Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lohengrin opens Bayreuth Festival today: Is Hans Neuenfels channeling Art Spiegelman?

Lohengrin is essentially a story about how to manipulate people, how to play with their customs, their culture and tradition, with their social order, and with their emotions. Stefan Herheim's production of Lohengrin at the Staatsoper in Berlin was to me the best Lohengrin I could see so far. The event was extra-special as Klaus Florian Vogt made a perfect match for Herheim's Lohengrin and was impeccable vocally. Dorothea Röschmann added her wonderful Elsa, and Michaela Schuster delivered a wickedly clever Ortrud [yes, in Herheim's Lohengrin Ortrud sees the manipulator in Lohengrin right from the beginning.]

Other memorable Lohengrin we could see last year was the Richard Jones' production for the Bayrische Staatsoper that you can find on DVD. The production is unusual and exciting but the concept simply didn't work for me. There,  Jonas Kaufmann was a brilliant Lohengrin and the hype before the show was entirely focused on him. The surprise, however, was Anja Harteros' Elsa who not only stole the show but blew away everyone in that production, including Kaufmann. That was one of the most amazing singing by a woman I've ever seen in any opera house.

Yummy cakes from Dalloyau in Paris (the first two choc-cakes are the Opera Cake and Opera 20-10)

Today is the opening day of the Festival in Bayreuth and --as I already mentioned several times-- it will be live broadcast via BR-Klassik starting from 16:00  (cet) on this link. See also this link to consult the cast members list. Kaufmann should shine 1000 colors today, but I expect a lot especially from Andris Nelsons.

Intermezzo posted a dozen of pics from the final dress rehearsal on her blog today, which lead me to believe that Neuenfels has taken Art Spiegelman-ian view on Brabant. A suivre...

I need one ticket for the third show - August 6.  
Huge thanks in advance to anyone who could help!

New pics below

Ed 1:  First act -- wowza! Some boos in the end -- for Neuenfels, no doubt ;) 
Keep in mind that Neuenfels is a Regie-icon...  Jonas and Annette very good. Nelsons was a bit tentative at the beginning, but then it all unfolds magnificently. This is why I keep repeating we want young and talented conductors, who do not perform routinely -- who decode Wagner's score with passion and their own style... On to Act 2!

Ed 2:  Second act -- excellent chorus [You could tell most of the members come from the world's best chorus -  Deutsche Oper Berlin] and you cannot but love that orchestra. Guys, apply for the tics in Bayreuth. It takes 10 years but it's worth it! You gotta feel the sound in the Wagner's auditorium. It's fuller, it's richer, the floor is trembling under your feet, the sound from the pit superposes with that produced by the singers and only then hits you in a way you cannot experience anywhere else... On to Act 3. Watch out for Jonas' In fernem Land

 Ed 3: Jonas da man! ;) The conservative crowd in Bayreuth booed Neuenfels [which can only mean a success!!!] Now I'm only extra-intrigued to learn more about the production. If there is anyone who could help me to get a tic for the show on August 6, please do!

Surprise - the crowd wasn't exactly seduced by Nelsons even if it all sounded wonderful on the radio! Now I'm ultra-intrigued...

See also the red-carpet pics, taken before the premiere of Lohengrin.

And here are the brand new pics from the final dress rehearsal, ©  BR-Klassic


  1. You might like this short video on the production: certain explains the overwhelming boos for Neuenfels at the curtain tonight, but I think it looks pretty cool!

  2. Loved it ;)
    Thank you ever so much!