Coming to you live from the Wagner festival in Bayreuth, courtesy of the wireless-ready Café Mondial. My review of Christoph Schlingensief's production of Parsifal will appear in the New Yorker next week. I'll withhold comment until then, except to say that the production is probably fated to be known as the "dead rabbit Parsifal." Instead, a photo-essay on the ever-crescendoing scandal and hysteria, with another installment to follow tomorrow.
Delay at JFK. Music: Mogwai, "Stanley Kubrick."
Train to Bayreuth. Music: Parsifal.
Saturday night in town. A man is auctioning off teddy bears while another man (not pictured) plays bad blues guitar.
This young man is preparing for his first Parsifal by bicycling for six hours upside down.
All-Wagner window display at the Markgrafen bookstore.
Wahnfried, Wagner's home, with his patron Ludwig II. The name means "free of madness," ironic in context.
Every year on the morning of the festival opening, the chorus gives a brief concert at Wagner's grave in the Wahnfried garden. The conductor is Eberhard Friedrich.
The genius conductor Christian Thielemann, wearing a nice pink Lacoste shirt, gives a talk at the Markgrafen bookstore.
A phalanx of protesters marches on the Festspielhaus.
The great barn itself, with paparazzi already gathering.
A camera crew goes looking for scandal, finding only an American in search of a last-minute ticket. The couple in white behind them are visiting from the year 1898.
Wolfgang Wagner, the composer's grandson. The getaway car is ready, in case tonight's performance turns into a riot.