A message from Benjamin Zander about Wagner

Nov 16, 2015 1:37:04 PM / by BPO Staff

Dear Friends,

Last April, there was a performance of the third act of Siegfried with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra . Everybody who was there was thrilled with that performance. Among the many unforgettable aspects of that concert was the singing of Alwyn Mellor, who sang Brünnhilde. She tore our hearts out and lifted our spirits with the searing passion of the music. Next week, Alwyn is returning to participate in an evening of Wagner with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. She will sing the ineffable, ecstatically beautiful Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde and the cataclysmic final scene from Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods). The rest of the program includes some of the greatest moments in all of Wagner's music. This music demands from the players everything that they have within them, as musicians and as people, and I can assure you that the players of the BPO are in a state of high excitement about the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of Wagner, a world in which all of one’s senses seem to be heightened.

Some listeners feel – or fear – that this music can be a bit intimidating. But I promise that in my pre-concert explanations I will give you the information you need in order to hear this music with full understanding and to appreciate Wagner’s ability to create three different and distinct worlds in the three operas from which we are drawing our excerpts. My promise to you is that if you come to one of these concerts, preceded by my pre-concert talk, you will leave knowing just why it is that Wagner, like Shakespeare, is considered one of the giants of Western art.

Alwyn Mellor has been called one of the greatest Wagnerian singers of our time. The voluptuous beauty of her voice and her extraordinary sensitivity to the words that she sings are unrivalled among Wagnerian sopranos today. It is an enormous privilege that she will be with us for these concerts. Please join us for one of these concerts, and bring with you a young person of any age above fourteen, because Wagner's music and the strange world of myth and fantasy that he conjures is irresistible to people of that age. And if a young person has shown any inclination to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, or, for adults, Game of Thrones, it's good to remember that Wagner was the origin of it all. This is a compelling cultural event. I urge you not to miss it!

Warmest wishes,

Ben Zander

Topics: Video

Written by BPO Staff

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