Returning Bayreuth star: This place has lost its feelgood factor

The mezzo-soprano Waltraud Meier is back in Bayreuth for the first time this century

‘It uses to feel like family,’ she says. ‘In the canteen there used to be a corner where artists played cards. All gone now.

‘Everything is more cordoned off than it used to be. You can’t just drop in to an orchestra rehearsal like you used to.’

Meier, 62, was banned from Bayreuth after a falling-out with Wolfgang Wagner. She says her comeback after 18 years – as Ortrud in Lohengrin – will also be her farewell.

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  • She said: “I have the feeling, that you can’t just drop in to an orchestra rehearsal like you used to.” – You get the difference, do you?

  • I saw her with Domingo in Parsifal in I think 1992. dreadful production. All the production staff including himself were booed mightily when they took their calls. I had never booed before!

    • Have you booed since 1992? Just curious. At Bayreuth of all places, booeing is almost a ritual.

      I attended Parsifal at Bayreuth in 1999. While I found some relief in seeing a naturalistic production, I thought that the singers’ movement wasn’t always well coordinated. Does that ring a bell?

  • Makes sense that her comeback there should also be her final performances as she is now voiceless, the volume at maybe 25% (tops) of what it used to be. Wonder how she’ll get through Ortrud.

    • Get through it???? She was spectacular! Threw caution to the wind and nailed it. Who needs beauty in an Ortrud voice? Varnay didn’t sound beautiful in the part at FORTY. Meier sounded strong, steady, fearless, and perfect for the part. At 62 she looked positively gorgeous. Gorgeous!
      Piotr B sounded great also. What a pleasure to hear a non-wobbling Lohengrin. He and Jonas K are unique in their vocal steadiness in this part innthis era.
      The production, however, is positively HOPELESS. It’s not worthy of serious criticism, nor could it survive it.

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