No, they won't sing to you. But with a smartphone you can read the QR code printed on the stamps. This takes you through to a special section on the Hungarian State Opera House’s web site containing information and recordings.
Snap the QR codes below if you want to listen in without shelling out.
In Berlin, the Staatsoper renovations are running three years late (and counting). In Bayreuth, in anniversary year, Wahnfried is closed for building work and the Festspielhaus is covered in scaffolding. I can also report that, contrary to myth, German trains rarely run on time.
Leave it to Dresden to uphold Germany's reputation for efficiency. The new Wagner museum in the suburb of Graupa opened according to schedule earlier this year, and it's managed to do much with few resources.
An awkward alcove has been turned into a place of pilgrimage at Dresden Semperoper. To celebrate Wagner's bicentennial, a corner at the end of the upstairs foyer has been fitted out with six new plush seats. Each has a shiny brass plaque naming one of the composer's operas - and more importantly a set of headphones, on which you can listen to extracts from Staatskapelle Dresden recordings.
While I was there, everyone was doing the very German thing of ignoring the whole set up entirely - until one brave person sat down and plugged in, that is. Swiftly followed by a rush for the remaining seats and an orderly queue for the leftovers.
At £7.99 (MP3) or £10.27 (CD), the 3 CD box set The Other Wagner is an economical reminder of why Richard Wagner is best known for his operas.
Mikhail Rudy does his noble best with some pretty dreadful piano music. On the plus side you get excellent versions of the Wesendonck-Lieder from Jessye Norman (with piano) and Christa Ludwig (with orchestra). And if you can't get to Dresden Frauenkirche for Das Liebesmahl der Apostel on Wagner's 200th birthday, a splendid account from Michel Plasson and the Dresden Philharmonic might make up.
Alfred Pringsheim, mathematician, father-in-law of Thomas Mann, amateur musician and early patron and friend of Richard Wagner, died in 1941 in Zurich at the age of 91. As a Jew, he had been forced to flee his native Germany in 1939, leaving most of his comfortable wealth behind. It has been generally believed that on his death, his widow Hedwig burned all his personal effects, which included letters from Wagner.
Now a previously unknown document has surfaced. It's the transcript of a diary that the young Pringsheim made in the summer of 1876 in Bayreuth, when he saw the dress rehearsals for the first-ever Ring cycle. Richard Wagner's great-granddaughter Dagny Beidler (granddaughter of Isolde von Bülow, who was in turn the eldest daughter of Richard and Cosima Wagner) found it amongst the belongings of her late father, Franz Wilhelm Beidler, a good friend of Pringsheim. She transcribed it with the help of musicologist Eva Rieger.
This full transcript is published in its entirety for the first time in May (Thomas Mann Series, Volume 9, Publisher Königshausen-Neumann).
But first the German newspaper FAZ is publishing a few excerpts. Of course, the dress rehearsal specifics are fascinating, even though many of the goings-on have already been aired in other contemporary reports. "One cannot judge the dragon scene fairly yet" says Pringsheim "as the monster itself hasn't arrived yet from London."
Perhaps more intriguing is the confirmation of how charming Wagner could be with his Jewish admirers when their pockets were as deep as Pringsheim's. "An unsolvable riddle to see this little man with his Saxon Gemüthlichkeit and then think he has created all these great works." A must-read for Wagnerites.
"Humour sharpens the sense of all that is human," says Peter Klier, a retired headmaster who turned his hobbies - opera and painting - into his livelihood a few years ago. He's since published several books of operatically-themed illustrations.
His recent Wagner-laweia repositions Richard Wagner's greatest operas in a seaside postcard world of bewbs and botties, dotted with the sort of details that only a true Wagnerite could conjure up. Here are a few samples:
On top of the endless stream of Wagnertrinketry, 2013's Wagnerversary will see an explosion in the publication of Wagner-themed books. Think everything that could possibly be written about Wagner has already been written? Not.
Rolling off the presses in March is Kerstin Decker's Richard Wagner: Mit den Augen seiner Hunde betrachtet - or - Richard Wagner viewed through his dogs' eyes.
Featuring a discreet facsimile signature on the face and a portrait on the reverse, the watch is a limited edition of 200 pieces. It will retail at 495 euros, 100 euros of which will be put towards funding scholarships for young musicians.
Admit it, you've been waiting for these a long, long time. The world's first ever Wagnerpants® have arrived courtesy of Aussie leggings legends Black Milk.
Crafted in pure polyester with a touch of spandex, the Fire Horse Legging depicts Brünnhilde riding into Siegfried's funeral pyre as Valhalla goes up in flames - whew, some eyecatching mane positioning there guys.
How soon will we all be sick of the bi-bicententennial I wonder? Opera is of course a peripheral activity for the LSO, but they're still doing their bit to celebrate Wagner and Verdi's joint 200th birthday.
Their 2013/14 season opens on 15 September with a concert performance of Rigoletto, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. The underrated Dimitri Platanias takes the title role, with Desirée Rancatore as Gilda and Giuseppe Filianoti as the Duke.
On 28 November, Schubert's Unfinished Symphony is paired with the second act of Tristan und Isolde. Daniel Harding conducts Katarina Dalayman, Peter Seiffert and Christianne Stotijn. A major influence on Wagner's work was Roméo et Juliette. which turns up on 6 and 13 November with soloists Olga Borodina and Ildar Abdrazakov. Gergiev conducts as part of a Berlioz series running throughout the season.
The LSO's year is otherwise, as you might expect, light on opera, though Mark Elder's extracts from Der Rosenkavalier sung by Anne Schwanewilms, Sarah Connolly and Lucy Crowe should not be missed (8 May 2014).
Full season details to be released later this month.
Put it down, it's not a toy. This weeny wooden Wagner is a Räuchermann, a kind of incense burner. Pull the maestro's head off, stick in a burning incense cone, then put him back together and watch the smoke puffing out from his mouth.
A new exhibition in Berlin takes a look at Wagner from the perspective of more than 50 contemporary artists. Wagner 2013. Kunstlerpositionen opens today at Akademie der Künste and runs to 17 February 2013.
The Ring is everywhere. You cannot escape the Ring.
Leafy Bonn is the city of Beethoven, whose presence registers discreetly everywhere. The formal side is the bronze monument in the central square and the Beethovenhaus birthplace museum. But while Bonn hasn't yet stooped to Salzburg/Mozart levels of commercialisation, there's also tasteful and presumably officially-sanctioned graffiti, enterprising shop window displays, even marzipan figurines. Still Wagner manages to get a look in too, as he so often does.
On 5 November, DG release a 43 CD box set of all Wagner's operas. That's ALL of them - including Rienzi, Das Liebesverbot and Die Feen, typically omitted from so-called 'complete works'.
If your shelves are already groaning under the weight of Wagnerdiscs, you can probably resist the temptation. But if you need to fill some holes in your collection, this mixed-artist set is a bargain at £58.46. That's cheaper than buying the early operas separately, and you also get some classic recordings of the more familiar works, including the 1982 Carlos Kleiber Tristan with Margaret Price and Fischer-Dieskau's Hans Sachs conducted by Jochum.
Das Rheingold - Royal Opera House, 24 September 2012
What a way to open the season. The Covent Garden Ring is back, reworked and repolished
by its original director. Five years after its last showing, Keith Warner has
scaled down some of the clutter and arcane symbolism in favour of a more
character-driven approach. There are still suitcases that won’t open, ropes
that won’t untie, tittersomely inept transformations and a resolutely-ignored dead
giant on the patio. But the fumbles are fewer, and less distracting in the face
of uniformly superb acting (and slightly less uniform singing).
Everyone knows by now that 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner's birth. But did you know that 2012 is a special year too?
Yes, it's 150 years since the Master visited the German city of Worms.
And the Wormsers (Wormsese?) are going all out to celebrate with a bumper art show. 30 international artists were invited to contribute to the exhibition Denk Mal an Wagner, which opened yesterday. Amongst them are the notorious Opernregisseur Achim Freyer, who contributes his designs for the LA Ring, and Ottmar Hörl, whose Wagners Hund project strewed 800 plastic models of Wagner's favourite dog around the park benches of Bayreuth in 2004. And there are a few more conventional portraits as well: