[NOTE: This entry has been updated (1) as of 11:43 PM Eastern on 15 Dec. See below.]
Norman Lebrecht of the blog Slipped Disc points to an article in the Neue Musikzeitung wherein Matthias Jena, the Bavarian trades union (DGB) chairman which union represents the workers at the Bayreuther Festspiele, accuses the current Festspiele management and board of directors of forgetting the history of the Festspiele and the ideals of its founder Richard Wagner by limiting the availability of tickets and pricing them out of the reach of the ordinary German working man. "Today's festival management and board of directors have buried the legacy of Richard Wagner on the Green Hill," said Herr Jena. Indeed they have, and not just in the matter of tickets. They've betrayed the Festspiele's very raison d'être: to present model performances of its founder's stageworks as he conceived them.
Update (11:43 PM Eastern on 15 Dec): We've had an interesting — and curious — response to our above entry from a member of one of the opera forums to which we posted a link to the entry. Wrote this member:
Not only has the Festival Management remembered its own history, to judge from the recent 'Parsifal' they are trying to come to terms with it. Whatever you might say about the current crop of productions, they are -- with the exception of the dreadfully dull and dreary 'Tristan' -- boldly innovative. If that is not in accordance with the ideals of the founder of the Festival, then I do not know what is.To which our response was:
"Boldly innovative"(!)? Is that what you call the current _Parsifal_, _Tannhäuser_, and _Lohengrin_? Well, I'll allow they may indeed be innovative, but they're not, by any stretch, *Wagner's* operas and music-dramas. What they are are Herheim's _Parsifal_, Baumgarten's _Tannhäuser_, and Neuenfels's _Lohengrin_, all using Wagner's hijacked music and text. From what we know of Wagner, do you imagine he would have sanctioned *any* of these using his name, never mind his music and text, were he able today to voice his feelings, not to even speak of considering them in accordance with his ideals? Well, the question is, of course, moot. But from everything we know of Wagner and his ideals (which is considerable), far from sanctioning these grotesque Eurotrash outrages he'd be more than likely to reach for the most damaging weapon at his disposal, his pen, and give these self-involved, self-serving, self-indulgent vandals and hijackers the thrashing of their lives.