Experience Bayreuth Live!

For those not as fortunate as Ron and me who’ve actually been to Bayreuth, a chance is coming up to make a virtual visit to this year’s Festival. Beginning at 2.45 pm on Sunday 14th August (curtain rises at 3.00), the performance of Lohengrin will be broadcast live on the web. As with all services of this type, site registration is required. The cost is €14.90. If unable to watch live, payment also entitles you to log on any time between August 15th and August 30th to watch a video recording on demand.

Personally, I’ve already pushed the Buy button (even though, judging from the photo, the production may well be from a director who’ll make it onto our black list). I’m cancelling all social engagements on that day (I prefer the thrill of watching live).

Full details are here.

One thought on “Experience Bayreuth Live!”

  1. Well, would you believe it! My whole day revolved around being in front of the pooter at 2.45 on Sunday, anxious to catch the moment when the video stream went live. I did that. The warm-up was okay, and then there we were, inside the hallowed theatre itself, waiting with the audience for the lights to go down and the Prelude to begin.

    Okay, I know I said I was prepared for a bit of envelope-pushing and all that, and the rats in the image above were a kind of a giveaway, but… The problems began halfway through the prelude when Mr Neuenfels did the cliché nonsense of having onstage action to go with it. In this case it wasn’t so much that the goings-on on stage were unnecessary (they were), but rather that they were actually such a good example of stagecraft that they distracted attention from the music.

    It was modern dress, of course (immediately stated by Lohengrin’s beautifully tailored white shirt and impeccably shined dress shoes during the Prelude), which isn’t necessarily bad in itself, but then there were the rats. And the inexplicably tottering king. And Elsa made her entrance in a pure white designer coat with arrows sticking out of it all over (a reference to St Sebastian, presumably — though the arrows were attached to her coat by suckers). Jokingly (?) there had already been references in the introduction to this production being “the one with the rats, and the one without the swan”. Actually, there was a swan, but it was more like a turkey and was held aloft in a miniature boat sort of thing. Adding insult to injury, when the same “swan” descended into view after Lohengrin defeated Telramund, its feathers had been plucked off so that it looked nor only ready for the oven, but for all the world like a rubber ducky.

    The first interval was devoted to interviews with members of the cast and of the production team, all of whom sang the praises of Neuenfeld “the genius”. Sorry, I don’t think so. Despite the first act debacle I gave the second act a try for all of fifteen minutes, but having been treated to (yet another) dumb show during the prelude which depicted Ortrud and Telramund as hooded victims of a stand-and-deliver attack (complete with dead horse), I couldn’t stand any more and gave up.

    Maybe I’ll treat myself to a stiff whiskey some time during the week and give the rest of it another chance. Maybe.

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