‘Peter Schneider conducted with real feeling for the score and the prelude to the first act stole upon the ear with the magic of Bayreuth’s amazing acoustics. Robert Dean Smith is now a fine Tristan with a really beautiful voice. …Robert Holl made a moving King Marke, his magnificent bass nobly used. Some of the most beautiful singing came from Clemens Bieber's Young Seaman at the beginning.’ (The Stage)
Wagner's tale of the struggle between spiritual and profane love, and of redemption through love, is given a radical visual update in Sebastian Baumgarten's controversial yet thought-provoking Bayreuth production. Joep van Lieshout's giant installation 'The Technocrat'; dominates the stage, its industrial interior giving credence to the idea that Tannhäuser is one big experiment and playing host to some magnificent performances, among them Torsten Kerl's robust interpretation of the title role and Camilla Nylund's wonderfully empathetic Elisabeth.
Christian Thielemann, “by common consent the leading Wagner conductor of our time” (Die Presse), returns to Bayreuth for this radiant account of Die Walküre filmed at the 2010 Festival. Appearing on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time, it provides the only audio-visual document of Tankred Dorst’s Ring production, and follows the hugely successful release of the whole cycle on CD. Two new singers join the cast: Johan Botha as Siegmund, who was showered with praise by the press (“ideal vocal casting” in the words of the critic on the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and Edith Haller, with her “beautiful, strong soprano voice” (Süddeutsche Zeitung) as his sister and lover Sieglinde.
Hans Neuenfelss striking new production of Wagners fairytale opera gives this medieval story of doomed love and sorcery the Bayreuth treatment. As controversial as it is stimulating, this production was the talk of the 2011 Festival, and showcases a new generation of Wagnerian singing talent including soprano Annette Dasch and tenor Klaus Florian Vogt. Lohengrin is staged by the enfant terrible Hans Neuenfels, and offers a thought provoking production of brilliant visual clarity. The performance by Klaus Florian Vogt in the title role is staggering and impressive. There is beauty and purity in his voice, but in this role in particular, one truly senses something unheimlich, other-worldly, which fits superlatively both with work and production. Conductor Andris Nelsons brings out the best in the festival chorus and orchestra. It is a Lohengrin one does not easily forget and puts Bayreuth back in the vanguard of Wagner interpretation.
Along with Furtwangler's Scala Ring, this is my favorite one. And since the sound is better, this one is easier to listen to. Krauss'"Siegfried" is my favorite. I will never understand why so many people consider Solti's Ring as benchmark. To me his is the least exciting. Karajan is too "precious." The characters never come alive in either of those, at least not like they do for Krauss and Furtwangler.
Last year's revival of Jan Philipp Gloger's controversial 2012 production was greeted (as so often in Bayreuth) with huge acclaim. He translates the tale of the Dutchman, whose travails can only be redeemed through the unconditional love of a woman (Senta), to a future time, where part-human/part-cyborgs grind out an existence in a world completely subservient to business and commerce. In the modern fan-making factory, which replaces the world of Senta and her fellow seamstresses, we see a final tableau in which the Dutchman's and Senta's heavenly union is commemorated' by the factory workers now producing souvenir statuettes of the couple. The production stars Samuel Youn, Ricarda Merbeth, and Franz-Josef Selig, and is conducted by Christian Thielemann, arguably the greatest Wagnerian conductor of today.
Ostensibly Richard Wagner's opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg tells a humorous tale about artistically inclined craftsmen. Goldsmith Veit Pogner promises his daughter Eva's hand in marriage to the winner of a song contest, to which three men are potentially eligible. But upon closer inspection, what is at first glance a harmless farce in a middle-class setting emerges as a profound social analysis. Wagner uses his protagonists to show how a community deals with tradition and those who break with it and just how much innovation and deviation from the norm it can tolerate - as well as to examine what value society places, and should place, on art. "'Meistersinger' that's on an entirely new Wagnerian scale…it is full of smart ideas and moments of effective theater." (The Washington Post)