Newsletter Vol 8 No 3 April 2004
If the Scottish Executive seriously curtails Scottish Opera's activities, most who read this will consider such action a cultural calamity for this country. We personally welcomed 40 Finns, a few dozen citizens of the USA, several Australians and many others from all over the globe to our capital, to our meetings and the Ring cycle last year. If those visitors knew that the opera company they so admired was under such threat, they'd wonder indeed what hope there is for the future of the arts in Scotland's new parliament. Scottish Opera's chief executive plans to be at our next meeting. I hope you can be there too.
Sunday 25th April at 7.30pm: 'Scottish Opera: Past, Present & Future', with Christopher Barron, Chief Executive, Scottish Opera
We welcome Christopher Barron to discuss with him the truth of the company's
present position (so often misrepresented in the press), to show him
solidarity, and to air some ideas for a better future. The 'past' element
of the evening's title will be a remarkable treat: most of Act III of Siegfried in
a recording made in the year Scottish Opera brought its first Ring cycle
to completion, 1971: David Ward as Wotan, Helga Dernesch as Brünnhilde,
Alexander Gibson conducting – and all in great form! So please
take the chance to enjoy this genuine rarity, to celebrate 40 years or
so of Scottish Opera's highest international standards and to express
optimism and ideas for the next 40+ years!
Edinburgh Society of Musicians, 3 Belford Road (by Dean Bridge). Admission: members £5; guests £6
Sunday 23rd May at 7.30pm: 'Wagner & the Greeks', a lecture by Lewis Morgan-Klein
Aeschylus, Homer, Plato and other ancient Greek dramatists and writers
had a decisive part in shaping the musical dramatist Wagner became. Our
member Lewis Morgan-Klein (who is making the most of a 'gap year' before
starting at Oxford University in the autumn) will outline Wagner's reading
of and response to classical Greece, and how both Bayreuth and his mature
music were shaped by the Greek ideal. (See also our first Book Offer,
Edinburgh Society of Musicians: address & admission prices as above
SATURDAY 19th to TUESDAY 22nd JUNE: 'THE YOUNG WAGNER: STUDY
DAYS ON DIE FEEN & DAS LIEBESVERBOT' at Stirling
University, with tutor Derek Watson
Midsummer will find us in the beautiful surroundings of Stirling's campus, with the leisure of a few days to get acquainted with the early Romantic Age in which Wagner grew up, and his first works which are of great intrinsic interest and contain many melodic and dramatic portents of his later style and choice of themes. Please book now (there are places left!), by returning the booking form enclosed with Newsletter 8/1 (you can download it and the preliminary programme from our website) or by getting in touch directly with John Holcombe (address etc. below).
Saturday 10th July from 2pm: A Society Garden Party at North Berwick
Our member Margaret Angove has kindly agreed to open her house and garden
for a very special fund-raising afternoon. Champagne, strawberries and
cream, music, special guests, a savoury buffet, home-made lemonade and
other refreshments will be among the attractions. The town and coast
at North Berwick are in themselves a considerable attraction on a summer's
day and members may wish "to make a day of it" and take in
the nearby Seabird Centre, etc.
Tickets £12 (in advance only as numbers are limited): please download the form (Word format 24kb) and send it to to Mrs Angove at:
1 Inchgarry Court,
North Berwick is very well served by buses and trains from Edinburgh. Details of these and of car parking will be sent with your ticket(s)
Sunday 26th September at 7.30pm: 'Mathilde Wesendonck: The Controlling Muse', a lecture by Professor Chris Walton of the University of Pretoria
Chris Walton, a leading authority on Wagner's Zurich years, makes a
welcome return to the Society after 2 years. Mathilde Wesendonck is generally
portrayed in Wagner literature as the composer's passive muse. But in
fact her role in Wagner's life and work was almost certainly far more
active than hitherto imagined. Most sources pertaining to Mathilde in
the 1850s have been destroyed or lost. For this reason, her literary
works (hitherto dismissed by all Wagner scholars) and her correspondence
with other composers after Wagner - Theodor Kirchner and Johannes Brahms
in particular - will in this lecture (which is based on as-yet unpublished
papers) be read 'backwards' in order to try to establish the real nature
of her relationship with Richard Wagner. New information will be given
on other figures in her circle to prove that Mathilde was a woman who
tried - and almost always succeeded – in having her cake and eating
Edinburgh Society of Musicians, 3 Belford Road (by Dean Bridge). Admission: members £5; guests £6
Other Autumn Events at the Edinburgh Society of Musicians:
- Sunday 23 October: Annual General Meeting & Bayreuth Report
- Sunday 31 October: lecture 'Wagner & the Industrial Revolution', by John Wallace
- Monday 22 November: recital by Phillida Bannister (mezzo-soprano) with Derek Watson: Schubert, Wagner, Richard Strauss etc.
More events are being finalised for our 20th birthday season!
The Society is pleased to offer members discounts on Wagner-related books and recordings from time to time. Here are three. Please send cheques, made payable to Derek Watson, to him at the address below, with your order. Books can be collected at a future meeting but if you would like them sent to you please indicate this clearly with your order & add postage as stated per copy for each book.
Sings: Wagner and the Greeks by M. Owen Lee,
University of Toronto Press, 2003. Paperback, 110pp.
A concise, witty, graceful and illuminating survey of this essential aspect of Wagner studies. Highly readable, and the work of a great classicist and formidable Wagnerian, Father Lee, who is the author of several short informative studies of the composer, and who is a regular on the Met broadcast opera quiz.
RRP £8.50. Our price £7.30. Please add £0.50 pence postage.
Wolfgang Wagner: An Appreciation ed. Laurence
B. Lueck, Hawaii Opera Publications Group, Wagner Society
of Hawaii, 2003; hardback, 320pp.
The Wagner Society of Scotland is the sole UK distributor of this lavish and worthy tribute to a grand old man, which consists of 20 essays accompanied by 146 photographs, many in full colour and many never printed before. The editor recently published the excellent English-language version of Astrid Varnay's autobiography. Contributors to this volume include Pierre Boulez, Graham Clark, Poul Elming, Sir Donald McIntyre, Penelope Turing, John Tomlinson, Astrid Varnay, Keith Warner and Linda Watson.
Our price £40. Please add £4.75 postage.
Tristan and Isolde. Naxos 4 CDs.
The landmark 1952 recording by Wilhelm Furtwängler (with Suthaus, Flagstad, Thebom, Fischer-Dieskau & Greindl) is now out of copyright and so all sorts of re-issues are all of a sudden available. Naxos have a very high reputation for the quality of such CD transfers – and at rock-bottom price. But someone at Naxos must be kicking themselves as the cover picture on the box shows Act III of Parsifal! No matter: it's what's inside that counts, namely Furtwängler's greatest achievement in the recording studio.
RRP £19.99 Our price £17.50. Please add £0.50 pence postage.
- Member Philip Taylor, who leads the Edinburgh Players Opera Group, invites you to a play-through of Götterdämmerung at Portobello Town Hall, Edinburgh from 10.30 on Sunday 3rd October. The group, together with a cast of outstanding singers, conducted by Mike Thorne will thus have achieved in performance the entire Ring cycle. Details from Philip on 01368 850235.
- The Society produced a Journal in August of last year. Members joining since then may not have received a copy to which they are entitled. Please let Derek Watson know if you'd like one. Existing members can obtain extra copies @ £10.
- The annual International Wagner Society Congress takes place in Augsburg from 20-23 May. As no committee member is able to attend this year, any member who is attending Augsburg is invited to submit a report for this Newsletter. The editor would be most grateful for any short contributions.
- Manaus: arrangements for a joint trip with the Friends of Scottish Opera to see the Ring at this legendary Brazilian theatre are still in hand. There will be a special mailing to members if the package is ready before our next Newsletter in September.
The casts for the 2004 festival can now be found on the Festspiel website:
Among the singers of the new Boulez Parsifal are Endrik Wottrich in the title role, Michelle de Young (Kundry), Robert Hall (Gurnemanz), John Wegner (Klingsor).
April 29: Terry Edwards on 'The Role of the Chorus in Wagner's
July 13th: Reginald Goodall Nostalgia Evening (guests include Dame Anne Evans)
Both events at 7pm at the Swedenborg Hall, 21 Bloomsbury Way. Tickets at £12 for these London Wagner Society events from Pam Hudson, 3 Howard Gate, Howard Drive, Letchworth, Herts SG6 2BQ (tel 01462 675638) enclosing a SAE; make cheques payable to 'The Wagner Society'.
...more details of our programme for the rest of the year, including at last the announcement of our special Christmas event to celebrate this year of our 20th birthday, further news about our trip to Manaus in Brazil, and other plans for 2005!
Chairman and Newsletter editor: Derek Watson, Deanfoot House, West Linton, Peeblesshire EH46 7EA Tel 01968 660339 Fax 01968 66170 firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary: W S Scott, 83 East Claremont Street, Edinburgh EH7 4HU; Tel 0131-556 2617; Fax 0870 0568159 l email@example.com
Treasurer: Scott Wilkinson , 9 Braid Crescent, Edinburgh EH10 6AX; firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership Secretary: Gabriele Kuhn, 95 The Moorings, Dalgety Bay, KY11 9GP Gabriele.email@example.comTop