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August 2002 - Nr. 8


The Editor
Antje berichtet
Hier O.K. Berlin!
Alpine Festival
Alpine Fest Events
Alpine Fest
Regina auf der CNE
Double Cruise
KW & Beyond
Delis DO Open
Help for Flood Victims
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Sybille berichtet
Ham Se det jehört?
Romantic Rhine
TSO Wine Auction
125 Years H. Hesse
Gute Zukunft...
Limousine Luxury
Historische Mitte
Berlin Welcomes...
Gäste aus New York
Going Geothermal
Heine Preis
Architecture on Display
Fotograph in Amerika
Rhine on Rebound
Abschied von NY
Tops in Wind Power
Deutsche Autos Gefragt
Thirst for Beer
On the "Green Hill"
ICE Rail Link
Neues Wein-Prädikat
Racing History

Prelude on the "Green Hill"

TWIG - To opera aficionados around the world, the gentle green hill on which composer Richard Wagner’s custom-built opera house sits is the zenith of sung drama. For four golden, late-summer weeks, Wagner’s epic dramas command the attention of the arts world, stir the small city of Bayreuth (Bavaria) into a glamorous swirl of celebrity-studded activity and fill the air with rich and impassioned tones and voices.

This year, the 91st Bayreuther Festspiele opened on Thursday (July 25) with a new production of Tannhaeuser underwritten by American arts patron Alberto Vilar. Tannhaeuser, Wagner’s tale of redemption through sacrificial love, has not been performed at Bayreuth in seven years. This year’s performance will mark the debuts of acclaimed young German conductor Christian Thielemann, French stage director Philippe Arlaud, Australian tenor Glenn Winslade and German soprano Barbara Schneider Hofstetter. A highlight this year will be a production of Lohengrin, produced by Keith Warner, with Sir Andrew Davis as conductor and Austrian soprano Petra-Maria Schnitzer as Elsa. Schnitzer will be paired with German tenor Peter Seifert, who sings the title role. The two are a couple on stage and off, and are being feted in the local press as the new "Bayreuth dream team." The public is also eagerly awaiting a performance by German soprano Evelyn Herlitzius as Bruenhilde in a production of Juergen Flimm’s Ring of the Niebelungen.

The festival will close on August 28 with a production by 82-year-old Wolfgang Wagner, the composer’s grandson. This will be his last act as director of the festival, which has been run by his family since 1876. During a career spanning nearly 50 years, he has produced every one of Richard Wagner’s operas, which were designed expressly for performances at the Bayreuth Opera House. In September, Wolfgang Wagner’s daughter, current opera manager Eva Wagner-Pasquier, will become the new festival director.

To participate in the festival is a tremendous honour, not only for guests - who often wait years for tickets and celebrate the achievement by attending performances in lavish dress and indulging in opulent lawn picnics during intermissions - but for the artists themselves, who are paid considerably less to appear here than elsewhere. The words of the great composer, perpetually penurious himself, seem still to echo over the soft green hills of Bayreuth: "Those who do not come to me with honour and enthusiasm should stay where they are."

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