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World’s worst press office receives Richard Wagner prize

June 9, 2017 by norman lebrecht

21 comments.


The Richard Wagner Prize of the city of Leipzig for 2017 has been awarded to Oswald Georg Bauer, former press chief of the Bayreuth Festival.

Bauer presided over a press office whose job was the keep the press out of Bayreuth as much as possible, except for a handful of trusted critics who would not ask awkward questions. His press office never obligingly picked up a phone or answered a reasonable inquiry. Or ever smiled.

 

He is a worthy winner of this year’s Wagner prize to add to his Slipped Disc award.

 


Comments (21)

  1. Alexander says:

    He must have done it all in a typical Wagnerian style 😉 …it’s fate

    1. Percy French says:

      The German’s are famous for having the manners of a block of wood, they lack charm, remember how Sgt Wilson in Dad’s Army behaved, like Jack Buchanan with the U-boat Commander? One thing I did notice at Bayreuth is one mention of WW2 and Adolf they all run for cover, the post war generation who sweated in the 1950s did not want to talk about it, then in the late 60s and 70s, their offspring started asking what did Dad/Granddad do in the war? I have to say Austrians are far easier to get to know.

      1. Alexander says:

        and I still have some plans for “Hollander” soon , holy shiFt;)

        1. Percy French says:

          It’s nearly all chorus, the spinning song ok but really Wagner is not a desert island composer, my Irish tenor Brendan O’Dowda 78 is a treasure.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvZTSwXRqhw

          Rossini has a point Monsieur Wagner has wonderful moments, but terrible quarter hours!

          If you visit Bayreuth stay in a private house, hotels are dear and full of Yanks!

          1. Alexander says:

            my point – Wagner just used singers as another instrument in his personal symphonic ambitions, not giving them space to play independent roles ( as Rossini and others did). Human voice is the most perfect instrument (with the all respect to human-made ones). So, incorporating voices into his preplanned thought he diminishes living soul to a plain component in conductor’s possession…. lazy to write more ( there are some thought left in my head) …..
            love Donizetti – he is a genius ( underrated nowadays) … and Wagner now is so prestigious and expensive to perform

          2. Alexander says:

            …some thoughts …

        2. Percy French says:

          This amusing account by Mark Twain about visiting Bayreuth in 1891 is spot on! Nothing much has changed, except prices.

          http://www.twainquotes.com/Travel1891/Dec1891.html

          1. Bruce says:

            I had not read this before. Thank you!

        3. Percy French says:

          Ah, Donizetti, listen to John McCormack sing Una Furtiva Lagrima from 1910, nothing better even Caruso thought so, have their autograph photos on my piano.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHX-TFu2H8s

        4. Percy French says:

          Here is one song which shows McCormack’s bel canto, Kathleen Mavourneen,

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3YWBV8DqMQ

          Kathleen Mavourneen
          Words and Music: Crouch, Frederick Nicholls, 1808-1896

          Kathleen, Mavourneen, the grey dawn is breaking,
          The horn of the hunter is heard on the hill;
          The lark from her light wing the bright dew is shaking;
          Kathleen, Mavourneen, What! slumbering still?

          Oh! hast thou forgotten how soon we must sever?
          Oh! hast thou forgotten, this day we must part;
          It may be for years, and it may be forever?
          Then why art thou silent, thou voice of my heart?
          It may be for years, and it may be forever?
          Then why art thou silent, Kathleen, Mavourneen?

          Kathleen, Mavourneen, awake from thy slumbers,
          The blue mountains glow in the sun’s golden light;
          Ah! where is the spell that once hung on thy numbers,
          Arise in thy beauty, thou star of my night,
          Arise in thy beauty, thou star of my night

          Mavourneen, Mavourneen, my sad tears are falling,
          To think that from Erin and thee I must part,
          It may be for years, and it may be forever?
          Then why art thou silent, thou voice of my heart?
          It may be for years, and it may be forever;
          Then why art thou silent, Kathleen, Mavourneen?

        5. Percy French says:

          Alexander, look up this other Irish singer, Harry Pluket Greene Bass Baritone, here is his Der Leiermann, sung in English.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW04f0olXUY

          1. Alexander says:

            thank you for educating me on such voices like you posted here. will heed your advice and attend not only Wagner but some belcanto too. no lovely Granny Joan ( Sutherland) with us and beautiful signora Mariella ( Devia) won’t come, but I think I will be able to listen to a lady who you can now listen to at the ROH ( very soon). Some in London praised her for her Semiramide last year. by the way – Hollander’s cast promises to be a kind of a “dream team”. Time will tell… ( the whole month is ahead 😉
            P.S. I’ve heard about Mark Twain’s notes before ( long ago), thank you for your reminder again

        6. Percy French says:

          Alexander, here is a link to Harry Plunket Greene, he worked with Elgar early on marvellous singer and wrote a book on fly fishing, a real gent, his mum was the daughter of Baron Plunket who lived in real style. Am planning a liederabend at my place after the Percy French festival, Bantry House gets Christian Gerharer, Diana Damrau to do some concerts. See this years programme below. The drink and craic is great!

          http://www.hurstbournepriors-pc.org.uk/HurstbournePriorsParishCouncil/harry_plunket_greene-4458.aspx
          http://www.westcorkmusic.ie/chambermusicfestival/programme

          1. Alexander says:

            Diana is one of everyone’s favs . St.Patrick bless you and your festival 😉
            P.S. Tchaikovsky’s “June” is what will fit your evenings perfectly, I think 😉

    2. Percy French says:

      These photos are doing the rounds in the Irish press about Theresa May in a flute band etc. Ha ha.

      http://www.irishnews.com/news/2017/06/12/news/internet-pokes-fun-at-prospect-of-dup-tory-government-1051945/

  2. Hanna Nahan says:

    Are we bitter about never being offered free tickets?

    1. Percy French says:

      Indeed not I have been to Bayreuth on and off since 1951 Madam. I still think Wagner’s music is better than it sounds!

      Have you read Mark Twain’s account in 1891, http://www.twainquotes.com/Travel1891/Dec1891.html Nothing much has changed apart from the prices!

    2. Percy French says:

      Madam, I am not a critic and do not need free tickets to Bayreuth! I have been a Wagner Society member since 1950. I am a retired artiste of some renown from Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay! I still occasionally perform Percy French, Irish folk and Bertie Wooster songs on request, at weddings, wakes and other events either with piano or a 24 piece Banjo orchestra.

  3. Percy French says:

    Here is a real funny Mark Twain quote about Parsifal.

    “This present opera was “Parsifal.” Madame Wagner does not permit its representation anywhere but in Bayreuth. The first act of the three occupied two hours, and I enjoyed that in spite of the singing.” The full account of his visit in 1891 to Bayreuth can be found here http://www.twainquotes.com/Travel1891/Dec1891.html

    I see the University at Bayreuth has it also in their American Studies Dept.

  4. Monika Beer says:

    Sorry, but you missed the point. Oswald Georg Bauer was press chief from 1977 to 1986 and is awarded for his history of the Bayreuth festival in two volumes (Deutscher Kunstverlag 2016). Since 1989 (!) the actual press chief in Bayreuth is Peter Emmerich, who came from the East German state opera Dresden.


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