Here's last Saturday's stunning concert version of Parsifal, which was broadcast live from the Concertgebouw, in full.
Jaap van Zweden conducted the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and the soloists included Klaus Florian Vogt as Parsifal, Robert Holl as Gurnemanz, Falk Struckmann as Amfortas, Katarina Dalayman as Kundry, Ante Jerkunica as Titurel and Krister St.Hill as Klingsor.
If it doesn't work, try Dutch Radio 4's site, where an audio-only version is also available. Although the live streaming was interrupted in the first act, all the recordings are complete. There's also a repeat broadcast tonight 18 December at 19:00 CET (6pm in the UK). A CD will be released next year.
Götterdämmerung - Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg, 5 April 2010
If only Stephane Braunschweig's Götterdämmerung was half as interesting as the zombie death bunnies I spotted in this Salzburg baker's window.
The lacquered minimalism of his boutique hotel-style sets was certainly easy on the eye, but hardly fascinating enough to compensate for a largely static production, bereft of dramatic tension or any overarching concept. Wagner's contextual challenges were dodged with limp fire and water projections and a Tarnhelm that brought to mind that immortal line from Raising Arizona: "son you got a panty on your head". It's hard to escape the conclusion that he simply lost interest in the project somewhere down the line.
Götterdämmerung - Hallé Orchestra / Elder - Bridgewater Hall Manchester, 9-10 May 2009
Sir Mark Elder conductor Katarina Dalayman Brünnhilde Attila Jun Hagen Peter Coleman-Wright Gunther Susan Bickley Waltraute Yvonne Howard Second Norn Katherine Broderick Woglinde Leah-Marian Jones Flosshilde Lars Cleveman Siegfried Andrew Shore Alberich Nancy Gustafson Gutrune Ceri Williams First Norn Miranda Keys Third Norn Madeleine Shaw Wellgunde Hallé Choir Gentlemen of the BBC Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Chorus Royal Opera House Chorus and Royal Opera House Extra Chorus
The first half of the Hallé's concert Götterdämmerung was very good, but the second, performed on the following day, was extraordinary. It's tempting to view the weekend as one big show with a twenty hour interval, but in reality there was a different sort of electricity in Sunday night's air.
Though after a dismally dull afternoon's football at Old Trafford (even Sir Alex agreed), just the pre-show harp tuning was a comparative thrill.
I think a change of seat helped. I took in the Saturday performance from the circle on the first level - a great view, and, anecdotally, the best sound. But on Sunday in the front stalls the visceral rush from the massed musical forces was overwhelming, even though the unraked seating offered an over-long opportunity to contemplate the array of baldy heads between myself and the shoes of Mark Elder.
And the singers seemed on even better form. Katarina Dalayman's Brünnhilde (a recent Met success too) displays a rare combination of strength, sensitivity and intelligence. So what if she wasn't quite technically flawless. She could hardly have been more moving, especially in the tragic resignation of her final scene. Her noble and magnificent presence dominated both evenings.
Attila Jun, Peter Coleman-Wright and the great Andrew Shore made a terrific trio of villains. And how well Jun's dark, thuggish Hagen was complemented by the massed Gibichung chorus (there must have been at least 150 of them) resonating around the hall. Nothing like strength in numbers, and a peculiarity of the acoustic made it seem as if the sound was coming from every direction, like some epic hi-fi demonstration.
Was this the orchestral highlight? Or was it perhaps the rippling majesty of the Rhine journey interlude? Or the preludes, measured masterpieces each? I think Mark Elder can be excused for lavishing the most attention on the most exposed parts of the work, where splendid detailing was apparent throughout.
More difficult to pardon was his pre-concert dig at "ghastly, modern productions" - enthusiastically received but hardly constructive. Unless of course his next Royal Opera House engagement - a concert performance of Linda di Chamounix - should be basketed with this Götterdämmerung as a statement of intent. Should be popular with the purse-string pullers at least.
But I digress - it takes nothing away from a magnificent performance that was received with an immediate and lengthy standing ovation all round, and rightly so.
To be broadcast on Radio 3 on 8 and 9 June - and not to be missed.
Götterdämmerung - Hallé Orchestra / Elder - Bridgewater Hall Manchester, 9 May 2009
Even the first half of Götterdämmerung on its own makes for a long evening by concert hall standards, so it was probably smart for the Hallé to spread the whole opera out over two consecutive nights. Tonight we had the prologue and first act - a non-stop "two hours and seven minutes - approximately" as Mark Elder put it in his pre-match speech.
The highly-polished performance was the result of rehearsing off and on since February. There's a fine balance between rehearsing enough (vital for a band that rarely performs opera) and over-rehearsal, and there were a few points where I sensed a switch to autopilot, but overall they maintained momentum well, with some particularly fine horn work. Mark Elder didn't get bogged down in detail, building steadily and inexorably in broad brush strokes.
One advantage of the two-dayer approach is that singers have less need to conserve their stamina, and Katarina Dalayman's Brünnhilde was powerfully projected. Although her lower range sometimes disappeared beneath the orchestra, her pearly top notes gleamed effortlessly.
Lars Cleveman replaced Ben Heppner as Siegfried at a fairly late stage. He has a more appealing voice than the average heldentenor, neither shouty nor over-metallic, but it was a size too small for Mark Elder's grand dynamics. And next to the imperious Dalayman, he seemed lacking in presence. Susan Bickley's commanding Waltraute could have eaten him for breakfast too. The depth of their sisterly bond and the shallow opportunism of Gunther and Siegfried's brotherhood were neatly contrasted here.
None of the singers seemed over-dependent on their scores, but Peter Coleman-Wright (Gunther) and the booming, brilliantly-named Attila Jun (Hagen) really lived their parts between the notes - and even in the most musically riveting concert performance, that sort of thing really does make a difference.