Posted September 07, 2011

August 27/28 weekend edition of the Nordbayersicher Kurier – Festspiele 2011 supplement featured a lengthy interview with Katharina Wagner.  In the interview she was asked questions about the now notorious production of Tannhäuser from director Sebastian Baumgarten; concerns about the substitutions this season and lack of covers for certain roles; the announcement from Eva Wagner-Pasquier that she intends to retire soon; next season’s Der fliegende Holländer and of course uncertainty about just who will direct the 2013 Ring.

Regarding covers for singers Ms. Wagner stated that the singers had some problems because of the hot weather – there was one singer, Astrid Weber, who was covering all of the soprano roles!  Ms. Wagner said that Eva Wagner-Pasquier will be 70 in 3 years’ time and that it is understandable that she would want to retire at that age , as would Katharina herself.  The sisters have not discussed the retirement concern.  Next season’s Holländer cast is nearly complete – Christian Thielemann will conduct the production with Adrianne Pieczonka – Senta; Michael König – Erik; Evgeny Nikitin – Holländer; Franz Josef Selig – Daland; Benjamin Bruns – Steuermann and no one has been named yet for the role of Mary.

Ms. Wagner stated that Frank Castorf and the Festspiele have exchanged contracts but they are not yet signed and that Castorf was en route to Bayreuth to view the theatre with his set designer.  Discussions would follow as well on casting (casting was in progress at the time of the article).  There had been press speculation that a triumvirate of directors, including Ms. Wagner herself, would direct the 2013 Ring – which Wagner said was absolutely untrue.  Superstar conductor Kirill Petrenko will conduct.

As to the Tannhäuser production Ms. Wagner would not comment, she says that she expects that other directors would not critique her work and in turn, she would not critique theirs.  The policy of the Festspiele toward directors is strictly hands off – no censorship and the only help that is afforded directors is technical in nature, but sometimes if there are budgetary concerns the Festspiele may offer assistance.  An earlier blog post notes that the production was met with a “Buh-Gewitter” (thunderstorm of boos) on the opening evening of Festspiele 2011.

The above is an overview of this lengthy interview and is not complete – here is the link to the article in German:

Wagadmin note:  Ms. Wagner was glamorously gowned and rail thin at this years final Meistersinger performance where, smiling broadly, she took her bows to a “Buh-Rufe” (hail of boos) from the audience.