Bayreuth, Schmayreuth

katharina.jpgTimes stringer Michael Kimmelman (making his Counter Critic debut!) reports from the annals of the Bayreuth Festival, a veritable relic of Wagnerian consummation that still has a ten-year waiting list to get into. Wonder how Kimmie pulled it off.

At any rate, the review of Katharina Wagner’s (great-grandaughter of big Rico) enlighted much about how American audiences have no idea how to have fun at the opera. Katharina stages a hugely inapproriate, if creative, rendering of Die Meistersinger, and the audience boos like the entire time, and then Ms. Wagner comes out and takes a bow in an evening gown, smiling away as the audience’s boos verge on tsunami. Awesome! Maybe it’s just that American’s don’t want to boo something they paid good money for.



  1. Actually, lots of Americans booed both Katherina Wagner’s Meistersinger, and Christoph Schlingensief’s even more controversial Parsifal. I thought both productions were really interesting, if not totally successful, but my American compatriots at Bayreuth generally hated them, and many took great pleasure in lustily booing. One woman I sat next to wore a black out shade for most of Parsifal, since it was of course the visual aspects of the productions that people objected to (no one found the mediocre conducting of Parsifal nearly as disturbing as the conceptually challenging visuals)…

  2. OMG. What’s a “black out shade”?! That’s totally hot. Although I find it interesting that she would find the imagery more dangerous than the music. Sound literally infiltrates the body, whereas images are a cerebral illusion.

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