07 August 2008

Sabotur in Bayreuth during Parsifal

During yesterday’s performance of Stefan Herheim's Parsfal a saboteur blew in a whistle two times. It happened one minute before the end of the performance. I do not know whether this "art terrorist" was spotted by the guards, since he was sitting links and I was rechts, but I am in a mild und leise mood when I say that this idiot should be banned for lifetime. He actually deserves a more medieval treatment. It can never be accepted that someone tries to destroy the experience for others during performance. During the jeering and cheering after the music has stopped people may of course say what they like.

There were no boos when the swastika flags were rolled out in the second act, but a few when the act was finished. The boos were met by cheering. Then a “verbal fight” between those against the act/performance and those who liked it occured, culmination in a standing ovation. The dislikers were vastly outnumbered by those who liked what they were seeing and hearing.

The performance was really great. Especially Act 1 was an intense experience. There was never a dull moment during the almost two hour long act. Herheim had so many wonderful and interesting ideas, and visually this act is a masterpiece. It is also very, very moving, thanks to Herheim's treatment of the mother-son relationship.

More on Stefan Herheim's Parsifal with Daniele Gatti here

Herheims's problem is that the first act is so actionpacked and emotionally exhausting that the other acts can be felt to be a little disappointing. This is of course a well known dramaturgical problem. It is not wise to have the climax in the beginning. The next acts need not necesserely be of a lower quality, but it can be felt that way. More about this and Herheim later.

I have to mention that Daniele Gatti and the orchestra were magnificent yesterday. If Gatti continues to develop his interpretation, his reading might well a a classic who deserves to be mentioned with the best.

The applause lasted "only" 11 minutes.

Before the Parsifal performance I interviewed swedish soprano Iréne Theorin, who sings Isolde here.
Read the interview with Iréne Theorin (in Norwegian) here

I am travelling with Wagner musicologist and Bayreuth veretan Erling E. Guldbrandsen. We managed to make an appointment for an interview with Katharina Wagner (no date decided), and today my colleague and I are going to interview a critic who has attended the Bayreuth Festival for 56 years, starting in 1952. We met this wonderful English lady in the restaurant durin the second intermission. She has some great information we feel be of great value for the users of Wagneropera.net. And tonight: Katharina Wagners
Meistersinger, so more jeering is expected. Hopefully the reactionary idiots from "The Bayreuth Jockey Club" will stay away. They are not contributing anything at all, apart from making it difficult for decent people who prefere more traditional productions.


Guy said...

I agree! I was in the Festspielhaus too and I find barbarian this attitude. Everyone can make boohs after the performance, not during, destructing the end of opera.
The performance was so great, great direction of Herheim and great music by Gatti.

richard said...

Would the English lady you refer to be Penelope Turing by any chance?

When I first became interested in Wagner in 1970, there was a book in the library called New Bayreuth by Miss Turing and recounted her visits to the festival from 1952 to 1968.

I recently tracked down a copy of the book on Amazon in California as I wanted to check some info on the various post-war Ring productions.

Re-reading the book was like meeting an old friend!

I look forward to reading about your meeting.

Per-Erik Skramstad said...

Guy: I agree with you on Gatti. It was better than the radio broadcast.

Richard: Yes, you're right. She has written a biography about Hans Hotter also, and is a wonderful lady. I am looking forward to work on the interview when I get home.

Mark Berry said...

It seems that we were at the same performance. I thought equally highly of it, and wrote a review for my blog, which may be of interest: http://boulezian.blogspot.com/2008/08/bayreuth-festival-parsifal-6-august.html . On the other hand, I thought the following evening's 'Meistersinger' execrable...

Per-Erik Skramstad said...

Richard: The interview with Penelope Turing is now published here: Penelope Turing: "Heil dir, Sonne!" Meant Something in those Conditions

richard said...


Many thanks for a super interview. Miss Turing is quite remarkable. I wonder if she would be prepared to publish an updated "New Bayreuth".