sun 05/07/2020

Tannhäuser, Bayreuth Festival | reviews, news & interviews

Tannhäuser, Bayreuth Festival

Tannhäuser, Bayreuth Festival

Song contest meets recycling plant, Jesus meets Cupid, in early Wagner

'Tannhäuser' at Bayreuth: replaces Wagner’s 13th-century troubadour castle on the Wartburg with an AVL biogas plant

In 1981, when I last came to Bayreuth, the festival still seemed to be a battleground between the German Left and Right, between the blame faction and the guilt faction, between the commie East and the fat-cat West. Plus ça change. Without quite openly taking sides, Sebastian Baumgarten’s new staging of Tannhäuser rings some cracked old political bells while, apparently with Bayreuth’s connivance, candidly parodying most of the thinking that underpins this admittedly somewhat raw, yet for Wagner absolutely crucial early work.

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