WOS Radio: Edward Seckerson Talks to John TomlinsonDate: 3 February 2011
John Tomlinson - one of the great Wagnerians of our time and surely the greatest Wotan since Hans Hotter - returns to English National Opera to sing the role of Gurnemanz, the eldest and wisest of the Grail knights, in Wagner's last opera Parsifal.
Not surprisingly, the focus of this exclusive ENO OperaCast is Wagner - the music, the ethos, the man. In a wide ranging conversation with Edward Seckerson Tomlinson talks openly about his fear of examining Wagner, the man, too closely, preferring instead to let the work speak eloquently on his behalf. Wagner has always been a perfect fit for Tomlinson's craggy bass: it's a voice which sounds and behaves like it's been hewn from some Nordic rock face.
Tomlinson reminds us of how rare it is for a true bass to sing Wotan, ruler of the gods, and how it was Daniel Barenboim who first persuaded him to assume the mantle of this the most coveted role in The Ring. He went on to sing it in countless productions along with many other key Wagner roles from both ends of the bass-baritone spectrum.
In 18 seasons at Bayreuth, Wagner's own theatre, Tomlinson never missed a single rehearsal or performance - suggesting that for this singer at least too much Wagner does not damage your health but, on the contrary, is good for the body and the soul.
To listen to the full recording of the Q&A, click the 'play' button below; or to subscribe and download from iTunes, click here.
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