A man of 71 was found dead in his seat on Monday at the end of the second act of the concluding Ring opera. The interval was extended while the lifeless body was removed from the Festspielhaus.
The unfortunate victim was a retired policeman. More here (auf Deutsch).
UPDATE: Dr Stephen Roe, head of music at Sotheby’s, was in the audience and sent us this eyewitness report.
There was a fairly spectacular thunderstorm which started about 3pm. Everyone was undercover. There was a very close crash of thunder and lightning struck the tree in the grounds. The support staff were soon there to tape off the tree.
Perhaps the lightning strike was an uncoded comment from the composer on Castorf’s unsalvageable production. In fact Goetterdaemmerung was the second least awful of the operas, the prize easily going to Siegfried for the avian love initiation of the hero, and the Wood Bird throwing herself in the crocodile’s mouth at the end of the opera.
As to dying in Act II of Goetterdaemmerung, well, I am afraid I would prefer to go in a better production. I would have liked not to witness the Turkish barman, a character I failed to remember from the libretto, in drag, pushing a pram filled with potatoes down a flight of steps before the Revenge trio, as well as other similarly incomprehensible delights.
It seemed fitting that as the curtain closed on Act III our last sight of the remarkably intact Vahalla was the sign of Hagen’s greengrocery business: Obst und Gemuese, which seemed to sum up succinctly the director’s message. So I feel very sorry for the gentleman whose last moments were spent facing an enormous trivialisation of Wagner’s great masterpiece.