Monday, September 25, 2006

Worth a thought

A.C. Douglas reposts "Elegy," his take on the triumph of Regietheater at the Bayreuther Festspiele. Frankly, after Dorst's colossal error in dramatic judgment, I am altogether inclined to turn the Bayreuth clock back to the last Festspiele that Wagner personally oversaw. Update it so it's safe and technically modern, and stop there. Try that for two Ring cycles (what is that, eight years? Or something like that) and see how that works. Then get back to me.

Here's a fun snippet.

First came the disastrous and idiot Marxist Tannhäuser of East German avant-gardist Götz Friedrich in 1972 that so distorted Wagner's original that were it not being presented at the Festspielehaus with Wagner's music, and with copious program notes in the house's program book, the opera would have been impossible to comprehend, not to speak of impossible to recognize as Wagner's creation. But the real watershed moment in the Festspiele's permanent descent into the malodorous mire of Regietheater came with Wolfgang's engagement of the Wagner-ignorant, avant-garde Frenchman, Patrice Chéreau, whose visually arresting, Shavian-socialist Konzept of the Ring set the work in late-19th-, early-20th-century industrial England and America, with Wotan and the gods as exploitative capitalist captains of industry, Alberich and the Nibelungs as a put-upon and exploited proletariat, and the Rheintöchter as beguiling street tarts. That imbecile production opened the floodgates to all manner of postmodern idiocies in the realization of Wagner's stageworks, and since then the productions of the Bayreuther Festspiele have been among the most grotesque — often the most grotesque — of the manifold Konzept productions of Wagner's great stageworks worldwide.

Now, then. That's not to say that I wouldn't go to Bayreuth for a Regietheater production, provided the conductor were competent, but I'd enjoy it more if it were kept in line with Richard's notions of it all.


At 10:15 AM, Blogger Karl said...

A.C. Douglas reposts "Elegy"

Why? Was it that good?

At 9:13 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

I thought it deserved some notice. As a rule, ACD manages to mimic the gossip in the stalls at Bayreuth better than most.

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