Richard Wagner

Artistic revolutions are rarely born easy. They complained about cubism, they grumbled about the "talkies" — and boy, did they bellyache over Wagner's trailblazing operas, especially Tristan und Isolde, which debuted 150 years ago Wednesday.

Valkyries Ride All Night To Save Opera Company

Apr 1, 2014

(Happy April Fools 2014. See you next year.)

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. At 44, the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann may be the most popular tenor of his generation and one of the most versatile. Music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews two of his recordings this year, dedicated to both Verdi and Wagner, celebrating the bicentennials of their birth.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Courtesy of wikipedia

Summer reading can be a blast, but it doesn't have to be the latest thriller from the NY Times, or a cheap romance novel. I was delighted to see so many new novels just typing in "Classical music" in Amazon.com and sorting by publication date - they start next April (2014) with lots of titles to preorder!

Courtesy of Wikipedia

I recently came across a steal. A friend on a social network posted that a recording was $6. That may seem normal for an mp3 release, or mildly cheap if you purchase an iTunes release for $9.99. But this particular recording was live from Bayreuth - the complete Ring der Nibelungen by Richard Wagner. Yes, all four operas.

The whole world has been celebrating the 200th anniversary of Wagner's birth this year (his birthday is May 22). Summer festivals have been playing his music, and several cycles of the Ring are programmed for companies this fall and winter.

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