Stuttgart, 25 February 2022
Cornelius Meister, Staatsoper Stuttgart’s General Music Director, will conduct the opening of this year’s Bayreuth Festival. Meister will make his debut at the Festspielhaus on 25 July 2022 with Tristan und Isolde. Roland Schwab will be in charge of the production. The title roles are interpreted by Stephen Gould and Catherine Foster, the other roles are sung by Georg Zeppenfeld (Marke), Markus Eiche (Kurwenal) and Ekaterina Gubanova (Brangäne).
“Ever since I first experienced the Bayreuth acoustics’ intoxicating sound in 1998, it has been my dream to conduct there one day myself. As an eighteen-year-old, I cheekily sat down on the conductor’s chair during a guided tour of the Festspielhaus. Six years later I sat there again as an assistant. Now I am full of gratitude and anticipation to ‘return’ to Bayreuth with Tristan und Isolde – at least that is how it feels in all the attachment that I have for Richard Wagner, the Festival and Bayreuth,” says Cornelius Meister.
Viktor Schoner , Staatsoper Stuttgart’s Intendant, also welcomes the Festival’s decision: “We are very pleased for Cornelius Meister that he will now be able to conduct Wagner on the “Green Hill” in addition to conducting the Ring in Stuttgart. It was not only during Wieland Wagner’s time that a close connection existed between Stuttgart and Bayreuth – for decades Stuttgart was known as ‘Winter Bayreuth’. Now, following in the footsteps of Ferdinand Leitner, Carlos Kleiber, Georg Solti, Silvio Varviso and Dennis Russell Davies yet another conductor with close ties to Stuttgart continues that tradition by opening the Festival.”
Cornelius Meister has been General Music Director at Staatsoper Stuttgart since the 2018/19 season. With Tannhäuser he conducted his first Wagner opera at Theater Heidelberg in 2004. Since then, Meister has performed almost all of Richard Wagner’s Works, some of which have been recorded for radio, CD and video, including Der fliegende Holländer at the Bavarian State Opera and the Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp. Tannhäuser at Semperoper Dresden, Lohengrin in Stuttgart and at the Vienna State Opera. Tristan und Isolde at the Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen, among others Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Latvian National Opera in Riga, Walküre at the Vienna State Opera and Parsifal at Vlaamse Opera.
Cornelius Meister is currently preparing a new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen in Stuttgart. After Das Rheingold premiered in Stuttgart last November, the premiere of Die Walküre is scheduled for 10 April.
Above image: Festspielhaus Bayreuth circa 1900 [Source: Wikipedia]