He looks into the hall", writes cosima wagner on 15. January 1879 in her diary "and says: 'this is where i want to be carried when i die,' – i reproach him with the singular, he: 'it is best not to notice anything, and yet again, at an old age it must be to die with full consciousness.'" and then wagner, who also had chest cramps the night before, predicted that they would both live to see fidi"s, that is, siegfried"s children. At least as far as cosima was concerned, he was right.
From such little diary episodes, the just-premiered "wahnfried" is a work of art-piece by reinhard baumgart, which was originally a (screen)play for the tv and movie of the same name. Several times you see the "high pair sitting on an imaginary park bench with a view of one's own tomb in the wahnfried garden and pondering one's own, common death. The premiere on friday in meiningen, by the way, was honored by two spouses who could currently be considered the grandseigneur wagner couple, if they didn't have their very own artistic identity: the dramatist tankred dorst and his wife and collaborator ursula ehler, who directed the "ring" at the 2006 to 2010 festivals-tetralogy staged.
In the already mentioned "wahnfried" available on dvd-peter patzak's 1987 film stars otto sander and tatja seibt – and the role of friedrich nietzsche is played by christoph waltz, who has just electrified the feuilletons with the latest directorial proposal for bayreuth. The now 56-year-old oscar-winning waltz has brought cult director quentin tarantino (49) into the conversation as a renewer for the wagner festival in bayreuth. In an interview with the news magazine focus he said: "quentin would be someone for a new bayreuth, absolutely. But he had to create his own bayreuth."
Opera lover waltz had met tarantino before shooting "django unchained in los angeles in a "rheingold"-he has in any case suddenly discovered an analogy which i would not have noticed so clearly as such, so waltz. In the film director to whom he gave his name with "inglourious basterds" owes its international breakthrough to "siegfried," waltz sees it as a kind of gesamtkunstler in the wagnerian sense: "it may not take place on a theater stage but on a film screen, but it can certainly be understood as a gesamtkunstwerk – possibly of a postmodern kind."
The new tarantino film is a western and slave drama, opens this week in our cinemas and has already won two golden globes: for best screenplay and for waltz as best actor in a supporting role. To close the circle, i would like to give the latter a nietzsche-quotation, which i hope will not only remain a pious wish. At the end of february 1873, the professor from basel wrote to malwida von meysenbug in florence: "at some point, we all sit together in bayreuth and no longer understand how it was possible to endure it anywhere else."
I would like to add that christoph waltz was not the first who had the idea that quentin tarantino would be suitable for bayreuth. In 2009, at the end of my review of "siegfried", I wrote-read again: "who will direct the 'ring' in the jubilee year 2013, is still open. The day before yesterday, katharina wagner is said to have been in berlin because of an important contract. Is it in the end quentin tarantino who could bring a new vision and glamour to bayreuth??" A colleague from poland spread the word, shortly afterwards press spokesman peter emmerich denied it via the german press agency. Today we know that it could have been about frank castorf. But tarantino, I still suspect, could also be considered for 2020 in bayreuth, for the next "ring".
I wonder if I'll live to see it? My husband and I sit on our garden bench from time to time, but we do not think about dying there. This happens to me more in my study, at the computer, when I'm working on my wagner year diary. Voilà: 238 years ago today, the milanese church musician and composer giovanni battista sammartini passed away. Gian carlo menotti was already studying at the milan conservatory at the age of 13, and his opera "vanessa" was a great success on 15. January 1958 at the met in new york. The most important birthday child is the director oscar fritz schuh, born 99 years ago today in munich, who, if my research is correct, staged wagner only twice, but set standards in salzburg and vienna with his mozart-works.