Previous episodes of this Wagnerian docu-soap may be read here, and for new readers the background of this unique Wagnerian docu-soap is written up here.
After a long period of complete silence by the protagonists, the Honorary President of the Friends of Bayreuth named Edgard Hilger has decided to speak his mind. Again the tabloid Bunte is the chosen medium:
["If the Bayreuth Festival does not get a new director soon, I fear for the future of this world-class institution," he says and continues: "All insiders know, that Wolfgang Wagner due to his health condition has not been running the Festival on his own for quite some time. And since that was a condition for his life-time contract, I now consider this to be expired. Wolfgang Wagner may have a contract for life. But the condition was that he remain in "full legal capacity".
An anonymous member of the Board of Directors (of the Festival) further states that : "Wolfgang Wagner has to be present at the meeting at November 6". If not "we will not keep postponing the meetings and invite him again and again...". Furthermore, this anonymous source is certain that 2008 will see a new Festival Director. ]
The push for change by the involved parties is not surprising. The scheme of the Friends of Bayreuth is however not apparent: Obviously they will back the candidate guaranteeing them maximum influence...
And an up-date on the doings of the protagonists:
Katharina Wagner - has been seen at the premiere of Claus Guth´s Meistersinger in Dresden.
Eva Wagner-Pasquier and Nike Wagner - have not been seen.
Christian Thielemann – has been seen on the podium in Munich this weekend conducting his first performances of the season with the Munich Philharmonics in an all-Strauss programme (reviewed here by ionarts). A quick look at Christian Thielemann´s conducting schedule this year finds him focusing almost solely on Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner (as usual) - but also on Pfitzner, whose music Thielemann finds very underrated (one non-musical reason undoubtedly being Pfitzner´s not all-to-clean record during the Second World War, to put it mildly). Politically, it is not a very smart move of Christian Thielemann to begin championing his music, particularly when he himself has previously been accused of both right-wing sympathies and conservatism (which he denies and probably rightly so, in my opinion). Actually, the only reason I can possibly imagine for him playing this music is that he likes it.
So....Richard Strauss, probably the most loved composer in Munich, exponent of the Great German Cultural Tradition as well as Thielemann, the magnificent Richard Strauss (and Wagner) conductor. Surely, the conservative Friends of Bayreuth will back this man as leader of the Bayreuth Festival guaranteeing the Great German Cultural Tradition to continue in Bayreuth?? And even if you don´t care about the Great German Cultural Tradition - isn´t he the man to back anyway, in lack of serious competition? A world-class conductor teaming up with Wagner´s designated heir against two low-key operatic/music festival managers? And whatever you may think of Christian Thielemann´s abilities to run the Bayreuth Festival, he undoubtedly has star quality. Which the Bayreuth Festival needs as well.
Expect Thielemann to conduct marvellous performances in Bayreuth, but do not expect him to bring major changes to the Festival Administration. Nothing in his past career (which includes being music director for the Deutsche Oper Berlin) has suggested that he will.