After an absence of twenty years, Tannhäuser, Wagner’s great battle of the sensual and the spiritual returns to The Royal Opera House tonight, in a new production of by Tim Albery. Johan Botha sings the title role, with Michaela Schuster as Venus and Eva-Maria Westbroek as Elisabeth.Tannhäuser runs from 11th December – 2nd January at the Royal Opera House
Tom visits rehearsals at the Royal Opera House and talks to the conductor Semyon Bychkov about the tensions at the heart of the opera, between sensuality and chastity, Venus and Elisabeth, the pilgrims of Wartburg and the Bacchanal of the Venusberg, and how it is a piece for our time – even if it is not a symbol of peace for our time.
Tannhäuser will be broadcast on R3 on Christmas Day at 6pm.
Semyon Bychkov © Di Luca Piva
The Music of Painting
‘The Music of Painting: Music, Modernism and the Visual Arts from the Romantics to John Cage,’ explores the links between modern art and music. Author Peter Vergo analyses how music and painting draw on each other for inspiration and how artists try to translate musical rhythms and structures into painting, with in-depth study of individual works or art and music, including Kandinsky’s abstract paintings and John Cage’s silence.The Music of Painting by Peter Vergo is available from Phaidon at £39.95
Tom talks to author Peter Vergo, and reviews the book with artist Tom Philips and conductor Richard Bernas. He asks, can the ‘music of painting’ ever be more than a metaphorical connection across the arts? And, why have painters had an inferiority complex about music, the (so-called) ‘highest of the arts’?
Wassily Kandinsky, Impression III (Concert), © Wassily Kandinsky / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2010
Grammy Award winning soprano Christine Brewer is regarded as one of the finest singers of her generation across the opera, concert and recital stages. She is well known for her emotional honesty, both as a singer and in life, winning the BBC Radio 3 Listener’s Award at the 2008 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards. On the opera stage she has been noted for her portrayal of the title role in Strauss’ Adriadne auf Naxos but Christine is best known for her Wagnerian roles…The concert will be broadcast on Radio 3 this Monday 13th December
Tom talks to one of the most sought-after Isoldes and Brünnhildes in the world about her journey from a small town in Mid-West America to Valhalla.
Christine Brewer © Christian Steiner