The Berlin state opera chief, who conducted at Bayreuth from 1981 to 1999, has launched a rocket attack on festival director Katharina Wagner after her lawyers removed her half-sister Eva Wagner-Pasquier from this summer’s festival. Eva, 70, is due to retire in August.
Daniel Barenboim said in a statement: ‘Gibt es in einem freien demokratischen Land für ein solches Verfahren eine rechtliche Grundlage? Ich dachte, man kann den Menschen ihre Bewegungsfreiheit nicht nehmen – außer sie wären Kriminelle. Dieser Umgang ist menschenunwürdig. (Is there any legal basis for such a move in a free, democratic country? I thought you can’t take away people’s freedom of movement – unless they are criminals. This action is the opposite of humane.)’
What Barenboim fails to distinguish is that Bayreuth is not part of a free and democratic country. It is a hereditary autocracy run by members of the Wagner family, none of whom answers to the rules of common decency.
The conductor Kirill Petrenko is threatening, on similar grounds, to withdraw from this summer’s Ring. The only happy maestro at Bayreuth is Christian Thielemann (pictured below with Katie and advisors).