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Oh, Bwoonhilda, You're So Wovewy

Image by Chuck Jones, from What's Opera Doc?Thanks to Vilaine Fille, who reminds us that the annual Wagner orgy known as the Bayreuther Festspiele is about to commence in Bayreuth, tonight in fact! She is kind enough also to direct us to Operacast's collection of online radio broadcasts of the performances from the Sanctum Sanctorum. Last year's controversial bugbear, the Schlingensief/Boulez Parsifal (Alex Ross, who saw it, dubbed it the "dead rabbit Parsifal") is back, starting on July 29. There are not really any new controversies to report, since Lars von Trier backed out of directing the 2006 Ring, to be replaced by Tankred Dorst. The best I can do is to share that I have read that, for the first time ever, a reporter from Israel will be covering the Bayreuth Festival. To help you get ready, over the weekend Nicolas d'Estienne d'Orves had a funny article (Bayreuth, July 23) in Le Figaro about gearing up for Bayreuth.

Eiji Oue will conduct the Tristan und Isolde directed by Christoph Marthaler, for opening night tonight. (As predicted by Eric Dahan for Libération, Nina Stemme's return to the Green Hill as Isolde, after having been a pretty sensational Freia in the James Levine Ring there ten years ago, will be a big event.) Christian Thielemann is conducting Tannhäuser, starting on July 28. Hold the phone: there is no Ring cycle at Bayreuth this year, not even Jonathan Dove's. Although not common, this is not unheard of at Bayreuth: there was no Ring cycle in 1999, 1993, or 1987, for example. (They'll be clearing out space for Tankred Dorst's new staging.) I guess you Ring-deprived folks will have to go to Seattle Opera for your fix this month.

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