By the time he had Tannhäuser in the bag, Wagner had grown to dismiss his three earliest operas as unrepresentative of his true talents. That's one of the reasons they've never been part of the Bayreuth Festival. The other of course is that they're (shhhh!) not that good.
Nevertheless.....every Wagner completist will be keen to catch Die Feen, Das Liebesverbot and Rienzi when Bayreuth celebrates Wagner's 200th birthday next year in collaboration with Oper Leipzig.
Die Feen will be shown fully staged at Oper Leipzig on 16 February, 24 February, 7 April, 20 April and 24 May 2013, followed by a concert version at Bayreuth on 9 July. Ulf Schirmer conducts, Renaud Doucet directs, and the cast includes Milcho Borovinov, Jennifer Porto and Arnold Bezuyen.
Das Liebesverbot is premiered in Bayreuth on 8, 11 and 14 July 2013, with further performances in Leipzig in the 2013 - 2014 season (dates not yet disclosed). Constantin Trinks conducts, Aron Stiehl directs, and Milcho Borovinov and Martin Petzold are amongst the cast.
Rienzi comes to Bayreuth on 7, 10 and 13 July 2013. Christian Thielemann conducts and Matthias von Stegmann directs. Hardworking Milcho Borovinov turns up yet again, together with the excellent Daniela Sindram and Jennifer Wilson. Robert Dean Smith takes on the title role.
There's also a starry 200th birthday concert at the Festspielhaus on 22 May 2013. Eva-Maria Westbroek, Johan Botha and Kwangchul Youn join Christian Thielemann for extracts from Die Walküre, Rienzi, Götterdämmerung and Die Meistersinger.
(Birthday spread courtesy of the Wagner Society of Dallas).