Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Domingo at Bayreuth?

So it's been reported that next year, Plácido Domingo will conduct Die Walküre at the Bayreuth Wagner Festival, the holy of holies for Wagner devotees.

All I can say is, why? Are they having that much trouble selling tickets to the famously (not necessarily correctly) hard-to-get-into Festival? Has anyone from the Festival heard him conduct?

He is a terrible conductor! I mean, he is minimally competent; knows how to keep time, knows how to cue an entry, knows the operas (I presume). However, if you listen to the musical line and details, well...he is a terrible judge of tempo and structure. I watched a good chunk of his Operalia contest one year, with him conducting, and it was just embarrassing. He got to be front and center and get as much attention as those young singers, while they had to deal with a celebrity conductor with, at best, mediocre skills. I felt very, very sorry for them; they deserved to be working with excellent conductors, not a tenor who picked up conducting to extend his career as far as possible.

When I was at Bayreuth two years ago, I heard a significant range of conductors, from the puzzling Kirill Petrenko to the excellent Alain Altinoglu and Axel Kober to the incandescent genius of Christian Thielemann. You would think that Bayreuth has its choice of good to great conductors, so you have to wonder WTF is going on here.

1 comment:

Cameron Kelsall said...

This is a spectacularly bad idea. Domingo got booed conducting La-fucking-Boheme at the Met, a house where he's practically a deity. The Bayreuth audiences will murder him.