Nitsch and kitsch get booed at Bayreuth

Nitsch and kitsch get booed at Bayreuth


norman lebrecht

July 30, 2021

A foretaste of next summer’s Ring cycle, the semi-staging of Die Walküre with a team of painters whitewashing the stage walls was howled to the rafters last night by a disaffected audience.

The painters were led by Hermann Nitsch, who usually specialises in throwing animal blood and intestines.

The musicians were led by Pietari Inkinen, who was booed for some exceptionally flaccid tempi.

Whatever applause was gong was shared between Lise Davidsen as Sieglinde, Christa Mayer as Fricka along with Klaus Florian Vogt and Wotan substitute Tomasz Konieczny.

Otherwise, a bad night was had by all.


  • M McAlpine says:

    Do people actually pay to see this tripe?

    • John Karkakis says:

      Indeed they do! M. McAlpine
      It’s a status thing, you know.
      Place a fancy price tag on a pile of horse manure and people will line up to get their share.
      Das Ende!

  • John Karkalis says:

    Animal blood! Intestines!
    The great man is spinning in his grave wailing, “What have you done to my house?”

  • J Barcelo says:

    For many years, seeing any opera live in Bayreuth has been on my bucket list. But anymore, judging from what you more experienced and learned opera fans are saying, maybe I’ll skip it. I’ve seen the Seattle Ring twice – maybe that’s enough.

    • Kenny says:

      Not “seeing.” “Hearing.” I worked there very happily for 15 summers decades ago, and it was never about how it looked (unfortunately, I agree). It’s all too late now.

  • Kenny says:

    I loved “gong.”

  • Gary Freer says:

    Looks like a load of Jackson Pollocks

  • Y says:

    Radio is the only way to enjoy Bayreuth these days, and even that is ruined by the staging sometimes. These modern directors know nothing about art. They are all talentless hacks.

    • Helden Sopran says:

      why radio when the musical values are not any better? didn’t you see that the other “new” conductor that Katharina dug up from somewhere was booed to the echo?!?!?! that is 2 out of 2, great record!!!!!

  • Dalledu Alletre says:

    Nitsch staged St François d’Assise for Munich a decade ago in the same way. It’s what he does. He was knowingly hired to do it to Die Walküre, and one has to wonder why.

    • Douglas C says:

      But surely one also has to wonder why some people sign up for tickets knowing they are going to be offended?

    • Nik says:

      His first opera production was Hérodiade in Vienna which, in typical Austrian fashion, was declared a scandal before anyone had seen it and was received rather positively when it finally opened.
      I also saw the Saint François and enjoyed it. But I suppose there is a limit on how many times the same trick can be repeated.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Regietheater goes on and on. Where will it end? By putting the theatre on fire?

    • Couperin says:

      Nah, Boulez came up with that idea decades ago but I guess we’re all supposed to hate him now so, Oh well!

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Why don’t people ever provide the most appropriate (and deadly) response; laughter?

  • Paul Barte says:

    I believe this year’s Walküre production has nothing to do with next season’s planned new Ring Cycle.

  • Ben says:

    It was actually a fairly outstanding evening – in the positive sense.
    Unlike what the “critic” describes, people were mainly cheering the Nitsch performance (with the known minority of Wagnerians who still long for the 1943 war festival aesthetics who always…) and the singers.
    There was also a minority disagreeing with Inkinen’s style of transposing the Valkyrie into a chamber music piece. This is understandable, yet at the same time it was an interesting experiment.
    Going back to the performance though:
    We had pure music yesterday, with there being visual art performed too – using minimal means and still achieving great effects, even synaesthetiv ones. One might not like this, esp. when hoping for director’s theatre but it truly was a coequal alternative. Chapeau!
    Weird though, that the blog entry is so… thin.

  • Douglas C says:

    Who can forget the brouhaha of the Ring (Chéreau) in 1976? “Verflucht sei dieser Ring!” You could hear the booing during the performances in the radio broadcasts. And yet by 1980 it was held up as a masterpiece.

  • Douglas C says:

    Isn’t it part of the fun of going to Bayreuth to be outraged and offended? (Or have I misunderstood what a visit to the Green Hill is all about?) I have been twice and – alas! – did not experience a riot in the audience. I felt a little bit as Graham Greene did when he attended a voodoo ceremony in Haiti and realised, with a slight sense of disappointment, that because the priest did not actually bite the chicken’s head off, it was not “classic” High Church voodoo.

  • schnitzler says:

    It is actually pretty frightening to read all the comments by those UK and US commentators who are used to Covent Garden and the Met blatantly boring and old fashioned stagings…You guys don’t know one thing about theatre.