20 August 2006

Bayreuth 3

(By the way because of the limited availability of the terminal I'm going to discuss the performances when I return and keep these posts for travel stuff.)
Days here are built around the music dramas, which is as the Master intended. The long operas start at 4:00 in the afternoon (but they use military time here, so I should say 16:00) and the shorter intermissionless works start at 18:00. As I mentioned earlier people start showing up well in advance, sometimes over an hour, though the house doesn't actually open until fifteen minutes before the hour, when the famous fanfares blare forth. The leitmotive the band plays is different not only for each opera (excuse me, music drama) but for each act. It's amazing how quickly 1,900 people can get settled in an amphitheater that has no inner aisles.
So there's not much dinnertime, unless you count snacks during intermission. I tend not to eat a lot so far during the breaks. So as the nutritionists recommend, breakfast is the large meal of the day. My knowledge of Bavarian cuisine is still limited to the very generous breakfast spread the Arvena Congress Hotel puts out. There are no pancakes or waffles, as there would be in an American hotel, but they seem to have everything else, including a section that's like tapas (stuffed olives, cheeses, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, and so forth). There's lots of watermelon, which I always though was pretty much American. And of course there are pork products. I have to say it: so far I don't much care for the sausage. It's soft and bland in a way I don't much like. I've had little bratwursts and something called I think Nuremburg sausage. The bacon's good, though, even if it sometimes seems a little underdone to me. And so far no beer. I'm a little wary of chugging down before or during a performance. There's a lot of redemption to get through and I want to be able to appreciate it. But definitely in Munich if not before.
Today at the performance I met up with some other Wagner Society members. It's good to know who they are because we have to exchange tickets after each Ring opera. The seats are in different locations at different costs, and since there's only one ticket per cycle, we have to meet up and switch off. I had assumed the single ticket was to make a point that the Ring is a unified work of art, but a Society member explained to me that the real reason is to make it more difficult to scalp tickets to the individual operas. Once again I assumed a high-minded aesthetic reason only to hear that money was behind it all.

No comments: