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Posted September 26, 2011
RATS: Siemens ends Bayreuth Festival sponsorship
German engineering giant Siemens said Wednesday it was ending its partnership with the Bayreuth Festival of which it was one of the main sponsors.
The prestigious festival dedicated to the works of Richard Wagner takes place in the southern town of Bayreuth, the composer’s spiritual home, each year.
Siemens became involved four years ago hosting public screenings of performances which were also broadcast on the Internet on “Siemens Festival Night”.
A company spokesman said the events had enjoyed success but “the baby has grown up and learned to walk on its own, and now we wish to pursue other projects”.
The contribution of Siemens, the festival’s main financial sponsor along with German car maker Audi, stands at just less than one million euros ($1.4 million) a year.
Festival directors, Wagner’s great-granddaughters Katharina Wagner, 32, and her half-sister Eva Wagner-Pasquier, 65, “were informed of our decision several months ago”, the spokesman said.
From Intermezzo Typepad Blog:
For the past four years, the German electrical giant has funded the free public big-screen viewing in Bayreuth and the related internet broadcast, to the tune of nearly 1 million euros per season. But now Siemens want to “follow a new path”, so there’s no more money from 2012 onwards.
Unless the Festival can come up with a new sponsor, and quickly, this means curtains for the hotly-anticipated screening of Stefan Herheim’s Parsifal in 2012.
From Norman Lebrecht’s blog:
Four years of the video wall on the Green Hill failed to deliver the commercial impact the electronics giant expected, so the plug is being pulled. Now. Without notice. ‘We’re looking at other projects and told the festival management so months ago, ‘ is what Siemens said through tight lips.
From other sources it has been reported that Siemens has been trying to repair its tainted reputation for being corrupt, paying out millions in bribes and kickbacks – most notoriously to Greek interests. The Bayreuth Festival no longers serves to rehabilitate Siemens and so Siemens moves on to other good deeds. Hopefully another deep pocket will emerge, perhaps a south German auto manufacturer, a luxury watchmaker or perhaps a brewery? It would be sad indeed if the splendid Herheim production of Parsifal does not get documented – wagadmin