Composer or Director: Jonathan Dean Harvey. Following its world premiere in Luxembourg in April , six performances of Wagner Dream were given in Amsterdam during June. This technically impeccable recording stems from those later stagings and the seasoned confidence of the artists involved — with principal singers Claire Booth, Gordon Gietz and Dale Duesing and conductor Martyn Brabbins — makes for a vivid and moving experience. But Harvey avoids excessive complexity.
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Ircam, l'art de l'innovation
At the heart of this opera is the clash of two cultures. Late, highly charged romanticism with its paradigm of finding knowledge through emotional intensity fused with deep psychology and mythic regression, on the one hand. And on the other hand the new and old world of Buddhism and oriental thought with its detachment, its clear analysis of happiness and suffering in terms of mind. Perhaps this latter is the future, and the Wagner world is what we are coming from.
Die Sieger was drafted between and , at a period when Wagner had become greatly interested in Buddhism. Wagner planned a production of this work for in his programme for King Ludwig II of Bavaria but never progressed it — however elements of the story persist in his opera Parsifal. Harvey described some of the processes he used in creating Wagner Dream. These include the use of a French horn and a sampled trombone playing deep notes at the opera's commencement, representing boat sirens on the Grand Canal. The composer also visited Chamonix to sample a thunderclap , used to preface an argument between Wagner and his wife. The story tells of the love of the outcast chandala Prakriti for the monk Ananda. Although both are ostracized by the other monks, Buddha permits their chaste union and allows Prakriti to join the monastic community. As Wagner dies from a heart attack, he recalls the opera he never completed.
The morning of Wagner's death in Venice , after an unusually angry altercation with his wife about the impending visit of the singer Carrie Pringle, he continues an essay he had started. Just at the point at which he begins to consider the implications of his year-old project to write an opera on a Buddhist subject, he suffers a heart attack. It also teaches that one experiences a sequence of encounters in which choices are offered. Vairochana, a buddha, is Wagner's 'guide' who clarifies the choices and Wagner eventually decides that his failure to compose the noble Die Sieger must be remedied. He therefore 'creates' the opera - and it happens.