30 August 2008

Bayreuth 2009

Next year's Bayreuth Festival will open with Christoph Marthaler's production of Tristan und Isolde, probably with Iréne Theorin as Isolde. First performance of Stefan Herheim's Parsifal will be one week after the opening. There will be no new productions in 2009.

25.07. Tristan I
26.07. Meistersinger I
27.07. Rheingold I
28.07. Walküre I
30.07. Siegfried I
01.08. Götterdämmerung I
02.08. Parsifal I
03.08. Meistersinger II
04.08. Tristan II
05.08. Parsifal II
06.08. Meistersinger III
07.08. Rheingold II
08.08. Walküre II
09.08. Tristan *
10.08. Siegfried II
12.08. Götterdämmerung II
13.08. Tristan IV
14.08. Meistersinger IV
15.08. Parsifal III
16.08. Götterdämmerung *
17.08. Tristan V
18.08. Meistersinger V
19.08. Parsifal IV
20.08. Rheingold III
21.08. Walküre III
23.08. Siegfried III
25.08. Götterdämmerung III
26.08. Meistersinger VI
27.08. Parsifal V
28.08. Tristan VI

26 August 2008

Iréne Theorin Interview on Wagneropera.no

On the Norwegian section of the Wagner site (Wagneropera.no), you can now read an interview I made in Bayreuth this summer with the Swedish soprano Iréne Theorin.

Unfortunately for many of you guys the interview is in Norwegian.

Iréne Theorin sang Isolde in Christoph Marthaler's production of Tristan und Isolde at the Bayreuth Festival this year.

In this interview she tells about her catching a cold right before the premiere this year, how the singers work at Bayreuth, the Isolde character, Regietheatre productions and much more.

Interview with Iréne Theorin on Wagneropera.no

24 August 2008


The new homepage of the Bayreuth Festival has included statistics from previous productions. This is a good start, but I am still missing statistics of the individual singers and their performances at Bayreuth. When did Waltraud Meier sing Brangäne? How many performances as Kurwenal did Hans Hotter sing? What roles did Wolfgang Windgassen sing at Bayreuth?

In Villa Wahnfried they have this information available for their visitors. We live in 2008 now, and it is absurd that this information is not available for the whole world. (Up until now there have been some copyright issues regarding the photos of the artists preventing publication outside Villa Wahnfried). This should be solved. A simple solution is not to use pictures.

If the Bayreuth Festival also have this information (and they should have), publishing it should be an integral part of their search engine optimization strategy. This information will give them valuable traffic from the search engines, not to mention that making the information available will do the work much easier for researchers.

Although not very user friendly, Wagnermania.com has statistics from Bayreuth

15 August 2008

Festspielnachrichten 2008


Every year the the Bayreuth company Ellwanger publishes a series of booklets with festival news, reviews, reports, interviews etc. related to the Bayreuth Festival. You will also find obituaries of many artists and persons related to the Bayreuth Festival in one or another way.

This year the following booklets are available:

Tristan und Isolde
Rheingold / Walküre
Siegfried / Götterdämmerung

The booklets costs 3 Euro (USD 4.4.) each and can be ordered at Ellwanger

Müller/Barenboim best selling Tristan on DVD

Amazon.com's Sales Rank for Tristan and Isolde on DVD shows that Heiner Müller's production of Tristan und Isolde is the best selling Tristan DVD now.

Here are the standings:
  1. Heiner Müller / Daniel Barenboim: (#10,849)
  2. Jean-Pierre Ponnelle / Daniel Barenboim (#14,702)
  3. Nikolaus Lehnhoff / Vaclav Belohlavek: (#35,912)
  4. Dieter Dorn / James Levine (#48,292)
  5. Peter Konwitschny / Zubin Mehta (#78,158)
  6. Alfred Kirchner / Bertrand de Billy: (#107,074)

(The numbers are based on rank in category "Movies & TV".)

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.