North American Wagner Societies response to Bayreuth by letter - read it here: But is Bayreuth that important anymore?

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 11 January 2012 | 12:38:00 pm

Well not here to be precise but over at the highly recommended Wagner Blog - well worth subscribing to or bookmarking if you haven't already..

In brief, the letter - countersigned by  all of the North American Societies, - makes the following points:

1 the long and close association with the Festival

2 that the Societies work promotes Wagner's works internationally

3 that they have always adhered to Bayreuth's policy in ticket allocation

3 their voluntary nature

4 the support, including financial, they offer young artists with a particular talent for Wagner

5 the direct financial donations most societies make  to the Gesellschaft der Freunde von Bayreuth

To read the full text, and detailed commentary from the editor of the Wagner Blog, please click THIS LINK.


What is it with Bayreuth and Y-Fronts?
Before you do wonder off, I would like to make an unusual personal comment. While I understand why the societies might be a bit "miffed" at the poor way this has been handled - and indeed the poor reasoning behind it - I have no idea why people are so "keen" to get tickets to recent productions . Yes, the Festival is without doubt of some historical interest to anyone interested in Wagner and yes it does have acoustic properties that benefit the Ring to some degree, but most specifically Parsifal (although anyone familiar with the history of Wagner will know how  many conductors dislike conducting there). However, long gone seem to be the days when the festival attracted the worlds greatest Wagner performers on, and under,  its stage (often for greatly reduced fees). Indeed, there is, to paraphrase poorly Wagner's favorite author, something wrong in the state of Bayreuth  when the finest cast and conductor in a production of Tristan und Isolde is to be found not in Bayreuth but elsewhere this year.

More Pants
Equally gone - at least looking at present productions - are the days of Wieland's innovative, if texturally sensitive productions or indeed Wolfgang's "regressive" yet interesting productions. Now, it might be argued, we have something of the worse of  "Regietheater":  with a Meistersinger containing representations of Wagner with a giant penis (even if he would have been enamoured himself which such a devise or representation) and a tasteless Tannhäuser that is not only textually illogical and "untrue" but concludes with players being dragged off to "gas chambers" - productions often critically derided. (And this is from someone who finds Regietheatre less problematic then many). And the future is not looking much brighter as Gudrun Stegen of Deutsche Welle pointed out recently with a 2013 Ring Cycle being directed by, "Frank Castorf, the controversial director of the Berliner Volksbühne theater. Critics bemoan his complete lack of opera experience".

Yes, Bayreuth is important, but the large number of Wagner productions in Germany alone, never mind elsewhere - often with casts that consist of some of the finest Wagner artists in the world  and with which Bayreuth seems unable to compete- may perhaps make the Festival far less important than the present "furore" would suggest.

Disclaimer: The Wagnerian is not a member of a Wagner Society and equally has no interest in acquiring a ticket to Bayreuth - at least for not some time.