The Wagnerian myth is nowhere as alive as it is in Bayreuth, while the Wagner Festival faces a turning point this documentary proposes a review of its history.
After a decade-long reign as the uncontested ruler of the Wagner Festival, the composer's grandson Wolfgang Wagner has stepped down from his post. A new era is about to begin… This documentary thematizes the past, present and future of the festival and provides rare insights behind the scenes of the Wagner "workshop."
For the first time ever, the film team was able to record in the legendary Bayreuth orchestra pit of the Festspielhaus, giving rise to stunningly candid shots of conductor Christian Thielemann rehearsing Götterdämmerung. A conversation with Wolfgang Wagner recorded especially for this production is presumably the patriarch's last appearance on film as head of the festival. The program also features rehearsals of the new 2008 production of Parsifal with director Stefan Herheim and conductor Daniele Gatti. Members of the Wagner family and leading Wagner interpreters of our time also comment on the unique Wagner aura.
The authors have assembled an amazing collection of historical film material and photos on the history of the festival. "Bayreuth – From Myth to Modernity" also describes the collapse of a world order: the twilight of the gods depicted in Götterdämmerung is a powerful symbol in the canon of the Bayreuth Festival. Wagnerians of today, however, look confidently toward the future and see in Bayreuth less a twilight than a dawn – the dawn of a new leadership, a new artistic direction, a new era with Wolfgang Wagner's daughters Eva Wagner-Pasquier and Katharina Wagner.
Peter Schneider, Christoph Marthaler – Robert Dean Smith (Tristan), Robert Holl (King Marke) – Bayreuther Festspielhaus
Sebastian Weigle, Katharina Wagner – Charles Reid (Kunz Vogelgesang), Klaus Florian Vogt (Walther von Stolzing) – Bayreuther Festspielhaus
Lothar Zagrosek, Peter Konwitschny – Albert Bonnema (Siegfried), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Gutrune) – Staatsoper Stuttgart