Opening up new perspectives, making traces audible – in the scope of the ‘Wagner Perspectives’ Festival from 13 to 21 November, Robin Ticciati will explore Richard Wag-ner’s relationship to France and Paris with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (DSO). At four concerts, the DSO Music Director will present excerpts from the com-poser’s operas in unusual programme combinations, together with renowned soloists.
The encounters of recent years, between Wagner’s music and that of Claude Debussy and Olivier Messiaen, pointed the way for the festival. The basis is Wagner’s ambivalent rela-tionship to Paris, to France and to protagonists from the city of music. What did he receive there? What effect did he have? The ‘Wagner Perspectives’ will follow the traces that lead from France to Wagner, from Wagner and pass around him.
“I took my time with Richard Wagner”, Robin Ticciati says, “I went around him from all sides before I started including his works more and more in my programmes of the past few years. He brought the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk (multi-faceted, all-encompassing work of art) to full fruition: his consequence was the music drama; unquestionably it belongs on the stage. But Wagner also stands for giant strides in the development of orchestral culture, and the art of creating dazzling transitions between the sound and colour of instruments and the timbre, articulation and breathing of singing. Wagner is sound art, and if one wants to work on an orchestra’s sound and awareness of sound, you simply have to engage with him and play his music. To do this off the opera stage is perfectly legitimate; after all, Wagner himself conducted excerpts from his music dramas at concerts time and again.”
Robin Ticciati will juxtapose excerpts from the operas and music dramas ‘Götterdämmerung’, ‘Rienzi’, ‘Tannhäuser’, ‘Tristan und Isolde’ and ‘Die Walküre’ against works in aesthetic opposition, contemporaneous or following them. Such as, for instance, the heroic symphony ‘Harold en Italie’ by Hector Berlioz: without Berlioz’s use of the orchestra, instrumentation and explorations of the borders between genres, Wagner would have lacked an important role model. Or ‘Der nächtliche Zug’ by Franz Liszt, to whose support both Wagner and Berlioz owed much. ‘L’ascension’ by Messiaen, who found his very own means for his longing for sensuous sounds and the musical expression of the mysticism of love. Giacomo Meyerbeer’s opera ‘Le prophète’, which Wagner first extolled as a stroke of genius, then later looked down on in an anti-Semitic manner. And, of course, the setting of poems by Wagner devotees Baudelaire and Mallarmé to music by the “escaped” Wagnerian Debussy and two conductor-composers, Pierre Boulez and Matthias Pintscher.
»Due to the passionate energy of his expression, Wagner is the truest representative of modernity today.«
A high-profile group of singers will also ensure high vocal quality, ranging from sopranos Dorothea Röschmann, Anu Komsi and Yeree Suh to mezzosopranos Julie Boulianne and Karen Cargill, tenors Neal Cooper and Simon O’Neill, and Matthias Goerne, Thomas Lehman and John Relyea, baritones and bass respectively. Violist Timothy Ridout also shows great promise in Berlioz’s viola symphony.
In the scope of the introductory talks to the four concerts in the Philharmonie, the Berlin author and musicologist Habakuk Traber will engage in dialogue with competent interlocutors: on the first evening, Robin Ticciati will explain his idea and the main lines of the festival; on the second, the British opera specialist Roger Parker from King’s College London is his guest. Traber will speak with Wolfgang Asholt, an expert in French literature on the third evening, and finally, before the last concert, with Stefan Keym, musicologist at the University of Leipzig.
»Wagner is sound art, and if one wants to work on an orchestra’s sound and awareness of sound, you simply have to engage with him and play his music.«
The festival’s four symphony concerts are available as a Wagner package at a preferential price.
Wagner Package: Prices for Series A, B, C and D subscribers
Series A, B, C and D subscribers can buy the Wagner package at a further reduced price. Please note: As each of the forementioned series includes one of the Wagner Festival's concerts, the Wagner package for series A, B, C and D subscribers contains only 3 concerts and therefore is priced lower: