DG Stage set to show recent Bayreuth productions of six Wagner music dramas on the dates and times originally scheduled for this year’s festival
Programme includes two complete Ring cycles – the most recent by Frank Castorf and the legendary one by Patrice Chéreau –, Barrie Kosky’s visionary production of Die Meistersinger and compelling stagings of Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal
Roster of performers includes Bayreuth’s music director Christian Thielemann as well as Marek Janowski, Lise Davidsen, Klaus Florian Vogt, Piotr Beczala, Anja Harteros, Michael Volle, Georg Zeppenfeld and other world-class Wagnerians
Deutsche Grammophon is proud to present the first-ever virtual Bayreuth Festival this summer. The Yellow Label’s digital enterprise, created in partnership with the spiritual home of Richard Wagner’s music dramas, will run on sixteen evenings between 25 July and 29 August as part of DG Stage – The Classical Concert Hall. The four works scheduled for the 2020 Bayreuth Festival – Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin and Der Ring des Nibelungen – will be broadcast online in recent or landmark productions from the Bayreuth archives. Each work will be shown on the day and at the time it would have been performed during this year’s cancelled festival and remain available to view for 48 hours.
DG Stage ticketholders can also watch critically acclaimed festival stagings of Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal on free days in the 2020 Bayreuth calendar. To substitute for Bayreuth’s new production of the Ring, DG Stage is set to run Frank Castorf’s challenging 2013 staging of Wagner’s tetralogy (in a recording from 2016, conducted by Marek Janowski) as well as Patrice Chéreau’s iconic production from 1976 (in a recording from 1980) with Pierre Boulez conducting – the celebrated Centenary Ring. All productions will be introduced by a stage director, conductor or principal singer involved with the original production, specially filmed for the festival’s DG Stage season. Speakers include music director Christian Thielemann for Tristan und Isolde and Lohengrin; Marek Janowski for the Castorf Ring; Barrie Kosky, Michael Volle and Philippe Jordan for Die Meistersinger; Elena Zhidkova and Lise Davidsen for Tannhäuser; as well as Georg Zeppenfeld for Parsifal.
“It was with great regret that we decided to suspend our productions this year”, notes Heinz-Dieter Sense, Managing Director of the Bayreuth Festival. “This unique event means so much to so many people around the world, which is why we are delighted to be able to collaborate with Deutsche Grammophon and present our full festival programme online. While we look forward to welcoming artists and public back to the Green Hill in 2021, DG Stage is set to deliver the best of Bayreuth to a global audience this summer. Together with the festival management, the Friends of Bayreuth set up the emergency fund for artists of the Bayreuth Festival. Artists and performers who are in need as a result of the Corona pandemic are to be supported by this fund.”
“The Bayreuth Festival and Deutsche Grammophon have agreed to cooperate to make this year’s festival an international and digital online experience, despite the cancellation of its programme”, comments Dr Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon. “This cooperation, already reported widely by the media, is the natural continuation of the edition of Bayreuth premiere productions since 2015, which Deutsche Grammophon has released as DVD/Blu-ray and digital titles.”
The DG Stage Bayreuth Festival opens on Saturday 25 July with Barrie Kosky’s revelatory production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. The Australian director’s interpretation of the work, first staged at Bayreuth in 2017 and conducted by Philippe Jordan, was greeted as “a triumph” by the Berliner Morgenpost and hailed by Opera News for its “enormous insight and great quality”. The season continues on Sunday 26 July with Tobias Kratzer’s provocative and exciting staging from 2019 of Tannhäuser (“entertainingly transgressive” according to the Los Angeles Times), which marked Valery Gergiev’s long-awaited Bayreuth debut. This will be followed on Sunday 2 August with Lohengrin in Yuval Sharon’s 2018 staging, the first by an American director at Bayreuth since the festival’s foundation in 1876. “This Lohengrin”, wrote the New York Times, “offers tradition to traditionalists and a critique to progressives.” Christian Thielemann conducted the acclaimed production.
Deutsche Grammophon and Bayreuth have chosen two Ring cycles (8, 9, 12 & 13 August and 24, 25, 27 & 29 August) to represent the festival’s famed creativity, quality and artistry. Frank Castorf’s staging of Wagner’s revolutionary work, described by Bachtrack as “one of the most controversial in the festival’s history”, is conducted by Marek Janowski and includes Catherine Foster, Stefan Vinke and John Lundgren among its formidable cast. Pierre Boulez conducts Patrice Chéreau’s Ring production, commissioned to mark the centenary in 1976 of the work’s first complete staging and of the Bayreuth Festival. The video recording, filmed at the time of the production’s final staging in 1980, includes Manfred Jung, Gwyneth Jones, Donald McIntyre and Siegfried Jerusalem among its principal singers.
Katharina Wagner’s “radical reimagining” (Guardian, London) of Tristan und Isolde from 2015 and Uwe Eric Laufenberg’s Parsifal from the 2016 festival, “sublime and provocative” (New York Times), will appear on DG Stage on Tuesday 4 and Friday 28 August respectively. Christian Thielemann conducts Tristan und Isolde, while the veteran German conductor Hartmut Haenchen makes his belated Bayreuth debut with Parsifal.
DG Stage was launched at the end of June 2020 with the first in a series of long-form concerts starring world-class artists. The initiative offers international audiences access to a broad range of classical concerts exclusively produced live on tape for DG Stage and performed by superstars from Universal Music Group’s peerless family of artists. The addition of recent productions from the Bayreuth Festival’s archives, enriched by newly recorded prologues with major players in the presented productions, is set to enhance the strong attraction of the digital platform’s programme.
Tickets for DG Stage Bayreuth performances cost € 4.90 and can be bought securely online using all major credit cards or via the usual payment providers. Festivalgoers will gain access to one-off productions broadcast in state-of-the-art audio and visual quality.
BAYREUTH FESTIVAL 2020
25. Juli Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Kosky/Jordan)
26. Juli Tannhäuser (Kratzer/Gergiev)
02. August Lohengrin (Sharon/Thielemann)
04. August Tristan und Isolde (K. Wagner/Thielemann)
08. August Der Ring des Nibelungen: Das Rheingold (Castorf/Janowski)
09. August Der Ring des Nibelungen: Die Walküre (Castorf/Janowski)
12. August Der Ring des Nibelungen: Siegfried (Castorf/Janowski)
13. August Der Ring des Nibelungen: Götterdämmerung (Castorf/Janowski)
15. August Lohengrin (Sharon/Thielemann)
19. August Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Kosky/Jordan)
20. August Tannhäuser (Kratzer/Gergiev)
24. August Der Ring des Nibelungen: Das Rheingold (Chéreau/Boulez)
25. August Der Ring des Nibelungen: Die Walküre (Chéreau /Boulez)
27. August Der Ring des Nibelungen: Siegfried (Chéreau /Boulez)
28. August Parsifal (Laufenberg/Haenchen)
29. August Der Ring des Nibelungen: Götterdämmerung (Chéreau/Boulez)