August 6, 2023
Impossible Sounds. Of Grail Bells and Gut Strings
PD Dr. Kai Hinrich Müller, Cologne University of Music
Even as a composer, Richard Wagner did not want to be hemmed in by the limitations of the instrumentarium of his time and repeatedly inspired new inventions, among which the Grail Piano by the Steingraeber company is probably the best known. In the course of the last 150 years, the instruments have evolved. What consequences has this had for Wagner interpretation and especially for Wagner singing? How did Wagner hear his own music? These are questions that Cologne musicologist Kai Hinrich Müller is researching.
The abyss as a mixing desk. The Conductor in the Engine Room
Markus Poschner, Chief Conductor Bruckner Orchestra Linz, Symphony Orchestra Basel, Orchestra della Svizzera italiana
Is the Wagner Orchestra like a PA of Pink Floyd, as the media theorist Friedrich Kittler once speculated? Tristan conductor Markus Poschner offers a look inside his mixing console, explains which controls he has to operate in order to really turn this system up and how Wagner tuned it to remove the boundaries of temporality.
Unstageable? Of stage instructions and the history of special effects
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Struck, University of Erfurt
Machines have always been used in theatre to create surprise effects and magic, to realise the seemingly impossible. Wolfgang Struck researches the art of spectacular special effects to captivate the audience. At the same time, he is fascinated by “impossible” designs of the authors. What if new technologies now make “everything” possible?
Eye, curtain, glasses. From Old Media to New Media
Dr. Johanna Dombois, Robert Schumann University Düsseldorf
Non-linearity, interactivity, biofeedback, parallel worlds and projection technology, simulation and immanent self-reference: in her works on Richard Wagner and his media, the author Johanna Dombois has often shown how Richard Wagner sought new forms of seeing, hearing and feeling in his work – and found new interfaces for them. She reflects on the use of new media on the opera stage as critically as she makes them fruitful for productions. She began experimenting with virtual, interactive and old new media (such as the magic lantern, argand lights, curtain pulls) for the opera stage in 1999. In 2009 she presented a production of the Rheingold prelude (Ring-Studie 01) in which she used the online computer game platform SecondLife® as staging material. A conversation about the weal and woe of “media change”.
A Steam Engine. Stage illusions from the boiler
Prof. Dr. Gundula Kreuzer, Yale University, New Haven
Richard Wagner wanted to leave the chimneys of the modern metropolises behind him when he installed himself on the Green Hill. He realised his stage ideas, however, with the help of two steam locomotives. Musicologist Gundula Kreuzer offers a historical view of the Wagner Theatre.
Only not so finished. Plans for future operas
What will the art of the future look like? Every work of art already contains an answer to this question. But do we really want to commit ourselves in this way? In his series of works “Plans”, the composer Øyvind Torvund presents plans for pieces that have utopian potential in their finished unfinishedness, in the interplay of sketches and musical realisation.