Over the past years of OC’s Milan residency, she’s blazed Halley’s Comet-sized trails across the Lambrusco-soaked, spalla cotta-splattered Verdi country – Parma, Roncole Verdi, Busseto – and all the precious Emilia-Romagna farmlands obscured in fog, set to a soundtrack of Bergonzi and Nucci. We’ve mangled our most precious Chloe Susanna boots over the unforgiving (but gorgeous) 18th century Busseto cobblestones of childhood Verdi and we’ve aperitivo’d at Milan’s Grand Hotel et de Milan where the Italian composer took his last breath from his modest suite before his body was laid over a horse-drawn carriage and carried down a hay-strewn Via Manzoni.
So In this Verdi/Wagner bicentennial birth year, with Verdi’s ghost thoroughly body checked, we’re taunting Wagner with the “I’m watching you” finger-to-eyeball gesture like those mustachioed cops did to teenage ruffians in those awesome 80s movies.
Simply put, it’s 2013 and it’s time to face our fears – Welcome to the Wagner Thunderdome.
Tracing Wagner’s footsteps could have started, sure, at Bayreuth, but time’s burning. Which is why OC finds herself, over the next few days, under the Baroque splendor of wintery, snowy Dresden – the city that Wagner called home until 1827 when he moved to Leipzig with his mother and his sisters and returned many times to work and compose.
The capital of Saxony breathes the neck bearded emo ascetic, whose aspect is proudly stamped on signs and will star in dozens of exhibitions throughout the year. His Dresden legacy intertwines with great music revolutionaries – Weber, Rachmaninoff, Schiller, Schumann – among just a few.
We’ll be posting in the next few days as much as we can – between delicious Wagner-sourceded meals at Hotel Bulow Palais in the charming Neustadt neighborhood, the Lohengrin premiere at the Semperoper and a visit to the newly-minted Richard Wagner Staetten museum and its adjacent Lohengrinhaus where Wagner made his first compositional sketches for Lohengrin. The one thing
we won’t be doing is taking a dip in the icy Elbe, Wagner-style. Or growing a neck beard.
So put on your favorite pair of finest silk underwear, Wagnerstyle, and let’s blow out these 200 year old candles together.