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The Bayreuth Festival did manage to defuse the threat of a strike and open as scheduled on Saturday night with a revival of Christoph Marthaler’s “Tristan und Isolde.” Continuing the new policy of openness under its new directors (if you haven't been following: Katharina Wagner and Eva Wagner Pasquier, long-estranged half-sisters and daughters of Wolfgang Wagner, the composer's grandson), the festival will follow last summer's live Internet broadcast of "Meistersinger" with a live broadcast of this "Tristan" on August 9 -- though you have to buy tickets in advance (about 15 Euro/$23).

The festival is broadcasting a revival of a four-year-old production because there are no new productions this year -- except for a children's version of "Der fliegende Holländer," shortened, reconfigured, and demanding a certain amount of audience participation (like getting the wind to blow).

The reviews are, of course, mixed. The Süddeutsche Zeitung said that the "Tristan" principals fought their way through Wagner's vocal demands more or less successfully and that Marthaler's production looked better as everyone gets used to it (something that I've seen happen with other supposedly radical productions as time goes by). Der Spiegel praised Irene Theorin's Isolde, in particular, but still hates Marthaler's production.

By Anne Midgette  |  July 28, 2009; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  festivals , international , music on the Web , opera  
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Beyond Bayreuth (which doesn’t yet stage modern, contemporary, or brand new opera): The exciting Claus Guth new production of ‘Cosi fan tutti’ stream tonight from Salzburg costs only 7.90 Euros ($11), which seems a better bargain for those so inclined, than is paying 14.90 Euros (actually $21 and not $23) for the controversial Wagner ‘Tristan und Isolde’ reprise from four years back. I didn’t reserve one of the limited streaming spaces for Salzburg tonight and don’t know whether the streaming is sold out. Instead, I’ll rewatch the Claus Guth ‘Marriage of Figaro’ DVD which also cost $11 (with tax) a couple of years back at Second Story Books at Dupont Circle, in Washington, D.C. It has become a favorite of our immediate family, and of our parents as well. I hope that the DVD doesn’t wear out.

Posted by: snaketime1 | July 30, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

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