The Bayreuth Festival, founded by Richard Wagner as a showcase for the premiere of Der Ring des Nibelungen, owes his fans a fresh take on that sprawling epic. The new production originally promised for last summer has been moved to next year. But as a preview of sorts, there are three full-length performances of Die Walküre, commonly singled out as the most popular of the cycle’s four segments. All ears are on these three artists: Lise Davidsen, everyone’s favorite new Wagnerian soprano, as the war bride Sieglinde; the dreadnought bass Günther Groissböck in his first shot at Wotan, chief of the gods; and Pietari Inkinen, the rising Finnish maestro on whom Bayreuth is placing a very big bet. As for stage pictures, we might not want to know. Rather than a conventional production team, the management has engaged (for this summer only) the “action artist” Hermann Nitsch, whose avant-garde ritual orgies—complete with crucifixions and slaughtered animals—have triggered charges of gross public indecency and three prison sentences. You’ve been warned. —M.G.
Bayreuth Festival Festspielhügel 1-2, 95445 Bayreuth, Germany Get Directions »