Does Bayreuth suffer from an autoimmune sickness that is killing it off? Is this – a true Wagnerian melodrama - the punishment of the gods for the evil people who made use and ran it for many years?
Richard Wagner’s great granddaughter, Katharina (together with her 33 years older half-sister Eva), has been running the Bayreuth Festival since 2008. Is it possible that she actually hates Wagner, his music, Bayreuth? Why else would she be running it down?
This year’s festival was opened with a replay of Tannhäuser, directed by Sebastian Baumgarten, which was first played and booh-ed in Bayreuth in 2011. It has not gotten any better.
Opening the festival with a third year replay is in itself a mark of failure. To do so with an opera production that is so annoying, that you find yourself closing your eyes, so as not to let the goings on on the stage spoil the wonderful music that is sung and played, is outrageous. Fortunately, it was musically very beautiful, despite a rather mediocre Torsten Kerl in the title role.