By David Salazar
The German Minister of State for Culture has called on the Bayreuth Festival to reform.
Per BR Klassik, Claudia Roth, who holds the position, did not specify what she meant when she called for reform but did note that festival management had to “design the general conditions of the festival in such a way that artistic excellence can be achieved.”
She noted that more had to be done to attract audiences in coming years and was not a reflection of “our diverse, colorful society.”
The festival was filled with controversy in 2022 from the outset. There were sexual harassment allegations in late July. Then its centerpiece production of Wagner’s Ring was booed and jeered. OperaWire’s reviews of the four operas noted that director Valentin Schwarz increasingly moved away from the original libretto, making the piece more and more incoherent. That all escalated into a confrontation between soprano Irene Theorin and a disapproving audience during the curtain calls for “Götterdämmerung.”
The festival did make some positive announcements including the return of two famed conductors (one who was also involved in controversy a few years back) and the extension of a recording contract with a major company.