In Saturday’s (7/11) Times (London), Roger Boyes writes, “One of the highlights of the classical music season, the Bayreuth Festival, which celebrates the music of Richard Wagner, may be played out in darkness this year. The scenery may also be shifted by members of the Wagner family because workers are fed up with being paid little more than €4 (£3.40) an hour. It would be difficult to imagine a more embarrassing start to the festival, which is due to begin on July 25 with a production of Tristan and Isolde. … The festival is to be under the direction of Katharina Wagner, 31, and Eva Pasquier-Wagner, 63, for the first time. … It seems that 60 stagehands and lighting engineers, and 100 freelance workers, may put the revolution on hold, however. Unless a deal is struck in negotiations on Monday there will be a strike on Wagner’s fabled Green Hill above the Bavarian town of Bayreuth. ‘At the moment a strike seems likely,’ Peter Emmerich, the festival spokesman, said. Barbara Schneider, a union activist who wants the Wagners to pay workers the same as other orchestras and opera houses, said that the contracts negotiated by Wolfgang Wagner, the outgoing director and father of Katharina and Eva, were of dubious legality.”

Posted July 14, 2009