“Wagner, Bayreuth and the rest of the world”: premiere in Hamburg | NDR.de – culture
Status: 04.10.2021 11:20 a.m.
On October 3rd, “Wagner, Bayreuth and the Rest of the World” had its world premiere at the Hamburg Film Festival. In the documentary about the polarizing composer Richard Wagner, Axel Brüggemann takes an intimate look behind the scenes of the Festspielhaus.
The film will hit theaters on October 28th. Hardly any composer polarizes more than Richard Wagner. Hardly anyone can listen to operas such as “Tannhauser” or the “Meistersinger” without prejudice. Can one – may one – love the music of an anti-Semite? Admirers of the “Ring” or “Parsifal” are as numerous as the opponents – even if he wrote music like “Tristan und Isolde”, which is difficult to escape.
A film about Wagner’s fans
“A Wagnerian is someone who looks forward to summer when he thinks of Bayreuth”: It’s about the fans in this film and how they tick all over the world. The filmmaker Axel Brüggemann found them in Abu Dhabi, in Jerusalem, in New York, in Tokyo. Brüggemann sets its tone, its scent brand: “Wagner fans are the heavy metal end of classical music”. Axel Brüggemann finds fine ironic images for this classic heavy metal: Wagnerians dragging themselves – very old – up the stairs to the room where their master died.
Axel Brüggemann: self-therapy of a Wagnerian
Change of location: In Bayreuth, the camera pans calmly over an impressive still life of sausages. “I was the first two acts and he was the last – he has two hips”: Mr and Mrs Rauch owns the first butcher shop on the square – and they have been Wagner fans from childhood. The butcher couple is Axel Brüggemann’s secret star.
The butcher couple Ulrike and Georg Rauch from Bayreuth are among the secret stars of the film.
“That was the idea for this film: that the Wagnerians all have a shot,” said Brüggemann about his documentary. “I’m also a Wagnerian. In this respect, the film was a kind of self-therapy. One wonders why one likes a composer who was such an idiot, a human wreck. And who expects you to give your thoughts to the cloakroom and lets you walk in his music. I think I’m one Wagnerian among many. I understand the many freaks in the film so well because I’m a bit like them too. “
Jewish view of an anti-Semite
As the documentary filmmaker pretends to be in conversation, the Jewish Wagnerians are so touching – like Jonatha Livny, who founded the Wagner Association-Israel. The eighty-year-old emigrant tells his little granddaughter how his father saved the Wagner records when he escaped from Frankfurt.
“This music is by a composer your grandpa likes to listen to. His name is Wagner. Grandma and grandpa fly around the world to hear his operas. We were in Germany and the USA to hear this wonderful music. ”
Quote from “Wagner, Bayreuth and the rest of the world”
Back in Bayreuth we see and hear the Jewish-American director Barrie Kosky stage: “Wagner is not responsible for the Third Reich, for Auschwitz or for what was done with his music in the 20th century. But if a non-Jewish German tells me that the music is not anti-Semitic, then I say, ‘You don’t decide whether a piece is anti-Semitic or not. As a Jew, I say that I find the piece anti-Semitic.’ “
A look behind the scenes of Bayreuth
Axel Brüggemann has achieved what no camera team has done before: a long, intimate look behind the scenes of the Festspielhaus – from the orchestra pit to Katharina Wagner’s living room, so to speak: “The pleasure of being a Wagner is limited because it is laden with prejudice and clichés. You have to keep fighting against prejudices and clichés, “says Katharina Wagner.
This is important to Katharina Wagner in her directorship to show. Richard Wagner is nothing sacred or inviolable. Wagner did handstands on the counter in the pubs in Bayreuth. He was human and made music for people. The film wants to show that. Katharina Wagner can live with that.
Wagner, Bayreuth and the rest of the world
Genre:documentationYear of production:2021Country of production:GermanyDirector:Axel BrüggemannLong:102 Min.Theatrical release:October 28, 2021
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NDR culture | Classic in the day | 04.10.2021 | 07:20 am