© Würzburg, Götterdämmerung, Simon Blöchel 2019

PREVIOUS Wagner days

Wagner and the New Music
The 22nd Wagner Days in Venice, based on the theme “Wagner and the new music”,  was presented by the Richard Wagner Association of Venice to  members, friends, and scholars from November 11-13.  Once again the event was dedicated to its founder and past president, Prof. Giuseppe Pugliese, marking six years since his death. Organised in collaboration with the Teatro La Fenice, that opened the 2016-17 season with the world-premiere of  a one-act opera by F.Perocco, ”Acqua Granda”, commissioned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the great flood in Venice on Nov. 4th 1967.

The weekend programme focused on the relationships and affinities between the music of Richard Wagner and contemporary music, involving the Venice Bayreuth scholars as “young artists in residence” in all the events.

The weekend opened with the young artists concert entitled “Aprés Tristan verso la nuova musica”, with Orazio Sciortino, pianoforte (Bayreuth scholar 2009) and Dorothea Herbert, soprano (Bayreuth scholar 2016) on Friday November 11th at 17.30 in the Sala Apollinee of La Fenice. The concert traced a musical itinerary through post-wagnerian music, starting with  the Prelude from Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner newly transcribed for piano by O. Sciortino himself, and then moved on to the Seven Early Songs for voice and piano by Alban Berg, the Waltz-Suite from Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss, again transcribed for piano by O. Sciortino, Les Ariettes Oubliées for voice and piano by Claude Debussy, La Colombe de Huits Preludes by O. Messiaen,  Preludes op. 74  by Skrijabin and ended the journey with the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner, in the piano transcription of Franz Liszt.

The concert was most warmly received by the full house audience, that was evidently very moved at the conclusion of the programme.

On Saturday November 12th at 11.00, following the resounding success of the concert, Orazio Sciortino held a Conference/Concert at the Palazzo Pisani for the students of all the piano classes at the Conservatory Benedetto Marcello of Venice. The event, co-ordinated by the Venice WS Vice-President Igor Cognolato (Piano Professor at the Conservatory and himself the Venice Bayreuth scholar in 1996),  showcased the talent and enthusiasm of the young pianist (the Venice scholar and artist in residence, who has already established a career both as a pianist and a composer at the age of only 30) that both fascinated and stimulated the young student musicians present.

On the same afternoon at 17.00, the annual Symposium on the  theme “ Wagner and the new music”, was held in the frescoed Salone delle  Feste of  the Palazzo Albrizzi, seat of the Italian-German Cultural Association and organised by the European Centre for Wagner Studies and Research.  After a brief welcome to the guests that filled the Salone, Professor Alessandra Althoff Pugliese, President of the ARWV,  illustrated the importance of the “Tristan chord” and its influence on post-wagnerian music. This was followed by two former Venice scholars dthat are now established composers, Paolo Furlani (Scholar 2004), who illustrated and described Wagner's influence on his own music and Orazio Sciortino (Scholar 2009), who presented in a series of musical examples, the influence of Wagner on composers up to the 21st century. A further contribution promoted by the Italian-German Cultural Association at the end of the symposium was the video performance of Synaesthesis I by the Italo-American composer Curt Cacioppo that brought the afternoon's programme to an end.

On Sunday November 13th at 15.30  the last performance of the one-act opera “Acqua Granda”  by F. Perocco was performed at La Fenice,  conducted by  M. Angius and directed by D. Michieletto, and was highly acclaimed by the audience for the impressive direction and staging of the opera. 

Report by
Professor Alessandra Althoff Pugliese
President, ARWV