Bayreuth or Bust!!

‘ I got WHAT!?!? ’

My eyes quickly skimmed the list of subjects and authors of email messages that had come into my inbox.  There must have been over 200 messages, a normal load after a day at work when I don't have access to my home email.  Most of the messages were from Opera and Classical Music Lists and a few spammers.  But this one message stuck out from the others.  It was from our Wagner Society president, and I had not been expecting one from this person that day, as "M President" had already sent me the promised list of upcoming Society events, and would occasionally send me interesting opera reviews.  I certainly had not been expecting THIS message.  After all, our Society was too new, too young, and not-yet-established enough for the kind of good news that this particular email message contained.  Even Wolfgang Wagner, the Director of the Wagner Festival, whom our Society had hosted at a program just nine months earlier (February 1999), had stated it was much too soon to expect this kind of luck.  But there it was, in bold, black letters:
                                                   WE GOT BAYREUTH TICKETS!!!!

Were my eyes deceiving me?  I read the subject again. Yes… WE GOT BAYREUTH TICKETS!!!! "Sheeesh!!"  I thought.  I better open this mail and read the rest of the news.  So I did.  It was a memo addressed to everyone on the Society's email list that we had actually, by sheer luck, received our allotment of tickets for the Bayreuth Festival for the year 2000.  (It was November 1999 when our Society received the word that we would receive an allotment for Summer 2000).  There were to be 15 tickets and we would all soon receive a formal letter outlining the process of applying for the tickets.   Allotment of tickets is based on how many continuous years you have been a member of the Society and how much money and volunteer time you have given.  That, I understand, is the standard Bayreuth policy on how tickets are awarded to individual Society members.  "M President" asked us if we were interested and because I was one of the earliest members, I would be included in the first allottment.  My chance of getting a ticket was guaranteed if I wanted one.

OF COURSE, I was interested!  What red-blooded Wagnerian would NOT be interested in Bayreuth Festival tickets? The moment one falls in love with Wagner's music, one falls in love with the concept of Bayreuth, the home of his Festival Theater, which Wagner had built expressly for the production of his last operas (Ring and Parsifal), and which symbolizes all he stood for artistically.  I was well acquainted with Bayreuth, having purchased Frederic Spotts’ book on the history of the Bayreuth Festival, Robert Harford's book on the early years of Bayreuth, books by Lilli Lehman, Heinrich Porges, and other singers and directors who had worked directly with Richard Wagner.  It was my dream to visit Wagner's home and theater in Bayreuth someday.  I hurriedly dashed off a reply to "M President" to state my interest and I guess my enthusiasm went into overdrive as I had managed to hit all sorts of buttons in sending my response.  Poor "M President" received at least a dozen copies of my response!  Don't ask.  Don't care. I am thankful that "M President" understood!  Anyway, the important thing is…. I GOT BAYREUTH TICKETS!!

Stay tuned for detailed accounts of my Bayreuth adventures after I return.  Coming to "Jan's Jewels" will be reviews of the Bayreuth 2000 Parsifal, Meistersinger, Lohengrin, a new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, a Millennium Ring Gala after the Rheingold performance, tours and concerts in Haus Wahnfried, and all the other Wagnerian haunts in town.   The other day a friend kidded me about buying a summer house in Bayreuth when I retire.  We'll see … !!!

by Jan Rosen

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