Which living maestro has conducted most at Bayreuth?

Which living maestro has conducted most at Bayreuth?


norman lebrecht

August 14, 2017

It may come as a surprise, but it’s not Christian Thielemann, the present music director who has appeared 150 times in programme books, including credits in 1981-83 as Daniel Barenboim’s musical assistant.

Actually, Barenboim has conducted there more than anyone – 160 times, according to Bayreuth records.



  • DESR says:

    Normanno, it must be the silly season if you go for the Bayreuth/Thielemann clickbait, and use the rugby shirt photo in to the bargain!

    Thielemann – whom the Lord preserve – will soon be way past Danny’s total…

  • Sue says:

    Go Christian!!

  • Erich says:

    All this ‘scalp collecting’ is totally uninteresting anyway (like counting Domingo’s ‘last gasp’ roles)…

  • Novagerio says:

    He actually signed you a photo?? 😀 😀

  • Anon says:

    Didn’t know young Thielemann was Barenboim’s assistant for three summers in Bayreuth.
    Maybe he inflicted a trauma, which would explain why he had to patronize Nelsons last year.

    • Theodore McGuiver says:

      Indeed he was Barenboim’s assistant, playing Tristan from memory (including rehearsal numbers). I’m not sure, but I think Peter Schneider is wedged between these two in terms of performances conducted in Bayreuth. Not bad for a man who never had his own production on the Green Hill.

  • herrera says:

    1) GIven CT’s age, and his position, of course he’s going to surpass DB.

    2) Which living conductor has never conducted Bayreuth and should before it’s too late? (I’m thinking of those at least in their 80s, 70s is still young by conductor standards.)

  • Tristan says:

    that definitely doesn’t make DB a great Wagner conductor….just think of the Ks!!
    Kleiber Karajan etc – Thielemann at least is the best for this repertoire right now though Petrenko is more exciting

    • Anon says:

      Give us your evaluation parameters. otherwise it’s just nonsense.
      What makes a conductor a ‘great Wagner conductor’ ?
      I’m sure you can enlighten us about it en detail.

      For me a good Wagner conductor has first of all two abilities:
      a) able to mobilize maximized sound energy from the orchestra, by inspiring the orchestra to an exceptionally broad horizontal flow in the music, since that is Wagner’s forte.
      The challenge here is to keep the flow forward, instead of getting drowned and slowing down under the sheer mass of sound.
      b) understanding Wagner’s idea of sound and able to shape the architecture of the sound at all times, balancing basically, making the texture then balanced *under* the singer on top as well.

      Barenboim is quite excellent in both aspects in my experience.

      • tristan says:

        you got a point but Thielemann and Petrenko in my opinion are more exciting and heard from both moments DB never achieved – by all means it’s not quantity but quality and the greatest of all Carlos Kleiber hasn’t done lots but what he left is unique!!!

        • Anon says:

          I find Thielemann often very cold or distanced. Only trying to paint over his lack of affection with fake mannerisms and inorganic rubati. My personal impression.
          But he sure can make an orchestra ‘stream’.

  • Sue says:

    Listen to what CT says about it himself: