More booing at Bayreuth

More booing at Bayreuth


norman lebrecht

July 27, 2017

Katharina Wagner was greeted with volleys of displeasure at the third revival last night of her gloomy Tristan und Isolde.

There were cheers for the conductor Chrsitian Thielemann, and for the leading singers Stephen Gould, Petra Lang, René Pape and Christa Mayer.

While we hate to see booing of artists who are giving their best, there may be a case for conveying dissent at the hereditary director of a public funded festival who pushes herself forward to take charge of some productions.

Or should we pay homage to her genetic authority?




  • Martin Lampprecht says:

    Bayreuth is a historical anomaly among festival, the combination of state funding and a mafia-like dynastic structure is (thankfully) unique. To say nothing of the historical contamination of that dynasty and the whole festival in the Nazi era. I think it is necessary to question and criticize the whole event and institution; some members of the family have done so, quite bravely, themselves. But is booing somebody on stage the right way to do so? I doubt it.

  • Alexander says:

    (bragging again;) – just over from “Hollander” with my favourite prodigy as Senta …. she stole the show both vocally and dramatically singing opposite the main Mariinsky tattooed bad….$$ Evgeny Nikitin ( he was very good and convincing, to be just) … still don’t like Wagner and have my own opinion about the hysteria about that German name , all the same the performance was excellent ( Ian Judge staging project or so) …. the conductor was that one who regard sopranos and all bass-baritones and tenors 😉 …. because I’m bragging I don’t care what is happening now to Bayreuth , hopefully some will forgive me my little indulgence and disregard to venerable M(r?)z. Catharina 😉

    • Ungeheuer says:

      And the Senta was? Hope it was not the puny voiced Ricarda Merbeth who I understand is being employed as Brünnhilde somewhere soon, if you can imagine or believe that. What a sham and shame.

      • Alexander says:

        A beloved mezzo ( late now, alas) from Paris Opera told me her impressions on Maria Callas who she used to go to listen to when a student ( sic!) …. she told me there were no any recordings of La Divina which could reproduce that magic of her voice she possessed in reality ( just F.Y.I.)
        … young Miss Elina Stikhina was Senta and this was her role debut …. One should listen to her live to be under the spell of her voice. The recordings lose at least half of the vibes her voice possesses . For myself ( using my own voice type grade 😉 I rate it as “platinum”.
        Very briefly , don’t want to type a long rant here
        P.S. I am true to my convictions as you could see – only one favourite produgy 😉

        • Alexander says:

          prodigy 😉

          • Alexander says:

            no recordings … definitely I shouldn’t drink brandy before talking here 😉
            what’s the news with you ? any worthy opera?

        • Ungeheuer says:

          Oh. Interesting she sang Senta. Did she have the requisite voice, stamina and power for the finale? No recordings, eh? That’s just too bad.

          • Alexander says:

            whatever you wish she has 😉 go to Boston I say to you – October is too soon 😉 A picture ( in your case listening) is worth a thousand words – I know you are very naughty so I am not going to change my mind at all – to justify my words you should either go to Boston or to Europe – choose wisely 😉

        • Robert Roy says:

          Sorry! I realise it’s ‘off topic’ but an old fiddle teacher of mine said the same of Mr. Jascha Heifetz. What you hear on the recordings is only a representation of what one heard in real life.

          Alas, both Callas and Heifetz were before my time.

          • Alexander says:

            you are quite right … the only point is that sometimes the recordings do some benefit to some performers and can delude sincere listener – I mean those singers with tiny voices etc ….. every cloud has not only a silver lining but a rainy side too 😉

    • Sixtus says:

      And just where was this Dutchman? It’s not in the Bayreuth repertory this year.

      • Alexander says:

        I dropped a broad hint before it wasn’t Bayreuth 😉 and I have no idea whether audience seats there have individual airconditioning systems and so on ….
        if you want to have more explicit info – give your e-mail and I will send you some pictures of the performance – if you like of course 😉

  • Alexander says:

    who regards 😉

  • Nicholas Clapton says:

    “Genetic authority” be damned! Singers and musicians are so often compromised by the arrogant stupidity of directors – I speak from experience! The pretention of this fake profession has been allowed to run rampant for far too long.

  • DESR says:

    Bayreuth is part publicly funded, but also by people, like me, who are its Friends.

    Katharina’s T&I is a creditable effort, unlike her Meistersinger, which was a farce.

    She does not have generic authority as such: she will not last long unless the Festival survives and thrives commercially and artistically.

    There are some encouraging signs on that…not least, some better productions (Castorf excepted), Thielemann’s total Wagnerian immersion and steadying hand, and even the casting is perking up!

    • Ungeheuer says:

      And what is it with the engagement of the hack Domingo to conduct next year? In addition, what is it with performing an incomplete Ring, 3 stand alone performances of Die Walküre? A vanity project for Domingo? This is a big mistake.

  • Ben says:

    This has inspired me to write my Symphony No 1, The Booish, for woodwinds, brass, and mixed voices. It will last as long as Radetzky March, so the audience shall not run out of breath.

    I will ask Hong Kong Philharmonic to give the world premiere. If they do the Ping-Pong symphony, they will do anything.

    Fired United Airlines employees should have real beyond-bad attitude. They will be perfect to sing in the premiere.

    I believe I will have some chance to become a serviceable composer in Europe.

    At least people would remember my piece better than any 5 seconds segment from John Adams.

  • Michael Sullivan says:

    Steadying hand of Thielemann ? The festival was supposed to invite the best in conductors and not have a prima Director like him. Nelsons a way more versatile conductor than Thielemann had to opt out of his contract for Parsifal because Christien decided that he needed “advice” conducting. The two of them have done nothing to advance the Festival in any way.

  • Anon says:

    Yeah, steadying hand of Thielemann, I gulped at that too. Nelsons driven away. Petrenko driven away. Probably the two biggest artists of their generation in the conducting profession. Maybe Thielemans’s hand is steady holding the course. Into very shallow waters of the ‘Mein Reich, mein Kampf’ island of sociopathic narcissism.

    • Patrick Gillot says:

      why do you talk about things you don’t know about. Thielemann understanding of Wagner music is way above yours. And again what the Nazis who were defeated 72 years ago have to do with that?