When summer comes around, Wagnerians everywhere start dreaming of Bayreuth. You may recall that, during last year's Bayreuth Festival coverage here at Ionarts, I passed along some of the plans Wolfgang Wagner had to bring in some directors from cinema and other arenas to spark some interest in the new productions at the normally conservative Bayreuther Festspiele. Christoph Schlingensief's new production of Parsifal, with none other than Pierre Boulez conducting, will indeed premiere this summer on July 25. However, as I learned from an article (Lars von Trier kneift vor dem "Ring" [Lars von Trier bows out of the "Ring"], June 4) in Der Spiegel, the tantalizing plan to have Lars von Trier direct the 2006 Bayreuth production of Der Ring des Nibelungen is no longer a reality.
The preparations for the new production by the Danish film producer ("Dancer in the Dark") began in 2001, and star conductor Christian Thielemann had taken over the musical direction. The Dane's decision took the Festival's directors completely by surprise, as they stated in a press release.Von Trier claims that personally he was not up to the work that the production would have entailed, in spite of two years of detailed planning. The search for a new director has already begun. What a shame.