London celebrates Richard Wagner’s bicentenary with ‘Wagner 200’

Charlotte Smith11th Feb 2013
London celebrates Richard Wagner’s bicentenary with ‘Wagner 200’Wagner 200 will be a London-wide celebration of the composer's 200th anniversary (photo: Tully Potter)

London will play host to ‘Wagner 200’ during 2013, a wide-ranging festival commemorating the bicentenary of Richard Wagner’s birth. Running from May to December, the festival will have a particular focus on British artists. Most of the city’s leading cultural institutions will be involved in the celebrations, including the Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre, Barbican Centre, Royal Albert Hall, Kings Place, British Library, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Radio 3, The Wagner Society, Opus Arte, London Song Festival and London Jewish Cultural Centre.

The festival opens with a 200th birthday concert for the composer, featuring the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis at the Royal Festival Hall on May 22. The event will be preceded by an afternoon of pop-up Wagner activities on the Festival Hall terrace, balcony and foyers.

Further highlights include a dramatised recreation of the events surrounding the first performance of the Siegfried Idyll, starring Harriet Walter and Henry Goodman with the Aurora Orchestra and Nicholas Collon; a reading of the complete Ring text in English featuring John Tomlinson as narrator/master of ceremonies and a company of young actors from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (June 9); three symposia on Wagner in Performance (June 29-30) followed by screenings of Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg; two events devoted to Wagner and the Jews at the London Jewish Cultural Centre (October 6 and December 10); masterclasses with Gwyneth Jones (May 28) and John Tomlinson (November 25) at the Royal Opera House; and concerts by the London Symphony Orchestra (November 28) and BBC Symphony Orchestra (December 20).

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