Going Backstage With Bayreuth Festival Singers | Culture | Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 25.07.2007

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Going Backstage With Bayreuth Festival Singers

The costumes are fitted, the scenery paint has dried, and this year's five-week Bayreuth Festival is set to begin on Wednesday. DW spoke with four of the singers who are preparing to take the stage.

Stephen Gould is Siegfried in Der Ring des Nibelungen

Stephen Gould is Siegfried in "Der Ring des Nibelungen"

In her Bayreuth premiere last year, Canadian mezzo-soprano Adrianne Pieczonka impressed the audience with her perfect intonation, warm timbre and convincing portrayal of the role of Sieglinde in "Die Walküre." In the interview, she describes her approach to the role and her experience of rehearsing and performing in the legendary Bayreuth opera house.

In opera, vocal soloists often have to come to terms with texts in languages that are foreign to them and roles and characters that may be difficult to relate to. South African mezzo-soprano Michelle Breedt has given a lot of thought to her role, that of Fricka in Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen." Click to listen to the interview, where she reveals herself as a highly inspired and insightful artist:

Bayreuth Festspielhaus

The trip to Bayreuth's Festspielhaus can often be a long one for opera singers

When it comes to Wagnerian opera, many vocalists consider it the supreme privilege to sing in the theater the composer himself designed for his music dramas. But sometimes the route to Bayreuth is a surprisingly indirect one, as indicated by American tenor Stephen Gould, who sings the role of Siegfried in the current production of "Der Ring des Nibelungen."

Part of the attraction of Wagner lies in the universal nature of the stories, dealing with jealousy, ambition, humiliation, murder and incest, but also with more noble issues like altruism and -- most significantly -- love. This is a topic pursued in an interview with American soprano Linda Watson, who sings the role of Brünnhilde in "Der Ring des Nibelungen."

Click on the audio links near the bottom of the page to listen to the interviews.

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