‘The only star here is dead’

Conductor Christian Thielemann tells Stephen Moss why the Bayreuth festival is unique
[The Guardian, 20 July 2006]
It is a blisteringly hot Sunday afternoon in Bayreuth. The Festspielhaus, the theatre Richard Wagner built to house his operas, squats in the sun. In a week or so, when the festival begins, it will teem with Wagner obsessives, fighting for tickets, but today it’s just me and a middle-aged German couple out for a stroll, enjoying the calm before the storm.