Calixto Bieito meets Tannhäuser

Calixto Bieito meets Tannhäuser


norman lebrecht

August 24, 2015

Opera Vlaanderen has released a poster for its forthcoming Wagner production, directed by the provocative Spaniard. Opens Antwerp September 19.

It’s … different.

bieito tannhauser


  • Anne says:

    Reminds me of a cheap horror film from the 1980s. Can’t remember its name.

    Just what we need.

  • PrewarTreasure says:

    More rubbish on the way, I see.

    What is the matter with these people who produce such visual nonsense.

    For me, (and I suspect many others who think similarly) opera is a visual experience too, witness the number of tix at Bayreuth they have a job to dispose of in a civilised fashion.

  • El Grillo says:

    Only two eyeballs?

    • Olassus says:

      … and a covered sound to the voice.

      • El Grillo says:

        Yeah, I noticed that, but it might cut costs. If the singer can’t sing, you might not need an orchestra or no one would notice it’s missing.

        Sort of inexpensive Wagner.

      • El Grillo says:

        Come to think of it, it might not only help cut costs, but would also help with the inevitable congestion and indigestion that comes from Wagner’s abundance of culture. Might make things a bit more digestible to have no orchestra. Just the singer there with two eye balls and no mouth (this no need to sing), but have someone move the curtain up and down just enough to give the impression that the singer is flirting with mundane thing, but his eye brows are still stuck up there in heaven….

  • operatraveller says:

    Norman, this isn’t a production photo – this is a publicity photo from the Opera Vlaanderen website that has been up for months. The publicity photos for the other productions in the season are equally ‘provocative’.

  • Mike Schachter says:

    He and Tannhauser deserve each other

  • Petros LInardos says:

    To some of us, this means “Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch’entrate”.

    • Max Grimm says:

      That should be posted as a warning in front of any opera house and theater that stages a production with which Calixto Bieito is associated.

      • Petros LInardos says:

        I don’t mean to single out Calixto Bieito. I am thinking of Regietheater in general, and directors who don’t understand music and singing in particular.

        • Max Grimm says:

          I agree completely. I personally just find Mr. Bieito and his work to be a rather obtrusive example of Regietheater and gratuitous directing.

    • Derek Castle says:

      Interesting! ‘all (every) hope’ and not the mistranslation ‘all ye…..’

  • Manuel Drezner says:

    When the talibans destroy Buddhas a well deserved outcry arises. When the bioitos destroy Wagner (or Verdi, or Beethoven, or Mozart) it seems to be (not universally) accepted. If I have to choose between what Wagner wanted and what Bioito gives us, I will always stay with Wagner.

  • PDQ.BACH says:

    I like your portmanteau of “Boito” and “Bieito”.
    It tells me where you stand.

    But the difference between the bastards who just blew up the irreplaceable temple of Baal-Shamîn at Palmyra and a “Regietheater”-perpetrator is that Wagner can recover.
    (I’m not entirely sure he deserves to, but he can, and will.)
    We’re always one mise en scène away from our ideal production.
    (Now that I mention it: where’s that public submission form from the Théâtre de la Monnaie ? Time to actually do things my way instead of always complaining.)

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    More self-indulgent, S&M-inspired ordure from this pathetic little fraud and shame on those theatres who keep hiring him to live out his unhealthy fantasies.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    It’s actually not ‘different’, it’ll be the same as all his other repugnant, outmoded exercises in swelling his bank account at the taxpayers’ expense.

  • William Safford says:

    Hellraiser the Opera?

  • Arto says:

    Never judge a production before you have seen it!

  • Fabrizio says:

    First look at the stage photos and the trailer available on the Vlaamse Opera website, you will see that apart from a modern and abstract setting, it is nothing like what most of the people here seems to suggest. Will go to the theatre and see (and listen) how good or bad it can be… until then…

    • William Safford says:

      Do let us know what you think.

      Personally, I have no problem with operas with modern and abstract settings — if they’re modern operas that present abstract concepts. I’ll judge them on their merits. I *want* to go hear new operas with new ideas.

      I do, however, object when modern and abstract (or worse) regietheater is grafted onto an opera that is neither modern nor abstract. The combination is so often less than the sum of its parts.