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Production Photos from the Bayreuth Festival's Tristan & Isolde

The year before Katharina Wagner assumed her quasi-inherited reign on the Green Hill – Richard Wagner’s Festival House in Bayreuth, she gave her Festspiel-debut as a director with a production of Die Meistersinger. It being one of the most difficult-to-stage operas, for technical but also for political reasons (in Germany), Katharina Wagner delivered a controversial, partly panned product which I thought (and still think) was actually, sneakily, extraordinarily clever. She takes a shot at the all-too-quick conversion from rebel to reactionary and the danger of an original reformer becoming precisely the kind of gate-keeper to block all future reform which is necessary to keep anything – tradition included – alive: Topical for opera in general and especially so just before assuming leadership of such a festival.

Now, eight years later, she has put forth her second Hill-production, again amidst the air of scandals and succession-battles: her half-sister and co-director for the last eight years, Eva Wagner-Pasquier has allegedly been booted from the Festival grounds; Christian Thielemann, the ingenious conductor and a controversy-magnet himself, has been named musical director (a newly created position) of the Festival.....

Full review on Click on excerpted images below to find a higher resolution version of the full picture.

All images courtesy Bayreuth Festival, © Enrico Nawrath

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