Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Every so often, I write about Wagner. It's always a tad daunting because so many music writers spend their whole lives delving into this extraordinary world; I merely dip a toe in the water. But a commission from my boss at the Indy led to this article focusing on Wagner's women which came out yesterday (but the Indy's website didn't put it up until today). We currently have two Rings on the go in London: the Royal Opera House has got as far as Die Walkure, while ENO is about to start Gotterdamerung. My interview was with the latter's director, Phyllida Lloyd, and lead soprano, Kathleen Broderick.

It's easy to think that the Ring carries some kind of curse - mainly because it's so expensive - but anyone who does believe in a celestial conspiracy theory around it would have found grist in their mill yesterday. For the first time EVER, the BBC decided to televise a complete Wagner opera live - Walkure from the ROH, (it showed Rhinegold, not quite live, the night before). So guess what? Wotan - the redoubtable Bryn Terfel - went sick. And they only showed Act 1, which of course doesn't feature him. Acts 2 and 3 will pitch up at some point when Bryn feels better and the Beeb can clear another slot. I was most upset as I'd kept the evening free for the treat of seeing this - and the first act was absolutely stunning.

I hope that the Curse of the Ring leaves ENO in peace on Saturday's opening night, because I have press tickets for once. I haven't seen Gotterdamerung live since the week after Margaret Thatcher resigned...