Two fellow bloggers, Badthings and Byzantium's Shores, noted with understandable alarm the pictures I posted of Wagner's dog Russ, statues of whom can be found all around Bayreuth. Mr. Byzantium proposed an amusing secondary installation to go along with them. Badthings averred that the dogs were "menacing." In person, the effect is more like goofy, even cute. I didn't realize it at the time, but, as this Andante story reveals, the Wagner doggies are part of a project by the German sculptor Ottmar Höhrl, entitled, naturally, "Wagner's Dog." His aim is to make Wagner a less forbidding, more sympathetic figure. There are 800 statues in all. Russ himself is buried next to his master in the garden at Wahnfried. Höhrl is also responsible for an installation entitled "Opera in the 21st Century," which consists of eight Daimler Smart cars parked around the city. I took a picture of this project, too, not knowing what it meant:
It turns out that I could have climbed into the car and listened to Wagner on the stereo. Oh those wacky Germans!