Tag Archives: Bayreuther Festspiele

Parsifal, Bayreuth Festival, July 2016

Can Christians, Jews and Muslims live in harmony in the Middle East? The final scene of Bayreuth’s new Parsifal supplies a message of hope when these three faiths come together in the opera’s final act of redemption. My review appeared in the Daily Telegraph, 27 July 2016

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Tristan und Isolde, Bayreuth, July 2015

Stakes were high for this 150th anniversary production of Tristan und Isolde, so little wonder that with her contract up for renewal, Festival director Katharina Wagner took the task of shaping it upon herself. My review appeared in the Telegraph, 27 July 2015

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Lohengrin, Bayreuth Festival, July 2015

Following the hugely successful season opener of Tristan und Isolde the previous night — see my review in the Telegraph — it was a pleasure once again to see Hans Neuenfels’ 2010 production of Lohengrin, now on its final lap before leaving the repertoire. With the folk of Brabant represented as rats and mice, along …

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Wagner’s Ring: Siegfried and Götterdämmering, Bayreuth, August 2013

The overall conception of this production is seediness, but the main problem is a failure of dramaturgy and linkage to the music. There is a sword, originally held by Siegmund, but Siegfried uses a machine-gun for killing Fafner, and although Hagen brings out a spear for the opposing oaths of Brünnhilde and Siegfried, he simply …

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Wagner’s Ring: Rheingold and Walküre, Bayreuth, August 2013

After the finest Rheingold I have ever heard, at the Proms with Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Staatskapelle this summer, it would be churlish to draw comparisons with the Bayreuth orchestra under Kirill Petrenko. They played well, and there were some lovely moments, yet the production by Frank Castorf treated it as background music. Rheingold …

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Parsifal, Bayreuth Festival, July 2012

The present extraordinary Bayreuth production by Stefan Herheim portrays Germany from before the First World War to the aftermath of the Second, with Parsifal representing the true spirit of the country, and Amfortas the one that lost itself in Nazi times. It all starts during the overture, with Parsifal’s mother Herzeleide close to death. Lying …

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Lohengrin, Bayreuth Festival, July 2012

This intriguing production by Hans Neuenfels, now in its third year, concentrates on the people rather than the distant historical setting in which Wagner sets his opera. The stage action starts already during the overture with Lohengrin in an antiseptically white room trying to get out, which he eventually achieves by simply walking backwards through …

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Der fliegende Holländer, Bayreuth Festival, July 2012

The 2012 Wagner festival at Bayreuth started in dramatic fashion when the singer in the title role for a new production of The Flying Dutchman suddenly pulled out. Evgeny Nikitin, covered in body-tattoos from his former career as a heavy-metal singer, found himself the focus of attention, and although claims of a swastika seem unfounded, his …

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Bayreuth Festival Retrospective, 2011

This year the Bayreuth Festival produced five different operas, opening with a new production of Tannhäuser, followed by four revivals: Meistersinger, Lohengrin, Parsifal, and Tristan, in that order.  I went to the first four, which included Katarina Wagner’s grotesque Meistersinger for which spare tickets were selling at half price, and no wonder. With a weak …

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Meistersinger, Bayreuth Festival, July 2011

Tickets for Bayreuth are hard to come by, so you know something’s wrong when people are disposing of Meistersinger at half price outside the theatre.

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Parsifal, Bayreuth Festival, July 2011

The imagery is enormous, but the production concept is simple. It’s the history of Germany from before the First World War until after the Second.

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Lohengrin, Bayreuth Festival, July 2011

The video projections of rats fighting and metaphorically trying to take over the kingdom were clever, and I loved the opening of Act II with a dead horse and overturned carriage.

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Tannhäuser, Bayreuth, July 2011

What fun this was at the end! The production team were booed to the rafters with not a handclap to be heard, and Venus was so roundly booed she didn’t return for her second curtain call.

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Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Bayreuther Festspiele, July 2009

…this year’s production of Meistersinger was apparently even more ludicrous that last year’s.

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Tristan und Isolde, Bayreuther Festspiele, July 2009

On this first night of the 2009 Bayreuth festival, under the new direction of Eva Wagner-Pasquier and Katharina Wagner, we had the singers for the parts, but not the parts for the singers in this wretched production.

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