Home of Echoworld Communications

To Echo Germanica Homepage
April 2002 - Nr. 4


The Editor
Messestadt Leipzig
Vorsicht Satire!
Antje berichtet
Hier O.K. Berlin!
Purpose of Community
Russian Gala
Musical History
World of Olive Oil
Wine & Cheese Show
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Beethoven's 175th
"The Sphere"
Schönste Bücher
Greek Art & Ideas
Boris Becker in NY
Pinakothek der Moderne
Cleaner Environment
Berlin Funding...
Eiszeit Boot
German-American Exchange
West-Oestlicher Diwan
Christian von Krockow
Romance on the Rhine
Third Gold Medal
Students choose Germany
Soccer World Cup Test


TWIG - Richard Wagner composed opera as Gesamtkunstwerke — all-encompassing worlds of art. The astounding length of some of these works is one powerful element in helping "the public forget the confines of the auditorium, and live and breathe only in the artwork which seems like life itself, and on the stage which seems the wide expanse of the whole world," the composer wrote. But this length also famously tries the stamina of even the most ardent opera goers. They must train ear and body for five hours of Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg and fortify themselves for the four-day pageant of Der Ring der Niebelungen.

But while the audience rests comfortably on plush velvet seats, allowing itself to be transported to Wagner’s musical realms, those on stage and in the orchestra pit do the real work. Now Daniel Barenboim and his Deutsche Staatsoper have set themselves the heroic challenge of performing not just a single cycle, but the entire canon of mature Wagner operas in an unprecedented span of just two weeks.

To achieve this, orchestra members will be rotated to relieve tired trumpeters and timpanists after each performance. Some of the world’s best Wagner singers, including mezzo soprano Waltraud Meier, soprano Deborah Polaski and bass John Tomlinson, will also take their turns on the stage. But Barenboim, a vigorous 59, will be on the podium every night to conduct all 40 hours of music.

It would be hard to stop him. The Wagner marathon, which began Sunday (March 24), is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for the Argentine-born, Israeli conductor. Barenboim says this condensed presentation will enable audiences to explore the trajectory of Wagner’s musical development over a long and influential compositional career: Rienzi, Wagner’s first opera, premiered in 1842; Parsifal debuted just a year before the composer’s death almost 40 years later. "A whole world stretches along the path from the rather conventional Der Fliegende Hollaender (The Flying Dutchman) to the zenith of his creations, Parsifal," Barenboim says. The conductor also wants these performances to demonstrate that "Tristan und Isolde, that nocturne filled with erotic tension, is the key to the music of the entire 20th century. Without Tristan there would be no Strauss, no Mahler, no Schoenberg, no Debussy," he asserts.

The marathon "is probably unique in interpretation history in that the entire staging cycle was produced by one and the same production team," said Georg Quander, the Staatsoper’s general manager. Not even Bayreuth, the celebrated summer festival of Wagner’s music, has attempted such an intensive project. The operas will be performed in roughly the same order in which they were written. And after all 40 hours of building worlds and tearing them down with his conductor’s wand, how will Barenboim celebrate? By doing the whole thing over again. The cycle will be repeated beginning April 13.

To Top of Page

Send mail to webmaster@echoworld.com  with questions or comments about this web site.
For information about Echoworld Communications and its services send mail to info@echoworld.com .

Copyright ©2010 Echoworld Communications