More Bad Blood at Bayreuth: Schilingensief Complains of Insufficient Money and Inadequate Video Technology
Thursday, July 29, 2004
BAYREUTH, Germany, July 28 (AFP) ó Bad blood was continuing to spoil proceedings at the Bayreuth Festival on Wednesday, with the organisers rejecting a claim by director Christoph Schlingensief that not enough money had been made available for his new production of Parsifal, which opened the festival on Sunday [25 July].
"We rolled out a golden carpet for him," the festival's technical chief, Karl-Heinz Matitschka, said, responding to Schlingensief's complaint that the video technology at Bayreuth's legendary Festspielhaus theatre was not up to scratch.
In an angry exchange of words on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Society of Friends of Bayreuth, a body which makes substantial financial contributions each year to the month-long summer festival, Schlingensief, 43, had accused festival chief Wolfgang Wagner of knowing nothing about video.
"If we had had another 20,000 euros, we could have had better video technology," Schlingensief said and demanded that Wagner make the money available.
It was Schlingensief's copious use of video projection in his contentious new reading of Parsifal that had been one of the reasons why he and Wolfgang fell out so publicly in the run-up to this year's festival.
Matitschka said Schlingensief had behaved "extremely unfairly". A rotating stage for the production had cost 140,000 euros alone "and it was clear that, after that, no more money could be made available."
In the meantime, an ugly squabble between the director and his lead singer, German tenor Endrik Wottrich who sang the role of Parsifal, also refused to die down.
Wottrich caused a stir just days before the premiere by slamming Schlingensief's staging as an "abomination".
The 43-year-old director responded by claiming that Wottrich had objected to the presence of black cast members in the production.
Wottrich "has a notion of purity in Germany that I cannot share," Schlingensief said, criticising the singer's derogatory use of the word "Neger " or negro.
But the tenor, who has vowed not to return to sing the title role when Parsifal is revived next year, hit back at Schlingensief in a newspaper interview, claiming it was the director who was the "real Nazi", because he had made racist jokes in rehearsals.
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