Bayreuth splits over Parsifal opera glasses

Bayreuth splits over Parsifal opera glasses


norman lebrecht

December 16, 2022

It is no secret that next summer’s Parsifal will require augmented reality (AR) glasses to receive the full import of Jay Scheib’s cmputer-generated vision.

But cracks are appearing everywhere (except in the AR glasses).

Bayreuth boss Katharina Wagner is at odds over the production with her chairman Georg von Waldenfels, the hedge-fund sponsors of the productuon are revolting and it has now emerged that only 330 pairs of glasses will be made available for an audience of 1,930.

The rest, we suppose, can just watch the old-fashioned way.

More here.


  • erich says:

    As a long-term Bayreuth afficionado, frankly I do not give a hoot about ‘virtual reality…merely about actual reality and that, unfortunately, is that Katharina Wagner has presided over a very dramatic decline in artistic values. Engage directors who can read and understand the content of the notes and the libretti (and not the debacle of that disgraceful new Ring production) and hire singers and conductors who are worthy of the Bayreuth heritage, rather than the mostly third-class provincial team we have had to suffer in the last years. Katharina Wagner has reached her sell-by date and her contract MUST not be renewed!

    • Antwerp Smerle says:

      Katharina and her team have indeed made some grave mistakes when choosing directors (Castorf, Schwarz etc) but also some great calls (Kosky, Kratzer etc). I applaud her for trying to innovate, and suspect that her hit-rate is no worse than that of others who seek to follow Wagner’s exhortation: “Kinder, schafft Neues!”

      In that context, I’m intrigued and excited by the concept of an AR Parsifal, but question the competence of a management that doesn’t ensure that there will be enough AR glasses for ALL audience members who wish to experience the AR elements. If there aren’t, the audience response will automatically be sadly divided.

      I’m also dismayed that Katharina appears to have alienated one of the two greatest living Wagner conductors. The warmth of the audience reception for Thielemann after his final Lohengrin this year showed that the punters want him to come back!

      When Katharina’s contract comes up for review, let’s hope that there are credible alternatives and that the decision-makers will have the insight and independence to make a good choice.

    • Erda says:

      Indeed! To quote Richard Wagner himself: “I do not care in the slightest whether my works are performed. What I do care about is that they are performed as I intended them to be. Anyone
      who cannot, or will not, do so, had better leave them alone.”

    • Fritz Grantler says:

      “…..singers…who are worthy of the Bayreuth heritage…” . Unfortunately there are none…

  • Mem says:

    Alternative (cheaper and more popular) “augmented reality” solutions:

    1) 3D glasses. Most people still got theirs from the first Avatar movie.

    2) LSD squares for each patron.

    3) Psychedelic mushrooms locally sourced from the nearby forest.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Isn’t Parsifal ‘augmented reality’ enough as it stands? . . . Gorgeous music, though.