Wagner had cooled she became an admirer and … Continue reading

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Filed under Curiosities, Literature, Romantic era

The Ring recast

Gil Kane’s and Roy Thomas’s graphic novel Richard Wagner’s “The ring of the Nibelung”  (New York: DC Comics, 1997) transforms Wagner’s dramma in musica into dramma in pittura. Kane’s artwork visually follows Wagner’s musical fabric while retaining the means of … Continue reading


Filed under Opera, Visual art

Werner Schroeter and Kulturscheisse

Werner Schroeter’s films abound with the artifice, staginess, recontextualizations, and quotations typical of both camp and kitsch. His achievement in Der Bomberpilot (1970) involves overturning mainstream interpretations of kitsch as a rejected externality by bringing what he called Kulturscheisse into productive play with contemporary … Continue reading

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Filed under Humor