Sunday, July 29, 2012
A New Dutchman at Bayreuth
In Gloger's Dutchman, the leading character, beautifully sung by Samuel Youn (who replaced Yevgeny Nikitin) is some kind of itinerant salesman with a briefcase. He arrives without a ship, dressed in a modern suit, but with a shiny black tattoo on the side of his head, which suggests an island archipelago. He falls in love with Senta (Adrianne Pieczonka), a girl dressed in red who works in a factory packing electric fans into cardboard boxes. What this has to do with Wagner's original intention for a story is beyond me. It's just another example of Bayreuth being the place for wonderful musical performances of Wagner's works and way-out productions. Needless to say, the singers as well as the orchestra, along with maestro Thielemann received an outstanding ovation from the audience. Mr. Gloger and the rest of the production team were booed.
The irritating aspect of this production is that ultimately it does not have anything interesting to say about the work. The lusty boos that the late Christoph Schlingensief and Katharina Wagner received for their Parsifal and Die Meistersinger respectively were well-earned. They set out to provoke, and boy did they ever. This production seems to earn the wrath of the audience not because it deviates from Wagner's original intentions, but perhaps because it does not deviate enough.