While the FoM team continues to cover various NYC musical happenings this week, l'll be in Germany covering a whole spectrum of events celebrating Richard Wagner's 200th birthday. Along with concerts in Leipzig (where he was born), Dresden (where he made his name), and Eisenach's Wartburg Castle (the original setting for Tannhauser), the clear epicenter of activity this week is Bayreuth: the unremarkable city in northern Bavaria where Wagner custom-built the theater he needed to stage his monumental Ring Cycle, followed six years later by Parsifal. Bayreuth is also where Wagner built his final home, Wahnfried, behind which he can be found lying under a nameless stone slab.
For the first time, the Bayreuth Festpielhaus will be hosting an open house tomorrow afternoon, allowing anyone who wishes to visit the stage, orchestra pit, dressing rooms, and other previously off-limits locales. And, next Wednesday, the Festpielhaus will host a special Wagner birthday concert, conducted by Christian Thielemann and featuring well-known Wagner singers Johann Botha and Eva-Maria Westbroek. I will be there, for the first of what I hope is many more visits.
Stay tuned for updates.