Cher Public

“Nun halt’ ich, was mich erhebt, der Mächtigen mächtigsten Herrn!”

In an unprecedented move, the Bayreuth Festival has named conductor Christian Thielemann official “Music Director,” according to a statement by festival spokesman Peter Emmerich quoted in Die Presse. Until now, Thielemann’s position has been that of “musical advisor” (musikalischer Berater.)   

In an email to parterre.com, Emmerich confirmed “the function and the title of music director… has not been given in the present form. [In] 1931 acted Wilhelm Furtwängler for a very short time as ‘musical director’ of the festival, but that situation is obviously not comparable to the present.”

  • LongTimeLurker

    Anja Kampe has been replaced/will not sing Isolde in the Thielemann-conducted Tristan this year, Evelyn Herlitzius will.

    • redbear

      It was reported in the press that Kampe was Petrenko’s girlfriend and that there was conflicts between her and Herr Thielemann. She withdrew and Herlitzius arrived only today for rehearsals.

    • Feldmarschallin

      Herlitzius was in Bayreuth yesterday rehearsing already.

  • Camille

    Didn’t someone right here on parterre say, a day or two ago, that his parking space was already marked ‘Music Director’?

    Nun denn! Feldmarschallin, lorenzo, Jungfer — you will all be our designated correspondants from the Green Hill to deliver to us all the salient and juicy details.

    We are listening….!

    • Feldmarschallin

      Camille I thought of you the other day when I ran across a Christie’s sale of Lily Safra’s jewels including 29 pieces of JAR. I thought you might have bought the entire JAR collection :)

      • Camille

        Oh lordy, Feldmarschallin, you have created a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!!! The only JAR I could afford right now would be his parfums, and only possibly. Next time I stroll past Bergdorf’s I’ll check them out.

        Do please let us know all the dope on Bayreuth—all this news is so exciting and in keeping with all the intrigue that has always swiirled around Bayreuth like tourbillons.

        Keep working in Harteros as Madeleine for me und ICH BIN DA!

  • Lohenfal

    I love the Wotan quote.

    Let’s hope that this event isn’t as disastrous as the theft of the Ring. At least, Bayreuth is remaining faithful to its turbulent history. The idea of a peaceful Bayreuth would be strange indeed.

  • Feldmarschallin

    BTW after the horrible reception last night of Pelleas, the BSO has decided to broadcast Arabella instead. Expect lots of stairs…GP is this Friday at 11.30.

    • Lohengrin

      Busy evening: 19 Uhr stream from München: Arabella, 22 Uhr Carmen from Orange (france3).

    • Satisfied

      Can you expound on that, Feld? The production that is. Happy to see that Harteros will get a live stream this season!

    • phoenix

      For real? Is this an example of audience-kontrol over media? If this had been a new Rosenkavalier or Lohengrin, the video broadcast would have gone through as planned even with the booing. But it’s a French opera in belle Bavière, a different situation.
      -- Of course I always love Arabella, but the Pelleas audio broadcast was beautifully played, subtle, finely-textured & VERY well rehearsed & conducted. I understand the conductor is not popular around here but if you compare the audio broadcast below with other live performances of Pelleas, you will surely appreciate how much work he put into it and how it much it shows.
      -- The audience enthusiastically received the singers & conductor -- the only mass booing was for regie team & that lasted a little less than a minute (you can find that short but intense debacle of it somewhere around 3 hours 21 minutes).
      -- To begin the audio, right click on the foto of Prinzregententheater -- and wait until the feed begins:
      http://www.br.de/radio/br-klassik/sendungen/oper/oper-live-2015-debussy-pelleas100.html

      • Lohenfal

        Phoenix, did you read the Neuhoff review on BR-Klassik? He praised the singers and conductor but thought the Regie (in a hotel lobby!!) was completely uninteresting. A hotel lobby: something I would associate with Arabella, not Pelléas. And the Icarus figure sounds like a borrowing from the Met Ballo. If the reception was “horrible,” as Feld says, it could’ve been enough to cause the change in programming. In any case, I’m looking forward to the Harteros Arabella.

        • phoenix

          No I didn’t read any reviews of it, Lohenfal. If I see or hear a performance myself -- my own judgment usually satisfies my own curiosity. I did view the 10 fotos of the production on BR-Klassik. Yes, it looked like a hotel lobby but I don’t see what is so incongruous about that. The stage action of this work has sort of a marginal consciousness, a mystique ensuring that no one (onstage or in the audience) is absolutely sure about anyone else’s designs. A hotel lobby functions for entry from the outside -- strangers, travelers & guests come & go through a rather static environment -- apropos for the rather limited stage action of this tale Maeterlinck & Debussy provides -- the poetry of the text & Debussy’s musical commentary on it are what make it a masterpiece.
          -- As I wrote above, if you take the time to listen you will find the booing was not as ‘horrible’ as what you and I have both heard already at previous performances in Munich. It is wonderful to broadcast Arabella, probably a much more popular choice -- but why not schedule it in the first place instead of putting on the sham of promising Pelléas? Arabella is a more popular work, particularly in Strauss’s own homeland -- and of course it gives yet another opportunity for Harteros-worship. The Festival would have gained more credibility to me if they had scheduled Arabella in the first place instead of the sham of removing Pelléas right after it’s premiere -- using the pretense of 1st night audience disapproval. Such crap is for petty provincial territory, not the great Nationaltheater.

          • Lohenfal

            I agree, Phoenix, that a hotel lobby could work for Pelléas, but the reviewer I read explained why this production didn’t benefit the piece. He believed that every scene looked and felt like every other, so that the scenes all became interchangeable, making the opera monotonous. I think he’s also seen too many productions set in hotel lobbies, judging from the ironic tone of his review.

            Whether the Munich audience is well-disposed towards this opera is another matter. At every Met performance of it I’ve attended, numerous patrons walk out at intermission (not me, of course). I was interested enough to record the performance on Sunday, so I’ll be able to listen to the audio at my leisure, and also enjoy the Arabella when it turns up on July 11.

            • Quanto Painy Fakor

              I adore P&M, but even at the old MET with Ansermet conducting people left in droves. Maybe they thought they were going to something like My Fair Lady.

            • Camille

              The same has happened when I’ve been there, although it was a lot less so when José van Dam was singing Golaud. If they even walked out on Answermet….what can one say? Not connoisseurs of the highest order, obviously.

              Last time I went there were not only people leaving but I was sandwiched in-between two dear ones, fast asleep and at the edge of snoring. My elbows kept them from becoming a public nuisance.

              I will never forget that production with the Malibu beach house, or wherever it was supposed to be. Very effective and brought it all home.

            • phoenix

              Was that enough to cancel it? There’s more to this event than meets the eye or ear -- maybe more info will surface later on.
              -- I have seen Pelléas staged many times -- I can’t convince you or anyone else -- I am not sure I can even explain it very well, but most of the protagonists of this work live in the isolated environment of their own kingdom -- defined by the day-to-day sameness of their lives (like most of us) -- and why shouldn’t the staging not reflect this? What did the audience expect -- the parting of the Red Sea in Moses?
              -- Mélisande, who lives & dies in Arkel’s kingdom, is not part of it. She seems to be difficult for some to figure out. She has been an outsider without identity all of her life, but instinct has enabled her to inhabit a myriad of transient realities.
              -- Lohenfal, enjoy Arabella & if you have time, let us know how you felt about it.

          • Henry Holland

            Re: Pelleas productions, here’s a photo of the Peter Sellars “Malibu Beach house” production that I saw at Los Angeles Opera in 1995:

            http://tinyurl.com/q4kfn24

            Doesn’t look very promising, but it worked. Excellent acting by the cast, incredible conducting by Esa-Pekka Salonen (his only time at LAO, I think), a great night. I then went to the San Francisco Opera production in 1997 that had a very typical “gauzy” look to it and a better cast and it was as dull as watching paint dry.

            • Camille

              Thanks, I knew you’d remember.
              For some reason his name wouldn’t come up out of the murky depths.

              A lot of the credit was due to Sir Willard White, who was a tremendous Golaud and made it all really work.

              You were lucky to have Esa-Pekka to conduct. Rattle’s rattle was pretty tame the last time around.

      • gustave of montreal

        In sum the Bavarians do not like Debussy’s Päderast.

        • Feldmarschallin

          No that cannot be said. Very, very few people left and this was after all the Festspieleröffnung even if many thought they should have opened with Arabella but then many said the real opening in the big house will be Arabella so all is good. The singers and conducting were all very, very good and there were no problems here. The problem was the production and opera itself are rather boring. Especially the fourth act went on forever and could have used a red pencil. The people who all came and went (the interchangeable people in society) and the doctor measuring his blood pressure were not well received. Plus chairs were moved then moved again and all just sat on the chairs and sang as in the recent last Act of Lulu. I saw this opera last season in Augsburg and there it was more entertaining if you can ever call this opera that. Still no need to see it anytime soon again. You need a great production to make this opera interesting and it wasn’t that. I think it might never be revived again.

  • zinka

    Yeah..OT

    Today,the “Trumpet sounds” on the anniversary of Sam and Lindsay Ramey. However, Sam never told her he was mostly a DEVIL.
    Love to them, and to my old friend Sam.

    • zinka

      I forgot to tell you..this was before Sam’s Bar Mitzvah……

      • gustave of montreal

        what ?

        • zinka

          Sam’s Bar Mitzvah…..My humor(???) escapes yopu?????? We go way back….CH

  • Marcello

    The webcast was switched to Arabella before the P&M performance on Sunday. So the link to the reception is at best indirect.

    • Feldmarschallin

      After the GP last Thursday there were already many tickets being sold for the Premiere and following performances. I saw the look on Bachlers face when I left my box since he had just left his box which was two over from mine. He was not happy.

    • phoenix

      Thanks Marcello -- it was as I suspected.

  • Amidst all the gossip and speculation about podiums in Berlin, Bayreuth, and Munich, we seem to have lost sight of the really essential question of Summer, 2015: who is conducting the Hartford Wagner Festival?

    • Camille

      Has that been artificially resuscitated, MC? I thought it was dead and gone.

      Woulda been fun. Didn’t they do something similar a few years ago in Berkeley? Or was it just a Ring in 4 Hours?

      • Camille,

        I confess I was indulging in a bit of midsummer’s tomfoolery.

        Yours, &c.

        croche

        • Camille

          Crochie-pie,
          Supposing that is okay but you really had me there.
          I was kinda looking forward to it and am a bit disappointed it was quashed so utterly.

          Many happy returns of Midsummer Tomfoolery to you!

  • Krunoslav

    So when will the Reichstag burn?

  • manou
    • Cicciabella

      Rape is an instrument of war and foreign occupation: someone should issue a memo to the island that has remained uninvaded since the Norman Conquest. Or was the rest of the production so horrible that the rape proved to be the last straw? Anyway, it is difficult to understand how the cast is praised so highly but the reviewer only gives the performance two stars.

      • armerjacquino

        Rape is an instrument of war and foreign occupation: someone should issue a memo to the island that has remained uninvaded since the Norman Conquest

        My next door neighbour moved here after her father was killed and her mother raped in Kosovo: I’ll be sure to pass on the memo.

        • Cicciabella

          Precisely, armer. I was referring to the booing public and the Guardian writers. I’m glad you brought up politics further down. It seems the Guardian 2-star rating and the shouting about how Pappano should be ashamed are political ploys to teach the RO a lesson about how to please its audience.

          This Tell may indeed be atrocious. One thing you can’t accuse Michieletto of is not thinking his productions through. His Amsterdam Viaggio was well-conceived to the smallest detail. (It also involved smearing bare bodies with liquid, but, since no war was involved, the smearing was innocuous.) Based only on the review, his ideas about Tell sound very cogent: the violation of nature and trying to reconnect with it, Tell as a comic book hero…The execution may be another story, but the ideas sound good.

          • armerjacquino

            Couldn’t agree more.

    • armerjacquino

      Funny, in all our conversations about booing we’ve talked about the aesthetics and the etiquette of it a lot but not so much about the politics. It strikes me that it’s becoming the almost exclusive province of conservative and reactionary elements of an audience- a live action version of the infamous ‘how much would I have to pay to get the Zeffirelli TOSCA back?’ conversation. Someone booing a production probably isn’t sticking it to The Man, they ARE The Man.

      I’ve not seen this TELL- it may be terrible. But for people to boo a production which depicts an occupying force doing the one thing we all know occupying forces do is a little worrying.

      • manou

        I am going on Thursday so may comment later. Judging from the Twittersphere, it seems that the rape happens during the jaunty ballet music (oppressed Swiss women being made to dance with the Austrians) and lasts maybe as long as five minutes.

        The booing during all this does seem unconscionable and inexcusably boorish. I plan to be the picture of quiet respectability.

        All in all -- so glad I went to the sitzprobe!

        • manou

          P.S. At least two of the other reviews (including The Times) gave it a solitary star -- but praised the music making.

          • manou
            • Cicciabella

              Good for them for standing behind a production they believe in.

          • phoenix

            Kasper Holten: ‘… – you get a chance to boo the production team at the end, there’s no need to do it while the music is playing, it spoils other people’s listening. I don’t mind booing, to express your opinion is fine but save until the music is over.”
            -- manou, can you direct me to a review that actually deals with the musical values of the performance? Everyone praises it but not details that I can find.
            -- Thanks!

            • manou
            • Surely the real source of outrage here is the idea that a supposedly world-class opera house in 2015 would present a new production of Guillaume Tell “starring” Gerald Finley, John Osborn and Malin Bystrom. Did someone accidentally get hold of the “understudies for the 2005 revival” list by mistake?

            • manou

              The amazing thing is that Osborn’s cover is…Michael Spyres.

            • phoenix

              Many thanks manou for taking the time to post these review links.
              -- I saw a production of Don Carlo in Germany in the early 1990’s set in the contemporaneous Bosnian War (before the horrible 1995 Srebrenica massacre) -- that production was probably the most successful regie I’ve ever seen of Don Carlo -- felt like the first time, there was no waiting around anticipating the next entrance, aria, ensemble, etc. -- it was also very well played & sung. The auto-de-fé was a massacre of captured soldiers who were taken into a warehouse-type building one-by-one & murdered while the Celestial Voice (Gwendolyn Bradley), dressed up in a glitzy Diana Ross type outfit -- fully equipped with a huge mic (almost as big as her head) -- entertained the royals & crowd with her solo at the end. If I remember correctly, there was no chorus singing from the stage itself. The entire 2nd tier of the auditorium was occupied by 3 large choral groups massed together.
              -- It was a serious evening, but something of great quality.

            • Chanterelle

              From a distance, I am bemused at the outrage. ROH’s VEPRES SICILIENNES showed the the corps de ballet being carried off by soldiers--no one thought they were being invited to dinner and a movie. Of course, the production wasn’t too popular, but it certainly didn’t engender this level of reaction. Perhaps the tutus made it all right.

              And in San Francisco, a scene of mass suicide to avoid mass rape (LES TROYENS) was followed the next night by the barely-offstage rape of mother and daughter (TWO WOMEN). A few murmurs of dissent at the “gratuitous” depiction of rape (it’s a story about the mass rape of thousands), but nothing like the current firestorm in London. (most complaints were about the music and libretto)

              Considering the level of violence that is nearly de rigueur in any kind of action movie today, is it surprising that directors want to use this narrative tool today?

              I haven’t heard a peep about Glyndebourne’s RAPE OF LUCRETIA. I suppose Shaw was more subtle (or is it not open yet?).

              If it were Bieito would people be howling? Perhaps the Catalan director’s reputation draws an audience self-selected for shock tolerance. Or perhaps too many came knowing nothing about TELL beyond the overture…

              @manou — Michael Spyres!!! He did a great job as Arnold at Caramoor a couple of years ago. I much prefer him to Osborn.

            • Chanterelle

              To clarify: most complaints *about TWO WOMEN* were about music and libretto. I hope this follows my lengthier comment.

            • Camille

              I thought that was the case about Les Vêpres, too, and put out a query a couple days ago but had no other confirmation until now, and am a bit stymied about it all for the same reason you state.

              Michael Spyres would be far better, from my experience of both of their performance s of the role. Not impressed with Osborn at all from what I heard last year. Certainly hope he won’t end up as the Arnold in the prospective Tell to be given here in a couple years, according to all reports—but I’ll frankly believe that when I see it.

        • phoenix

          I suspect many were longing for a cuckoo clock production like the Salzburg Meistersinger.

        • Camille

          Oh, that sounds a like like what happens betwixt the French soldiers and Sicilian maidens in the recent Les Vêpres Siciliennes, and wasn’t that handld somewhat similarly. (I do not recall exactly any longer.)

          • Camille

            A LOT like the…….

  • phoenix

    Mark Ronan: ‘— why did the ROH hire an Italian production team, untested in the sophisticated setting of Covent Garden, for two productions less than six months apart?’
    -- Why not?

    • Cicciabella

      Because Italy is a pit of artistic barbarism, while London is the Mount Olympus of culture. The politico-cultural undertones of these reviews are fascinating.

      • “What does this random wog know about Rossini, anyway?”

        • armerjacquino

          I know this is a favourite word of yours, La Cieca, and I can only hope your sources for it are pre-WW2 and that you don’t know what a beyond-the-pale word it is in the UK. It would never be used in any print or broadcast media and any public figure using it, even in private, would be instantly fired or made to resign, to the complaint of nobody. God knows what any black british visitors to parterre make of your penchant for the word. I know your intent is satirical but it is every bit as inflammatory as a white american using the n word would be, and I shudder every time I see it.

          • David

            I realise that words have different strengths on different sides of the Atlantic, but as in this case the word is being put into the mouth of a Brit we can perhaps assign the ‘w’ word the strength it has in the UK. And as Armerjacquino says, it is very offensive here.

            It is particularly strong word to use when all Ronan appears to be saying is that it is odd to give a production team untested in a particular theatre two productions without seeing how they do in that theatre. Implying he is a racist (and here in the UK today it is a racist term) seems a little extreme.

    • armerjacquino

      Ask him, he’s on Twitter. He’s a professor of mathematics who blogs about opera as a hobby.

  • Marcello

    According to The Bavarian State Opera, the Webcast of P&M was abandoned for “technical reasons”.

    • Cicciabella

      The main technical reason being that Anja Harteros Is not cast as Melisande.

    • Cicciabella

      It’s a pity they couldn’t find the resources to webcast both operas.

    • Lohengrin

      P&M is in Prinzregententheater, not in Nationaltheater. Could be it is a “technical problem” to bring and install all the stuff there.

      • phoenix

        One would think such issues had already been taken into consideration when it was scheduled last year -- maybe Marcello has more to say about the transparency behind those technical difficulties? If not, I’m chalking it up to la política de los festivales de música bávaros -- Buenos noches!

  • redbear

    Terrible. I’m in the middle of L’assedio di Calais (Donizetti) on Arte and Sabine Deviellhe’s live recital starts in 8 minutes on Mezzo. I can watch the Arte broadcast later, not Sabine’s.

  • phoenix

    armerjac -- avoiding the social media scene over here -- so, as much as I love you I would just as soon go on Mars as twitter, facebook, blah-blah.
    -- I wasn’t questioning the suitability of Mr. Ronan’s statement, I just wondered why he felt that way -- but when I went to the gym this afternoon I thought about it more. If the management of ROH decides to hire someone for the 1st time (whether twice within a 6-month interval or otherwise) -- how can ROH mgmt. ‘test’ their suitability for said ‘sophisticated’ audience at ROH without giving them a debut production in the 1st place? It seems implausible -- unless Mr. Ronan is referring to Michieletto’s relative youthfulness (40 -- yes, 40 in this profession is rather youthful) -- I personally find it quite auspicious to obtain the services of an artist as he approaches prime. Perhaps Mr. Ronan assumed Michieletto did not have enough experience to create a production to satisfy the sophisticated patrons at ROH -- or perhaps Mr. Ronan wasn’t aware of Michieletto’s previous successes & awards: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damiano_Michieletto
    -- or perhaps Mr. Ronan was implying something to the effect of Rupert’s old stand-by complaint about importing ‘foreigners’ at unnecessary expense when local artists could do just as satisfactory a job -- however, this time around Rupert did not issue such patriotic economic rhetoric in his own review of Michieletto’s Tell.
    -- At any rate, no matter how many more booing demonstrations occur nor castigating reviews are issued, Michieletto is still the winner -- there is no such thing as bad publicity -- or, as my beloved María Félix once said, ‘success is inferior to a celebrity.’

  • Camille

    Don’t we have any on-site reporters at Bayreuth yet to dish the latest dirty laundry?
    I am just dying to hear more about the goings-on in what would seem to me to be a major move in some direction, and I hope, for the better.

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

    I am doin’ my best, Camille. I literally just got back from vacation and discovered all the merde that hit the ventilateur in my absence. I have a connection on the campus at Bayreuth and am trying to get some dirt. But I need to unpack and get resettled before I probe more.

    • phoenix

      with all due deference to Camille, I’m not so interested in the dirt -- decomposing organic material on that infamous Green Hill -- much more I am intrigued by the latest chapter of The Caprices of Marianne -- where has she been and what has she seen? How much will she reveal?

      • Camille

        Due deference to Camille—ha! Don’t make me laugh, you sly old volpe!

        • phoenix

          Marianne’s Roto-Rooter Service will clean up the house on the Green Hill, just be patient.

          • Camille

            Marianne is a duenna and a lady, not a plumber, MAN!!!

            I shall sit back and wait for reports as this will be years-to-come entertainment, if not mistaken. I am so curious as to why Eva Wagner-Pasquier got the boot—well, she is 70 or so and every woman past menopause faces diminishing valuation as the clock ticks by relentlessly, (“Die Zeit die ist ein Sonderbar Ding…”) year-to-year, but what about Barenboim? What about Katharina’s Regie? Wil. Mo.CT overrule Katharina in his assumption of authority? It’s just endless———! And better than Joan Collins padded suits in Dynasty, by a league.

    • Camille

      Liebste Jungfer!
      Don’t you fret. Whenever you get word of something interesting, just fill us in. As I have a very high opinion of Mo. Thielmann’s conducting ability based on the several repetitions I heard of his Frau ohne Schatten, perhaps I am being a hit of a Polyanna in expecting lollipops and rainbows to spring up over the Green Hill. As I certainly do not know of anything regarding his administrative skills, however, I am solely pinning my hopes on a strong and sure hand at Bayreuth being of aid in helping to keep it moving on in a progressive, successful, and healthy manner, but I am unsure as to whether that is at all possible, but only pinning my hopes on it, again, rather Pollyannaish.

      Very happy to hear of your gute Reise!

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

    She and a gentleman companion have been romping up and down Alps, swimming in the Züricher See, going to ballet (Balanchine), theater (Stoppard), and a concert (Andrew Bird), and visiting some of the finest cocktail bars in these parts.

    One place, right on the lake (Fischstube), has a drink simply called “Basil” and is made from gin, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup blended with a huge bunch of fresh basil and then strained, and then all of it shaken over ice with a handful of Basil leaves, strained again into a rocks glass, and garnished with a basil leaf. Heaven, especially after a few hours of swimming and sunning. Another new place, Tales Bar on Selnaustrasse, may be in the running for one of the best cocktail bars on the continent. We were there for about five hours, with the bartender/co-owner tempting us with the most outrageous combinations, and left after 04:00.

    The food around the opera house and theater was rather unexceptional (and I’m sure I don’t need to add: insanely overpriced). By far, the best meal was at the shrine to all edible things aquatic called Brasserie Lipp, which actually serves Cremant d’Alsace by the glass (wonderful with oysters). I also had an excellent gazpacho and a large plate of very thin slices of raw tuna and scallops with a lovely Chardonnay.

    Many museums: the Le Corbusier house is a delight; Cabaret Voltaire -- basically gutted -- was a huge disappointment, but at least I got to be in the room where Dada started. A nice Botero exhibit at a tiny gallery.

    And now we have returned to Wien, just in time for a heat wave which is expected to last until Wednesday or Thursday with temperatures as high as 36°C.

    Anything else you want to know?

    Thanks to manou for recommending how to dress-up for the ballet (which we did), and to Marcello for letting us know about the terrace on the 2. Rang, suggesting some restaurants, and the Schiffbau (where we couldn’t find any decent food on a Sunday evening, but found yet another cocktail bar…).

    • manou

      Wow JML! That’s some vacation. As someone about to spend time in Dorset with all the family (18 of us), I am most definitely very envious.

      How do the large Botero ladies fit in a very small gallery?

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin

    There were only Botero 10 canvases of his latest project spread over two floors: his vision of saints, all with names which could have come from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and all rather proper ladies, with hats and pearls and other necessary accessories. Charming!