Bayreuth ends its Polish boycott

Bayreuth ends its Polish boycott


norman lebrecht

May 10, 2018

Hard to believe, but no Pole has ever walked the stage of the Wagner festival.

The first, this summer, will be Tomasz Konieczny.

He will sing Teleramund in Yuval Sharon’s new production of Lohengrin, conducted by Christian Thielemann.

Imagine maintaining a Polish boycott all these years…. Well, that’s Bayreuth, still living in blinkers.



  • Mark says:

    Bella Alten

    • Meal says:

      I am not to sure whether she was Polish. Although born in Poland she is mentioned in dictionaries to be German or German-British. Since she was Jewish she decided to emigrate from Vienna to London in 1936.

  • Mark says:

    Bella Alten

  • Jim says:

    Hard to believe because it’s not true: Anna Siminska performed as one of the Zaubermädchen in Parsifal in 2016. I’m sure there are other examples.

  • PHF655 says:

    He didn’t literally ‘walk the stage’ but Marek Jurowski, Warsaw born, has recently conducted the Ring at Bayreuth. Poland’s changing borders in the 20th century makes the statement perilous. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, who sang in the Beethoven’s Ninth performance that opened the first postwar festival, was born in Jarocin/Jarotschin in 1915. By the time she sang in that performance in 1951 it was Polish territory, no longer part of the German province of Posen.

  • John Rook says:

    Teleramund? Should be worth seeing.

  • Martin says:

    Norman, what makes you post such tabloid stupidity?

  • HugoPreuss says:

    There are about 200 countries on earth. I am reasonably sure that Bayreuth has “boycotted” many of them, as has Covent Garden. Not hiring a singer from a certain country is different from boycotting the country. Given the complicated (to say the least) history between Poland and Germany, accusing Bayreuth of boycotting Poland borders on slander.

  • Hanna Nahan says:

    Is there a bigger twat than Norman anywhere in the world? I think we should be told…

    • Rog says:

      He’s in the World Cup Twat Finals up against Donald Trump. It really is too close to call.

      • Petros Linardos says:

        Come on, Norman Lebrecht is not a criminal.

        • Von Schneider says:

          No. But one wishes he could leave his people’s historical plight aside for one second to focus on what matters, as opposed to outright lies about Bayreuth and the Wagners.

          • Petros Linardos says:

            Agreed. And there is a lot of manipulation with his misleading headlines and wordings in general.

    • Heath says:

      Would you prefer Hanna not to get the latest classical and opera news on a daily basis? You should be kissing Norman’s ass you ungrateful fool.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    The question should not be about NL being right or wrong about a ‘Polish boycott’ – the question is: Who cares?

    • Matthew Bridle says:

      There have been many Polish singers in the Bayreuth Chorus over the last three decades. We currently have around ten Polish nationals amongst a truly international line up of 25 different nations.

    • HugoPreuss says:

      Well, it may be 73 years after the end of WWII, but any talk about a major German institution “boycotting” Poland has by definition still a political subtext to it. And the author knows it. He could have said “there were no singers from Poland in Bayreuth”, but he did not. He picked “boycotted” for a reason. This is not an innocent or accidental choice of words; it evokes images of goose stepping Nazis invading Poland. And this is pretty bad and stereotypical innuendo.

  • Deborah Mawer says:

    A strange click-bait title. Hasn’t Bayreuth also boycotted Sierra Leone ?

  • AB says:

    I find it peculiar that till now there is only LOHENGRIN-cast published, but no Meistersinger, no Tristan, no Parsifal, no Walküre, no Holländer. They have never been that late with publishing the casts, right?

  • Tom Hagen says:

    They love to whip up a storm don’t they? Reminds me of the game Netanyahu is playing against Iran at the moment.

    • Daphne says:

      What does that have to do with anything? If you have nothing more constructive to say, I’d advise you to stop commenting on here.

    • Heath says:

      Tom Hagen, what a fool. What do you possibly know about Iran? Well I will inform you. They are the largest state sponsor of terrorism, and have threatened time after time to wipe Israel off the map. So, yes, Netanyahu has a right to be concerned. Some among us have learned to take madmen seriously when they issue a threat since the 20th century.

  • edgar says:

    Norman, why do you keep finding your sordid pleasure in wanting to outdo the British yellow gutter press? Grow up, it is still not too late.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Norman, I think you’re perfect the way you are, and you should continue to provoke these people who are being made so miserable via your headlines and allegedly wrong information. They’re like people who can’t stop looking at roadside accidents.

    But then again, I’m a card carrying member of the evilest of all the world’s evil empires: The Mahler Industry! (we will not admit defeat!).