Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Richard Wagner - Mind Pictures through the Fog

Easter - always a time of renewal. So every year Good Friday starts with a visit to church. The last couple of years the smaller version of the Frauenkirche, it's the small Loschwitzer Kirche made by George Bähr, the builder of Frauenkirche.

Why do I write this? It has much to do with what the title announces.

Easter is for several years my journey in finding the right spot to work (actually I do work a lot) and earn a decent income for living. Every time I fetch a different piece of new knowledge from the prayers. And so the Easter days went on reflecting on the past and where the "cracks in the future door" are to be seen and opened.

Over the past days several entries from non-Dresden folks appeared on Twitter about Semperoper. That immediately caught my interest. "What could have happened that has made the change?" Nahoko Gotoh wrote about a terrific performance of Tannhäuser ("hm, sounds like Wagner" - I thought by myself) and mentioning a following blog entry (there seem to be more opera fan writing than thought initially - good to know) - actually back in London by now. Best regards to London, where close by I happened to learn English some three decades ago in a two weeks "crash course" (staying at a family with no German contacts whatsoever - which made the game (without any course)!).

Thoughts are moving like rivers, sometimes everything goes straight, nothing special to talk about. Then out of the corner of the eye there is something changing, a small river from the side is approaching, new waters flowing into the thought stream, some turmoils, changes, new!

So I learned about someone else who just tweeted about arriving in Dresden for the Monday evening Tannhäuser performance.

And so Easter Monday started quite normal, visiting the 3rd FIGARO Operncafé Spezial at Rundfoyer of the Semperoper. Annette Jahns, one of the guests invited, a former singer at Semperoper talked about a song evening about Wagner some years ago. My synapses snapped in: Tannhäuser, Semperoper, Wagner, Bayreuth (actually there is something else right now Bayreuth is connect since a few weeks past). BTW I also met (the first time I have met someone I know at this event) Boris Michael Gruhl, organizer of the Danceweek (Tanzwoche) that is currently taking place (till 29th of April) in Dresden.

Not sure whether taking the courage to go to a performance with well over four (4) hours length I posted my concern on Facebook to some friends. I got genuine support and all but none told me: GO!!!

So I went, got a decently priced ticket and awaited  long afternoon-evening event. Of course I had challenged Wikipedia for Tannhäuser shortly before coming, now holding the textbook in my hands reading through the plot. While reading an older couple seated themselves beside me. I noticed that they only had the "Einleger" (showing all participants on and beyond stage for that particular performance). So I offered my textbook while I was writing on Twitter and we got into a short conversation. They were from Munich on holiday, having visited the Saxonian Switzerland, now seeing Peter Konwitschnys  Tannhäuser for the 2nd time. We exchanged names and wished each other a great time.

What followed then from 5 PM sharp (till 9:30 PM, with two twenty minutes breaks) was amazing, colorful, challenging, stunning (as the Australians like to say ;-)), and a learning session of its best. Though during the performance -I have to admit that- I was somewhat overwhelmed by my cold and tiredness.

  • Good: listening to my dear opera friends and going - THANKS to ALL of you!!! The work of the stage builders once a again an exceptional outcome full of color resonating with emotional feelings;  a furious Stephen Gould (Tannhäuser) taking us back to time and Tichina Vaughn (Venus; I have seen her at Rusalka where she also played exceptionally); the orchestra led by Peter Schneider held the play together over the complete time (awesome (!)); standing ovations (there must have been lots of fans in the house).
  • Tricky: the time length of the play - "Once upon a time in America" with four hours back in the 80's was aquivalent in time and reminded me of my several late night movie theatre visits (starting at 8 PM and finishing with sunrise) also back then. Not understanding to much of my "mother tongue" really "disturbed me, time for deep listening on YouTube to Wagner and other German operas. 
  • Learned: Deep learning happens when you feel uneasy doing something and at the same time learn that it is doable (by others).
  • Action: Take yesterday evening as another puzzle piece on my personal development path towards a place where my personal strengths can be put into action. Thank you Semperoper Crew for enabling such a great self-development environment!!!
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