Bayreuth advertises for boss

The festival has placed an advertisement in Bavarian newspapers for ‘an experienced and committed personality’ to serve as Geschäftsführer, or business director, from April 2021. The job is presently occupied by Holger von Berg, has only been there four years.

He was appointed by Katharina Wagner, also gone.

Looks like the Bayreuth board is having a bit of a putsch.

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    • “I wonder if did they plan their putsch from a beer hall. I understand that’s the form in Bavaria.”

      No. It’s Bierzelte (~”pole tents”) and Biergärten (beer gardens).

        • “I suggest you look up the Munich beer hall putsch.”

          Ah, nice, I didn’t know it under that name, so I learnt something new today.

          Here it’s “Hitler-Ludendorff-Putsch” or just “Hitler-Putsch”, and from what I understand some people call it “Bierkeller-Putsch” (beer cellar putsch). Mostly old(er) people call it that, I’d say.

          • I’ve called it that since I was 10. But I got a good education.

            Since I got “older,” I have had little occasion to discuss it, as today’s youth have barely heard of WW II, and although ant-Nazi, without understanding what it means, they are vague on Hitler.

          • “But I got a good education.”

            But did you get it in Germany as I did? I don’t think we covered Nazi Germany fully in school before 7th grade (I could be wrong about that, though, it’s been a day or two.) But then, nothing else till the end.

            That’s why I got a pretty good education, too, though when it comes to history, Nazis is pretty much all I got. It basically was Stone Age, Pyramids, Greeks, Nazis, Weimar Republic, Nazis, Weimar Republic, Nazis etc.

    • In 1979, the Bürgerbräukeller, where the attempted 1923 Putsch originated, was torn down and replaced by the 350 million Euro Gasteig Cultural Center. Upon its completion in 1985, it became the home of the Munich Philharmonic. In 1939, Georg Elser attempted to assassinate Hitler with a bomb during one of his speeches in the same beer hall. If Elser had been successful, it would have saved 50 million lives. The Gasteig concert hall is an acoustic disaster, and is being renovated at the cost of 500 million Euros. Some sad history we must not forget, but let’s give postwar Germany its due credit for its reforms and massive support of the arts.

  • If we can look past some unfortunate history, there was something special about Bayreuth remaining a family institution, even if sooner or later it had to dissipate.

    I think the failing came when the heir apparent, Gottfried Wagner, who is the son of Wolfgang Wagner and a great-grandchild of Richard Wagner, was driven from the family and thus Bayreuth. He was even trained in theater as preparation for his role. His PhD is about Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht.

    Gottfried is a rather eccentric person, but I don’t think that should have been an issue. It might have even fit well in the rather strange Bayreuthean world. The real issue, is that Gottfried was uncompromisingly critical and outspoken about his family’s Nazi history. In reality, I think that is exactly what Bayreuth needed–an airing of the skeletons in the closet which would have largely put the matter to rest. Sadly, due to the bizarre world of Bavarian politics and history, secrets are still carefully guarded, and Gottfried faces a lot of hatred and contempt well beyond Bayreuth.

  • The strengths of Wolfgang Wagner’s directorship were consistently high management standards, a wide variety of production styles, and the engagement of top drawer artists. Under Katharina, management has become chaotic and productions are nothing more than Regietheater indulgences moving in ever-diminishing circles. The very best artists give Bayreuth a miss these days. Could we please focus on Wagner in future? Richard, that is!

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