Bayreuth director dampens expectations for Bicentenary 'Ring'

FRANKFURT- German theatre director Frank Castorf, who is staging Richard Wagner's "Ring" cycle at this year's Bayreuth Festival, dampened expectations for his much-anticipated production in a magazine interview on Saturday.
"I'm not looking to come up with a 'Ring of the century'," 62-year-old Castorf told the weekly magazine Der Spiegel in excerpts of an interview released ahead of full publication on Sunday.

Bayreuth director dampens expectations for Bicentenary 'Ring'
"I'd be happy with a 'Ring of the year'," he said.
The iconoclastic director, a self-styled "bad boy" of theatre, is notorious for his punk-styled and anarchic re-interpretations of the great classics of spoken theatre.
And he has been invited by the management of the Bayreuth Festival -- the legendary annual summer music fest dedicated exclusively to Wagner's works -- to direct a brand-new staging of the composer's massive four-opera "Ring" cycle for this year's bicentenary celebrations.
Wagner would have turned 200 this year.
The choice of Castorf was extremely controversial, given that he is more or less a novice to opera, with only a single foray into the genre previously.
Indeed, he was only recruited when negotiations with the German film director Wim Wenders, the original choice, ran aground. And Castorf has had just two years to come with a concept for the 16-hour cycle, a mammoth undertaking even for the most experienced of opera directors.
Castorf complained to Der Spiegel about the working conditions in Bayreuth's legendary Festspielhaus theatre where the annual festival is staged.
He had had "just nine days" to stage "Rhinegold", the first of the four operas that make up the "Ring", Castorf complained.
"That is sheer madness, of course," he said.
Working in Bayreuth was like working on a television soap opera, Castorf said.
The festival's co-chiefs -- half-sisters Eva Wagner-Pasquier and Katharina Wagner -- had "not shown themselves all too frequently".
And their main worry "was my punctuality, which is not one of my strengths", he said.
The curtain is due to go up on the Bayreuth Festival next Thursday, with a gala performance of Wagner's first mature opera, "The Flying Dutchman". Castorf's new "Ring" is the festival's main attraction and begins with "Rhinegold" the following day.

Sunday, July 21st 2013

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