My first visit was without a ticket. I went to see the red carpet notables at the premiere of Tannhäuser.
Well, attempted to see. I didn’t get there quite early enough.
Some people took extreme measures for a better view.
But honestly, every person on the carpet had to be identified for me with the exceptions of Angela Merkel and Guido Westerwelle. The guy next to me would say, “That’s the minister of the environment!” and I would say, “toll!” and he would add, “…of Bavaria,” and I would think, “…oh.” I was reassured that a lot of the Germans needed to have the notables identified for them as well. One of the photographers said as he was folding up his tripod that the crowd was pretty B-list compared to previous years.
Merkel stayed the whole week, spending the other nights incognito and unbothered by everyone else (though it’s not like she wasn’t noticed). Her security was very discreet but she’s been coming every year for years and I’m told they have it down to a science.
Here are people milling around during intermissions. As you can see, the dress code is formal compared to anywhere in the US but casual-ish compared to Salzburg. I can endorse Intermezzo’s dress advice as accurate with one exception: I did see at least a half-dozen
drindls dirndls each night.
Before the end of each of the very long intermissions, these guys play a fanfare consisting of some music from the next act. Fifteen minutes before they play it once, ten minutes twice, five minutes three times.
I didn’t take any pictures inside because I suspected it was not allowed. I will say that the seats are uncomfortable, but not for the reason I expected. The seat is indeed unpadded, but the only thing that bothered me was how the seat back hit my lower back at an awkward spot.
But other people were taking photos of the Parsifal curtain call so I took one too. The women’s chorus doesn’t appear onstage so they’re just wearing street clothes.
One thing I really liked about the atmosphere was how unpretentious and unritzy it is. People are really there for the music (sometimes in a terrifyingly intense way!), also unlike Salzburg. Even the food tends towards the casual:
I promise I do have a few other things to blog about before the fall season starts, but if it seems like I’m trying to stretch my material out, well, I am.