Thursday, November 29, 2007

Complications, musical and otherwise

Gudrun Wagner is dead (...et lux perpetua luceat...). Here is Mostly Opera's mostly excellent coverage of the matter.

While there is some dissent on this matter, I really don't think this changes the dynamic of the ever-looming Bayreuth succession crisis. I have my reasons, though.

First: Gudrun had been pretty well shut out of the succession with the prior, disputed election of Eva Wagner-Pasquier. There had been fears that Katharina would be just a front, but the introduction of Thielemann (and that finance guy) into the mix produced another variable that suggestion that Gudrun would have some influence, but not an overwhelming amount.

Second: If Eva Wagner-Pasquier was acceptable last time, before Wolfgang Wagner invoked his lifetime tenure clause, then why wouldn't she be acceptable now? She hasn't done anything that would make one doubt her ability to accede to the Festspielleiter position (or, make you doubt it more, as the case may be). Katharina botched Meistersinger. In Bayreuth. While her father was alive. Just say that to yourself. The fact that it could happen in those circumstances is nothing short of amazing, but the fact that it did - and that she was still kept in the race - is nothing short of inconceivable. It was not Eva's to lose, it was Katharina's to win, and - if I had a vote - she wouldn't have won in my book.

Third: if the stories of Gudrun being the power behind the throne, so to speak, are true, perhaps Wolfgang will come around and be more reasonable about all this after her untimely death. A bit more give on his part will ensure that it stays in the family, as I can see the various authorities getting tired of playing out Wagnerdämmerung every time the Festspielleiter position is up for grabs.

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