The Transformation of the World into Music

Published: Thu 29 Aug 2013 03:55 PM
Listing details: The Transformation of the World into Music (1996) film screening followed by discussion, 6pm
When: Wednesday September 4
Where: The New Zealand Film Archive, 84 Taranaki St, Wellington
Ticket price: $8 public / $6 concession
The Transformation of the World into Music at the Film Archive
In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner’s birthday this year and the upcoming opening of The Flying Dutchman at the St James Theatre, the Goethe Institut is delighted to bring you Werner Herzog’s documentary, The Transformation of the World into Music (1996). The screening will be followed by a discussion with some of New Zealand’s foremost experts on operatic music.
Werner Herzog’s film focuses on Richard Wagner’s works in general, and more specifically on the processes leading up to their performance at the Bayreuth Festival. Herzog, having himself directed a production of Lohengrin at the 1987 Bayreuth Festival, is able to gain full access to the festival’s production venues and engage with the people involved in the production. This includes the director of the festival at the time, Wolfgang Wagner, along with conductors, directors, singers, actors and firefighters, as well as people from the wardrobe, carpentry and blacksmith departments.
This documentary looks into some of the most important aspects relating to the work and art of Richard Wagner and its reception: specifically the concept of a Gesamtkunstwerk, the relevance of the individual artist, and the creation of cult-like followings. The film also explores the connections between art, politics and culture, and the mythologization of Wagner and his work.
The film raises questions concerning these issues rather than giving definite and conclusive answers. Hence, we are looking forward to an inspiring postscreening conversation with Aidan Lang (Director, New Zealand Opera), Roger Wilson (a baritone and bass soloist who has been engaged by all of New Zealand’s major opera companies), Margaret Medlyn (Head of Voice, New Zealand School of Music) and Eva Radich (Presenter of Upbeat, Radio New Zealand).
Wednesday September 4, 6pm. At The Film Archive, 84 Taranaki St, Wellington.

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