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Subject: Re: The most influential opera to impact our own time is:
From: James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 25 Jan 2018 17:21:46 -0800

text/plain (190 lines)

I'm so disappointed, I was waiting for you to explain to the list about
those "building blocks" that made Tristan und Isolde "revolutionary". It's
not too late, please enlighten us.

And while you are at it, where have I tried to "rewrite musical history"?

As for Hamilton, we are already in the post-Hamilton period although it is
right now, the toughest ticket in London (and still the toughest ticket in
New York City).. There has been "Dear Evan Hansen" and several exciting
movie musicals including "The Greatest Showman" (by the same composers who
just won the Tony for "Dear Evan Hansen") which has a significant if not
flattering treatment of Jenny Lind (she was a famous opera singer - look
her up if you haven't heard of her). They do not have The Swedish
Nightingale sing anything operatic however. Not even "Home Sweet Home". But
is it is a dynamite movie, a smash hit,  and surprisingly it is more or
less accurate in the main narrative about P.T. Barnum (though Jenny
probably didn't put any moves on P.T. since she was busy romancing her
accompanist Otto Goldschmidt, whom she married in Boston)

On Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 4:17 PM, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I, personally, never had any problem of any sort with T&I; it was the
> first opera,
> at age 17, I ever bought a ticket to.  You're the one who wants to rewrite
> musical
> history, so I'll just wait to see what happens after HAMILTON.
> dtmk.
> On Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 3:58 PM, James Camner <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> You like to sneer at musicologists, so enlighten me, please. In what way
>> is Tristan
>> und Isolde revolutionary? What are these new "building materials"? (I
>> suppose you
>> could scramble to some old music guide and quote one of those
>> musicologists you
>> despise for platitudes about Tristan, but what do YOU have to say about
>> it?) How is
>> it really different, except in style, for instance, than Gluck's Armide?
>> And regarding those supposed new "building materials" who subsequently
>> used
>> them? What are the successors to Tristan und Isolde that are made up of
>> them?
>> In reality, Tristan und Isolde was not a "revolution" and had no
>> imitations or
>> successors, because who could do it?  Not Verdi, not Strauss, not even
>> Puccini
>> (after Cherubini, the only Italian composer who was an orchestral master
>> to
>> contend with the sophistication of the Germans) Wagner built a glorious
>> mountain
>> and it virtually stands alone. Tristan was an end not a beginning. No
>> wonder the
>> German "modernists"* who derailed traditional opera as a box office
>> commodity
>> turned away from melody. After Tristan, they gave up and though it is
>> unfortunate
>> (although the considerable benefit was the driving of melodically inclined
>> composers like Steiner and Korngold to Hollywood), it is understandable.
>> James Camner
>>  *"Modernism" I hate this hoary  term that is today anachronistically
>> used for the
>> work of academic composers who plague us today with their unceasing
>> recycled
>> imitations of those rejected "modernist" works of the past.
>> On Thu, 25 Jan 2018 15:12:31 -0500, donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>> >Musicologists are the ones responsible for that narrative.  TRISTAN
>> >UND ISOLDE was a revolutionary composition for its time.  It was
>> >like introducing to architects building materials they had never used
>> >before, or to doctors, drugs that had never been tested.  It has little
>> >to do with what opera-goers hear; all they had to do was get used to it.
>> >And I totally reject the notion that Wagner's music, as music, ever had
>> >anything to do with dragons.
>> >
>> >dtmk
>> >
>> >On Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 1:32 PM, James Camner <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> >
>> >> Except in the (IMHO faux Wagner) music by John Williams and perhaps
>> some
>> >> others, where is Wagner's musical influence felt today in modern
>> popular
>> >> culture?
>> >> Where is this road you mention and who is travelling it?
>> >>
>> >> If Wagner is influencing modern culture today it's through his
>> >> storytelling in the
>> >> realm of imitative pop stories like The Lord of the Rings, The Game of
>> >> Thrones and
>> >> even in Video Games, its fun to imagine how he would have operated in
>> the
>> >> video
>> >> field. Wagner's Ring is one of the fountainheads of the world of
>> Fantasy
>> >> entertainment for sure (the story, his dragon, not the music). But
>> where
>> >> did Tristan
>> >> lead?
>> >>
>> >> Sorry to say, but I doubt many under 40 people, who aren't in the
>> >> classical music
>> >> business, know anything about Tristan und Isolde or would even
>> recognize
>> >> the title
>> >> and for such a famous work, such a titanic and incomparably gorgeous
>> >> masterwork,
>> >> it is remarkably scarce in live performances these days. How many
>> >> subsequent
>> >> works carried on or imitated Tristan und Isolde? Maybe that deadly box
>> >> office
>> >> poison bore Pelleas et Melisande? (Talk about a road to nowhere).
>> >>
>> >> We are a long way from the days when major writers like Bernard Shaw
>> and
>> >> Willa
>> >> Cather passionately wrote about Wagner and operas like Tristan und
>> Isolde.
>> >>
>> >> What are the traditional operas that really matter to the general
>> public
>> >> today? I
>> >> would suggest that even La Boheme is rapidly losing its once iron clad
>> box
>> >> office
>> >> appeal.  Perhaps in the end, the lone survivor will be Carmen.
>> >>
>> >> James Camner
>> >>
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