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Tuesday, 19 March, 2002, 11:24 GMT
Barenboim leads Wagner marathon
Daniel Barenboim will conduct more than 40 hours of music
Barenboim will conduct more than 40 hours of music
Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim will stage 10 different Wagner operas in just 14 days in an unprecedented attempt to tackle the composer's repertoire.

Barenboim and collaborator Harry Kupfer have enlisted hundreds of musicians and singers to perform all but three of Wagner's operas at a two-week festival in Berlin over Easter.

All 10 of Wagner's "mature" operas will be performed by some of the world's best Wagner singers, including mezzo Waltraud Meier, soprano Deborah Polaski and bass John Tomlinson.

Barenboim has hit the headlines in the past by conducting part of an opera by Wagner, known for his anti-Semitic views, at a Jerusalem music festival, breaking a decades-old Israeli taboo.

'Unique'

He has also organised events to bring young Israeli and Arab musicians together, but recently postponed a concert in the West Bank because Israel said it could not guarantee his safety.

The marathon Berlin event will see him conduct more than 40 hours of music at the city's prestigious Staatsoper Unter den Linden opera house, where he is general music director.

"It is probably unique in interpretation history that the entire staging cycle was produced by one and the same production team," said Georg Quander, the Staatsoper's general manager.

Not even the Bayreuth Festival, an annual celebration of Wagner's music, has attempted such an intensive project.

Ring Cycle

The festival will kick off with Der Fliegender Hollaender (The Flying Dutchman) on Sunday, 24 March, followed by Tannhaeuser on the Monday and Lohengrin on the Tuesday.

After one day off, the four-opera Ring Cycle will be performed over the Easter weekend.

The two-week stint will end with Tristan und Isolde on Thursday, 4 April, Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg on Friday and Parsifal on Saturday.

The operas will be performed in roughly the same order in which they were written, and the whole two-week season will be repeated again from 13 April.

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