Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"sharp-eared younger observer" - The New Yorker

Thanks to Alex for Seated Ovation's first mainstream street cred--we are now featured in The New Yorker Magazine (website).

And, courtesy of Alex, apparently the band Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix has discovered the beauty of Bayreuth. I don't know anything about them, but I know plenty about the quaint little town where Wagner lived and wrote, and where I spend seven weeks in the summer of 2008.

Here's a quick breakdown of some of the scenery:
0:11 - You can see the entrance to the box office, outside of which I sat for six hours to get Ring tickets.
0:26 - a straight-on shot of the Festspielhaus
0:59-1:00 - shots of the Franz Liszt museum
1:04 - inside the Festspielhaus
1:16 - quick shot of the small concert space in Wagner's home, Wahnfried
What follows are various shots from Wahnfried and the Liszt Museum
And around 1:50, a number of shots of the beautiful park and gardens behind Wagner's house

At least in some of the shots, the band is performing on the stage of the Festspielhaus. I'm not sure if the depiction of the writhing audience is edited in, or if they are actually moshing in or on the legendary covered Bayreuth pit. I think the stage is large enough so that the band could perform on it with a full audience in front of them. This video is probably the best PR for the Festspiel since George Bernard Shaw and Nietzsche attended. One can hope that among the video's 1,841,924 viewers, one of them is inspired to join the five to ten year wait for tickets.

I'd like to think the shot at 2:55 of a solitary man and his dog is a reference to Wagner's Hund, Russ, whose grave (along with Wagner's) is behind Wahnfried. On any given day, there were dozens of bouquets of flowers on top of Wagner's grave, and usually a couple next to Russ's.

Wagner, as we all know, inspired a lot of crazies. This tradition continued in his backyard, where a man sang Wotan's Erwach from the opening of Act III of Siegfried (I believe the part of Erda was played by a boombox).

Here is the front of the Festspielhaus, as can be seen in 0:26 in the video, but with the brass section of Festspiel Orchestra, which plays fanfares before each intermission concludes (the music, of course, drawn from the act to come).

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