Author Archives: peterp

Vienna’s New Parsifal

Classic dramatic structure requires that a play feature a climax—a single moment in the action, necessary to the narrative, when the protagonist achieves self-awareness, accepts fate, and performs the action that the plot requires.  In Hamlet, it is the moment that prompts his declaration “The point envenomed too?  Then, venom, do thy work,” and fatally […]

Lohengrin as Nudnik

The production of Lohengrin at the Opéra National de Paris, which I saw in early February, prompts inquiry into the creative process by which theatre artists choose interpretation of classic texts. Many years ago I was involved in a production of e.e. cummings’ obscure play him, where the director extracted from the text a running […]

Sony’s Set of Nikolaus Harnoncourt

  We pause in our Wagner musings for a report on a purveyor of pure beauty.  Sony has released a huge (61-CD, 3-DVD) collection of the complete recordings under its label by Austrian cellist and conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016).  To sample through this gargantuan box is to hop from one point of perfection to another. […]

Chicago’s Brilliant Rheingold

If the entire Ring Cycle now being mounted at the Chicago Lyric Opera has even a fraction of the intellect and panache that the first installment, Das Rheingold, displays, then the Windy City is in for a treat.  Between the Cubs and David Pountney, Chicago is having a hell of a good Fall. Musically, the […]