The Wagner Journal

Hans Rudolf Vaget, Knappertsbusch in Bayreuth

Hans Rudolf Vaget, Knappertsbusch in Bayreuth

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November 2019, Volume 13, Number 3, 4–19.

When on 30 July 1951 the Bayreuth Festival reopened its doors to unveil a boldly innovative production by Wieland Wagner of Parsifal, thereby ushering in the fabled era of Neu-Bayreuth, the conductor of Wagner’s culminating and most auratic work was Hans Knappertsbusch. In the musical life of Germany, the reopening was a milestone. Indeed, it has been called ‘the most important operatic event in Germany since the première of Wozzeck’ in 1925 at the Berlin Staatsoper. If this had been Knappertsbusch’s only appearance in Wagner’s Festspielhaus, and if there were nothing more to the story of the great conductor and Bayreuth, he would still occupy a conspicuous place in the annals of the Bayreuth Festival. But there is more to the story – a great deal more.

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