Bayreuth reels from worst-ever booing

Bayreuth reels from worst-ever booing


norman lebrecht

August 07, 2022

When the curtain fell on the new production of Götterdämmerung on Friday, it drew the worst storm of audience hostility that veteran Wagner watchers can recall.

The singers drew a mixed response but the anger was directed mostly at the pessimism of Valentin Schwarz’s production. The future? There is no future, it seems to say.

Watch the booing at 02:32:57 below.

Photo: Enrico Nawrath/Bayreuth Festival


  • Michael says:

    The booers KNOW it’s not going to be a faithful reproduction of 1876, but they still buy tickets and in my view ( I was there at the first major boos in 1976 and many tediously predictable repetitions since!) they come deliberately to boo and frankly – if it could be done – they should be banned. They take up a large number of tickets that could go to many Wagner-lovers who have an open mind and are fascinated by new productions. Traditionalists should stay at home with their DVDs. I found the Götterdämmerung completely absorbing but did not necessarily like or understand it all, but should I expect to LIKE everything I see in the theatre? I think RW would have loved the inventiveness. I will never be able to erase from my mind the brilliant question emblazoned in jewels on rockstar Gunther’s shirt: “WHO THE F*** IS GRANE”. NL: Please feel free to reinstate the asterisked letters if in accord with SD policy.

    • JD says:

      I agree. You know it’s not going to be anywhere near a trad prod, so justgo with it. I was there and enjoyed most of the prod, the end was a bit of a mess and lots did not make any sense at all, I treated it as a double experience, audio (wonderful) and an unrelated visual one, two shows for the price of one, (BOGOF!)
      Also NL the singers at the end got an excellent reception mainly, def not ‘mixed’.
      I was amused that the prod team looked so p***ed off. What did they expect.
      It was fantastic to hear that music in that house. Can’t wait till next year.

      • vinnynewyork says:

        ” … the end was a bit of a mess and lots did not make any sense at all, I treated it as a double experience, audio (wonderful) and an unrelated visual one, two shows for the price of one, (BOGOF!)” WHAT ARE YOU SAYING!!!?????????????????????

    • Carlos says:

      Nobody expects a faithful reproduction of 19th century’s aesthetics. What we want is very simple: respectful productions, made by regisseurs that love and understand opera.
      The complete change of the plot and the mock against the composer are not creativity.
      If I drink a lot I am able to do something equal the guys are doing in Bayreuth (and in most european houses) year after year.

    • Andy says:

      Do you know that it takes around 10 years to get a ticket? These people have been waiting a decade to visit Bayreuth and hear and see Wagner at its supposed best. And this is what they are served instead. It’s honestly disrespectful to Wagner and the audience.

      • Tamino says:

        That’s exactly the point.
        Going to Bayreuth is hard, for most except VIPs with privileged ticket access.
        You expect the productions to be exemplary in the master’s own temple, not experimental.

        I can see Katharina being part of the problem. She has seen it all and wants something different. Also she is not exactly the brightest candle on the chandelier.

        Opera stage direction is in a deep crisis, mainly because most directors de jour are not passionate about the art form, only eager for their narcissistic gratification, hijacking creations of others.

      • Novagerio says:

        Andy: real “Wagnerians” and even “urbane tourists” can easily get tickets, all they have to do is knowing somebody who works at the festival in any sector; chorus, orchestra, musical or non-musical staff.
        And the General rehearsals are best, if you only want to enjoy the musical and acoustical qualities. And you might even meet old-timers and veterans having a pretzel and a beer outside (I saw Donald McIntyre back in 2019).
        Trust me, it’s easier to hear Wagner at the Mekka that one actually thinks!

      • John D Karkalis says:

        “There is no fool like an old fool”.
        Motherly wisdom that still holds.
        How many order tickets ten years in advance primarily for the bragging rights that accompany the pricey ducats?
        If the production appears silly and disrespectful toward Wagner, well “caveat emptor”.

    • Kathleen E King says:

      On the other hand these “new” productions are both an abomination and a waste of a wonder facility designed by Wagner, for Wagner. If the “producers” don’t intend to present Wagner, let them write their own opera and rent a suitable beerhall.

    • Jonathan Sutherland says:

      “the brilliant question emblazoned in jewels on rockstar Gunther’s shirt: “WHO THE F*** IS GRANE”. ????
      Why is it so brilliant?
      According to Brünnhilde, Grane is ‘mein Ross’ (my steed).
      Sehr einfach.
      Certainly not a Karl Largerfeld look-alike factotum destined for the same fate as Jochanaan.

      • Jonathan Sutherland says:

        Actually, not only does Brünnhilde refer to Grane as a horse on numerous occasions, the libretto reveals that the Walküre, Siegfried and the Gibichungs also know “Who The F…” Grane is.
        It would seem the only person who doesn’t comprehend the equine connection is Valentin Schwarz.
        As evident from his litany of libretto aberrations in this absurdly self-indulgent, puerile production, perhaps he didn’t bother to read the text first.

      • Tamino says:

        Eleonore Büning, ex-FAZ classical reviewer, summed it up well as the apparent motto for the director and his team: “What the f**k is the Ring?”

    • John D Karkalis says:

      Michael, I agree.
      The childishness of the committed “booers” is tiring. True, if they paid a pretty penny for entrance to the shrine they have a right, I suppose, to act boorish.
      A simple alternative when the visuals are unpalatable is to simply close the eyes and marvel at the glorious sound of Wagner in a unique acoustic.

    • yodi says:

      1) I’m surprised that the production team didn’t give the audience the middle finger during the curtain call boos, when during the entire opera, it gave nothing but the middle finger to the audience.

      2) Usually heirs are protective of their ancestors to the point of censorship … not the Wagners! The Wagners are the only heirs who say, “come, let me pay YOU lots of money to shit on my great-grand father’s works, in his own house”!

    • IP says:

      Sure. Ban the audience, keep the wackos.

    • Paul says:

      This ‘production’ is the epitome of the cynicism of our times. If this tripe is representative of the future of opera I’ll stick to my collection of faithful recordings.

    • Grane says:

      How is the message on Gunther’s shirt brilliant? It is idiotic and unnecessary. The production of this particular Ring is GARBAGE and for the premiere of the Götterdämmerung two people on the production team even came out in shorts on the stage, one in sandals and bright yellow shirt. That was incredibly symbolic of the disrespect these individuals have for this particular theater. Move along Katharina. Your legacy is getting progressively dismal with each production and each season. One more thing: perhaps its not a bad idea to stay home and watch the dvds. If that’s what it takes to cut off the oxygen to IDIOTS who watch TRASH like this, then so be it. So go ahead and encourage the traditionalists to stay home. It’s the traditionalists who can afford the tickets and its the traditionalists who provide significant contributions to opera companies. Opera companies CANNOT afford to have an audience screaming their displeasure with a sonic tidal wave of boos like we saw at the end of the 2022 Bayreuth Ring and expect to stay viable or relevant.

    • vinnynewyork says:

      not so.. way off, Bubby. Most go to Bayreuth for the love and Wagner – his drama and his music. Nice to see your closed-minded, and dangerous, assumptions that anyone who does not like this 2022 Ring (pure shit) is taking away from others who should be there .. liberal idiots who like anything – everything – supposedly ‘new’. Happy to see that you admit not understanding. What is more, I refuse to use the links found in the booklet program that explain beforehand the ‘stage director’s intentions’. So you exclude me, leave me at home, and imagine that I could not like a new production. Dangerous, fascist woke thinking. How dare YOU assume that Wagner would have liked this ‘inventiveness’, as you say, not having understanding anything at all. Stay home.

  • torches and pitchforks says:

    When one listens to all that huffing and puffing heroic, ethno-nationalistic, patriarchal Überoper, and if one considers the culturally chauvinistic mindset of many Bayreuthean Wagnerites, how could any self-respecting stage director hope for anything but massive booing. Surely they wear it like a badge of honor. The virulent collective rage and discontent of the audience has a frightening quality to it, a reminder of history. The ethno-nationalism of the last night of the Proms evokes similar concerns–all that pent up flag-waving ignorance that fed the Bexiteers chauvinistic nationalism. I do not have a good feeling about the future of Europe.

    • Les says:

      “The ethno-nationalism of the last night of the Proms evokes similar concerns–all that pent up flag-waving ignorance that fed the Bexiteers chauvinistic nationalism.”


      • John D Karkalis says:

        Les, as a non Brit I would offer that the Proms allow for a harmless vicarious look backward to the “glorious” days of Victoria, Edward VII, the Raj. In retrospect the warts and blemishes of that period are forgotten.
        Here in the colonies it’s customary to play the national anthem before games.
        Most attendees couldn’t care less. Few know the words.

    • John D Karkalis says:

      And there are those of us who do not have a good feeling about the future of the USA.
      Some would address it as a coarsening of the culture (however one defines that).
      I suspect there were more than a few who were outraged with Wieland’s reimagining of his grandfather’s works, post WWII.
      Sadly, directors are expected to earn their spurs through bizarre conceptions.
      The circus sideshow is still with us.

    • Sebastian snoutclasper says:

      It was the flag waving prom like patriotism that stood up to the jack boot of fascism creating a european totalitarian monster. It did so again with brexit

    • vinnynewyork says:

      so, are you sure of your description – “and if one considers the culturally chauvinistic mindset of many (? you must know them all .. all 6 of them) Bayreuthean Wagnerites”, and your question “how could any self-respecting stage director hope for anything but massive booing?” when if fact Mr. V Schwarz is NOT self-respecting, nor Wagner-respecting.

  • Larry L. Lash says:

    I’ve actually witnessed worse! At least this audience was resoundingly unified in its response to the „production team“. What would have happen if there were pro and con factions?

    I reviewed the second night (03 August) of the 2004 Christoph Schlingensief „Parsifal“. Opening night audiences at Bayreuth (always 25 July) are relatively reserved about getting too passionate one way or another due to the high visibility of Deutschland’s superstars of politics, the arts, whatever. If you want to hear a response from a true Bayreuth audience, go to the second night (although the Regisseur*in stands before the curtain only on opening night; he/she is invited back to take a bow on the first night when the production is repeated in subsequent summers).

    Among all the shouts in the days before and after the „Parsifal“ premiere (one may recall reading of some exceedingly nasty exchanges between Schlingensief and his leading man, Endrik Wottrich), things came to a boil on that second night. Wottrich had by then already made clear his disgust for the production and that he would not return for it in 2005 (for which, thankfully, Alfons Eberz was engaged).

    Applause and boos were mixed throughout the bows of the Zaubermädchen and all those Knappen and Ritter and when it came for the „reine Tor“ to take his bow, he was visibly shaken by the tsunami of boos. But then his supporters begin to try to scream even louder.

    The factions for and against Schlingensief and Wottrich (not to mention Boulez and Michelle DeYoung) began venting their noises on each other rather than directing them toward the stage.

    Wottrich never took a second bow and that only got people more riled-up. Curtain calls suddenly ended, the house lights came up fast, and ushers encouraged people to leave the auditorium as quickly as possible. There was fear of fistfights.

    It was exciting, and you wanted to tell people about it, but it wasn’t entirely pleasant.

    • Jeffrey Buller says:

      I’m glad you mentioned this production. When the author referred to “the worst-ever booing at Bayreuth,” I thought, “Really? Worse than the Schlingensief Parsifal?” I was there, too, and can confirm your impressions. By the 2005 iteration, I felt I had some appreciation for the production … but my take on it was, I’m sure, not the same as Schlingensief‘s.

      • TishaDoll says:

        Not like Schlingensief Parsifal, far worse this Ring booing was more menacing almost felt like physical violence even from the video. I can’t imagine what it felt like in the house

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Watching this on the livestream I can only say that Schwarz et al richly deserved the curtain call response they received. The singers were largely at the mercy of one of, if not the most, inept staging of this opera. Heaven only knows what the rest of it was like. The singing and conducting for the whole cycle was par for the course nowadays which may not be saying very much for those with longer memories than mine but I cannot remember anything that was so devoid of style as this. A dystopian view is a valid interpretation but it is reasonable to expect that the work is at least presented in more than the third rate way it was thrown onto the stage in such a desultory way. Will Schwarz get a chance to rethink? The question should more be can he and does he actually deserve to be given the opportunity.

  • Prince Golaud says:

    The thing that gets me is how the “creative team” receives the boos. With a mixture of arrogance and disdain.
    As a performer if I got that kind of response I would literally ask the earth to swallow me whole.
    Instead these directors go from one failure to the next with untouched confidence.
    And then we wonder why people don’t go to Opera any longer?
    Enough with this! This Regietheater has been out of fashion for the past 30 years. Why intendants keep hiring these people?!

    • TishaDoll says:

      I thought Schwarz looked a bit unsettled towards the end of the booing at its ferocity before he took his long held bow

    • James Minch says:

      The trouble is that most directors have a negligible understanding of music. Things are not going to get any better.

  • Alviano says:

    Boos have been cut from the above link.

  • Ken R says:

    I was at the second Ring cycle of the 1976 Chéreau/Boulez centennial production. The booing was very strong, and the orchestra played badly, seemingly in protest to the production, especially in Das Rheingold (after they played marvelously in the Tristan with Carlos Kleiber the night before). I spoke several times with Roberta Knie (the Brünnhilde in that cycle) between acts; she was very disturbed by the booing. In fact, in Götterdämmerung she told Wolfgang Wagner that if they booed during the Immolation Scene, she would walk off the stage. Fortunately, there was no appreciable booing and she finished her big scene. But the swell came up afterwards. I would note that, after its complete run into the 80s, the production was considered a milestone and Boulez and Chéreau received a 15-minute ovation on the final performance. But sadly the last two Ring productions, by Castorf and Schwarz, will likely not be looked at as kindly. Without completely knowing the storyline, text and the score, one would not have a clue about what was going on on stage with either of those productions. At least Chéreau made an attempt at following the storyline. So much of the Schwarz production had elements that were totally incomprehensible. And having Brünnhilde singing to, and kissing, the decapitated head of Grane (her personal assistant, not her horse) at the end of the Immolation Scene (with no flames) was over the top. I would never boo at any performance (knowing how difficult it is to put on a production of this magnitude), but the management of Bayreuth seems to be trying their best to kill the Ring.

  • Bud H says:

    Wrong time mark for the booing.

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    A question. Do any singers actually fulfil all their roles anymore in a standard 4 opera 6 day cycle. 2 Wotans, 2 Siegfrieds and 2 Brunnhildes, even allowing for sickness in this and others that I have seen. Earlier Rings, going back over 40 years, I have seen had a single performer but that seems now to be the exception rather than the rule.

  • Alan says:

    Absolutely ridiculous. You’d a fella commenting on this site a few days ago saying he’d be there booing before he’d even seen the performance.

    These people would want to get a hold of themselves.

  • Mervin Partridge says:

    When will everyone stop blaming only the directors (as bad as their work may be)? The intendants hire them, the conductors put up with it (even the most famous), and the singers sing in those productions. As long as only the audience protests it will not stop. Everyone needs to speak out.

  • qqq says:

    None of this matters really. At the end of the day, can the lead singers sing their roles? Very few operatic phenomena is worse than a Brunnhilde who struggles with notes above the staff or bleats like a goat.

  • sonicsinfonia says:

    I remember the factional booing, cheering and near fistfights at the 1976 Ring which then went down in history as one of the finest productions of recent history. At least Cherau had a vision and knew how to work with his singers to create strong characters who interacted with eachother powerfully at times. Booing then became a sport for almost every production. Castorf in 2013 deserved it though there have been worse. I think the requirements of Bayreuth and the shortage of fine directors today, hardly any of whom would commit to the rehearsal period, almost now guarantees mediocrity or deliberate controversy.

  • Felix says:

    I wouldn’t attend Katharina’s ghastly Bayreuth if I were given free tickets, a return first class air fare and a fortnight’s accommodation.

  • Couperin says:

    Funny. Zach Woolfe liked it. Insert emoji of “rolling eyes” here.

    • TITUREL says:

      Well, of course he did. The chief critic of the NYT knows best, and always knows much more than we, the great Unwashed.

  • Margaret Koscielny says:

    Good production or bad, it takes a lot of time and much work to produce an opera. (I know, I produced one in the 1980s.) One should respect that effort if even one hates the idea of the production. Booing should be reserved for incompetence, which would not be the case, here. Experiments in ideas deserve an airing. In time, people might come to like those ideas.

  • Nick2 says:

    Let’s not forgot in this age we live in of extremely weird productions, many of which have little rhyme or reason, that booing is not confined to Bayreuth. I have been at sometimes very reasonably staged performances where the audience has very loudly vented its feelings.

    I was at the first night of a Norma in Vienna with Caballe, conducted by Muti and directed by Piero Faggioni (a producer never associated with regietheater as far as I am aware) way back in the Spring of 1977. At the end it was clear that roughly a third of the audience loved it, a third booed it virtually to the rafters and my third found it at least enjoyable.

    Not quite as bad were the booers and those shouting “rubbish” at the top of their lungs at the third performance of the Royal Opera’s new production of Aida in the summer of 1984. This should have a splendid evening with Pavarotti, Ricciarelli, the debut in the house of the superb bass Paata Burchuladze, Mehta as conductor and Ponnelle as director. It had suffered a torrent of audience abuse at the premiere. Pavarotti cancelled the second. At the third he was clearly nervous but got through Celeste Aida reasonably well. Ricciarelli’s intonation was desperately poor with her singing flat almost the entire evening.

    But it was Mehta and Ponnelle who came in for most of the audience reaction. Remarkably for an Aida, there was no Grand March. I heard that the money had run out and John Tooley had vetoed any additional production expenditure. At what should have been the opera’s major spectacle, a curtain dropped in, a pair of trumpeters entered from each side of the stage and it was all played merely as a symphonic number. That in itself resulted in a resounding chorus of “rubbish” from all over the House. Although intended for several revivals, it was scrapped after the first run ended.

    • rita says:

      Ah! Faggioni! Happy memories!

    • Jonathan Sutherland says:

      Hello Nick2.
      I also intended the prima of Norma at the Wiener Staatsoper in 1977.
      The problem was not so much Piero Faggioni’s production but Franca Squarciapino’s costumes.
      Montserrat Caballé was dressed in an enormous green feathered cloak prompting someone in the top gallery to call out, “Sie sieht wie eine dicke Papagena aus!” (“She looks like a fat Papagena!”). General hilarity ensued which was hardly conducive to the solemnity of ‘Casta diva’.

  • Enrique Sanchez says:

    AT LEAST – and thankfully, the SINGERS did NOT LET US DOWN! They were superb!❤

  • Paul Barte says:

    I have seen good Regietheater and bad Regietheater. No mistake: this was the latter. I was at the Bayreuth Ring and it deserved every boo that it got. I’m reminded of John Cage’s quote: I have nothing to say and I am saying it. The Bayreuth creative team wasted a lot of time, energy and money saying the nothing they had to say. To the commenter above who says the conservatives among opera goers (I am unashamedly one!) go to Bayreuth to boo: NO, NOT TRUE. We go hoping to see something wonderful. A week earlier, we received such with the new Tristan und Isolde. Not one boo there! Valentine Schwarz and team should be unemployed for a while. Unfortunately, the won’t be.

    • Douglas says:

      “We go hoping to see something wonderful.” Indeed, but you can of course wait for the second year of this Ring cycle, and read the reviews for this year – as I have done.

  • yodi says:

    Audiences hate to see themselves reflected on stage in modern productions. It’s a fun house mirror without the fun.

    • Tamino says:

      Even if that were true, the audience is paying good money to see a performance, the director gets paid to do his work. In which sado-masochistic universe is it the main task for the director, to hold the audience accountable for their personal flaws?
      If you have zero respect for the audience, go work as a cashier at Aldi!

  • M McAlpine says:

    Anyone who pays a great deal of money to attend these modern opera productions must frankly have more money than sense.

  • chattanooga choo choo says:

    Over-emotional. Just sit back and enjoy the music.

  • Player says:

    Not the loudest but the most disruptive booing ever was surely in 2017 at the first night of William Tell at Covent Garden. It stopped the music mid -performance. Booing actually during a scene – where a character was being gang raped on stage.

    It (the scene) was awful and the participants (not just the producer, Damiano Michieletto) deserved it. Sponsors withdrew their names from the programme, Kaspar Holten’s tenure at the ROH never recovered (in fact, he was a marked man from then on). Even Pappano was greeted with angry shouts of “Shame on you, Tony!” – and from the stalls.

    I only wish someone had recorded it so you could hear what I mean!

    • vinny new york says:

      from Milan, and an opera stage director – Michieletto, Livermore, Csstelluci – all horrible directors, let to carry on their arrogant destruction of what Opera is. The fault? Incompetent Intendants and corrupt theatrical agencies (business, business)

    • Nick2 says:

      There is one thing that always nags at me when I see productions I consider near-disastrous for which I have paid a considerable amount of hard-earned cash. It’s always the production team that comes in for the booing. Yet who engages that team? Who is supposed to at least review what production ideas/concepts will be presented to the audience? Who reviews them as they move from ideas/concepts to production models and more detailed explanations? Who puts up the cash to enable it all to happen? Who actually has the balls to say “No, that is not going to happen!”

      It’s the Artistic Directors, the General Directors, the Intendants – call them what you will. They sign off on virtually everything that is going to happen on stage. Yet how many times do they come out to face the audience?

      I am reminded of a story I read recently about the Edinburgh Festival’s glorious Carmen production by Faggioni in 1977 with Berganza making her debut in the role, Domingo, Diaz, Abbado and the LSO in the pit. It was to be Peter Diamand’s final swansong as Director of the Festival. The designer Ezio Frigerio was late in producing the designs for the scenery. When they arrived, they were both impractical and way over budget. With time running out, there seemed to be a sort of impasse until the Production Manager pushed Diamand to come up with a solution. As quoted in the book, Diamand said, “It’s very simple. I will give him three weeks to come up with a design that is both more simple and within our budget. If he does not, I will fire him.”

      The new design worked wonderfully, was under budget and was later seen when the production moved to Paris and La Scala. How many in the Bayreuth hierarchy have the balls to tell any in a production team, “No, it won’t work”?

      • JB says:

        Does an intendant really review production concepts before signing with a stage director ? That would be an infringement of artistic liberty. There is no comparison between different offers, at least not officially. I think after a stage director got the job he has carte blanche.

  • Vincent says:

    The production, in common with most current interpretive outings by over indulged directors, is most certainly not for me, and worse than that these production are getting further away from the actual plot. The action on the stage is increasingly at variance with the text, thankfully the music has not been altered as of yet but I fear that may come. For those who appreciate Wagner’s works the experience of hearing them in Bayreuth is something very special and not inexpensive either. To suggest that anyone who doesn’t bye into these productions should stay at home and watch their DVDs displays a level of arrogance and self entitlement of staggering proportions. Non the less I personally have issues with booing, it might be far more effective to simply refrain from clapping and allow this to express the level of support or other wise for the production. Anton Bruckner famously use to sit in the hall with his eyes closed and immersed himself in the sound world. While this is not in keeping with experiencing the total art work it might be the only alternative left for those of us not willing to go along with these incoherent productions.

  • kaf says:

    Thanks for the video! (Though I’m not sure the folks at Bayreuth would appreciate the copyright infringement, lol).

    The booing was aggressive and angry, but who can blame them, if you waited 5 years, paid $500 for a ticket, $2,000 on airfare and hotel, just to stare at the bottom of a drained swimming pool for 3 hours….

    • yodi says:

      Copyrights are worth something only if they have economic value, rest assured, no one is buying that DVD.

    • Tamino says:

      If you bought tickets for all four Ring performances, it is easily over $/€ 1.000,- for tickets alone.
      Thankfully there is still the well performed music. But who likes his Michelin star restaurant four-course menu being served and presented on plates made from cow manure, as was the case here? Anyone?

  • JB says:

    Bayreuth should stop to present a new production of the Ring every 5 years. It is impossible to produce something as groundbreaking as the Chéreau-Ring each time, and the result is generalized disappointment. They should keep the same staging longer, and stop hiring inexperienced newcomers like Schwarz.

    During the first twenty years after WWII, almost all stagings were due to Wieland or Wolfgang Wagner, and that era is more remembered for outstanding music making than for stage productions, of which no filmed recording exists. It would be a blessing to reanimate some of that spirit.

  • Alank says:

    I watched the livestream yesterday and was appalled. The production was inane and puerile. Was it Godfather, Salome, 2001 A Space Odyssey , who knows and who cares? At least have some with other than a profane T-Shirt. The production had nothing new to say other than ” I am hip and I know how to desecrate art”. One could go back to the 1976 Ring and see how thoughtful it was despite its somewhat ‘revolutionary’ take on the Opera. In this version all emotion was erased and one wished that only the audio version was available.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    OK, so the staging is weird. The singers and the orchestra sound pretty darn good to me. I saw Gotterdaemerung at The Met under Levine ‘back in the day’. I’m sure it was ‘truthful’ and wonderful and all that. However, because we were seated roughly 2/3rd’s the way back on the main floor, the entire performance sounded muted. Seriously I couldn’t stay awake, as there was very little dynamic impact. I’d gladly put with up the Regie theatre shenanigans, if I can also have better acoustics, better singing (where they don’t have to over-sing) and a top-rate Wagner orchestra caught in the proper perspective.

  • Douglas says:

    Give it another three years and it will be hailed as a classic.

    Pace another comment here, I very much doubt that those who have waited 10 years for a ticket are the ones booing (if you are so patient, you presumably will have read up on a few previous Bayreuth productions anyway and know what to expect); it will be those who go every year, probably to boo and fully expecting (hoping?) to be outraged. Their permanent default setting is presumably one of mild fury, much of it confected. And no doubt they will be there next year dong the same thing! Insanity, so they say, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    • Tamino says:

      I doubt it will be hailed. If you watch the interview with Schwarz in the broadcast, you get unsettled what an intellectual lightweight he is apparently. This is the Ring director, talking like a middle school theater geek? In Bayreuth??? Katharina is bad at scouting talent, she must be dethroned, she will run Bayreuth into the gutter if not stopped. Enough!

  • Douglas says:

    I also question whether Bayreuth is actually “reeling”. It will only be “reeling”, if bookings are down for 2023 and there are empty seats next year for the Ring – and that’s not going to happen, is it?

    • J says:

      Bayreuth is a cult. From the orch members who for some reason think this is a good way to spend summer holidays to the audience in those back breaking seats. and the heat! the Heat! nothing will ever deter the pilgrims.

      • John D Karkalis says:

        It offers bragging rights: “I was in the house Wagner built”. Snobbery seems to be fashionable always.
        No A/C?
        The folks of the 19th century were made of sterner stuff than we are.
        No A/C? Really?

  • vinny new york says:

    Being there, I can state that the world is a distorted one, as portrayed in, say, ‘Wozzeck’. Comments heard all to frequent – “Let’s see what happens in Die Walkuere (Das Rhinegold disaster) – Let’s wait for Siegfried (Walkuere disaster) … perhaps in Die Gotterdaemmerung (after Siegfried flop). Und so … wither?? Then the references to Chéreau in 1976? Why so, as there is nothing to reconsider here? Singing second-rate all too often. Conducting truly lack-luster. Ah, and too perhaps the DNA of the Wagner Volsung blood has thinned, and Katharina Wagner must pack her bags.

    • John G. Deacon says:

      This reminds me of a comment to my wife & I at the end nof the 1966 Ring : “Well, it seems that if Wotan had consulted Loge at the end of Walküre III this whole disaster might have been avoided”.

  • J says:

    well NL, i clicked on this just for the booing which is glorious in its almost violent intensity. but the band in N95s! when two cults merge. good grief people it’s 2.5 years. Move On. (i know this won’t be popular here!)

  • M McGrath says:

    Pseudo-intellectual eurotrashy onanism at tax-payer expense.
    Another reason to avoid the opera in some places.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    2:28:48 is where the serious booing is

  • vinnynewyork says:

    a final thought … if indeed the opening and closing images of the star child in the embryo were touching, ever moving symbols of eternity, of man’s courageous victories through exploration of infinities, and a true rebirth pointing to a tomorrow (the darkness unto light of all Greek Tragedy, as in Wagner), one asks how would Stanley Kubrick have staged the Ring? Would the Bayreuth administrators of today have asked him to?

  • Tony says:

    My principal objection to these often irrelevant ‘modern’ productions is that they leave no room for one’s own imagination. The Ring Cycle is so rich in meaning and interpretation that when the production is simple, as in the Wieland Wagner post-war Bayreuth productions, one’s own imagination and intelligence come into play and can find new revelations in the operas.
    But more recent productions often present one idea which precludes thinking of any alternatives. In this cycle the plot is about child abuse. What else is there? Being present at a performance of the Ring is a voyage of discovery, which is often blocked by the ‘I know better’ brand of modern director. ‘Look at it this way,’ they say, but at the same time the mind is prevented from looking at it any other way and discovering greater profundities in the work.
    And why do they always look so amateurish and shoddy? It often seems that the costume designer merely takes a trip to a charity shop and picks the clothes at random. And the more one pays for the ticket, the cheaper the production looks.

  • John says:

    The last act reminded me of T S Eliot’s famous line from “The Hollow Men” about the world ending not with a bang but with a whimper. It’s a concept to be sure but, in my view (I saw the production on You Tube), it doesn’t fit well with Wagner’s music and lyrics.

  • Madge says:

    The colors were pretty.

  • Baldr returns says:

    The absurd productions on display at Bayreuth, and really throughout all of Europe, are perfect examples of the demise of art and culture in the West. Clearly, the producers of these abominations possess utter contempt for their audiences, but also for themselves. They seemingly cannot conceive of a meaningful future.
    They are, judging by their so-called art, nothing more than self-absorbed nihilists trying to enact their own cultural götterdämmerung – not to bring about redemption through love, no – to destroy for destruction’s sake.