Apr 8, 2020
In this series of podcasts, Seattle Opera Dramaturg Jonathan Dean gives listeners a taste of nine different types of traditional opera. Music Drama was the personal solution to the problems of presenting opera in nineteenth-century Europe developed by composer/librettist Richard Wagner, opera’s ultimate mad genius. These long, loud, big works challenge artists, audiences, and the art form itself. Their complex music and unique spins on old stories continue to attract, repel, and provoke all who encounter them. Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (1865) serves as an example of the genre, as does the Richard Strauss opera Elektra (1909).
Musical examples on this podcast drawn from Seattle Opera productions of Lohengrin 1994, conducted by Hermann Michael; Parsifal 2003, conducted by Asher Fisch and starring Stephen Milling; Die Walküre, conducted by Robert Spano, 2005 (starring Jane Eaglen) and 2009; Siegfried, 2013, conducted by Asher Fisch; and Tristan und Isolde (1998, conducted by Armin Jordan and starring Jane Eaglen and Ben Heppner; 2010, conducted by Asher Fisch; opening and English horn solo from the 1966 Bayreuth Festival recording conducted by Karl Böhm; conclusion of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Karajan (Deutsche Gramophon 1977); Elektra, Astrid Varnay and Leonie Rysanek with the orchestra of West German Radio conducted by Richard Kraus (Melodram 1953).
Stay tuned for another podcast introducing another kind of opera next week!