What happens in Bayreuth does not stay in Bayreuth

When a new “Ring” is performed in Bayreuth, the opera world rattles.

What happens in Bayreuth does not stay in Bayreuth

When a new “Ring” is performed in Bayreuth, the opera world rattles. No matter how hard all the other theaters try, the productions in the Festspielhaus are electrifying. And sometimes even blood flows. On stage anyway. But also in the audience. This happened when Patrice Chéreau had to endure three hours of booing after the premiere of his "Ring" in 1976. And on the hard seats there was so much argument about the quality of his vision that one lady tore another lady's earring out of the shell.

What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Bayreuth never stays in Bayreuth. WELT wants to contribute to this with a new format this year. Our author Peter Huth, who has been attending the festival for many years, will report on the “Ring” week in a live ticker – from Saturday, July 30, 2022, the day before the premiere of “Rheingold”, to August 6, 2022. July, the day after the "Twilight of the Gods", the day of reckoning.

Because Valentin Schwarz, the only 33-year-old director of the new "Ring", has to compete with giants. There have only been 13 new productions since the festival opened in 1876. At that time, Richard Wagner himself brought his vision of the greatest music drama of all time to the stage. Later, his wife Cosima, the grandchildren staged and finally Chéreau staged his interpretation, which has since been recognized as the “Ring of the Century”. Something spectacular didn't always work out - Peter Hall (1983), Alfred Kirchner (1994) were rather meager. Was the story of legal abidance, loyalty and love finally sounded out? No - as Frank Castorf proved with his insane allusion juggernaut (from 2013).

Schwarz indicates that he wants to stage the "Ring" like a "Netflix" series. The Wagnerians get chills down their spines. Some out of fear and horror, others out of anticipation and in anticipation. The fact is: there will be bickering. And you are right there.

In addition to intermission reviews after each act and a summary review in the late evening, interviews and gossip from the Festspielhaus, detailed press reviews and documentation of the bickering and, of course, an introduction and discussion of Wagner's work and work (not in alliteration, don't worry!) our live ticker but also depict the overall work of art in Bayreuth during the festival. Because that doesn't just happen on stage, but throughout the city, which this August will again become a place of pilgrimage for Wagnerians from all over the world - for a whole week, around the clock.

Anyone who quotes Loriot can hardly do anything wrong. Therefore he also has the first word here (and will also have the last). When asked what perfect happiness was for him, he answered: "Bayreuth (arrival)" - And when asked what the greatest misfortune was: "Bayreuth (departure)". I feel the same way - for many years. I became a Wagnerian through a shimmering summer love with a musical soul twin sister, whose name was not Sieglinde but Annegret. Definitely in the text I wrote for WELT am Sonntag a few years ago.

Now I'm sitting in the ICE 703 towards Munich, I'm changing trains in Bamberg. If the train wants - and there is still no delay - I'll be in Bayreuth shortly before two, dragging my suitcase to the train station in the direction of the good old "Lohmühle", my favorite quarter. One day before "Rheingold" - because I need this lead time to carefully immerse myself in this own, magical, almost mystical world, in which everything is about Richard Wagner, his music, his texts and their implementation on stage. And everything!

I left my family at home this year. Four operas (maybe five, if it still works with a "Lohengrin" ticket) and a concert in six days - that's a full-time job, a deep dive into the greatest music drama in history and its creation. You can only achieve the highest level of enjoyment through full concentration and full attention.

I invite you to accompany me on this journey, whether you are already a Wagnerian, want to become one, or are a Wagner skeptic or even a hater. No previous knowledge is required: what is involved is explained, for those in a hurry and for those who want to delve deeper.

In the breaks after each act, I'll tell you what Valentin Schwarz is doing with the "Ring". If you're in Bayreuth: I'm the man in the tuxedo, laptop on my lap and a glass in my hand. Do not hesitate to contact me! Or write comments. I am happy! (Also about the note that the term "Chancellor" for Angela Merkel is to be used more for protocol purposes).

Because the discussion belongs to Bayreuth. A lot of what I write in the breaks and after the operas other reviewers will see in full. Totally different. Diametrically opposite. And I'm sure I'll wake up with a headache about what I've written after thinking about it at night and dreaming about it.

That's the fun part.

My valued colleague Manuel Brug reports for the printed WELT, and I highly recommend his texts. He's the professional (especially when it comes to musical evaluation), I'm the ardent amateur.

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