Murder in the Wagner sanctuary at Bayreuth

More than nine million viewers – a quarter of the German television audience – watched Sunday’s episode of Franken-Tatort in which a crucial scene takes place during a performance of Die Walküre in Bayreuth.

The production, we are reassured to learn, is set amidst a garbage dump, the ultimate in Regietheater.

More here.


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  • I much like the ironic formulation ‘we are reassured to learn’ – from a cultural-anthropological point of view an interesting indication that an audience anxiety is implied about sufficient connection with modernity, as if otherwise a Wagner opera would become entirely incomprehensible.

    Hitchcock once told, in an interview, about a wonderful idea he had for one of his future movies which would start with a murder in an opera production, where an assassin would stabb someone in a loge, which was seen by the star soprano at the moment she produced her famous fortissimo high C on top of an orchestral tutti, which in the process became also a scream of angst. In the applause bursting after that moment and the curtain coming down, she hasted herself to the soloist room and nervously rang a telephone number….. ‘And then?’ the interviewer asked breathless. ‘I’ve no idea’, the filmmaker dryly answered, ‘I never got beyond this and never found a continuation of the plot.’ Stuff for a modern Regie-oper composer.

    • I assume you know the place in Alban Berg’s Lulu where the eponymous Soprano emits a spine chilling blood curdling scream as she falls victim to Jack the Ripper? Followed by a massive discordant orchestral tutti chord?

    • Regie-oper composer maybe, but please no Regie-theater director. We don’t want to see Hitchcock’s brilliant idea take place at any setting.

    • Why do some Brits get so upset when someone uses American english? Like it or not it is now the world standard. “Rubbish tip” and “dustman” sound coy and precious to a lot of ears.

  • My complaint is much more mundane. I am not conversant in German. I can ask for a beer or directions to the train station. That’s it. Call it a short fall if you wish.

    I would offer up that a website that offers material to what appears to be a majority English speaking audience might at least offer a translation. Hell, I’d take it even with an snide editorial comment about the limit language ability of some readers.

    • With asking for a beer and directions for the train station, the two most important things for German circulation are covered.

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