Bayreuth director: New conductor has changed my Parsifal

Bayreuth director: New conductor has changed my Parsifal


norman lebrecht

July 12, 2016

The crabby Uwe Eric Laufenberg has been complaining about his new conductor, Hartmut Haenchen, hastily summoned to the relief of Parsifal after Andris Nelsons walked out.

Hanechen, he says, is more of a precisionist in the Boulez mould than an imaginative artist like Nelsons. He also brought his own orchestral parts, which proved ‘irritating’ at first.

‘It’s very different from Nelsons.’



  • Olassus says:

    Well, at least this shows this director has ears for music, albeit no tact.

  • Mr Oakmountain says:

    Since HH could only have two full orchestral rehearsals, it makes perfect sense to me that he should use his own orchestral parts which would contain information on phrasing, bowing and the fine tuning of dynamics. Saves a lot of time during practice.

  • Interested Party says:

    From personal experience Hartmut Haenchen REALLY knows how to prepare and perform Wagner. Anyone who knows him will immediately dismiss these comments from a director who sounds incredibly difficult to work with…

  • Simon S. says:

    I haven’t read the full interview, but it was quoted this morning in the Culture Press review of Hr2 radio. Judging by those quotes, Laufenberg didn’t complain at all about HH but rather expressed his gratefulness about HH taking over on such short notice and said he was very confident about the musical aspect of the production.

    Anyone here with full access to the interview who can verify?

    • Meal says:

      The interview appeared in the Sueddeutsche today. The fulltext is not available to the public. First, Uwe Eric Laufenberg regrets that Andris Nelsons left (“Was bedeutet das Ausscheiden von Andris Nelsons für die Probenarbeit? – Die größtmögliche Verunsicherung, gerade bei den Sängern, eine massive Störung.”) In the two following answers he appreciates the work Helmut Haenchen does – although he does not neglect the differences in approach (“möglichst genaue Auffassung des Notentexts”) and the difficulties which arise from the sudden change. To my mind he is completely fair summarzing “Es ist eine spannende, aber sehr andere Auffassung als bei Nelsons.” (It is an exciting, but a very different view than from Nelsons) He is not complaining about Haenchen at all but about the _change_.

  • Peter says:

    The wording “his conductor” is a joke, right? Since when does the mis-en-scene enabler (best case) assume control over the musical director? Not in the professional world. The musical director still is in charge over the vast majority of the opera: the music.

    • Simon S. says:

      As far as I can see, this is NL’s wording, not Laufenberg’s.

    • Robert Holmén says:

      The son called his parent.
      The student asks his teacher.
      The player watches his conductor.

      See how “his” works in English?

      “His” doesn’t mean master-servant control and ownership. It’s merely used like the definite article “the,” but also indicating familiarity.

      No Internet umbrage necessary.

  • John de Jong says:

    This is great news. HH is an excellent Wagner-conductor. He should have been invited in Bayreuth far more earlier. I am very looking forward to hear his interpretation.