Dear Friends and Fans,
in 2019 I will give concert talks again about Wagner´s operas at the Bayreuth Festival.
The tremendous number of inquiries from the audiences in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other countries after my explanations of Wagner and appearances at the Festival have been ongoing since 2014. I am now ready to address them.
The current request comes from the “Heart of the city”, the bookstore „Breuer & Sohn“ at the Luitpoldplatz. According to this important cultural focal point in Bayreuth, the „gap left by Mickisch in Bayreuth from 2014 onwords could not be filled“ in the Festival City of Bayreuth. My piano lectures on the works of Wagner (always with cross-examples to other composers) were “intensively missed” by the audience in and outside of Bayreuth.
Well, I will be back!
The upcoming concert talks 2019 “Mickisch in Bayreuth”, will have the following innovations:
1. There will no longer be 30 matinees per summer as in the years 1998 to 2013. Instead I will “only” give 11, distributed over the festival season, from July 25 to August 28. The dates can be viewed at www.mickisch-in-bayreuth.de and on my webpage under CONCERTS 2019.
2. The time is set to 11:30am - 1:00pm.
3. The place is the bookstore “Breuer & Sohn”, at Luitpoldplatz 9. This is in the middle of the city next to EVO. A beautiful, intimate, inspiring place where I made acoustic tests and where I feel comfortable.
4. The ticket price is 45.00 Euros. The seats are limited.
5.Therefore, if you want to safely get a seat, (the concerts will be overcrowded at the days oft he dates) you may use the possibility to order wished tickets in advance through the newly established internet website www.mickisch-in-bayreuth.de which is now available. You can already select your desired date(s) now and order tickets. There will be free seating in the venue.
The concert talks will deal with the work of the performance which will be given on these days in the Festspielhaus at 4:00pm. Wagner’s operas (in the summer of 2019 “Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg”, “Lohengrin”, “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”, “Parsifal” and “Tristan und Isolde”) are still too poorly understood not to require more in-depth work. Especially in times where Wagner´s operas are wrongly interpreted , wrongly staged, and mutilated, due to the „work“ of Festival Directors, Regisseurs, and political media-mainstream idiocy. This has been introduced also in Bayreuth from 2004 onwards. The majority of the audience wants, however, to get to know and enjoy the beauty, undamaged authenticity, and depth of Wagnerian music dramas, now more than ever. This is the reason that I want to be back in Bayreuth. Wagner’s Festival venue is too important to be permanently exposed to mediocrity and arbitrariness. My work is not about „directing“ (what else could we do wrong?) but about meaningful and demanding issues.
The decision that led to my “Bayreuth abstinence” from 2014 to 2018, was based on the disappointment of the “modern” Wagner-hostile work of the Festival by Katharina and Eva Wagner, and the disappointement about the Press in Bayreuth and in Germany, these media always transporting junks and neglecting qualities. As an artist who already knew and could play all Wagner in a town that could not and knew nearly nothing about him (Bayreuth 1913) I felt a bit lonely, and took the chance to get to know and perform OTHER, NEW composers and their works, such as Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Franz Schreker and Richard Strauss. Wagner is (in my opinion behind Bach in 2nd place) the world’s best composer, and by his brilliant opera texts for sure the greatest “music philosopher” ever. BUT there are also other masters! The understanding of Wagner can only be achieved by knowing the music of OTHER composers, and to show that complexity on the Piano and in explaining remains my artistic music-philosophical and musicological approach, in Bayreuth, and elsewhere. In order to take a look at the completely over-dimensioned issue of “Antisemitism and Wagner”, there must be comparisons to the Gospels, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Christianity in the past, and Islam today. The comparison shows a vanishingly small Antisemite Wagner uttered in ONE small book (1 thousandth of all his writings), and not even the slightest AS occurs in ALL of his 13 operas. This opinion represents a representative of many, including Daniel Barenboim. The fact that most German media see that topic differently, is due to their general knowledge - deficits, low ethics (jealousness about the Better as a principle), and lack of musicality.
In order to be able to have complete knowledge of the whole complex of topics, such as the exact knowledge of the world religions and their countercurrents, it would be required the reading of the original 4 Gospels, the history of church and popes, the Quoran, at least 10 of the hundred or so volumes of Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther’s 4 Anti-Judaism books and his “Tischreden”, and the serious consideration of Meslier („le testament“), Bayle, Erasmus, Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer, MARX, Nietzsche, Freud, Jaspers („Die vier maßgebenden Menschen“), Heidegger (trotz der „Schwarzen Hefte“), Deschner („Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums“ in 10 Bänden), Buggle, Sloterdijk, and others. The reading of Epicurus, Plato, Aristotle, and Seneca would have to occur. This is a great encouragement to read these authors!
I do not act as a “Wagnerian” in Bayreuth nor at any other concert venues, but I consider myself a cosmopolitan universalist. Perhaps in opposition to Wagner, I think that there are no quality differences between German and Jewish composers. This I have proven in the context of my 73 CDs and DVDs and many of my concert appearances and lectures. I have recorded 6 CDs to “Die Tote Stadt” by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, 1 to Sigmund Freud, 2 to Franz Schrekers “Der ferne Klang”, 2 to Jacques Offenbachs „Hoffmanns Erzählungen“, 1 to Fanny-Mendelssohn, and showed the wunderful music of Johann Strauss Sohn (who was “Vierteljude”) in TV. I have played and explained for many years simultaneously with Wagner Giacomo Meyerbeer (I would suggest to perform his operas - one annually - as an additional program at the Bayreuth Festival), Felix Mendelssohn - Bartholdy, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schönberg and others. I believe that if he were alive today, Richard Wagner would join my opinion.
Now I wish you all a lot of joy, many amazing experiences, and pure Wagner enjoyment in 2019!
Yours, Stefan Mickisch