Bayreuther Festspiele

Discussions on the music in the Third Reich. Hosted by Ivan Ž.
TonyA
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Bayreuther Festspiele

Post by TonyA » 04 Mar 2007 14:36

The Bayreuth Festival Theatre, built by Richard Wagner for the purpose of performing his four night "Der Ring des Nibulung", opened for the first performances in the summer of 1876. The annual summer Wagner festival still stands as the foremost musical event in the world, unique in its heritage and spirit and mounting productions that can be the subject of much debate and controversy. Boasting what perhaps are the finest acoustics in the world, the auditorium is fan shaped with three single rows of balcony boxes at rear, the unique acoustics are generated by the sunken orchestral pit which slopes beneath the stage and is not seen by the audience, the orchestral sound being thrown back onto the stage by a special hood, the sound then re projected into the auditorium by a series of receeding procenium arches thus giving emphasis to the voice at all times. Whilst some might say the standard of some productions is not as good as one might find in the major European houses, Bayreuth is an experience that becomes a part of the fabric of ones soul. (The great British Wagnerian GB Shaw as far back as the 1920s found the Bayreuth sets and production style tiring and advocated the building of a "British Bayreuth "on a hill in London to rival the German enterprise).

On Wagner's death in 1883 his widow Cosima took over the running of the Festspiele introducing the cannon down to "Der fliegende Holländer", their son Siegfried until (whilst pursuing his own mediocre career as a composer and conductor) his death in 1930 continuing very much Cosima's traditional approach to the music dramas. His widow Winifred, British born adapted daughter to Wagner family friend, pianist and music teacher Karl Klindworth , then took the Festival into its most infamous phase. At the expense of the Reich much renewal of backstage areas, that had been commenced by Siegfried in the 1920s, continued.

Early 1930s saw the performances of "Parsifal" and "Tristan und Isolde" under the batons of Toscanini and Richard Strauss, the lush and naturalistic Tietjan/Preetorious "Ring" and the now legendary Tietjan/Furtwangler "Lohengrin" of 1936. As someone remarked, whatever bad faults Hitler had, he certainly had good taste when it came to music. An acquaintance of mine who I used to meet at the festival in the 1980s could well remember the pre war festivals when in the early 1930s the audience in their dinner jackets and gowns would rise to sing the Horst Wessel and the National Anthem when Hitler and Winifred entered the Wagner family box at the rear of the auditorium. Hitler insisted on this stopping as he felt it not appropriate to the occasion.

The war years saw wounded service personnel as "guests of the Fuhrer" attending each summer at the Reich's expense; in 1951 Winifred's sons Wieland and Wolfgang took the theatre and the annual festival into what became known as "New Bayreuth", a style of operatic production that minimised action and sets on stage and a style that drew for interpretation on the music and lighting. This idea can be traced back to the Mahler/Roller productions at the Vienna Staatsoper around the early 1900s and also to what Klemperer was doing at the Berlin Kroll Opera in the 1920s. But in 51 it hit a target and showed a damaged world the universal stature of Wagner's great mythic "acts of music made visible".

Winifred was true to her friendship with Hitler to her dying day around 1980 as anyone who has seen the Syberburg film documentary can attest too. To her great credit she helped many German citizens and Jewish singers attain a measure of freedom and independence and was not adverse to getting on the phone to AH and pleading a case. Wieland's premature death in 1966 left Wolfgang in sole control which he still is to the present day with his second wide, Gudrun. Wolf gradually began to invite outside producers to stage the operas (Werner Herzog's 1993 "Lohengrin" and Christoph Schlingensief's current "Parsifal" are two of the most visually stunning and musically potent works I have ever seen on a stage) and this years festival will be a special event because after many years a Wagner will again produce an opera for the festival His youngest daughter, Katarina who has already produced in a selection of German opera houses, will be producing a new production of "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg". Wolfgang now in his 90s is very much a living link with the past history of the theatre and his grandfather and it is hoped by many, this writer included, that Katarina will take over the running of the Bayreuther Festspiele. It is almost guaranteed that it has to be in the hands of a Wagner... how else could it be Bayreuth?

nibelung1876
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Hitler's Bayreuth

Post by nibelung1876 » 10 Jan 2019 17:32

Hi guys,

Great that this forum has a Third Reich music thread !
So i would like to share my "Hitler's Bayreuth" collection with a small explanation about this history.
A small explanation was not easy because there is so much more to tell.
Hitler loved Wagner (as do i) but he also knew his Wagner.

Because of the size of it, please click on the link:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1KW1_W ... 2KaVAONVfR

HB-GM.jpg

Thanks, Glenn
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Ivan Ž.
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Re:

Post by Ivan Ž. » 10 Jan 2019 19:21

Hello, Glenn, and :welcome:

That is certainly an impressive collection - and presentation, that takes the viewer back in time like a time machine.

Thanks for sharing!

Cheers,
Ivan

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Teppeny
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Re:

Post by Teppeny » 11 Jan 2019 14:03

That's some amazing information and a wonderful collection !

Best regards,
Teppeny.

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Maxschnauzer
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Re:

Post by Maxschnauzer » 12 Jan 2019 09:49

Hi Glenn,
That is a magnificent collection indeed. The presentation is excellent and your commentary is both interesting and informative. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Cheers,
Max

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P.J. Gray
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Post by P.J. Gray » 17 Jan 2019 00:18

A fascinating collection, both as a Wagnerian and enthusiast for the history of the Third Reich. Many thanks for sharing this. I have printed it out and bound it, which I certainly do not do with everything I find online. Wonderful.
„Ja, die Welt ist nur ein Leierkasten,
den unser Herrgott selber dreht.
Jeder muß nach dem Liede tanzen,
das gerade auf der Walze steht.“

nibelung1876
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Re:

Post by nibelung1876 » 20 Jan 2019 10:03

Thanks guys, much appreciated !!!! Took me some years to collect.

Kind regards, Glenn.

J. Duncan
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Post by J. Duncan » 07 Feb 2019 10:34

Impressive! Thanks for posting this. Verena is still alive too, the only one left from that time period. I’m surprised she never wrote some kind of memoir, but who knows. She may have one with instructions to publish after she dies.

nibelung1876
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Re:

Post by nibelung1876 » 09 Feb 2019 17:52

Yes J.Duncan, Verena is still alive.
And that's why there's no release of some newly discovered footage to the general public of the Wagner family and a "friendly Hitler".
You can read about it here:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... -Wolf.html

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Ivan Ž.
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Post by Ivan Ž. » 10 Feb 2019 20:52

By the way, it was this festival's announcement fanfare (which are still played on the balcony of the Festspielhaus, announcing performances) that inspired the famous Gottfried Sonntag's "Nibelungenmarsch". Read more at: viewtopic.php?t=129087#p1128247

Cheers,
Ivan

nibelung1876
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Post by nibelung1876 » 11 Feb 2019 21:18

Didn't know about this "Nibelungenmarsch", and the interesting history behind it.
I realy enjoyed listening to it !!
Loved it so much, i searched, found and bought immediately the record (Electrola EG 2653).
Thanks for sharing the fanfare and the marsch, Ivan !!

Greetings, Glenn.

nibelung1876
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Location: Belgium

Post by nibelung1876 » 08 Mar 2019 17:23

Some interesting footage, soldiers and Hitler arriving in Bareuth, i'm pretty sure it's in 1939. [It is the Bayreuth Festival 1940. Ivan Ž.]
The title of it "Wagner in Vienna" is obviously wrong.


witcher
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Post by witcher » 02 May 2019 15:00

I have read the tickets are very hard to get and cost $500 or more each person.
If you 'just go' are any activities open to general public?

I collect music and bury long term archive in legally protected preserve locations.
Guess you could call the hermetic container a time capsule. Its cheap and if recovery is not required, then abandoned in place.
I use magnetic and semiconductor based storage techniques.

This year my push is classical genre so I'm scouring the antique stores in Germanic area of Texas. ie Fredericksburg, New Braunfels and so on..

nibelung1876
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Re:

Post by nibelung1876 » 18 May 2019 18:03

Hello Witcher,

If You join a Wagner society the waiting time for tickets is reduced by half!
And there are cheaper tickets than $500.

Ok guys...please have a look again at the link on my first thread.
Made some adaptions, corrections, new items and so on. Made a small book of my Bayreuth collection...

Greetings.

witcher
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Re:

Post by witcher » 18 May 2019 19:34

Thanks, This year I'm doing a nationalist 'genre' collect push.
I buy on eBay, secondspin, bn, amazon etc. The marching/festival and Bavarian pre 1950 can be difficult to find now. It was much more available several years ago!
Thanks for putting up list of titles to look for.
Best to you.

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