Reports on the general rehearsals of Frank Castrof’s Ring at Bayreuth make grim reading. The Rhine gold is turned to oil and clichés flow from there. One Slipped Disc reader who saw Siegfried describes it as ‘a complete and unmitigated disaster’. The cycle opens on Friday, amid the usual mayhem.
The winner in these circumstances is always the conductor. Bernard Haitink was praised to the skies for the Richard Jones Ring at Covent Garden that many thought should have been strangled at birth. Kirill Petrenko is already getting the best previews of his life, ahead of what the media expect to be a musical triumph and a staging disaster.
The worse the director, the better the conductor comes out of it. Funny, that.