My wagner year has barely begun, and already i have to hurry to make up for lost ground. The first performance of the "flying dutchman you can't just treat it as a marginal note! Although the deadline is definitely over, because the event took place on the 2. January 1843 in the royal saxon court theater in dresden. But a searching glance at my everlasting wagner-calendar offers even me a date-prevaricator salvation*: 169 years ago today, richard wagner conducted the first performance of the "hollander" in berlin in berlin.
But now in order. The premiere, conducted by its conductor, was enthusiastically celebrated – the leipziger zeitung reported that the applause was almost penetratingly tailored to wagner and threatened to take on cult forms – but after only four performances, the work was removed from the program for lack of a paying audience. Even the wagner-friendly deutsche allgemeine zeitung had to state that "in view of the strangeness of the whole conception of this material, the original music was not yet fully understood in all its parts."
Wagner writes about this in his autobiography "my life": "first of all, I had to learn from the performance, which was generally excellent, what prudent care would be needed to ensure that the dramatic presentation of my more recent works would turn out well. I realized that I had more or less been of the opinion that my score had to make itself understood and that my singers had to come to my liking all by themselves."
he was only highly satisfied with the performance of his senta wilhelmine schroder-devrient, who had already been singing for one "fidelio"-guest performance in leipzig in 1829 wagner's ideal of a singer-actress was: "really, even the thoroughly ingenious performance of my coarse artist succeeded, despite the horrible ode in which she found herself on the stage, in rubbing everything into enthusiastic warmth with the second act." while she is a "dramatist in the full sense of the word" the baritone johann michael wachter in the title role was a failure.
"The precarious embonpoint wachters", wagner remembers "especially his round, broad face and the strange movements of his arms and legs, which seemed to be nothing but physical stumps under his control, drove my passionate senta to despair". In a rehearsal it broke at the place of the rough scene in the 2. Act, where she came to him in the position of a guardian angel for the sublime consolation of the proclamation of salvation, suddenly fell away and whispered passionately in my ear: 'how can i get it out when i look into these little raisin eyes?? God, wagner, what have you done there again??'"
Such singers – I am sorry to have to insert this here – still exist today. Stage mishaps, such as those that occurred during the premiere, are also a problem.
Apropos: at the first performance in berlin on 7. January 1844 the stage sets were composed as follows: the ships came from the ballet "der seerauber", the masts from "oberon, dalands stube from "faust, the house in 3. Act from "wilhelm tell. As oswald georg bauer notes in his standard work on wagner's stage works from the premiere to the present day, this was a common practice at the time. At least the schauspielhaus am gendarmenmarkt was able to afford "a new sea decoration" for wagner's debut in berlin.
To his wife minna, who had stayed in dresden, wagner gave a detailed account of the evening, which he also described as a decisive one because it was not a home performance, but rather one before a "complete stranger" I felt this clearly: not a single member of the audience was a personal friend of mine, no one was interested in me in advance; everything was sitting there with the usual cold curiosity. Think: well, what kind of a thing will that be, the flying hollander?"
his summary: "in short, my dear female, i have achieved a strange triumph: only the female who has done the extraordinary u. To make the most of my unprecedented victory here, which has precisely taken into account all the circumstances, the current state of our operas, the very different and strange aspects of my direction. Of my direction in this hollander is able to mention. – the performance was already thrilling; – all sang u. Played like gods, – I had to eat them up."
I hope the latter will not happen to me if I now unleash dieter thomas kuhn, who turned 48 today, the singing fohnwelle, with his schalala on the other selected birthday children – as there are: clara haskil, who was born 118 years ago today, francis poulenc, who was born 114 years ago, and gunter wand, who was born 101 years ago today. Furthermore, 156 years ago today, the premiere of franz liszt's piano concerto nr. 2 with hans von bronsart as soloist, to whom the concert is also dedicated.
On the same day, forty years later, amilcare ponchielli's opera "la gioconda" was performed in manaus, brazil, in the middle of the jungle the teatro amazonas opens. In this country, the house has been familiar to most people only since werner herzog's "fitzcarraldo" a concept – and an excellent example of wagner's global impact: film director herzog, infected by the opera virus, was to direct "lohengrin" in bayreuth in 1987 and the all-round artist christoph schlingensief, whose bayreuth "parsifal" is not unimaginable to him in terms of furor 2004 remains unforgettable to me, staged again in 2007 wagner: the "hollander" in manaus. Which makes it very clear that I am the "hollander"- had been allowed to write the first performance article not a day before or?