Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Celebrate the Beatles with a Ban; A Year without Wagner and a[euro][approximately]Fab Four' Will Freshen Love of Them

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Celebrate the Beatles with a Ban; A Year without Wagner and a[euro][approximately]Fab Four' Will Freshen Love of Them

Article excerpt

Byline: Philip Hensher

IT IS musical anniversary season. This week it was 50 years since The Beatles' first chart success with Love Me Do. Next year, it's the 200th birthday of both Wagner and Verdi a Wagner seems to be winning that particular race, as every opera house in the world puts on a production of the Ring Cycle. What are we going to do with these birthdays?

None of the objects of our celebration is obscure, or in need of an anniversary to bring them back to our attention. The Beatles are heard as often as they ever were, both in original versions and covers a The Slackers covered We Can Work It Out in 2009 and the songs are stalwarts of talent show series. When the authorities were searching for a climax to the Diamond Jubilee concert and to the Olympics opening ceremony, they came to the same conclusion and asked Paul McCartney, with his poor, age-tattered voice, to perform. We know all about The Beatles.

As for Wagner, no one need fear being out of reach of a Ring Cycle in the 2012-13 opera season. Despite the colossal burdens of staging the four-opera cycle and the immense difficulty in finding singers capable of sustaining the three central roles of Wotan, Siegfried and Brunnhilde at the same time, it's being put on all over the place. Berlin, Seattle, Milan, New York, London, Melbourne, Paris, Frankfurt, Bayreuth, Riga, Munich, Leeds and, most surprisingly, Longborough are having a crack at it a probably many others, too. Small Welsh villages, collections of yurts on the steppes of central Asia. A couple of years ago my husband broke down and begged me to stop taking him to see Die Walkure a every single time we went away for the weekend, the local opera house was putting it on. I think we are now going to have to declare the opera house out of bounds until 2014.

Now, I have an impractical suggestion to make to celebrate these two anniversaries. Since none of Wagner's mature operas is a rarity and since nothing The Beatles recorded and released is at all unfamiliar even to the most casual enthusiast, why not take a contrary approach? Why not celebrate these events by declaring that, for the next year, there will be no performances, broadcasts, or recordings of either Wagner operas or any Beatles song? …

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