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Gala Concert


GIOACHINO ROSSINI Excerpts from the third act of the Dramma per musica Otello ossia Il moro di Venezia

RICHARD WAGNER Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, WWV 96

RICHARD WAGNER “Am stillen Herd”, song from Stolzing from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, WWV 96

RICHARD WAGNER Tanz der Lehrbuben from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, WWV 96 

RICHARD WAGNER “Morgenlich leuchtend”, song of praise from Stolzing from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, WWV 96

RICHARD WAGNER Prelude and Liebestod for orchestra from Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90

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Daniel Barenboim, Conductor
Cecilia Bartoli, Mezzo-soprano
Rolando Villazón, Tenor
Jonas Kaufmann, Tenor
Staatskapelle Berlin


While composing Lohengrin, Richard Wagner claimed he was in ‘great torment’. Melodies from Rossini’s Guillaume Tell were stuck in his head and paralyzing his inspiration. It was only by humming Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony that he was able to free himself and return to composing. ‘It is music one must hear a number of times’, Rossini acknowledged after attending a performance of Wagner’s Tannhäuser, ‘but I won’t be going again’.

The two geniuses may have traded barbs, but their only encounter, in Paris in 1860, was a civil, thoughtful and even merry meeting of minds. Wagner was impressed not least of all by Otello and remarked of the occasion that the ‘swan of Pesaro’ was the one truly great figure amongst all the musicians he had met in Paris. Musically, the two probably never came closer to each other than in the enthralling and practically through-composed third act of Otello. By the same token, in Wagner’s overtures, preludes, and the near-transcendent Liebestod (love-death), it feels like old conventions are being followed and surpassed at the same time. Rossini and Wagner: a musical summit between two opposites, with a starry line-up of performers.

Melchior Annen, Richard Wagner playing cards, Müller & Cie, Schweiz, 1919, © The International Playing Card Society



Grosses Festspielhaus | Display seating plan with categories

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