John Tomlinson

The stuff Grail legends are made of

As soon as I read in a review somewhere that there was a disused railway line in English National Opera’s production of Parsifal, a vague memory was stirred. Sure enough, it was the myriad details of the production that brought memories of an earlier encounter flooding back: a tribute to the simple power of the staging.  The ramp in the first act under which the red-brown fur-clad Kundry disappears; Klingsor in his circular perch and the sensual/scary Flowermaidens of Act 2; and Act 3’s already-mentioned railway line are the principal ones.  1999 was six years into my opera-going ‘career’, and still the singing is a crucial detail I can’t recall for the benefit of comparison. (more…)

Twilight in Hamburg

A rather sudden trip to Hamburg this weekend, for a family event, provided an opportunity to drop in to the Hamburgischer Staatsoper for the last instalment of Wagner’s Ring in the emerging production by Klaus Guth. A kitchen-sink drama of generally consistent quality, in spite of a few hiccups here and there. (more…)