Marvellous Wagnerian farewell (Siegfried and Götterdämmerung) for conductor Inkinen and his Symphony Orchestra

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pietari Inkinen
Wagner Gala

Christine Goerke (soprano) and Simon O’Neill (tenor)

Episodes from Siegfried and Götterdämmerung

Michael Fowler Centre

Friday 12 June, 6:30 pm

I hadn’t heard Eva Radich’s interview with soprano Christine Goerke on Upbeat before the concert (and that has a bit to do with the unfortunate shift of the programme’s time from midday to 2pm). But I heard it on Saturday morning. It was one of those wonderful, animated, intelligent, thoroughly prepared interviews that Eva invariably achieves with articulate and gifted people that reveals many of the physical and psychological issues that a great singer faces.

And the session ended with a recording of her singing Brünnhilde in the first scene of Act III of Die Walküre (‘The Ride of the Valkyries’) recorded when she sang the entire music drama with the NZSO in 2012. Not only was it a thrill to hear her performance again, but being allowed to focus on her singing, without visuals or much awareness of her fellow Valkyries, was an endorsement of her stature as one of the best Wagner sopranos in today’s post-Nilsson world.

Before discussing the present concert however, I must express what I think many must feel, that it is a shame – a lack of nerve and financial confidence perhaps – that the wonderful Walküre has not been followed by comparable semi-staged performances of both Siegfried and Götterdämmerung; better still would have been the more complete visual realisation such as the Parsifal at the 2006 International Arts Festival.

In this review I will mention more of the events in both works, as the programme notes rather dwelt on matters like orchestral instrumentation, Leitmotive, but did not adequately identify the excerpts performed and make clear what was sung and what was not.

The concert opened with the Prelude to Act III of Siegfried. It was a well-chosen, awe-inspiring introduction for an audience, few of whom had probably seen the work staged, with motifs relating, among others, to Wotan’s spear on which the ‘laws’ are inscribed and one touching the downfall of the regime of the gods.  That only takes a couple of minutes after which the first scene opens with Wotan (in Siegfried, The Wanderer) calling on earth goddess Erda (who had born Wotan’s many off-spring including Brünnhilde and the other Valkyries) to hear his account of the world’s condition and attend to her wisdom. I couldn’t tell whether the orchestra played, without voice, the Wanderer’s first lines of his call for Erde, skipping the rest.

Also passed over is Scene 2 where the Wanderer encounters Siegfried who is seeking the way to the fire-encircled rock on which Wotan had confined Brünnhilde at the end of Die Walküre. That fascinating encounter with its detailed etching of personalities and ambitions, ends with Siegfried breaking The Wanderer’s spear, thus finally destroying his authority and power: all wonderful stuff that one rather missed.

Simon O’Neill’s first appearance, after the Wanderer’s departure, is preceded by an ecstatic orchestral Interlude running through several motifs and seamlessly passing to the Introduction to Scene 3 where delightfully played wind passages capture the misty mountaintop. It sets the scene for Siegfried’s encounter, evading the ring of fire, to find the sleeping Brünnhilde, with calm violins before Siegfried murmurs “Selig Öde auf sonninger Höh”, and soon wakens her to lovely sequences of bassoons, bass clarinet, oboe, and harp.

Finally Brünnhilde wakes and slowly realises that this is the hero she saved while he was in Sieglinde’s womb. My memories of the wonderful Christine Goerke from her thrilling performance in Die Walküre in 2012 came back, as her performance unfolded. She presented a vivid impression of wonderment, with a penetrating, gleaming upper register that was perfectly integrated with the warmth and humanness of the lower part of her voice. There was both gentleness and intelligence in her portrayal, and even though the two stood on either side of the conductor, one could sense the rapport, growing slowly towards erotic attraction between them as the long scene progressed.

The two voices transmitted different characteristics, O’Neill’s seeming to emerge from a more self-observing and detached sensibility, yet heroic and hugely expressive, as the grain and intensity of his timbre created an engrossing drama. And his response to Brünnhilde reveals a sensitivity and gentleness that we get hardly a hint of in Siegfried’s relationship with Mime, in the first two acts of this part of the cycle. O’Neill approached that tenderness with genuine feeling, but one has to feel that he seems even more convincing when he has the opportunity to boast of his heroism in braving the flames, for example in “Durch brennendes Feuer”.

Because it is more frequently performed on its own, Die Walküre, with its Siegmund-Sieglinde love scene and Wotan’s moving farewell to Brünnhilde are better known high points. But this last scene of Siegfried is their match, and we await performances of it as soon as the NZSO can gather courage and resources.

Then after the interval, Götterdämmerung. Here, the whole span of the work was encompassed, starting with the opening of the near-40 minute Prologue where we meet the Norns, the equivalent of the Fates in Greek mythology, who reflect on the past of the race of gods and on what will happen. They weave a rope that determines the course of events, but it frays and breaks and they return to the depths of the earth. The Prologue presents a beautiful depiction of Dawn, the NZSO strings exhibiting Wagner’s genius not merely in the brass department, here for strings (if anyone had doubted).

Brünnhilde and Siegfried wake from their night(s? – we’re not really told how long the lovers are together) of ecstasy, and within minutes the devoted Siegfried, seemingly prompted by nothing, prepares to leave his lover on the rock, protected by the fire to be sure, in order to pursue heroic deeds. In any case we hear the exchanges between the lovers, with their ecstatic climax, followed by the orchestral Siegfried’s Journey to the Rhine.

Throughout, of course, a huge amount of the excitement of the performances derived from the superb playing by the orchestra, very conspicuously the horns – nine of them – with four picking up Wagner tubas at the start of Siegfried Act III, and in the Prologue to Götterdämmerung.  Other brass players tend to be less conspicuous, but their contributions, trumpets, trombones, the tuba, were always distinguished. Wagner’s oboes often catch the ear too, as in Siegfried’s journey to the Rhine which is not just a mighty brass fanfare, and the NZSO’s oboes are a joy.

Contrary to some belief, Wagner’s orchestra is not inconsiderate of singers: instrumentation complements rather than smothers the singer, diminishes and thins out to allow the voice and the composer’s own words to penetrate and be understood.

In the first and second acts proper, Götterdämmerung introduces a new race, the Gibichungs, introducing an entirely new element to the story. Their only known connection with the main figures in the Ring is through the Nibelung, Alberich, who is Hagen’s father. In Act I Siegfried arrives at the Gibichung castle where bizarre events take place: Siegfried is drugged and is at once attracted to Gutrune, sister of Gunther, the king of the Gibichungs; then Siegfried is persuaded to give Brünnhilde to Gunther in marriage and then, disguised as Guntyher, Siegfried returns down the Rhine to capture her. Brünnhilde is forced to ‘marry’ Gunther and the latter’s sister Gutrune ‘marries’ Siegfried;

Confusion proliferates: at the end of Act I Scene 2 we get our only sample of the act with a rich and beautiful orchestral interlude, a compendium of a number of the most evocative and relevant motifs; but there was nothing else from the first two acts; it precedes the scene where one of the Valkyries, Waltraute, attempts to persuade Brünnhilde to give the ring back to the Rhine Maidens; then Siegfried arrives at Brünnhilde’s sanctuary, disguised as Gunther, tears the Ring from her hand and forces her, protesting violently, to accompany him back to the Gibichung castle.

In Act II the confusion, for Brünnhilde, Gunther and Gutrune increases, exploited by Hagen, leading nevertheless to Brünnhilde being forced to ‘marry’ Gunther. Brünnhilde, unaware that Siegfried’s inexplicable behavior is the effect of a potion, eventually concludes that he has betrayed her, and  she falls in with Hagen’s plan to murder him.

At the start of Act III as Siegfried is hunting with Gunther, Hagen and co, he is tackled by the Rhine Maidens in another attempt to have the Ring returned to the Rhine; Siegfried refuses , is induced to tell his heroic history of forging the sword, dragon slaying. Then, after taking a reversing potion from Hagen, Siegfried recalls his marriage to Brünnhilde, and relates it: a ‘treachery’ that gives Hagen the excuse to kill him.

The performance picks up immediately after Hagen has killed Siegfried with his spear, and Siegfried, finally aware of the reality, addresses dying words to Brünnhilde. The sequence opens with the famous Funeral music for Siegfried and skipping the exchanges between Gunther, Hagen, Gutrune, devoted the last half hour to Brünnhilde’s concluding soliloquy, the Immolation scene, in which the orchestra demonstrated its astonishing command through the endless succession of Leitmotive, from many episodes of the cycle, with a panoply of brilliant orchestral colours and moving emotional structures.

Goerke sustained a level of energy, of vocal drama, that gave the audience a wonderful taste of the way the whole marvellous creation comes to an end, an end after four and a half hours of music, when most proponents of Brünnhilde’s role show at least some signs of tiredness, but she has been spared the huge challenge of singing the entire role.

The audience was even moved to come to its feet at the end, no doubt to mark both a great and momentous performance and the departure of a gifted musical director and chief conductor.

It was much more than a mere taste of the two parts of the Ring that had never been performed in New Zealand; but surely an enticement for many who will have heard this performance here and in Auckland and Christchurch, to call for an awakening to this astonishing music drama, as well as a reminder to New Zealand Opera and, one would even dare hope, the International Arts Festival in Wellington that some of the greatest dramatic music ever written still awaits full performance in this country, that calls itself civilised.



NZSM Orchestra downtown for major concert with the school’s star teachers

Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde (Wagner); Our Own Demise (Pieta Hextall); The Red Violin – Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra (Corigliano); Nocturnes – II Fêtes and III Sirènes (Debussy); Francesca da Rimini (Tchaikovsky)

The New Zealand School of Music Orchestra conducted by Hamish McKeich with Margaret Medlyn (Soprano) and Martin Riseley (violin)

Wellington Town Hall

Friday 30 July 7.30pm

The Red Violin was a 1997 film by François Giraud for which John Corigliano wrote the score; it told the adventures of a haunted violin. From it the composer arranged a piece for violin and orchestra – a Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra and it proved a fine showcase for Martin Riseley. It may have been his first appearance with an orchestra in a public venue since he returned to New Zealand to take up his position as Head of Strings at the New Zealand School of Music.

It has been a few years since the university orchestra performed down-town, at the Town Hall. So this was a very significant occasion, an opportunity to hear two of the school’s most distinguished teacher-performers, with international reputations.

The second was Margaret Medlyn. 

It was a particularly interesting programme that would both challenge a student orchestra, and thoroughly engage an audience.

It was also an unorthodox programme, starting with the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan. Not the purely orchestral version that many would be familiar with, but with Margaret Medlyn who emerged through the orchestra during the last minute of the Prelude to deliver a ringing, passionate performance of the apotheosis that ends the opera – the ‘Love-death’. There was power without strain, riding easily over the orchestra’s ebb and flow, until the climax, the orgasm if you like, where the orchestra did rather dominate.  I am sure it was an arresting experience for all vocal students from the school to hear one of New Zealand’s finest singers in such repertoire.

The orchestra opened after the hall was appropriately dimmed to create a quasi-theatrical scene, with those famous, unresolved harmonies carefully articulated, well balanced, and with scrupulous attention to dynamics. One could often be forgiven for thinking one was listening to an experienced professional orchestra, in this and much else in the programme.

Next came the piece that won the 2009 Jenny McLeod Composition Prize, Pieta Hextall’s Our Own Demise, for which she offered a ‘programme’ in the form of quasi-political reflection on the curtailment of freedoms through the increasing complexity of society: a latter-day yearning for the age of the noble savage?. I quickly abandoned any attempt to make connections between that and the music, though the purpose of the alternation of spacious, pure harmonies and increasingly dense and complex textures was clear enough. Early, a phase of primitive, elemental sounds –strings tapped lightly with the bow, ethereal percussion – suggested a time of innocence, perhaps a very low level of social life. Later, an apparently aleatoric episode perhaps told of societal breakdown.  Its variety of expression and texture, mood and emotion maintained interest; it was coloured by an occasional almost melodic, consoling episode from the solo violin, then a gruff phrase from double basses and tutti tremolo that suggested swarming insects.

In some ways, I felt the idea lent itself too easily to the temptation to employ too many resources too insistently and too chaotically, and that less use of musical disharmony and confusion might have produced better music. But there was no denying Hextall’s imaginative, highly accomplished piece which the orchestra had clearly worked at very conscientiously.

Then came the Corigliano: a name not as well known here as in the United States where his fairly accessible orchestral music as well as his ‘opera-buffa’ The Ghosts of Versailles, have penetrated public awareness. Ghosts was one of the very few new operas to have been staged by the Met in New York since WW2.

The form of the piece, loose variations on a chaconne (basically a slow dance in triple time) ground bass, announced its attention to musical tradition and though its sounds could have derived from no other than the current era, there were some rhapsodic, unashamedly lovely episodes from the soloist, a striking flute solo, with echoes by other woodwinds, all demonstrating admirable musicality. Later we were treated to an almost hummable tune on the viola.

In short, it is music in the Barber, the popular Copland or later Rochberg tradition, for all of whom the audience mattered.

It achieved its aim of drawing attention to Riseley’s distinction as violinist.

The second half would have been welcome in an NZSO concert: two of Debussy’s Nocturnes for orchestra and Tchaikovsky’s great symphonic poem, Francesca da Rimini. The first was a scrupulous, admirably accurate portrayal of luminous, highly coloured scenes, hardly nocturnal I always feel. Fêtes sparkled with lively rhythms and brilliant performances by wind players, and also by well-disciplined strings (students filled the ranks of both violin sections: guest professionals did no more than enrich the lower strings). Sirènes featured a small and warmly seductive vocal ensemble underpinning more colourful playing.

If the concert so far had impressed by the orchestra’s precision and balance as well as its vitality under Hamish McKeich, Francesca da Rimini revealed some shortcomings. Strings got by very well but slips in the brass suggested less adequate rehearsal. Yet there were fine solos again here, in particular from clarinet and the lovely cello passage that follows. And the final phase built to its tragic, though exciting climax with splendid energy and youthful exuberance.

I must comment on the programme notes, by Frances Moore. More than commonly literate and displaying a wide-ranging musical knowledge, her notes for each of the three standard repertoire pieces – the Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Debussy – indicated an unusual talent for describing in imaginative terms, with a comfortable familiarity with pertinent literary, philosophical and artistic questions, significant musical connections that illuminate both composer and the music.

I was relieved that, though the gallery was closed, the stalls were well filled. It was an event that deserves to become an annual fixture that should get a lot more publicity. I was disappointed to see no acknowledgement of any City Council backing which I would have expected, giving substance to the council’s readiness to boast of the city as cultural capital.

Wolfgang Wagner dies

Composer’s grandson and former Bayreuth director exits the stage

The Bayreuth Festival has announced that Wolfgang Wagner, grandson of the composer, has died at the age of 90.

Wolfgang Wagner was director of the German opera festival for an astonishing 57 years, when in 1951, alongside his older brother Wieland, he restored it to the calendar after a lull brought by the Second World War. As well as directing the festival administratively, both brothers also directed productions artistically – Wieland was by and large the more forward-looking of the two in this regard.

Wieland died in 1966, at which point Wolfgang assumed sole command. Under his leadership, Bayreuth enjoyed a degree of modernisation both on and off stage – the famous 1872 opera house underwent significant renovation and leading directors were invited from overseas leading to a number of groundbreaking productions, with Patrice Chéreau’s controversial 1976 Ring Cycle in particular proving a challenge for critics and audience alike. Demand for tickets soared, and there is now a ten-year waiting list for those who want to attend.

Fittingly, however, Wolfgang Wagner’s long life and career itself was not without drama and controversy. In 1997, Gottfried, Wolfgang’s estranged son from his first marriage, attacked him in print for failing to renounce his mother’s anti-Semitism and the Wagner family’s close ties to the Nazi leadership.

And then, two years later, the Wagner family found itself at loggerheads over who should take over directorship of Bayreuth, with Wolfgang grimly hanging on to his position well into his eighties and insisting on having the right to name his successor. Only in 2008 did he finally step down, with the festival passing into the joint hands of his daughters Eva (from his first marriage) and Katharina (from his second), despite the rival claims of Nike Wagner, Wieland’s daughter.

Reporting on his death, the Bayreuth website says that Wolfgang Wagner ‘dedicated his whole life to the legacy of his grandfather’.

Source – BBC Music Magazine website

Simon O’Neill and Terence Dennis in conversazione for Wagner Society

Wagner Society of New Zealand – Wellington Branch

Simon O’Neill (tenor) and Terence Dennis (piano) talk about Wagner and his music, and O’Neill’s emergence as a leading Wagner tenor.

St Andrew’s on The Terrace

Sunday 28 February 2010

Simon O’Neill was one of the soloists in the performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony with the NZSO two nights before; the following Friday he would sing a number of chunks of Wagner, again with the NZSO.

He needed to protect his voice; in addition, he had a cold – he told us his daughter had coughed in his face a few days earlier, and so he apologized for not singing. Instead, he and Terence Dennis presented a conversazione, an extensive talk for about two hours about O’Neill’s career, discussing his beginnings in New Zealand, advanced study in New York, and his performing career which had begun quite seriously in New Zealand; as well as providing an entertaining miscellany of recondite Wagner lore and scholarship.

They began by touching on aspects of O’Neill’s early stage experience in New Zealand which put him well ahead of most other student singers at the renowned Manhattan and Juilliard music schools in New York; he’d sung in Gianni Schicchi, understudied Enrico in Lucia (he was then a baritone) and sung Rodolfo in Canterbury Opera’s La Bohème.

After studying in New York, he soon burst into prominence, with experience first with New York City Opera and later with the Met.  His first audition with the Met had involved the First Armed Man in The Magic Flute, which is seen as a signal mark of a promising tenor career. Then came the invitation to understudy Placido Domingo, who became a powerful friend and mentor. Later, there was Donald McIntyre in the Wagner repertoire, John Tomlinson and many others.

It was not all talk, however. The session had begun with the sound of O’Neill from his recent CD recorded with the NZSO, singing ‘Winterstürme’ from the first act of Die Walküre. If it created an excited anticipation of more heroic episodes from The Ring, Parsifal or Lohengrin, with Terence Dennis at the piano, we were of course disappointed. But the enforced alternative was to be intimate to continuous intense, volatile dialogue, with the musicians falling over each other to embellish anecdotes and to recall additional detail, or, from Terence, to add flashes of absorbing erudition and wonder at the Wagner experiences he has accumulated all over the world, which held the audience spell-bound.

If Simon O’Neill never hesitated from talking with a touching, boyish passion about the luck that had thrust him quite suddenly into the lime-light, he was full of praise and gratitude for teachers, fellow singers and conductors who had helped him, mentored and opened doors for him, from Otago (where Terence Dennis played an important role) and Victoria universities (Emily Mair), and in New York. Warmly generous in his comments about teachers and colleagues, he heaped praise on many of the teachers both in New Zealand and abroad, including Frances Wilson and Marlene Malas at the Manhattan School of Music. New York vocal mentors included such celebrated singers as baritone Sherrill Milnes and mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, who had sponsored him through her own foundation, and there was also a memorable masterclass with Luciano Pavarotti.

It wasn’t till after his time at the Juilliard School that he studied his first Wagner roles, principally Siegmund and later Lohengrin.

Simon recalled how, at Heath Lees’ urging, he’d written to Sir Donald McIntyre from New York and so began a close relationship that proved a key to his advancement in Wagner performance. ‘McIntyre was so generous!… can’t thank him enough!’

But his path led through more conventional music too – Mozart, with Tamino and Idomeneo (the High Priest), the latter his debut role at the Met.

Simon talked about New Zealand performances that were critical, remarkable in his early career. As Dmitri in Boris Godunov for New Zealand Opera and as Parsifal in the 2006 International Festival, which he rates not only as a momentous step for him but as one of New Zealand’s great opera achievements, with its wholly New Zealand cast. It was ‘an amazing event’, he said, marvelling particularly at McIntyre’s performance of Gurnemanz at age 71.  This reviewer shares his opinion about the miracle of that performance, almost equalling the wonderful Meistersinger at the 1990 festival.

His most exciting step was to understudy Domingo as Siegmund in the famous Otto Schenk production at the Met, and sing the role on a Met tour to Japan. He made his significant Met debut as Siegmund in the last season of this famous Schenk production under the baton of Donald Runnicles in a splendid cast that included such noted Wagner singers as Lisa Gasteen (Brünnhilde), Deborah Voigt (Sieglinde) and James Morris (Wotan); he is incredulous that he had to sing that performance onstage having had no orchestral rehearsal.

A veteran Met audience member at those performances was overheard to have said: “This was the finest Siegmund I’ve heard in this house for 41 years”. The earlier singer referred to was presumably John Vickers… indeed James Levine has particularly complemented Simon on the eloquence of his singing, that does recall the Wagner greats of earlier generations; Simon mentioned how he has modeled certain aspects of his approach to singing these roles on the great Wagner tenor Wolfgang Windgassen, and is particularly inspired by the older Wagner greats like Melchior, Lorenz and Völker.

His wide-eyed wonderment at his association with Domingo extended to forcing his feet into Domingo’s boots for the role of Siegmund; and he was bemused at being mistaken on the Met’s tour to Japan for Domingo by a couple of Japanese ladies.

Then Simon described the excitement of his European experiences, singing with the Berlin Staatsoper under Barenboim, in open air concerts of Act one of Walküre at the Villa Rufolo in Ravello, above the Amalfi Coast in Italy (Wagner had stayed there and was inspired by its exotic garden for Klingsor’s Magic garden in Parsifal); he has also appeared at the Waldbühne outside Berlin (Nazi associations through its origins, with the 1936 Berlin Olympic Stadium, and all).

Now he’s in demand as Lohengrin, his latest Wagner role. He sang this at Covent Garden and Houston Grand Opera to much acclaim last year.

There were wonderful Bayreuth anecdotes. Unexpectedly asked at his stage audition to sing a passage from Lohengrin, he confessed he needed the score for the words and hadn’t brought it. Wolfgang Wagner and Christian Thielemann were present and ventured to say that would not be a problem: after all, even Wagner’s autograph of Lohengrin was nearby!;… and Simon was overcome with awe.

Eva Wagner-Pasquier and Katharina Wagner ( the present joint artistic directors of Bayreuth) offered him both roles of Parsifal and Lohengrin at forthcoming Festivals.

Departing from Wagner, I liked his little story about singing Florestan in his Covent Garden Fidelio. Simon’s mind went blank at the start of Florestan’s opening aria in Act II. The house was quite dark, and suddenly it came to him: ‘Gott, welch’ Dunkel hier’. Someone up there helping…?

Throughout the conversation, Simon would get up and go to the piano to play the introductory bars to various episodes, and sing a few tantalizing phrases.

At the end of the first half, Terence took to the piano, as originally planned, explaining that he was about to play, perhaps for one of the few times in a century as it was long out of print, Busoni’s magnificent transcription of the Funeral music from Götterdämmerung. Not an orchestra certainly, but the powerful emotion was there in his splendid, sombre performance, and this provided the musical interlude to the second half of the session.

Dennis’s frequent interventions were quirky and wonderful. Just one: The 1936 Bayreuth production of Lohengrin, paid for by Hitler was offered as by the Führer as his present for the coronation season of Edward VIII, which never took place. The monarch is said to have responded that he was happy to receive the production “as long as I don’t have to sit through it.’ (you’ll note, no objection to a connection with Hitler however).

Also outside the Wagner realm though close to it, Simon’s recently recorded opera by Chausson Le Roi Arthus (King Arthur) was mentioned, as a proto-Wagner enterprise: he sings Lancelot in this, opposite the Guinevere of soprano Susan Bullock; with Antonio Pappano he went to Rome to sing Beethoven’s Ninth in the wonderful new Auditorio. And, significantly, before Christmas he sang Verdi’s Otello for the first time, at the Barbican Hall in London, under Sir Colin Davis at the eleventh hour – facing the big opening entrance Esultate! for the first time was singularly scary; the London reviews were sensational. In 2012, he sings in the Covent Garden Ring celebrating the London Olympics.

2013 is of course the big year – the bicentenary of Wagner’s birth (and of Verdi’s too – must stay alive for both). And Simon has frightened himself by saying yes to invitations to sing the Götterdämmerung Siegfried in Ring productions at such eminent opera houses as the Met, both the Deutsche Oper and the Staatsoper in Berlin, at Hamburg Staatsoper, Vienna Staatsoper, La Scala Milan and at Covent Garden.

There are Wagner roles Simon admits he’s still scared of: Meistersinger (the Third Act), Tannhäuser and Tristan. He’s done all the others. He has turned down offers to sing Rienzi in Berlin, several Tristans and Tannhäuser: these are the really exceedingly taxing Wagner tenor roles, and time is on his side for these in the future…..

There was a pretty large audience in the church; all were aware that they might be able to name drop in ten years about hearing O’Neill in his early years.

I have to thank Terence Dennis for reading my account and for making several corrections, amendments and additions. Lindis Taylor