Manuela Hoelterhoff's article yesterday (The Mysterious Wagner Archive in Hitler's Bayreuth Residence, September 1) for Bloomberg News is trying to make something "mysterious" that is not all that mysterious -- a public archive that happens to be in the so-called Führer Annex, a little house near the Wahnfried, where Adolf Hitler stayed when he visited Bayreuth. However, there is an interesting insight in it about whether conductors and opera directors are using all the resources they can to prepare for their work:
Hoelterhoff: Do stage directors tend to come and use the archives when they are preparing a production?I already admired Christian Thielemann as a conductor, but now that I know that he thinks like a musicologist, I like him even more. I am guessing that this is the Tannhäuser that Thielemann conducted at Bayreuth first in 2002 (and then every summer through 2005). Does anyone know about this? A. C. Douglas, I am counting on you. It's news to me. I would not be surprised if he told no one about it, just to see if any of the reviewers would notice the change.
Friedrich: Normally not. They should, probably. I have the impression that many of the stage directors really don't want to come into the stuff deeply. They have their impression, they read the work, they have an idea. Sometimes musicians come here. Christian Thielemann was here very often because he is somebody who deals very seriously with the musicological world. He sometimes looks into the handwritten scores to compare the printed score he uses for conducting, to check that it is correct. For example, when he conducted "Tannhauser," I suggested to him that he could include a special English horn solo which has never been performed before, because Wagner eliminated it from the score before the printing. Thielemann was fascinated by this solo, and he used it.