Katharina Wagner is loudly booed in front of Chancellor Merkel

Katharina Wagner is loudly booed in front of Chancellor Merkel


norman lebrecht

August 02, 2016

The festival director was greeted with vociferous hostility when she took a curtain call last night for Tristan und Isolde, which she had directed.

The reaction was all the more embarrassing for the presence of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was making her annual pilgrimage to Bayreuth.

The cast and conductor, Christian Thielemann, were cheered to the rafters.

The production itself is non-controversial.

thielemann katharina wagner, photo Ronald Wittek


  • Furzwängler says:

    So why was she booed?
    (apart from being part of the godawful dysfunctional Wagner clan)

    • Fiona Stevens says:

      I saw the dress.
      The staging was really not good.
      In my humble opinion.
      The singers & orchestra were absolutely fantastic.
      Spent a lot of time with my eyes shut so as not to be distractec…

      • John Borstlap says:

        Even Wagner himself occasionally thought that listening with closed eyes would be better for his works.

  • pooroperaman says:

    It’s rather more likely that Merkel would be booed in the current climate.

  • As someone who has been at Bayreuth more on than off since 1989 – and will be back there again very soon – I have memories of Wolfgang Wagner being booed. This is therefore nothing new, much like many of the stories which come out from the Green Hill each year … only the names change.

  • Furzwängler says:

    This is completely off-topic so please forgive, but does anyone have any news of Dmitri Hvorostovsky and his cancer treatment in London? Things seem to have gone awfully quiet around him…

    • Paul Sullivan says:

      Do you mean the treatment back in 2015? If so it would appear he is doing well.
      According to his website the has been performing all this year, and here is his upcoming schedule.


      Lots of very recent posts & pictures on his FB page also.

  • harold braun says:

    Should have been the other way round,Merkel being booed in front of Katie

  • Leo says:

    There has always been a tradition of booing at the Bayreuth Festival since the 1950s when the audience felt they had the freedom to boo the Wagners for allowing the move away from their original productions during the Third Reich era. Booing continues to this day as a kind of tradition commemorating these historic changes and events. It’s not personal to any specific member of the family it’s more about concern that they are increasingly letting go control of this great artistic legacy.

  • Rosina says:

    I did not expect much from a Katharina-directed Trustan, but whenI saw it last year I liked it very much , down to the originally intended ending of Mark leading, gently. Isolde away at the end.
    Yes, the costumes and decor are rather gray and grim….. but the tale itself is sad and hopeless.
    Now that the production is out on DVD everyone can see it, and I dare say that many will like it even without the glitz of many Broadway-inspired Tristan productions.
    In the Vienna recent production Isolde leaves the stage in a flaming-red taffeta dress, billowing behind her, engendering, it seems, the type of audience reaction that the star enjoys at the
    end of “Hello Dolly!”. It is very theatrically effective but, in my view, it almost glosses over the tragic tale