Saturday, November 22, 2014

Classical gas

Saturday afternoon, and I am listening to "Tannhauser" on the radio from Bayreuth, and getting work done in the kitchen, as my father used to before me. My dad always used to listen to the Saturday afternoon opera and bake cookies, even before he was married and my brothers and sisters and I came along.

Anyway, I am enjoying "Tannhauser." And then the first act ends, and the announcer comes on. They talk about how this production, by Sebastian Baumgarten, is in its fourth and final go-round at Bayreuth. The announcer goes: "It ever really jelled with the public, set as it is in a bio gas factory."

In a bio gas factory??

I guess this is better heard than seen!

Because as I am listening I am seeing the production pictured above (as I did, once, in San Diego).

Instead of this (the Baumgarten production):

Kind of funny, come to think of it, making the Wartburg a corporation. That seems to be what they are doing, anyway.

But you get the idea you have seen all this before. Everyone wants to do something to be different, you know? A lot of the time with Wagner this seems to me like a mistake. Wagner meant these operas, such as "Tannhauser," in a medieval context. Take them out of the Middle Ages and you waste them.

Plus, someone has to say it:

Big yawn.

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