Hot new interview: Christian Thielemann talks about Bayreuth and Berlin

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.

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  • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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.

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