Last Chance for Kagel’s Himmelsmechanik

  Tonight and tomorrow are the two last performances of Mauricio Kagel’s interactive opera installation Himmelsmechanik (Celestial Mechanics), which Dietmar Schwarz has programmed to open the 2012-13 season of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Unfortunately, we have not been able to attend (for purely practical reasons). But don’t let that stop you. We will, however, report…

Bayreuth Press Conference Update

According to the Reuters report from this morning’s Bayreuth Festival press conference, Frank Castorf admitted to having Hitchcock, Tarantino and Jim Morrison on the brain while devising his concept of the Ring Cycle. Although the Wagners are standing by their director, Katharina did strike a somewhat equivocating tone when she said, “It’s not about whether I…

Castorf on Ring: “I’m glad that German fascism didn’t come up”

According to a short report just published by the  German newswire DPA, Frank Castorf, the Ring King of this year’s Bayreuth Festival, doesn’t set out to create a production that addresses Vergangenheitsbewältigung, the cumbersome German word for coming to terms with the Nazi past. Unlike other recent Regie directors who have boldly reinterpreted Wagner for…

Countdown to Bayreuth Opening Night

Tonight is the opening of the Bayreuther Festspiele, arguably the most prestigious event of the German cultural year. Angela Merkel and Joachim Gauk (the German president) are scheduled to attend. These two “Ossies” should be feel at home in Bayreuth this year, which will  speak  with a Berliner accent, thanks to Frank Castorf, a fellow…

Bayreuth Ring Production Stills

UPDATE: I’ve just added the captions that appeared in the Abendzeitung along with a few of my own observations.   These production stills, posted earlier today on the website of the München Abendzeitung, give an even fuller picture of what Castorf has in store for us with his Ring. Why no other news sources have…

Gramophone’s First Look at the Bayreuth Ring

My report on attending last week’s final dress rehearsal is now online at Gramophone.co.uk.  Forget Verdi, Britten and The Rite of Spring. In Germany, 2013 is above and beyond all else the Wagnerjahr. Germany’s most influential and controversial composer has been honoured for his 200th birthday with new scholarly books, magazine cover stories, postage stamps and, naturally, the…

William Forsythe: White Bouncy Castle

“As soon as you enter the castle you begin to dance”. William Forsythe’s monumental installation “White Bouncy Castle”, designed with Dana Caspersen to a soundtrack by Joel Ryan, is only superficially a wonderful summer plaything. Much more, this work that consists of a ton of snow-white plastic is an experience of physicality and interaction, a…

Foreign Affairs Festival: Now – July 14

The Berliner Festspiele’s  international multidisciplinary theater festival is back. This year’s edition features appearances by the Forsythe Company and the Nature Theater of Oklahoma. Here is artistic director’s statement: “The wonderful thing about theatre is that almost anything is possible. The stage is a place where all the arts can meet, and a festival offers…