I attended the rehearsals for the opera "Hansel and Gretel" by Humperdinck. The conductor was Seiji Ozawa.
The rehearsals were held for the upcoming performances of the Seiji Ozawa Ongakujuku 2009.
During the intermission, just before the General Probe for the third act, I had an interesting conversation with Mr. Graham Clark , who sang the part of the witch. Marianne Wachter was with us.
Graham has appeared as Mime in Bayreuth for many years. "The atmosphere was quite special", Graham said. "We used to have curtain calls for 40 or 50 minutes. It is Walhall. People make a pilgrimage to Bayreuth to come to close encounters with the great tradition".
"It is the only family opera house left in Europe", Marianne said.
"The Wagner family, in a sense, is the only Royal family in Germany", said Graham. "It is certainly the most important family", Marianne said.
"It is not easy to see all these if you don't live in the German speaking world".
The time came for Graham to sing. In a moment, the gentleman transformed himself into the witch and stormed onto the stage.