Bayreuth
The Ring
From 20 August to 26 August 2024
Price

From €3,500 per person

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    We remember Woody Allen’s delightful phrase: “When I listen to too much Wagner, I want to invade Poland!” Far from putting you in a warlike mood, our stay invites you to live an experience that every music lover must have one day in his life: listen to the German composer’s operas in the very places for which they were created.

     

    For almost one hundred and fifty years, the Bayreuth Festival has been an unmissable event in musical life. Commissioned by Wagner himself (and made possible by the patronage of King Ludwig II of Bavaria), the event is devoted every summer to the operas of the composer of Tristan und Isolde. Located on a “sacred hill”, the theatre is the place of all legends. The greatest artists (Nietzsche, Debussy, Boulez…) have gone there on pilgrimage, and there is a unique atmosphere in this hall, where the orchestra is invisible in the pit (“the mystical abyss” say the Wagnerians!) creating an absolutely incomparable acoustic.

     

    There are countless legendary productions that have punctuated the history of the Festival, and it is to one of them that we invite you for the end of this month of July. Director Valentin Schwarz‘s Ring Cycle (Rhinegold, Valkyrie, Siegfried, Twilight of the Gods) was praised when it premiered in 2022: it is being performed here under the musical direction of the great Australian conductor Simone Young. Among the stars of this Ring 2024 are great Wagnerians such as Klaus Florian Vogt, Michael Spyres and Catherine Foster.

     

    While the Ring is the common thread of the Festival, other works by the composer are in the spotlight, including the return of the beautiful Tannhäuser conducted by Nathalie Stutzmann, the superb Flying Dutchman directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov and the now famous Parsifal by Jay Scheib with its “augmented reality” glasses that caused a sensation last year. An unforgettable experience, a dizzying ocean of music.

    Legendary productions
    The program
    L’Or du Rhin
    August 20, 2024
    La Walkyrie
    August 21, 2024
    Optional spectacle - Tannhäuser, by R. Wagner
    August 22, 2024
    Siegfried
    August 23, 2024
    Optional spectacle - Parsifal, by R. Wagner
    August 24, 2024
    Twilight of the Gods
    August 25, 2024
    Optional spectacle - Tristan und Isolde, by R. Wagner
    August 26, 2024
    THE RING – Tetralogy by Richard Wagner

    The Ring (known as the Ring of the Nibelungen) is a monument to the history of humanity. Inspired by old Germanic legends, Richard Wagner signs a unique musical gesture: 4 consecutive operas (a prologue followed by three days) which form a whole of about twenty hours. However, almost twenty years separate the first work from the last.  Composed in 1854, L’Or du Rhin has nothing to do musically with the language of Twilight of the Gods. However, Wagner assembles his works through the use of famous “leitmotifs” and a dense network of meanings and themes in echoes. If the bravura pieces abound in music, the kind that we wait for with a beating heart when we know the cycle (let’s quote just for fun: the prelude to Rhinegold, the Ride of the Valkyries, the whispers of the forest, the awakening of Brünnhilde and so many other magical moments…), the Ring is also supported by a remarkable libretto. In each era, directors have been able to bring the Wagnerian gesture closer to our time: Wieland Wagner in the 1950s, Patrice Chéreau in the mid-1970s and now the Austrian Valentin Schwarz whose vision is given here after its creation in 2022. At Schwarz, we are no longer in the world of the gods: the myth is here with absent subscribers. Here, the famous Ring of the Nibelungen is a child to whom the family fortune is passed on, making the Ring an astonishing satire of our contemporary capitalist society.

    Tuesday 20 August - Bayreuth

    At the Festspielhaus:

     

    L’OR DU RHIN

     

    Simone Young: Musical direction

    Valentin Schwarz : Director

     

    Tomasz Konieczny : Wotan

    Nicholas Brownlee : Donner

    Mirko Roschkowski : Froh

    Christa Mayer : Fricka

    Christina Nilsson : Freia

    Okka von der Damerau : Erda

    Olafur Sigurdarson : Alberich

    Arnold Bezuyen : Mime

    Jens-Erik Aasbø : Fasolt

    Tobias Kehrer : Fafner

    Evelin Novak : Woglinde

    John Daszak : Loge

    Marie Henriette : Rheinhold  Floßhilde

     

    From the Prelude in E-flat major of Rheingold, we enter another world. In Wagner’s work, the music is on the dimensions of the universe and with this prelude symbolizing the Rhine, Wagner takes us into the world of the gods, the main heroes of the first part (the composer prefers to speak of a “prologue”) of the Ring Cycle. While L’Or du Rhin has a number of memorable musical moments (the scene at the forge! the entrance of the Gods into Valhalla!), the director chooses a deliberately materialistic version here. Like a contemporary American series, the individual and selfishness take precedence in the Wagnerian gods: the famous Ring of the Nibelungen here becomes an heir, who must carry a heavy family history. To interpret this modern and invigorating vision, the Bayreuth Festival has called on the great Australian conductor Simone Young (former music director of the Hamburg Opera) and a large part of the vocal cast (experienced in Wagnerian singing) who made the success of the show’s premiere in 2022.

    Wednesday 21 August - Bayreuth

    At the Festspielhaus:

     

    THE VALKYRIE

     

    Simone Young: Musical direction

    Valentin Schwarz : Director

     

    Michael Spyres : Siegmund

    Georg Zeppenfeld : Hunding

    Tomasz Konieczny : Wotan

    Vida Miknevičiūtė : Sieglinde

    Catherine Foster : Brünnhilde

    Christa Mayer : Fricka

    Brit-Tone Müllertz : Ortlinde

    Christa Mayer : Schwertleite

    Marie Henriette : Rheinhold  Grimgerde

    Catharine Woodward : Gerhilde

    Noa Beinart : Rossweisse

     

    The second installment of the Ring, Die Walküre completely reshuffles the cards and stakes of Rhinegold. There is something of a soap opera in the fabulous family dynasty imagined by Wagner. New characters appear, dependent on the mistakes and flaws of their elders. The director Valentin Schwarz once again favours a resolutely human and materialistic vision, the famous Valkyries (who are in charge of bringing the bodies of the deceased to Valhalla) are here clients of a cosmetic surgery clinic! But beware, if Schwarz “desacralizes” the Wagnerian gesture, the stakes of the Ring are perfectly respected and deepened. Among the highlights of the score are Tomasz Konieczny‘s majestic Wotan, Catherine Foster‘s moving Brünnhilde in the moving scene of Wotan’s farewell to his daughter followed by the Incantation of Fire. But the hero of the evening, in addition to the conductor Simone Young who prolongs the Wagnerian fire in the pit, will perhaps be Michael Spyres’ Siegmund, an admirable singer especially in the French repertoire and who confirms here that he can sing everything in the most wonderful way.

    Optional spectacle - Thursday 22 August - Bayreuth

    At the Festspielhaus – optional spectacle:

     

    TANNHÄUSER, by R. Wagner

     

    Nathalie Stutzmann : Musical direction

    Tobias Kratzer : Director

     

    Günther Groissböck : Landgraf Hermann

    Klaus Florian Vogt : Tannhäuser

    Markus Eiche : Wolfram von Eschenbach

    Siyabonga Maqungo : Walther von der Vogelweide

    Olafur Sigurdarson : Biterolf

    Jens-Erik Aasbø : Reinmar von Zweter

    Elisabeth Teige : Elisabeth

    Ekaterina Gubanova :Venus

     

    Nathalie Stutzmann was a great singer, especially in the Romantic and Baroque repertoire. With panache, the French musician has become one of the great conductors of our time, fully assuming the direction of the prestigious Atlanta Orchestra and a prestigious career as a guest conductor. Last year, Nathalie Stutzmann created a sensation by becoming the second female conductor invited to the Bayreuth Festival. Her performance as Tannhäuser was unanimously appreciated and she returns to direct the work with a cast that is perhaps even more prestigious than the previous summer: Klaus Florian Vogt in the title role, Günther Groissböck as Landgraf Hermann and Elisabeth Teige as Elisabeth. In addition, the show directed by Tobias Kratzer is one of the most undeniable successes of recent Bayreuth.      

    Friday 23 August - Bayreuth

    At the Festspielhaus:

     

    SIEGFRIED

     

    Simone Young: Musical direction

    Valentin Schwarz : Director

     

    Klaus Florian Vogt : Siegfried

    Arnold Bezuyen : Mime

    Tomasz Konieczny : Le randonneur

    Olafur Sigurdarson : Alberich

    Tobias Kehrer : Fafner

    Okka von der Damerau : Erda

    Catherine Foster : Brünhilde

     

    The third installment of the Ring, Siegfried is the absolute center of the saga. It was with the writing of the libretto for the latter that it all began for Wagner in 1848. Musically, the Song of the Forge and the famous Whispers of the Forest are among the most beautiful moments of the Ring Cycle. However, the genesis of the work was extremely complex. The composition began in 1856, but following difficulties in his personal life (in the meantime he had written Tristan und Isolde), Wagner allowed seven years to pass to complete the opera. The evolution of the musical language is considerable: the libretto multiplies intimate scenes with two characters, carried by the flow of an orchestra of cosmic dimensions. Siegfried premiered on 16 August 1876, during the very first Bayreuth Festival. At the premiere in 2022, Siegfried appeared as the most accomplished achievement of Valentin Schwarz‘s Ring Cycle. It must be said that it will once again be carried this year by Klaus Florian Vogt‘s singular Siegfried (a singer who already belongs to the singing legend), Okka von der Damerau‘s impressive Erda and Catherine Foster‘s Brünnhilde, whose vocal format is ideally suited to the Bayreuth stage.

    Optional spectacle - Saturday 24 August - Bayreuth

    At the Festspielhaus – optional spectacle:

     

    PARSIFAL, by R. Wagner

     

    Pablo Heras-Casado: Musical direction

    Jay Scheib : Director      

     

    Andreas Schager : Parsifal

    Derek Welton : Amfortas

    Tobias Kehrer : Titurel                    

    Georg Zeppenfeld : Gurnemanz

    Jordan Shanahan : Klingsor

    Ekaterina Gubanova : Kundry 

     

    This is a show that has already become legendary! During the previous Bayreuth, everyone was talking about him and especially about the… 3D glasses distributed to the audience at the entrance of the theatre. This technological addition (the show can be followed perfectly without it) should not, however, serve as a veil for the relevance and power of Jay Scheib‘s director’s vision. Here, the ritual imagined by Richard Wagner for his last opera has all the magic and mysticism required, and it is not the direction of the Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado that will diminish its visionary dimension. Created and imagined for Bayreuth, Parsifal resonates and unfolds like nowhere else in the setting of the theatre designed expressly for him. The voices gathered tonight are wonderful: Andreas Schager is a “chaste fool” with a brassy timbre, Derek Walton an Apollonian Amfortas, Ekaterina Gubanova an incendiary Kundry and Georg Zeppenfeld a profound Gurnemanz. Among the most beautiful scenes of the show is Act II, known as the “Flower Women”, with its miraculously adjusted scenography.

     

    Sunday 25 August - Bayreuth

    At the Festspielhaus:

     

    TWILIGHT OF THE GODS

     

    Simone Young: Musical direction

    Valentin Schwarz : Director

     

    Klaus Florian Vogt : Siegfried

    Michael Kupfer-Radecky : Gunther

    Olafur Sigurdarson : Alberich

    Mika Kares : Hagen

    Catherine Foster : Brünnhilde

    Gabriela Scherer : Gutrune

    Christa Mayer : Waltraute

    Evelin Novak : Woglinde

    Noa Beinart : Witch n°1

    Alexandra Ionis : Witch n°2

    Christina Nilsson : Witch n°3

    Marie Henriette : Rheinhold  Floßhilde

     

    We are coming to the end of the road. Attending a performance of the Ring in its entirety, especially in the mythical precincts of the Bayreuth Theatre, is always a revelation. It is in this last part that directors and conductors further deepen their visions of a history and music that are decidedly immortal. In keeping with his materialist vision, Valentin Schwarz has created a Twilight of the Gods with a powerful satirical force, the reign of men dangerously similar to the ultra-rich who govern us today. Following in the footsteps of the much-missed Stephen Gould (he passed away in September 2023), Klaus-Florian Vogt composes an unforgettable Siegfried.

    Optional spectacle - Monday 26 August - Bayreuth

    At the Festspielhaus – optional spectacle:

     

    TRISTAN AND ISOLDE, by R. Wagner

     

    Semyon Bychkov : Musical direction

    Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson : Director

     

    Andreas Schager : Tristan

    Camilla Nylund : Isolde

    Günther Groissböck : Marke                   

    Olafur Sigurdarson : Kurwenal

    Birger Radde : Melot

    Ekaterina Gubanova : Brangäne

     

    Tristan und Isolde is indeed one of the admirable love stories ever told, all arts combined. Conceived as an interlude during the composition of Siegfried (3rd part of the Ring Cycle), the opera achieves a complete fusion between text and music. From the first bars of the prelude (the famous dissonant chord of Tristan), Wagner carries us away in an insane torrent of passions. Act 2 reaches musical and vocal heights, which have probably never been equalled before. For the 2024 edition, the Bayreuth Festival presents a new production of Tristan und Isolde by Icelandic director Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson. Premieres in Bayreuth are always a unique experience and have many surprises in store. In the pit, Semyon Bychkov (current director of the prestigious Czech Philharmonic) and the title couple Andreas Schager/Camilla Nylund, Ekaterina Gubanova‘s Brangäne and Günther Groissböch‘s Marke augur well for a high-flying evening.

    Hotel selection
    HOTEL RHEINGOLD (****)

    Hotel Rheingold is located in the heart of Bayreuth, just 300 metres from Marktplatz. It offers comfortable accommodation and classic décor.

    GOLDENER ANKER (****)

    A traditional hotel in the historic centre of Bayreuth, the Goldener Anker was once home to Anton Bruckner; This establishment is the ideal address for lovers of the Wagnerian style. Full of charm, it develops values of authenticity and service.

    Prices
    Price per person

    Rheingold:

    Package in a double room: €3,500

    Single room package: €4,120

     

    Goldener Anker:

    Package in a double room: €5,350

    Single room package: €7,740

     

    Junior Suite room package: €5,720

    Single Junior Suite package: €8,480

     

    The price of this trip includes: accommodation in a double room with breakfast for 6 nights • tourist tax • A1 category show tickets for The Ring • Sponsorship for the Bayreuth Festival contributing in a very significant way to the preservation of the Festival House • Repatriation assistance.

     

    The price of this trip does not include: optional shows • extras • transportation • airport transfers.

     

    Optional Shows 

     

    August 22 – Tannhäuser: €1,008

    August 24 – Parsifal: €1,008

     

    August 26 – Tristan and Isolde:

    Rheingold:

    Pre-arrival in a double room: €1,800

    Pre-arrival in a single room: €1,905

     

    Goldener Anker:

    Pre-arrival in a double room: €2,068

    Pre-arrival in a single room: €2,466

     

    Pre-arrival in a Junior Suite room: €2,130

    Pre-arrival in a single Junior Suite room: €2,590

     

    Individual stay.

     

    Transport and airport transfers on request.

     

    Programme and prices are subject to change by the Bayreuther Festspiele, or by government decision, due to possible health constraints.

     

    Information about this trip
    In charge of the destination
    Aliénor Elbaz du Peloux
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