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Stendhal Archives

Der Rosenkavalier

As usual, Renate Stendhal's review is articulate and engaging. However, I have to disgree with her. I found this performance flat and slow. And I didn't see the all the cross-gender innuendoes that Miss Stendhal so artfully unveiled.
T.S.
read Renate Stendhal's article

Der Rosenkavalier

Renate Stendhal's article on "Der Rosenkavalier" was intensely interesting as to the opera's emotional and sexual nuances. Her suggestion of casting a physically attractive singer as Ochs, as a way of shaking up the opera's dynamics, was particularly intriguing, and caused me to think the following: has any opera company ever cast a male countertenor, instead of a female mezzo, in the role of Octavian? I don't even know if this is possible musically (being ignorant of how, or even if, the vocal ranges of mezzos and countertenors overlap), but it's an intriguing concept.
Miles Moore
read Renate Stendhal's article

Pina and Ten Chi Revealed

Once again you capture a choreographer and her dance in words the way few reviewers can. Wonderful. Wunderbar. Thank you. Here is more praise that Pina will live forever.

Peter Meyer

read Renate Stendhal's article

Paris - plus ça change...

How enriched my trip to Paris in July will be for having read your musings!
Cynthia K
read Renate Stendhal's article

Paris

Illustrious, illustrious, illustrious.
Merci, merci, merci.
P.T. Cuve
read Renate Stendhal's article

Frida

Frida lives! And so does your review!
Mary Ann Whitney
read Renate Stendhal's article

Owning Picasso

Perhaps, though, he owns more or less than he knows: a "Picasso" from the agile hand of Elmyr de Hory? Unrecognized fake chef d'oeuvres of Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne, Renoir etc. still populate the museums and living rooms of the world. The greatest faker of the last century did not copy, he created the masterpieces. And he did so very fast. Have a look (again) at the amusing film-essay by Orson Welles, "F for Fake", meet the master painter and see him at work. You will also meet his Ibiza neighbor, the equally brilliant literary faker Clifford Irving, who not only wrote the invented autobiography of Howard Hugues ("Hoax") but also a biography of his friend and inspiration, Elmyr de Hory. And if you rent the additional DVD from Netflix you will learn that the fake Picassos have become a collectors' item in their own right. What is more thrilling these days: a Picasso on your wall or an Elmyr de Hory that even Picasso himself could not tell apart?

Renate Stendhal

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Brava Lorena!

I cannot read nor hear too much about Lorena Feijoo. And apparently neither can Renate Stendhal. Lorena is a choreographer's gem and an audience's dream. I do hope that Ms Stendhal will never tire of experiencing Lorena's wondrous creations and will continue to share those experiences with her equally wondrous prose.

Hinton Faxman

read Renate Stendhal's article

Much Ado about the Diva Scale

Terrific review but white print/black background is much to difficult to read for an entire article. An occasional white on black "punch" field may be fine, an entire article too tedious to read. Too bad, it was a welcome review.

Barbara Witte

read Renate Stendhal's article

Brave New Met

Yesterday I saw a performance of "Carmina Burana" and this morning I read your article. All wonderful fodder for my tiny brain that is trying to add a little more culture to its life (my next amble being an attendance this week at an outdoor opera simulcast). Brilliant article.

Irene Hendrick

read Renate Stendhal's article

Brave New Met

I appreciate Ms. Stendhal's keen powers of observation in this well-written article. I have seen the performance of Lucia and am amazed at how well Ms. Stendhal describes the beauty of this production. I have not see the Rene Fleming performance, but I am sure now that I do not ever need to!

Larissa Chernin

read Renate Stendhal's article

Stumbling Stones in German Streets

Extremely insightful, Renate. And isn't it amazing, that at this point apparently 200000 Jews live in Germany?

Andrea Kapsaski

read Renate Stendhal's article

Stumbling Stones in Germany

Thanks, Andrea! It's hard to believe the numbers you are quoting. Who, do you think, is doing the numbers and keeping book? Of course, one could argue that right now, there is no safer country on earth for Jewish people than Germany... Disturbing thoughts. Before Hitler, there were ca 523,000 Jews living in Germany (according to the US Holocaust Museum). "Prophets Without Honor" by Frederic v.Grunfeld, which I read again and again, shows that this tiny percentage of the population produced some 85 % of Germany's culture and science during the peak of the assimilation period and the Weimar Republic. Any conclusions for the future of German culture?

Renate Stendhal

Stumbling Stones in German Streets

Most Jews in Germany are recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union plus a small number of Jewish families from Muslim countries. According to the Central Council of Jews in Germany (Zentralrats der Juden in Deutschland) ca. 120,000 individual members are officially registered with a total of 107 Jewish communities, but of course not everyone is registered and I have read statistics surpassing the 200.000 number That means, that Germany has the third-largest Jewish population in Western Europe after France (600,000) and Great Britain (300,000) and the fastest-growing Jewish population in Europe in recent years. One could indeed argue if Germany is indeed the safest country for Jewish people. Is there a safe country? Denying the Holocaust is a crime in Germany and is punishable by three months to five years in prison, but does that make Jewish life any better or safer?

Andrea Kapsaski

Stumbling Stones on German Streets

Beautiful article, Renate! I can't help but wonder what "Stumbling Stones" Americans might feel moved to create 60 years from now reminding us of our own reprehensible behaviors in the world today. Thanks for posting.

Judy Cohen

read Renate Stendhal's article

Stumbling Stones - that soccer team

I think it might be interesting to clarify some things about that soccer team and your perception of it. I understand their appearance and bearing must be frightening or enstranging. I feel the same about being on a train with a load of soccer fans as well. But despite the brown shirts and skulls on the shirts, these were fans of the most leftist soccer team in Germany. They only play in the second league but they are famous for being rather far on the left bordering anarchy. The skull represents a connection to piracy and not bending to the rules of the former middle-class smugness and rules of the hanseatic city. If they play against teams like "'Hansa Rostock" whose fans are known to be often neo-nazis, fans of the soccer team you saw gather for big street fights to get those people out of Hamburg. I am sorry if my English is not good enough to really explain what I'm trying to say. I guess I just hope to clarify that sometimes those first impressions of hostility might turn out to quite something different. Those people couldn't have been further away from those they reminded you of. And sometimes the staring at somebody who watches the stumbling-stones is not hostility or seeing a "Nestbeschmutzer". But if I would see somebody pausing and contemplating to take pictures of the house, I would ask myself if you might be a relative of those who lived there. Or a tourist condemning those now living there, because they "took away" what did not belong to them. I would feel uncertain how to behave towards you. I would also feel ashamed a bit. But I am quite certain that most people would not think of you as a Nestbeschmutzer. And at least the people of my age (in my twenties) think that the Stolpersteine are a great project that helps us to remember. I too wonder who would have gone to school with me if the Holocaust hadn't happened? Did I miss a friend? What is missing from our culture? How did Christmas/Hanukah look before the Holocaust? Were there chandeliers in the windows? Were there not only Christmas songs heard through the closed windows on Christmas eve, but also different tunes? Just some thoughts and I hope I could convey what I tried to say here.

Sabrina S.

read Renate Stendhal's article

Avatar

Show me God? In movie coinage: Show me the money! James Cameron and his blown-up super video game for the eternally 14-year-old in everyman: Steal a bit from all over the map -- the blue creatures with tails from the sci-fi novel "The Sparrow," the romance from poor old Pocahontas, the clunky war machinery from any Star War offspring, the title from Mother Meera or any serious spiritual tradition in India, the group rituals of arm-waving from Gurdjieff, the Goddess concept from the feminists (or was it Madonna?)... I could go on, but is it worth it? No wonder the silly cocktail is worth a lot of mullah!

Renate Stendhal

3-D with or without Avatar

You won't be impressed for long, I promise, when you put on those glasses. The effect is no big deal; less impressive than the I-Max next door -- at least in Avatar. The effect is that one gets used to it so fast it's hardly worth losing ink over it. The weirdness of foreground distortion reminds you every now and then, oh yes, this is 3-D, isn't it? Clumsy. Like filming a puppet stage and getting hit by the flat cardboard bushes at the stage edge. Bob Wilson on the theater stage used it (sparingly!) to much better effect than Cameron did. Anyway: Very enjoyable article on Oscar contenders and acting. I wonder if you would find Polanski's new Ghostwriter more adult (in the European way) and find some acting in it, too? I did.

Renate Stendhal

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Mein Kampf vs Notre Combat

I have not seen the exhibition but Renate Stendhal's story about it is very revealing and the pictures are mind-boggling and at the same time exasperating. I am not sure that this an answer to the problem of the legacy of the Nazis and that horrendous book. I don't know what the answer is. The book exists and in the spirit of "never again" it is very important that it is never forgotten, yet it is more than a ghost as we see today in the world around us. How do you smell and taste poison without drinking it? Maybe with comedy. But even Mel Brooks and others couldn't hide the awful taste. How to forget without remembering! Praise to Linda Ellia and Renate Stendhal and Scene4.

Aaron Wildau

read Renate Stendhal's article

Mein Kampf vs. Notre Combat (Our Struggle)

Thank you for your comment! It's much appreciated. I fully agree with you that there is no answer but I would add that this is because there are a zillion answers to a question as large and complex as this one!

Renate Stendhal

read Renate Stendhal's article

Tanzträume

Can't wait to see the film. Excellent review. Teenage awkwardness and the idea of not wanting to act stupid in front of one's peers, wanting to belong and yet not be seen. Brings back images of when I was a teenager and us girls danced around our handbags and were afraid to raise our arms. Even today, I'm fascinated by the way people transfer from a sitting position to the dance floor - the awkwardness of it all.

Irene Hendrick

read Renate Stendhal's article

Tanz Traüme

Renate Stendhal's is a wonderful article that reads like a belated eulogy for Pina Bausch, linking 50s, 70s and today. At a time that researchers fear that present day youth -- who so readily make use of New Media -- are losing the ability to have face to face interaction and lack IRL communication skills, Stendhal suggests that the awkward gender division of the 50s is not just bound to return, but is back where it was or as a greater schism. Ironically,perhaps because of projects such as teens dancing a Bausch piece, this seems a breach easier to mend than the lack of mutual respect, seen in depiction of teens in TV shows and movies. Thank goodness for choreographers who use dance to bring young people together on and backstage and as audience in the auditorium. In Seattle, WA., DANCE This! organized by STG allows for similar positive experiences for young people, alternatives to what might be considered a modern day wasteland. Many thanks to Renate Stendhal and Scene4 for bringing this notion to the foreground! Can't wait to see the documentary.

Judith van Praag

read Renate Stendhal's article

Renate's Article on Frida

Lovely article, thanks for sharing and the splendid print of the pictures. Thanks.

Michel Ginster

read Renate Stendhal's article

Santa Fe Opera article by Renate Stendhal

Thanks for the very interesting interpretation of Hoffman's tales and the review of an Opera house which has productions that one wants to visit.

Michel Ginster

read Renate Stendhal's review

High on the Santa Fe Opera


I am very grateful for Renate Stendhal's review of those operas I did not see this summer at the Santa Fe Opera. I heard about them, especially the unusual production of Madame Butterfly but what I had not gotten much insight about was The Tales of Hoffmann. Thanks, Renate, for such a thorough review!

Karren Alenier

read Renate Stendhal's review

Black Swan

I enjoyed the review by Renate Stendhal, though have a different take on Black Swan. I walked away also being reminded of Cronenberg, but more of Aronofsky's other films--he has a penchant for characters inclined toward self-mutilation. Overall I was disappointed in this film. I didn't think it was silly (like your colleague), but wanted it to be better, more complex. Portman was simply too wimpy the whole time to be interesting to me--no dancer without a spine gets to be a principal--and though I know this was a function of her "dark" side containing all her power, it still made the movie and the performance less psychologically intriguing than I wanted it to be. Everything was, for me, a little too black and white. And as a feminist, the voyeuristic aspect really began to pall after a while. The whole thing seemed to be tailor-made for the male gaze (cat fights, the lesbian scene, the masturbation scene, the spectacle of one battered female body after another).

M. Dressler

read Renate Stendhal's review

End without an ending?

As an admirer of Gertrude Stein I feel I have to come to her aid by pointing out a few misunderstandings in my estimated colleague's interesting article. There is no indication anywhere that Stein didn't finish her murder mystery. The story ends very nicely, in fact, with a little "Thank you"-bow, an ironic finishing arabesque, and the word "Finis.", True, in his afterword to the 1982 reedition of the book, John Herbert Gill states, "'Blood on the Dining-Room Floor' comes to an end, but, as Gertrude Stein herself said of it, is has no ending." What that means, however, is, no ending in the traditional sense of what is expected in a murder mystery: the mystery solved, the murderer found. None of this, of course, in Stein's detective novel. The mystery of "Blood on the Dining-Room Floor" is that of Stein's identity. Who was she, now that she was suddenly famous? "I am I because my little dog knows me."  And here we come to  another   misunderstanding. I believe nobody and nothing ever "forced" Gertrude Stein into writing anything. She was not the kind. What she wanted at all cost was being famous, a "lion." If there were suggestions, from a publisher, for example, they were only stating the obvious: a compulsive author nearing age 60 would necessarily think of autobiographical writing. Doing it in the voice of her lover, as the pretend "Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas," is such a sly, playful move - even Stein couldn't have been that brilliant under any kind of pressure!

Renate Stendhal

read Karren Alenier's article  

Re: End without an ending?

Gertrude Stein would love that 65 years after her death, she can still stir people about her accomplishments. I respect what Renate Stendhal has to say about Stein's Blood on the Dining Room Floor and The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. Lots of scholars argue over what Stein meant and did. Diana Souhami in Gertrude and Alice, her biography of the famous pair wrote this: "Gertrude tried, but failed, to write about the strange events of the summer in a book called Blood on the Dining Room Floor. 'It was very bothersome. I thought I would try but to try is to die and so I did not really try. I was not doing any writing.'" Stein based Blood on the Dining Room Floor on some events local to her summer home in Bilignin. There was a dead woman but what happened was unclear as is whether Stein left Blood on the Dining Room Floor a cliffhanger or a neatly tied up literary package.
As for The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, there is no doubt that the writing of this work caused Stein incredible stress. Some people argue (not convincingly to my way of thinking however) that Alice Toklas wrote the work.

Karren Alenier

Biutiful reviewing altogether

Several people I know feel the way I do:  Miles David Moore's movie reviews are the best around. I remember his  review of Polanski's "Ghost Writer" as if I had read it yesterday (well, I also agreed with every word in it). As for "Biutiful", I have not seen the film but read half a dozen reviews (including the New Yorker) trying to decide if it would be worth a one-hour drive to see it. I could not tell. Nothing in these reviews stirred my imagination. Switch to Scene4 and Miles David Moore, where the psychologically thoughtful, elegant writing instantly takes me into a visual, sensual "experience" of the film and connects me. I am told what that experience was like from the "inside", filtered through a critical perspective. There is enough information on every level to keep me reading with interest -- and make up my mind.

Renate Stendhal

read Miles David Moore's review

The paradox of two Steins

The problem is that Edith Stein died and Gertrude Stein hasn't. Edith Stein was a "saint" before the Poppa in Rome made her one. She was a special woman who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Her "specialness" is what makes her amazing and perplexing life and what she did with it so important, so meaningful. She has been an influence to women everywhere even though so many of them are unaware of it.
Gertrude Stein was in the right place at the right time. She was a mean, self-indulgent keeper and user of other artists work, an accomplished self-promoter who sold her clumsy, deconstructed writing as if she were the scribe of the gods. Today generations of buyers revel in her self-made image and keep her alive. It's a paradox.

Stephanie Anschel

read Renate Stendhal's article and Celine Nally's play

Gertrude Stein

Renate, I love to read your analysis of the whole period. You are such a wonderful and exciting writer. Your articles give me thought and more perspective.Thank you.

Jeanne Stark

read Renate Stendhal's article 

Bonjour Kandinsky!

Wonderful article, both erudite and personal, and how beautiful these luminous paintings look (at long-distance) on Scene4's excellent screen. Pictures and text brought back a whole European era for me, with the memory of exhibitions in Hamburg, Munich, Paris, and early Kandinsky paintings that inspired my first serious poems as a schoolgirl. A marvelous surprise to find Lissa Tyler Renaud here.

Renate Stendhal

read Lissa Tyler Renaud's article

The Ring

Renate Stendal , your review is extraordinary What a piece, so many complexities, one is left wondering... I love your style and exuberance even when I am left behind Bravo!

Jeanne Stark

read Renate Stendhal's review

The Obscene Critic

Karren Alenier's article on the Washington Post's obscene review of Gertrude Stein and the exhibition Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. brilliantly analyzes one particular case of openly declared "hatred" for Stein. This sort of hatred has followed Stein from the moment she began to publish, in the early twentieth century, but it is worth noting the context that gave rise to this "indecent exposure" in a serious newspaper like the Washington Post. Stein's present renaissance with two epochal traveling exhibitions has brought out people like critic Phil Kennicott who, as Alenier reminds us, assigns himself, a "seat in the corner with the Stein haters that include 'the worst sort of critics--anti-Semites, misogynists, homophobes and philistines.'" It is worth noticing that Stein's old enemies found new fodder and an academic seal of approval for their attacks in Barbara Will's book, Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Faÿ and the Vichy Dilemma (2011). The inflammatory book fed into the Stein controversy that was triggered by the exhibition Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, linked to the question how Stein and Toklas had managed to survive in Nazi-occupied France. Will's speculations about the "true Stein" and her alleged "collaboration" with a fascist friend and fascist regime unleashed a cultural hysteria, a sort of license to kill that took over the media and blogosphere. I have no doubt that this cultural atmosphere provided the justification for the Washington Post to publish the infamous article. Will camouflages the fact that her book is in fact about Bernard Faÿ, an intellectual friend of Steins's from the twenties, a once respected historian and author who during the war became a Gestapo informer and persecutor of the Freemasons in France. Hardly anybody today would care about Bernard Faÿ and his twisted fate as a condemned collaborator who was ultimately pardoned by French President Mitterand. Gertrude Stein is being used to create a story that pretends to be sensationalist news when the facts and allegations have already been published and rehashed numerous times, most recently by Janet Malcolm in Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice (2007).

Continue reading "The Obscene Critic" »

The Will to Find Steinian Truth

With all due respect to Renate Stendhal, who I cherish as a person Steinian, I find the work that Barbara Will published in Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Faÿ, and the Vichy Dilemma refreshing for its non sensationalization of a tough Stein scenario. 

I am on the record and urge you to read what I said in my recent Scene4 article An Invitation to Gertrude Stein's Tea Party.

As noted Stein scholar Catharine Stimpson said recently at a conference held partially at the National Portrait Gallery where the exhibition "Seeing Gertrude Stein" just closed, "Gertrude Stein was stupid about politics."

I consider Gertrude Stein, Renate Stendhal, and Barbara Will part of my Steinian family. I won't stop loving any of them.

Karren Alenier

Comments on Gertrude Stein Continued

Karren Alenier is a much cherished part of the Steinista tribe, indeed, and we agree quite happily to disagree. We all have a blind eye somewhere and Stein herself was the first to admit her political stupidity and inexperience: "Writers are not really interested in politics..." etc. To be on the record, this was the point of my detailed article in the Los Angles Review of Books, Was Gertrude Stein A Collaborator? (In a shorter version - Exclusive: Was Gertrude Stein A Hitler Fan?

An academic like Catharine R. Stimpson has begun to see Will's book with different eyes, as I was privileged to hear from herself. Others, like the great Stein expert Marjorie Perloff, have never been taken in. If you want a non-sensationalist account of Stein's war years, I refer you to the book by Dominique Saint Pierre, "Gertrude Stein, le Bugey, la guerre" -- an impeccable study by an historian, devoid of the inflated speculations in Barbara Will's book.

Renate Stendhal

Oh Onegin

To have two views of one of my favorite ballets is a treat. I know it's an "old chestnut" but Onegin is where ballet came from and where, in one sense, it still is. I wish I were in San Francisco but many thanks to both Catherine Honig and Renate Stendhal for taking me with them.

Judy Moritz

read Catherine Conway Honig's review
read Renate Stendhal's review.

Onegin review

"The effect is like going to an art gallery and discovering a Titian among the post-modern works plastered all over the walls." A well-turned phrase in another well-turned review by Ms Renate Stendhal. Always appreciated.

David Szersnic

read Renate Stendhal's review

Arthur Meiselman

One of Arthur Meiselman's funny, brilliant cultural commentaries. The "aenglish elbow" says it all and the examples are hilarious.  Aenglish uber alles, "girdling" the world with LOL eloquence. Added edge of perhaps intentional irony: the pretty Asian Talk Girls that partly girdle the article, blinking at the reader with their online readiness to engage...in what? Aenglish, for sure. 

Renate Stendhal

read Arthur Meiselman's commentary

Same old same in America!

The writer of the review of La Traviata (Renate Stendhal - Scene4 - August 2009) sounds as if she is doing PR for Martha Domingo, or perhaps angling for a job in the Domingo Empire. Her superficial dismissal of Willy Decker's imperfect but illuminating production of the opera, first seen in Salzburg with Netrebko, typifies the inability of many American critics to grasp the difference between Eurotrash and the best European 'Regietheater'. The students of my Opera History class found the Decker production compelling but were bored by a 'traditional' version from London's Royal Opera House. Verdi was the true master of the triangle relationship approach to opera and in the Decker production, the real situation of each character is made crystal clear. Your reviewer's verbose but unimaginative response to the artistry of Decker, Villazon and the brilliant Netrebko, not to mention her uncritical praise of Ms. Domingo's production shows how out of touch she is and does a disservice to your readership. There can be good and bad 'modern' productions, and equally so for traditional versions of these wonderful masterpieces. We benefit from experiencing different approaches to presentation and thereby reinvigorate the art form, so let's keep an open mind!

David Walsh

read Renate Stendhal's review

Gertrude Stein in the Movies

Thanks for that oh so different review and witty remarks, and thanks for the reminder of "The Moderns".

Michel Ginster

read Renate Stendhal's article

Stumbling Stones

I first saw the stones this summer on a river cruise on the Danube and Rhine. I later read an article in National Geographic.  What a touching memorable memorial to the victims of Nazi terrorism. Thank you.

John Keane

read Renate Stendhal's article

Dance and Scene4

This is such a beautiful issue and the dance reviews are just striking. Catherine's evisceration of Neumeier is no doubt warranted - I've seen his work before and I hope to suffer through "Nijinsky". Renate once again takes me to the theater for Joffrey and others and brings the performances alive and exciting in her articulate and wry style. Thank you, Scene4, for criticism as it should be written and published.

Robert Coane

read Catherine Conway Honig's review

read Renate Stendhal's review

Tales of Hoffman

Many thanks to Renate Stendhal for her juicy review of this latest "Hoffman" at SF Opera. I love this opera and so it seems Ms Stendhal does too which she can't bear to see mutilated and her clever lingustic turns tell us why.

Tamara Coane

read Renate Stendhal's review

Renate Stendhal on Meret Oppenheim

I love your article, and learning more about Meret. I met her in the early seventies when I had written and sent her my article on The Women of Surrealism from THE FEMINIST Art Journal. She was so excited to tell me how right I was in critiquing the Femme Enfant concept, and how when she turned 30 the surrealist men who used to sit with her at the café,then left her alone because she was no longer "a femme enfant". I felt like everything I had studied just popped out of all the books right before my eyes. She was so friendly and so much fun. I met her another time, at her studio, many years later, on another trip, and she was again an incredible woman and artist. Thank you Renate for being able to read the things we who don't read German or Swiss German can't read, and for filling us in on more about Meret. She actually attended one of Leonora's exhibitions in NYC, in the seventies too. It was an exciting encounter. Sending many thanks for this wonderful piece.

Gloria Orenstein

read Renate Stendhal's article

Meret Oppenheim

I loved this article/review of Meret Oppenheim's life and work. I think she is similar in many ways to the Baronessa Lowingstein, but in a much more controlled and life preserving way.  I can't imagine meeting her and I loved the details of working with her in the studio. I think this group of women who never fit conventional outlines have so much to offer contemporary women, in particular their courage to push all kinds of boundaries. Thank you Renate.

Yvonne Campbell

read Renate Stendhal's article

Water-shed Moment in Opera

In this beautiful, passionate second part of her essay, the author has captured one of the water-shed moments of opera, not just Wagnerian opera, when opera entered modern psychological and cinematic sensibility with Patrice Chéreau's Bayreuth "Ring."  It's worth repeating here what she says: "The éclat that Peter Hofmann occasioned when he burst upon the Heldentenor scene in the Patrice Chéreau Centennial Ring at Bayreuth in 1976 was nothing short of cataclysmic. The production with its bold, sweeping staging, brought Wagnerian music-drama into the living present, and it introduced a whole new generation of singers who transformed opera into communicative speech-song, replacing grand theatre with cinematic reality. Of these none made a greater impression than Peter Hofmann as Siegmund.  His voice which possessed true heroic proportions and uniquely beautiful coloration, coupled with the white heat of his acting did for the Heldentenor tradition what Maria Callas did for bel canto."

Callas had Visconti as a guide; Hofmann (and all the other superb cast members) had Chéreau. Without him, this break-through might not have happened. Thankfully, the extraordinary Ring production is preserved in a DVD that shows the genius of the French director, who was also a cinematographer. It preserves the unusually androgynous, erotic presence of Peter Hofmann as Siegmund and his look-alike incestuous twin sister Sieglinde (Jeannine Altmeyer) -- a casting and performance that would have made Wagner's most ardent dreams come true (and brought tears to the eyes of Thomas Mann.) Thanks to Bayreuth 1976, we can enjoy an operatic evolution with actors/singers like Jonas Kaufmann or Anna Netrebko (see the review of Euene Onegin in the same issue) and with live in HD opera productions at the Met that have taken up the cinematic challenge at a surprisingly high level of consistent excellence. 

Renate Stendhal

read Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article

Weapons of Mass Distraction

Great title. A few answers to the questions Stendahl poses: 1: Facebook is like the neighborhood bar - twitter also - I go on to see what people are chatting about, to start my own conversation - to check in briefly - not hang out. 2: This is why we still need our SALONS - and people do love being invited to someone's cozy home for a chat about art/books. Yes, it is hard to organize people's time - but it is one possible way to fight the electronic anonymity.

Joan Gelfand

read Renate Stendhal's column

A Poet on (Mass) Distraction

The topic is welcome and familiar indeed. I remember reading a poem in the same spirit, called "Quartered," in the poetry collection, "A Dreamer's Guide to Cities and Streams." It turned out to be by the poet Joan Gelfand, whose comment precedes this one.

Kim Chernin

read Renate Stendhal's column

Monsieur Ambivalence

Pascal and Fuller - what a combination and (Ms) Stendhal once again puts her keen eye and vibrant pen to full force. She could sell me anything. P.S. to Scene4: You sold me (Ms) Stendhal why don't you sell the book too?

Judy Moritz

read Renate Stendhal's article

A true writer speaking

Beautiful and archetypal, your story of how writing started early in life, and stayed with you. Mine started just like that, with a poem at age 6 that stated (in German and in rhymes) "I want to see everything, everything, and never be against." Against what? Mystery... All of writing is a mystery. Mine ran into a nasty teacher at age 10 who detested my passion of seeing and saying everything. It went underground, surfacing again over early paintings of Kandinsky. Maybe that's part of the reason why Scene4 is my magazine of choice: writing paired with art and exquisite design. Yours is a unique vision of bringing writing into the world -- and keeping it there. A labor of love for all of us to enjoy.

Renate Stendhal

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Monsieur Ambivalence

A rare treat, Judy Moritz, to read your comment. I thank you for making me laugh as I am the type of writer who would rather do anything than be selling anything! But as you so kindly suggest, I'll give it a try. How about a peek at my brand-new Scene4 Archive? 10 years of blissful and sometimes hilarious collaboration with the excellent Arthur Meiselman. All now in neat categories, with dates and easy one-click access... You'll find it at the bottom of my March article, Monsieur Ambivalence. There, I've done it. Are you buying it?

Renate Stendhal

read Renate Stendhal's review

Monsieur Bivalence

I buy it. Nicely done. What a body of work. 10 years you say? More like a lifetime. I hope you'll keep adding to it for another 10 years. Now for that book that Scene4 should publish and you should sell. I'll buy it.

Judy Moritz

see Renate Stendhal's archive

Renate Stendhal/Monsieur Ambivalence

Every writer needs at least one intelligent reader, and as the publisher of 'Monsieur Ambivalence' by Thomas Fuller, I was overjoyed how thoroughly you 'got' the book, a book that requires some pretty special equipment to get. I'm trying to reach Tom Fuller, a recluse, with the news...I'm sure he'll be extremely pleased.

Brooks Roddan

read Renate Stendhal's article

Art and the City

Many thanks to Renate Stendhal for her colorful and picaresque writing about my beloved Barcelona. I question, however, some of her feminist allusions to flamenco music and dance. Flamenco is more than 'man versus woman'. It's roots are Gypsy and it's heart is both the King and the Bull, both of which are now under attack in Spain by the mindlessness of the younger generations.

Tomas Enzopeña

read Renate Stendhal's article

Gay Photography Book Review Shines

After reading Renate Stendhal's review on Kathryn Hamm's books replete with some sex wedding photographs, I was shocked at how far we have come. From the traditional poses to traditional ceremonies, today our community strongly embraces public displays of affection as well as thinking "outside the box" when planning a wedding. Renate has a very strong voice and makes it easy to see the fruits of our community's labor. It is incredibly encouraging to see couples not only in love but proudly professing their love for all to see. Both, The Invisibles and The New Art of Capturing Love give a unique look into the old world and the new. Tales of love set in the mysterious and erotic underground of the first half of the 20th century to today's modern world above-the-surface visibility shed light on a love that has always existed but is becoming more prominent as the years (and laws) continue to pass. Renate makes clear that times are changing (as shown in her own books and works, namely Love & Marriage: A Love & Sex Forever Kit, a guide book to all married and soon-to-be married couples), and the LGBT community is at the forefront of celebrating love and unity. 

Bella Granados

read Renate Stendhal's article

Ode to A

I like this kind of teaching best. No preaching, no saintliness, a bit of cynical fun, and a lot of knowledge to take us on a snappy, fabulous tour de monde réligieux. Ode to Arthur Meiselman, also known as Arteur Editfleur, the writer and the maker and shaker of Scene4. Happily riding on his coat-tails as a contributor, I can't even imagine how much work it must be to bring out this sumptuous magazine (sans ads) every month. We owe you a lot, Arthur, and gratefully wish you a prosperous, poetic new year. Sing, pray, love for the continued charmed ride of this magazine!

Renate Stendhal

Arthur Meiselman's column: "Heaven"

Vanessa

Santa Fe versus the Met, tells us a great deal about where the depth of our culture is. As Ms Stendhal says: " (Barber's Vanessa...may just provide the modern romantic inspiration we've been waiting for." Bravo for romanticism! Barber and Menotti are indeed a welcome oasis in the face of all the modern, weak offerings, sans passion and often sans lyrical music, Oh, and don't forget Puccini.

Will Paul Winer

Renate Stendhal's review: Samuel Barber's Vanessa

N.C. Wyeth

Another grand presentation. Ms Verdingo-Süllwold writes so effortlessly it's almost as if the painter is speaking through his paintings. And what's going on up there in Maine that the rest of us are missing? Not just the snow and the faraway culture. Something rich and rewarding I think. What intrigues me most is the three generations of Wyeths launched by N.C. Iconic indeed.

Macin Arbenot

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article: The Private Universe of N.C. Wyeth

Kiss Me Again, Paris

Wow! With the speed of light I am at the Opera in Paris and cannot wait to know what happens between the two women. The writing is breathtaking and marvelous. Bring on the next tasting.

alvin hirshen

Memoirs can be such troubled things. From the excerpts, however, it seems that Ms Stendhal has a strong hold on her past and a deep strength from her present. Beautifully written.

Kinda Pellicer

Rich, lively and worth sharing. Thanks for taste.

Michael Aptrow

If the Met were anything like Ms Stendhal's Paris Opera, I would haunt its corridors nightly despite its exorbitant ticket prices.

Ginnie Goldman

Excerpts from Renate Stendhal's memoir: "Kiss Me Again, Paris"

About Stendhal

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to RECENT LETTERS in the Stendhal category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Steiner is the previous category.

Sullwold is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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