• Germany's news in English

Bayreuth's 'Ring' director pokes fun at audience

The Local · 1 Aug 2013, 08:25

Published: 01 Aug 2013 08:25 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

When Castorf, the 61-year-old enfant terrible of German theatre, took his curtain call at the end of the six-and-a-half-hour evening, he was met with an deafening chorus of boos and whistling from the audience of nearly 2,000 people.

Initially, he and his production team stood motionless, but Castorf soon started pointing at the audience and then tapping his forehead, in a gesture of clear provocation.

It was the first time during his new staging of Wagner's monumental "Ring" cycle that Castorf had actually shown himself in the legendary Festspielhaus theatre that hosts the world-famous month-long summer festival dedicated exclusively to the composer's works.

The 16-hour cycle is made up of four operas – "Rhinegold", "The Valkyrie", "Siegfried" and "Twilight of the Gods". And it is a tradition in Bayreuth that the director does not take his bows until all four operas have been premiered.

Two of the singers also faced the audience's disapproval: Canadian tenor Lance Ryan, who sounded strained and tired in the role of Siegfried, one of the most demanding roles in the repertoire; and Korean bass Attila Jun, who was disappointing in the role of the evil Hagen.

By contrast, British soprano Catherine Foster, making her Bayreuth debut as Brünnhilde, was feted for her unusually lyrical interpretation.

But it was Russian maestro Kirill Petrenko, also a debutant on Bayreuth's Green Hill, who proved the star of the evening, as he had in the three earlier instalments of the "Ring".

Castorf, notorious for his anarchic reinterpretations of the great classics of theatre, but a relative newcomer to music theatre, had been chosen to direct a new "Ring" for Bayreuth, one of the most hotly anticipated events in the Wagner bicentenary year.


But he had already tried to play down expectations in the run-up to the festival, arguing that he had not had sufficient time.

He was only brought in two years ago after the German film director Wim Wenders who was originally to have staged the "Ring", pulled out.

Story continues below…

While Castorf's reading was highly cinematic, with the fast-paced action of a Quentin Tarantino movie, his direction also proved patchy in parts.

The Bayreuth Festival continues on Thursday with a revival of another controversial staging, this time of "Tannhäuser".

The festival runs until August 28th and tickets are notoriously difficult to come by with the waiting list stretching to 10 years and even more.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd