AVANT OPERA ON FILM

Boulez Chereau Rheingold

In 1976, at Pierre Boulez’s suggestion, Wolfgang Wagner brought in the 31 year old progressive French stage and film director Patrice Chereau to produce a new “Der Ring Des Nibelungen” cycle for the centenary of the Bayreuth Festival, and aptly teamed him with Boulez as conductor. The result scandalized and shook the entire opera world. Conservative musicologists, such as arch conservative NY times critic Harold C. Schonberg, loudly expressed moral outrage and pointed to this production as an “opening of the flood gates” (some hysterically labeled this a Marxist “Ring”). Four years later, television director Brian Large filmed the Chereau/Boulez Ring and televised it over a period of a week. It was a ratings and critical smash.
Over 30 years later, this production’s power and legend remains undiminished. It was the first complete filmed “Ring” and is now looked upon by most as pioneering and the greatest of its kind.

BOULEZ CHEREAU RING

The stand out cast, which includes Donald McIntyre, unforgettable as Wotan and Heinz Zednick as Loge personified,has hardly been bettered. Richard Peduzzi’s stage design and Large’s camera work are exemplary, but this remains Chereau and Boulez’s Ring.

Donald McIntyre's Wotan. Boulez. Chéreau Das Rheingold.

Chereau, who was unfamiliar with Wagner and the work, endows this Ring with a fresh perspective. His is a penetrating, industrial age, Freudian ring, idiosyncratically interpreted in political, social and psychological terms.

BOULEZ CHEREAU WAGNER RING

The avant-garde advocate Boulez, who had previously conducted a radical, acclaimed “Parsifal”, brings an equally fresh perspective to this much interpreted work. The Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, accustomed to playing Wagner with opaque rolling thunder,came dangerously close to striking in protest or Boulez’s complex, brisk, diaphanous, minimalist approach. Continue reading “AVANT OPERA ON FILM”

Luigi Nono: La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura

While Gidon Kremer’s premier version (below) is more compact, extrovert and focused, the Arditti/Richard version is more open spaced and clear as a bell. This version from Melise Mellinger (violin) and Salvatore Sciarrino (sound projection) is more exploratory. Sciarrino refers to “La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura” as Nono’s diary, containing glimpses of the work’s creation; Sounds of the composer and Kremer talking, juxtaposed against moving furniture, electro-acoustic trains, etc. Sciarrino describes the tape as the music’s soul with the music itself being “discovered” alongside the pre-recorded sounds. Likewise, the performance seems to find itself along the way, taking the listener … Continue reading Luigi Nono: La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura

LUIGI NONO: PROMETEO, TRAGEDIA DELL’ ASCOLTO

Conductor Peter Hirsch, who worked with the composer and Claudio Abbado on the premiere,has thoroughly done his homework in this clear as a bell performance. Not only is the performance itself lucid and attune to the all those essential,subliminal,nuanced details, but the recorded sound is crystalline,ideal. Also,the packaging is handsomely mounted with complete listening score, commentaries,history etc,making this the quintessential recording and preferable to the out of print EMI version . This is by no means a casual listen or something one comes to terms with in a single hearing, but like “La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura”,with repeated exposure,the complexities,immense … Continue reading LUIGI NONO: PROMETEO, TRAGEDIA DELL’ ASCOLTO