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Conductor Andris Nelsons leaves Wagner festival in dispute

June 30, 2016

Three and a half weeks before opening day, conductor Andris Nelsons has surprisingly cancelled his contract with the famous Bayreuth Festival. Both parties agreed to otherwise remain silent on the issue.

Andris Nelsons. Photo: CTKxPhoto/StanislavxZbynek
Image: Imago/CTK Photo

A press release by the Bayreuth Festival on Wednesday (30.06.2016) disclosed that the celebrated Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons has requested a cancellation of his contract. The Bayreuth Festival has accepted "with regrets."

Nelsons was to conduct in the new production of Richard Wagner's opera "Parsifal" on opening day, July 25.

The conductor made his request with "the highest respect" for the festival management, for stage director Uwe Eric Laufenberg, for the assistant conductors, cast, orchestra and chorus.

A statement released by Nelsons' management remained vague as to the reasons for the contract rescission: "Owing to a differing approach in various matters, the atmosphere at this year's Bayreuth Festival did not develop in a mutually comfortable way for all parties."

Beyond that statement, both parties have agreed to make no further commentary on the issue.

Nelsons' planned appearance in the soon-to-begin season had been eagerly anticipated. The current principal conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and future "Kapellmeister" of the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig has been warmly celebrated in Bayreuth in the production of "Lohengrin" that was introduced in 2010.

Independent press reports pointing to tensions in recent days between Nelsons and Christian Thielemann, the conductor and Music Director of the Bayreuth Festival, could not be confirmed.

rf/eg (AFP, dpa)