The 2011 Bayreuth Festival opened last night with a new production of Tannhäuser directed by Sebastian Baumgarten and conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock.
Lars Cleveman took the title role, with Camilla Nylund as Elizabeth, Stephanie Friede as Venus, Guenther Groissböck as the Landgrave and Michael Nagy as Wolfram von Eschenbach.
The staging, according to Bloomberg's Catherine Hickley, "transposes Wartburg castle to an organic waste recycling plant and features a pregnant Venus living in a cage with giant tadpoles and furry, ape-like nymphs." In true Bayreuth style, it was expensively accoutred, extensively rehearsed, and greeted with a hail of boos at the end.
For radio broadcast dates of this and other Bayreuth performances, visit operacast.com.
photos: Enrico Nawrath
First night guests included Angela Merkel and half the German government.