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<<<  <<  -- 5 --  Malcolm Miller    RAVISHING BEAUTY

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The music here is both saturated with pentatonicism yet fully enmeshed in a postmodern texture, and there are explosive confrontations between the strict Old Brahmin (a persuasively looming and booming Richard Angas) and the softening Buddha, whose earlier entrance had been greeted with peaceful electronically treated choral 'Oms', and who finally admits her at the crux of the drama with the imperative 'Abandon all desire' which then is addressed to Wagner 'even the desire never to die'.

Dale Duesing (Buddha) with, in the background, Gordon Gietz (Ananda), Richard Angas (Old Brahmin) and Claire Booth (Prakriti). Photo © 2007 Clärchen and Matthias Baus
Dale Duesing (Buddha) with, in the background, Gordon Gietz (Ananda), Richard Angas (Old Brahmin) and Claire Booth (Prakriti). Photo © 2007 Clärchen and Matthias Baus

In this intensity, Wagner's last bid to retain his egotism, to drink 'the heroic blood of Siegfried' came across with cathartic humour, yet his final release is genuinely moving, as the chorus and all soloists join in Buddhist incantation and an electronically processed 'cosmic sound' emanates spatially around the hall. The Wagnerian drama is over and his spirit is seen, on the projected backcloth, dissolving into the 'Dharma' just as the sound has dissolved into its own metaphorical unity.

The questions the work raises, the layers of interpretation of historical sources and philosophical and aesthetic ideas, the synthesis and the confrontation between different musical worlds, all suggest that there is much still to be discovered and enjoyed in this original and highly effective work. And the desire to experience (and re-experience) Wagner Dream both in the UK and around the world will hopefully ensure successive reincarnations in the near future.

Bracha van Doesburgh (Carrie Pringle), Johan Leysen (Wagner, lying down), Catherine ten Bruggencate (Cosima), Jane Oakland (Housemaid), Charles van Tassel (Doctor Keppler) and, at the back, Dale Duesing (Buddha) and Matthew Best (Vairochana). Photo © 2007 Clärchen and Matthias Baus
Bracha van Doesburgh (Carrie Pringle), Johan Leysen (Wagner, lying down), Catherine ten Bruggencate (Cosima), Jane Oakland (Housemaid), Charles van Tassel (Doctor Keppler) and, at the back, Dale Duesing (Buddha) and Matthew Best (Vairochana). Photo © 2007 Clärchen and Matthias Baus

 

Copyright © 17 July 2007 Malcolm Miller, London UK

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JONATHAN HARVEY

THE HOLLAND FESTIVAL

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