Skip to content.
Sunday to Friday at 9 am
9am Sunday 12 May and 7pm Monday 13 May 2013
Heath Lees continues his survey of Richard Wagner’s music dramas. This week we discover the myriad ways that Wagner’s music dramas have been presented in performance, and how they’ve fared in the recording industry from the theatre to the DVD player.
We also learn that many standards in theatre wouldn’t have existed without Wagner. It was he who insisted the cast get together and read the opera so that they would know what the story was all about. In 1852 he arranged for the director, conductor and scene-painter to meet with each other, in order to bring some sense of unity to the dramatic production. Another one we take for granted: He insisted that the doors be locked at the start of the performance, and that the lights be substantially lowered so that the opening effect of the opera could be received in dim, silent attention. For Wagner, the musical drama was sacred and whole. Everyone had to bow down before that, from the very first notes.
Image: The final scene of Tannhäuser at the Bayreuth Festival House in 1930. (Source: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-2004-0512-501 / CC-BY-SA)
Not all audio is available due to copyright restrictions.
Richard Wagner Bicentenary (1813-1883) with Heath Lees. (27′49″)
We used music from the following recordings in the programme:
Tannhäuser – Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele/Sawallisch (Philips 420 122)
Lohengrin – Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Berliner Philharmoniker/von Karajan (EMI 7 69314 2)
Rheingold – Bayreuth Festival Orchestra & Chorus/Thielemann (OpusArte OACD9001D)
Siegfried – (Naxos 8.110091-92)
Song to the Evening Star from Tannhäuser – Friedrich Schorr (bar) (VA1148.9)
Lohengrin – Georges Thill (ten) (CDRG-168)
Götterdämmerung – Wiener Philharmoniker, Chor der Wiener Staatsoper/Solti (Decca 414 115)
Rheingold – Bayreuth Festival Orchestra & Chorus/Chereau (Unitel DVD /LC00305)
Götterdämmerung – Bayreuth Festival Orchestra & Chorus/Thielemann (OpusArte OACD9004D)
Tune in on Sunday mornings at 9am and Monday nights at 7pm for a half hour introduction to the week's featured composer. The presenters share their great depth of knowledge on the subject, and play musical examples to guide you through. This introductory audio is also available on demand.
Then every weekday morning we play a selection of the composer’s works.
Audio is categorised based on the frequency of the programme it was heard in. Click on the headings below to access the programmes. For the most recently published audio, go to the latest audio page.
Streams are in Windows Media format. Mac and Linux users may need to install additional software. Get help with audio
A selection of music interviews, reviews, videos, concerts, sessions, and performances.
Downloads and podcasts are available for selected programmes. Our podcast page has a complete list of feeds.
Help on using online audio: formats, software, podcasts, downloading, and troubleshooting.