Sunday, August 27, 2006


The acoustics in the Festspielhaus at Bayreuth are just as amazing as everyone reports. The music glides out from under the covered orchestra pit at the front and swells into the hall, bringing the voices of the singers with it. It is no wonder that people queue for tickets to the Wagner festival and are willing to sit on very hard seats for 4 hours at a time to hear the music. It is glorious and for days afterwards, everytime you are in a quiet place you hear the music in the back of your head.

The performance of Parsifal (directed by Schlingensief) was probably the most controversial of all the operas I saw. Most people I heard talking about it seemed to find it really repugant. I had the opposite reaction and found it the most moving opera I have seen. I was so affected I had to go for a walk in the first interval to recover my equilibrium.

I bought an icecream to help recover. The man in the queue behind me was making very loud aggressive remarks about how awful he found Schlingensiefs´s Parsifal and the man in front of me remarked to his wife that those were his thoughts entirely. I wandered off down to the lovely park (the intervals are one hour long) in front of the Festspielhaus. I noticed a group of young people sitting having a picnic and as I wandered past I asked if they were enjoying the performance. Two young glowing female faces turned towards me and nodded . The looked at me shyly, not quite sure of my reaction. I told them I was delighted to find at least someone who thought it as good as I had.

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