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Wagner Festival in Bayreuth

Friday, 24 August 2012 , ora 9.28

Every summer, in the Bavarian city of Bayreuth, everyone gathers together to listen to Richard Wagner's operas in reference performances, in exceptional stage conditions and in the perfect and unique acoustic of the famous Festspielhaus, the theatre designed and constructed by the great composer himself according to his own plans,. To be able to buy a ticket for the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth you have to wait between eight to ten years. To get to perform on the stage of the Festspielhaus is, for every musician, the highest accomplishment and the supreme honour. Every year, those who run the Festival - today the great-great-granddaughters of Richard Wagner and great-great-great-granddaughters of Franz Liszt, the director Katharina Wagner and manager Eva Wagner Pasquier - offer the audience a new montage of a Wagnerian piece. The premiere of the 2012 summer was 'Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman)' - conductor Christian Thielemann, director the Dutch Jan Philipp Gloger with the South Koreean baritone Samuel Youn as the Dutchman. Every year one or two headlines disappear from the playbill, and now, on the 101th season of the Festival, 'Tristan und Isolde' was performed for the last time on the stage on Bayreuth - conductor Viennese Peter Schneider, director Swiss Christoph Marthaler - , and'Parsifal' - conductor Swiss Philippe Jordan, director Norwegian Stefan Herheim. This August, 2012, on the playbills in Bayreuth were written only five Wagnerian pieces - 'Der Fliegende Holländer', 'Tannhäuser', 'Lohengrin','Tristan und Isolde' and 'Parsifal'. For a couple of years now, it's been in the works a new stage and musical version of the tetralogy 'Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung)', whose premiere is scheduled for the 2013 edition of the Festival, an entirely special edition which will commemorate 200 years since the birth and 130 years since the death of the genius German composer. For the entire music world, the year 2013 was declared the Richard Wagner year.

I had the opportunity to travel to Bayreuth and to see all the shows. The impressions are very strong. Musically, I don't think there is anything more beautiful, more perfect, and more emotional than what my ears heard in the wonderful hall at Festspielhaus. For the eyes however... I'm getting ready to tell you more about it, at the beginning of September, in a radio series, about the stage montages that I have seen. Just as a hint, I will tell you that the action of the 'Der Fliegende Holländer' takes place in a hall were fans are assembled, that the entire choir in 'Lohengrin' was dressed as ...mice, that 'Tannhäuser' is performed and played in the setting - multicoloured metal installation - imagined by Dutch Joep van Lieshout, which is named Tehnokrat, and which presumably assures the production of all elements necessary to human life by recycling every waste, including human waste or human bodies and that Stefan Herheim's 'Parsifal' re-enacts on stage the main bench-marks in Germany's history, beginning with the Empire period, going through the post war disasters and reaching modern times with the Grail final service ceremony in the modern Parliament building in Berlin. More about all of this, soon, and also with musical examples.

Cristina Sârbu
Translated by Florina Sămulescu
MTTLC, Bucharest University