In the throes of my Teutonic frenzy, Ring Cycle in high gear,I thought this weeks chair should be one suitable for the Maestro Wagner.Chair
ca. 1850 , Coburg
Ferdinand Rothbart, designer, Thom. Hoffmeister and Thom. Behrens , makers
Oak and pine, with original plush upholstery, wool tassels, and brass nail
NOW this is my kind of chair, although it does indeed appear to be a throne, it is was intended to impress upon the world German craftsmanship and taste. Initially shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851, this chair, part of a set including a sideboard, were well received. Raves included praise for work “in the German-Gothic style of the middle ages”. So well received ,that her Majesty used the set to furnish the Evening Drawing Room at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.
Multiple Drawing Rooms, Morning, Noon, Evening, different castles, ain’t monarchy just grand!
To make this chair more lust worthy, the tassels were initially bright pink, now faded to this sober tasteful coloring,a bit mud like.
I am fully entrenched in Master Wagner’s masterpiece, his Der Ring Des Nibelungen, last evening being Die Walkure. As I mentioned before I have my reservation concerning Achim Freyer’s production. From my nose bleed seats I feel as if I were the one viewing from Valhalla.
The production from this distance makes much more sense, Fricka’s ridiculously attenuated arms are less comical ; although her appearance onstage elicited loud guffaws from rubes in the audience, my sympathies to the fine soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk.
Fricka in background, Wotan foreground.
I hesitate to identify who is performing, but this is the costume scheme for the characters.
The first act of Die Walkure has a most tender and intimate quality to it. Never has incest been so romantic, so lovely, so enviable. Siegmund and Sieglinde have truly found their other half. This production seems to great to great lengths to distance itself from that intimacy, the Black and White Cookie costumes aside.
I am well aware of my conservative, at times pedantic taste. I value Mr. Freyer’s vision, at times I am swept up in it. But so often I am left with the feeling that it is best as a conceptual rendering, the actual, very expensive, production often feels distracting.
With that said ,back to dear Arthur Rackham (1867-1939), Rackham captured the intimacy of this young attractive couple perfectly in sepia line drawings.
A smokin’ hot Stranger Man receives refreshment from a nubile Sieglinde.
Grumpy hubby Hunding not pleased with above mentioned smokin’ hot Stranger Man sharing a meal with them.
Wise and lovely Sieglinde pulls a sleep aid for grumpy husband from a very attractive Eastlake cupboard.
Sieglende explains to Stranger Man/ Siegmund the tale of the Sword, Notung,while hubby snoozes.
She tells how Wotan (pictured) disguised as a wedding guest to celebrate her arranged marriage to Hunding, plunges said Sword (Freudian subtlety) into The Tree. A sword Siegmund must remove to protect himself against Hunding.No man thus far has been able to do so.
This image “Sigmund’s Schwert” 1889 by Johannes Gehrts
Post pulling out the ever so subtle “Sword”,the smokin’ hot Siegmund declares his incestuous passion for Sieglinde .
The music climaxes, passions explode (Siegfried next act)and they run off together.
The less smokin’ hot Placido Domingo as Siegmunde aids the exhausted Sieglinde, Anja Kampe, ’08-’09 production.
Battle between Hunding and Siegmund. Sieglinde once again feels faint.
Outcome, go see the Ring.
Image unknown to me.
Wotan’s faithful/faithless beloved daughter Brunnhilde, yet another aspect of this complicated tale of love, family, and passion.
I will close with the Maestro himself, thank you Richard.
Wagner at Luzern, 1868
I do like this chair as well.
Have a great weekend.