Bayreuth Festival commemorates Wagner

Bayreuth Festival commemorates Wagner

FRANKFURT - Agence France-Presse
Bayreuth Festival commemorates Wagner

German artist Ottmar Hoerl poses with a first color pattern on some sculptures of his new installation, consisting of sculptures of German composer Wagner. AFP photo

The Bayreuth Festival, the annual month-long summer music fest dedicated to Richard Wagner (1813-1883), is staging seven operas in the bicentenary year.

 The curtain goes up on the festival’s 102nd edition on July 18 with a revival of a production of “The Flying Dutchman” by German director Jan Philipp Gloger. But the main attraction this year and seen as the highlight of the worldwide Wagner 200 celebrations -- is a brand new production of the composer’s huge four-opera “Ring” cycle by German “bad boy” director Frank Castorf. Following is a list of the operas being performed on Wagner’s fabled “Green Hill” this year between July 25 and August 28.

‘The Flying Dutchman’ at the festival

 “The Flying Dutchman” in the first revival since its premiere last year of Jan Philipp Gloger’s disappointingly anodyne reading, with South Korean baritone Samuel Youn in the title role and and German soprano Ricarda Merbeth as Senta. Regarded as Wagner’s first “mature” opera, the “Dutchman” was first performed in Dresden in 1843, but not staged in Bayreuth until 1901. Bayreuth’s unofficial general music director, German maestro Christian Thielemann, is in the pit. For the first time, the opening performance will be broadcast live into selected cinemas.

“The Ring of the Nibelung” in the feverishly anticipated new staging by iconoclastic German theatre director, Frank Castorf. Brought in at the last minute for the Bicentenary Ring after negotiations with German filmmaker Wim Wenders ran aground, the 62-year-old Castorf is a relative novice to opera. And his anarchic, punkish aesthetics are certain to enrage the festival’s ultra-conservative audiences.

The “Ring” comprises four operas, “Rhinegold”, “The Valkyrie”, “Siegfried” and “Twilight of the Gods” and takes 16 hours to perform. It was first staged in its entirety at the first Bayreuth Festival in 1876. Castorf’s production is the 14th complete staging.