Rick Fulker Concludes His Bayreuth Diary: "This emotion is pure hate."

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 2 August 2013 | 12:36:00 am

" Because Castorf won't leave, the audience stands up and starts to. I feel queasy."

"...it's clearly the public's turn to vocalize. That explains the hyped up emotion of the moment. But this emotion is pure hate."

"Bayreuth now has its scandal. And maybe that was the festival directors' goal all along."

"Frank Castorf seems to fear nothing but consistency and depth - and maybe the "Ring itself."

The stage direction a provocation, the music a revelation - and then there's the requisite scandal, says Rick Fulker. The Castorf-Petrenko "Ring" will fan the flames of discussion for some time.

"I've never seen anything like it!" was the comment I heard most often in the auditorium.

At the "Ring" in Bayreuth, it's the custom for the stage director to appear before the curtain only after the fourth opera in the tetralogy, "Twilight of the Gods," is over. The moment comes that everyone's been waiting for. Hans Castorf and his team are assailed by the loudest cascade of boos, screams and catcalls ever heard. Castorf smiles mildly - and stays put. Points with his forefinger to his head, as though to say, "Are you all nitwits?" The insult brings the hellish yelling to a further crescendo.

Motionless, slightly bent, a supercilious smile: Castorf doesn't budge - even after the curtain opens to let orchestra, chorus, cast and the complete team take their share of the ovations. It's like he's saying, "It's only about me." The fabulous conductor Kirill Petrenko and his musicians have to share boos with the director. For five very long minutes. Because Castorf won't leave, the audience stands up and starts to. I feel queasy.

After four days and sixteen hours of Wagnerian singing, it's clearly the public's turn to vocalize. That explains the hyped up emotion of the moment. But this emotion is pure hate.