Though he died nearly 150 years ago. Wagner still provokes extreme reactions among classical music lovers, many of whom fly repeatedly from continent to continent to catch performances of his operatic works. In which of those- does one start in an effort to grasp Wagner’s essence? With his innovative harmonies? With his ability to bring out powerful and intimate emotions? With his use of ancient myths to plumb the depths of human psychology?
Considered by some to mark a new beginning for him (although Wagner was already radical in his approach to opera as we will learn), Tristan and Isolde is our instructor’s choice. Leaving behind his plot-heavy operas such as Tannhäuser and Lohengrin, Wagner elevates a simple yet passionate love story to great heights – managing to purvey through music the mysteries of love, eroticism and death. We will learn about his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk – an art form which encompasses music, speech, mime, poetry; his use of melodic “leitmotifs” to indicate a character, a personality trait, even an abstract idea, and which act as a unifying device throughout the lengthy work. Tristan has it all --and more -- as you will find out in this class!
For two upcoming performances of Tristan and Isolde:
About the instructor: As an American harpist, Lauren Woidela has travelled to three continents performing solo, chamber and orchestral concerts. As an instructor, she has given lectures for the musicology department of Université de Paris-Sorbonne, focusing on 19th & 20th century music. She hosted and produced her own radio program for the former KXTR: Kansas City’s Classical Music Radio Station, captivating her audiences by bringing a fresh new view on classical music.
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