Hot new interview: Christian Thielemann talks about Bayreuth and Berlin

Hot new interview: Christian Thielemann talks about Bayreuth and Berlin


norman lebrecht

July 07, 2015

He’s not happy with the media coverage. All things are bright and beautiful on the hill.

As for the Berlin Philharmonic, ‘I am pleased when an orchestra finds someone that the majority can support.’

Watch here.

thielemann merkel


  • Erich says:

    If his name had been Pinocchio, hIs nose would have shattered the camera lens!

  • Nigel Harris says:

    I find Thielemann, in interviews, very difficult to read. He always seems reasonable, professional, balanced. But he gives absolutely NOTHING away. And I guess that’s part of the problem: your questions are never really answered, there’s nothing you can warm to on a human level, and hence you’re almost bound to try and fill in the gaps yourself, as best you can.

    • Olassus says:

      Yes, that’s a better characterization than simply calling him a Pinocchio.

    • John Borstlap says:

      In the world of classical music, which is a combination of the Wild West and a casino, reputations are fragile and truths dangerous…. especially with the media attention. So, keeping up appearances behind which one can hide, is excusable. What would be the point of, for instance, CT putting-on his angry deer antlers and condemning the BPO for their choice of Petrenko? It would produce a vulcano of commentary everywhere and threaten to cancel CT’s engagements.

      One could easily imagine what R. Wagner, as Musical Director of the Festspiele, would have said about the ethnic background of KP. One reason the more for CT to not say what he possibly might think.

      It would have been better if conductors showed more personality in what they say, true, but that would diminish the number of capable ones with at least half. On the positive side, Slipped Disc would offer entertainment for a year.

      • Nigel Harris says:

        Yes, the point is well taken. I guess Thielemann just tries harder than most to cover up every possible chink in his armour. As frustrating as it’s perhaps understandable.

        • John Borstlap says:

          Indeed, and quite embarrassing that it seems to be necessary. Better be a person of such integrity that you don’t need any armor at all and can merely be yourself, as Kirill Petrenko seems to be. Heil Kirill!

  • Gerhard says:

    Mr. Thielemann’s statements don’t convince me of anything, because I find them very evasive and predictable. On the other hand one can’t really hold this against him. What else would one expect him to say publicly in this situation? He is certainly no dummy.

    • Max Grimm says:

      One answer he gave convinced me completely:

      “BR-KLASSIK: Ich nehme an, da wir noch nicht den 25. Juli haben, dürfen Sie noch nichts Konkretes sagen. Sie waren bisher schon musikalischer Berater der Festspielleitung. Da fragt sich natürlich jeder: Welche Kompetenzen kommen dazu?

      Thielemann: Als Berater werden Sie nur partiell beratend tätig, da fragt jemand Sie zu diesem oder jenem Stück. Als Musikdirektor sind Sie bei allen Stücken dabei. Generell mit der gesamten musikalischen Seite des Hauses befasst, als Berater beraten Sie nur, wenn Sie gefragt werden.”

      I guess in the future he’ll advise whether he’s asked or not.