Happy Bicentennial Birthday Wagner!

Today is the 200th birthday of everyone’s favorite German marathon opera composer, Richard Wagner.  I know I’m kind of ready to move on after all the Wagner-festivities of the past season…  To celebrate his first centennial, in 1913, German film pioneer Carl Froelich directed this silent autobiographical movie:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_9PzkzsQxc&w=350&h=300]

Interestingly, to avoid royalty fees for using Wagner’s music, they instead commissioned Italian-born, German-based composer Giuseppe Becce to create the original, Wagnerian-ish score.  As if that wasn’t enough, Becce even played the title role!  Such an auspicious omen for an aspiring composer, literally stepping into the role of a great predecessor, but doesn’t seem to have rubbed off too much onto Becce.

QRSiegfried TempestUV on BBC

I lost track of BBC Radio 3‘s online streaming operas during the holidays, but I checked it out today and was surprised by how many options there were!  It’s a bit misleading though, since certain gargantuan operas need to be split up into several installments…  That being said, you can listen to Siegfried, the third installment in Wagner‘s Ring Cycle, from London’s Royal Opera House, as well as Thomas Adès‘ The Tempest from the Met Opera in New York.

Arthur Rackham Ring illustration #38

Image by Arthur Rackham

(Ah, nice to see Rackham here again, no?  Click on the image above to see his full portfolio of Ring Cycle illustrations.)

Also, check in on Saturday for a new installment, with yet another gargantuan opera: Berlioz‘s 5-act epic, Les Troyens (more on this later).  It’s actually a live broadcast, so tune in at 12 noon East Coast time for the full effect…

A Burning Ring of Fire, Live from London

At long last, the final opera in Wagner‘s Ring Cycle live from London’s Royal Opera House, courtesy of BBC Radio 3Götterdämmerung, aka “The Twilight of the Gods”!

Arthur Rackham Ring illustration #51

Image by Arthur Rackham

Not to be outdone, the world basically ends in this one.  So yeah, try to top that.  And no more sequels either…  The live-stream will start at 10:45am for the East Coast of the US, and will be available here for a week after.

A full Ring Cycle is sort of a benchmark for any operaphile, but it can be trying.  Wagner can be a bit much for me, though he certainly has his moments…  Hope you enjoyed, and keep your eyes on BBC Radio 3: Opera on 3 for future operas!

All that’s Left is this Ring of Gold, Not-Live from London

Last week I featured the live BBC Radio 3 transmissions of the first two installments of Royal Opera House‘s Ring Cycle, but I didn’t realize the third opera, Siegfried, was due to go up during the weekend!  So I’m afraid we missed the live stream, but thankfully, as with all other BBC Radio 3 transmissions, it’ll be up for free listening for a week.  In fact, if you act fast, you can still hear the full cycle today; Das Rheingold, the first in the series, is up for just 5 more hours along with the other operas right here.

Arthur Rackham Ring illustration #45

Image by Arthur Rackham

(PS, this Siegfried is way hotter than the one I saw in person…  Click on the image or here to see the rest of Rackham‘s illustrations.)

The final opera in the Cycle, Götterdämmerung, will live-stream tomorrow at 10:45am east-coast-time, so set your alarms…

Big Ring Keeps on Turning, Live from London


Your friendly reminder that BBC Radio 3 will be continuing their live stream of Richard Wagner‘s complete Ring Cycle from London’s Royal Opera House tomorrow, with the 2nd, and perhaps most beloved, opera in the series, Die Walkürie.

Image by Arthur Rackham

Tomorrow’s performance starts earlier than last time, so if you’re an East coaster like me remember to tune in at 11:45am here to hear it live.  Also, like all other BBC3 Opera streams, the Ring operas will each be available on BBC’s website for 7 days;  meaning there are now 4 operas available right here.

(Also, you can check out Rackham‘s full series of Ring Illustrations here or by clicking the image above.  They’re really lovely.)

Put a Ring on it, Live from London


Image by Arthur Rackham

BBC Radio 3 will be streaming Live performances of Richard Wagner‘s Ring Cycle from London’s Royal Opera House starting today with Das Rheingold.  It’s a landmark opera season for Wagner (and a couple other opera giants), as 2013 marks the bicentennial of his birth!  So expect lots of Ring Cycles going on all over the world…

BBC’s transmission starts at 7pm London time, but if you’re on the East coast (of America) like myself, it’ll start at 2pm.  Check here for the full Opera on 3 schedule (mark your calendars now, the next installment in the Ring Cycle will be Thursday).

(Also, how great are these Arthur Rackham Ring illustrations?  Click on the image to see the whole series.)