22 August 2010

Crazy Days in Bayreuth

Crazy days here in Bayreuth. After five performances on five days, I will now "rest" for one day before Siegfried. The stay so far has been wonderful: Fantastic Lohengrin and Parsifal, Meistersinger gets interesting from "Wach auf!", Rheingold was very good (not the production, though), Act 1 of Walküre was marvellous with Johan Botha, Edith Haller and Kwangchul Youn, who all got thunderous applause from the Bayreuth audience.

With their last two new productions, Herheim's Parsifal and Neuenfels' Lohengrin, Bayreuth is back on the music theatre world map.

Tonight Klaus Florian Vogt will replace Jonas Kaufmann as Lohengrin. Vogt will also be singing the part next year here in Bayreuth.


Anonymous said...

I watched the live video Die Walküre this past Saturday and agree with your appraisal of it.

Here's what I thought of it watching on my laptop.

I love the acoustic as it sounds in recordings: I've never been there myself.

The cast is terrific, no Wagner barking in this performance. It's a traditional staging for the most part. It has some intrusive anachronisims but they're small and are quickly glossed over.

Sigmund backs on to Wotan's spear rather than getting stabbed from the front by Hundig, that symbolically could be acceptable as that's what Wotan does verbally, even though that's not what Wagner asked for.

It has some clever ways around the nearly impossible original stage directions.
Hundig's men enter wearing jackal heads, which seems appropriate since Hundig and his men have been out hunting.

Act II has Fricka entering with an escort of two men wearing dark headdresses resembling rams horns that is entirely in keeping with Wagner's directions.

Act III has the Walküre warriors strutting around the scene of a battle wherein they touch with their spears shrouded figures who come to live and walk off to Walhalla supposedly.

Then there are the modern icons that spoil it for me, though as I said they're quickly dispossed of:

Act I-- a collection of tourists taking shelter from the storm just prior to Segmund's entrance.

Act II-- a man using a computer, riding off on his bicycle, and getting mugged by vandals.

Act III-- plexiglass shields for the Die Walküre. No visuals of horses. Perhaps that's good.

p-e said...

I am the last person on this earth to defend the Dorst Ring, but the so called anachronisms are the fundamental elements of this Ring, since Dorst's starting point is that the metaphysical world is very much present in our everyday life. We just don't notice it. A good idea, but very poorly developed.