Merkel books in for Gergiev’s Bayreuth opener

Merkel books in for Gergiev’s Bayreuth opener


norman lebrecht

July 03, 2019

The Chancellor will make one of her last official visits to Bayreuth to see Valery Gergiev conduct Tannhäuser on opening night.

Three other Government ministers will also be in attendance – Minister of Health Jens Spahn, Minister of Culture Monika Grütters and Minister for Digitization, Dorothee Bär.


  • Petros Linardos says:

    She will only see Gergiev take a bow at the end.

  • Bob Boles says:

    The Gergiev gaslighting begins in 10, 9, 8, 7.. minutes…. A special Award goes to the first to cut/paste the word ‘henchman’….

  • RW2013 says:

    No-one sees anyone conduct in Bayreuth…

    • Tamino says:

      …at least from the audience perspective. 😉 Otherwise it might get a bit wild. Or better even? Who knows.

  • It is remarkable to think that only 74 years ago Bayreuth was still the citadel of Nazi concepts of cultural superiority, and that it is now being led on opening night, with the German Chancellor in attendance, by a Russian, a member of the Slavic race the Nazis intended to exterminate, and of which they killed about 33 million. That such a horrific history could take such a positive turn gives me hope for humanity.

    • Jean says:

      Gergiev is of Ossetian race… not Slavic.

    • mario says:

      I share your opinion, however, my hope is not so opitimistic when I see how in social networks – on the Facebook wall for example – block those who think differently although we do it in an educated and respectful way. I had a personal experience on the subject VenezuelaVenezuela with that person very close to you.
      The bad examples that Europe tries to leave behind, it seems that they require more time in Latin America.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      What about Jews in post was Bayreuth?

      George London, a Jew, debuted in Bayreuth as Amfortas in Parsifal, at the first post war festival. Parsifal was the first staged performance that year. A day earlier Beethoven’s 9th symphony was performed under Furtwangler.

      Was Maazel the first Jew to appear in post-war Bayreuth? That was 1960. Barenboim debuted in 1981.

    • Novagerio says:

      Osborne: Life moves on. You obviously don’t.

  • YS says:

    And beside her all other ministers are not interested for sure, but will have to attend for PR reasons.

    There’s no business, like showbusiness

    • Bob Boles says:

      Ursula von Lyin’ has been promoted to a top post in the EU – illustrating the revolving door between the German government and the EU Commission. She will not be attending Bayreuth, of course.

      • Tamino says:

        Stating the obvious? Of course there is a revolving door between German government and the EU commission, since Germany is a member state of the EU, and a large one at that. Are you also outraged about the revolving doors between the US State Houses and Federal government?

      • urania says:

        Ursula von der Leyen was a complete failure in German government, she got upgraded to Bruxelles after she went to the Bilderberg meeting this year. She was in Bayreuth the years before.

      • HugoPreuss says:

        Do you realize that she will be, if elected, the first head of the European Commission from Germany since 1967? That’s 52 years ago. I’d hardly call that a revolving door, but be my guest.

  • Moscow Goden Rain says:

    I envy Germany. A cultured Chancellor who can sit through an entire Wagner opera. We now have a rapist-racist “leader of the free world” whose attention span is only limited to watching TV all day and using twitter.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Mrs Merkel has had a long training, visiting the festival almost every year, and taking a nap during the boring bits, like every Wagnerian.

      • V says:

        “I like Wagner’s music better than anybody’s. It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without other people hearing what one says.”
        Oscar Wilde

      • Silversled says:

        I beg your pardon, I’ve been to Bayreuth a number of times and never closed my eyes for a second whilst watching a performance there. I am sure I am not alone.

        • G. Zimmerman says:

          Ditto to Silversled. I have, however, yawned and half dozed off during many Italian operas.

      • Robert Groen says:

        Did you notice, John, that in 2018, at the festival opening Lohengrin, she was accompanied by her good friend and noted Wagnerian Mark Rutte? Dutch culture is safe in his hands!

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Was Merkel attending classical concerts and opera before becoming chancellor?

      • Max Grimm says:

        Yes. While I don’t know how she truly feels about classical music and opera (an old interview from 1994 quotes her saying that she wasn’t the biggest music fan – regardless of genre – but couldn’t do without music either), her husband Joachim Sauer is a big classical music and opera lover and probably the main reason she frequently attended classical concerts and opera performances before she became chancellor.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    He’s Ossetian not Slavic but that’s not to demean the contribution the Russians made to help us in WW2 and his Father was a major too.

    • Robert Groen says:

      “The Russians made an effort to help you”?! What planet are you on? The Russians lost more people than any other country in World War II and they actually won the war for us!

  • Doug says:

    No matter what….there’s gonna be a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on!

    • Petros Linardos says:

      To me the orchestra sounds fantastic. Why should I care if the toothpick looks ridiculous?

  • RW2013 says:

    By the look of his schedule he has all of 2 days rehearsal.

  • Bob Boles says:

    Gergiev is great! Here he is conducting in Paris, with our dear friend Anita Rachvelishvili, in 2017. Because there is nothing that Anita Rachvelishvili likes more than money – except perhaps a dozen full-butter croissants for breakfast.