Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back to Wagner

It appears that my primary reaction to news of the death of Peter Hofmann was to go back to my recordings of the music of Richard Wagner.  I was not in San Francisco when he sang Siegmund in Die Walküre in the 1985 San Francisco Opera production of Der Ring des Nibelungen.  I had actually just moved to Los Angeles;  and there are any number of reasons why, even in the midst of settling into a new place in a new city, I did not exert the extra effort to go up to San Francisco for the occasion.

Thus, I suppose that it was at least partly as an act of penance that I hauled out my recording of Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting Walküre at La Scala in 1950.  Ironically, I happened to discover a video of the “Winterstürme” duet with Hofmann and Jeannine Altmeyer in San Francisco right around the time that I was listening to Furtwängler conduct Günther Treptow and Hilde Konetzni in this scene.  All this reminded me that, while San Francisco would be getting its next complete Ring this coming June, nothing in the current Opera season really measured up to the satisfying experience of well-performed Wagner;  and, having completed my traversal of Walküre, it seemed perfectly logical that the day’s listening experience should continue by my moving on to Siegfried!

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