ARCHIV - 23.07.2021, Bayern, Bayreuth: Das Bayreuther Festspielhaus. Mit «Tristan und Isolde» werden die Festspiele am 25. Juli eröffnet. (zu dpa "Top oder Flop? Die Bayreuther Festspiele zwischen «Ring» und Corona") Foto: Daniel Karmann/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Shortly before the start, accusations of sexism overshadow the Bayreuth Festival. The “Nordbayerischer Kurier” reports on physical assaults on women, insults and sexist sayings. The reporting “very moved and actually surprised the festival management, since no information is known about possible attacks within the company,” said festival spokesman Hubertus Herrmann of the German Press Agency on Friday. “We will investigate the allegations immediately and ask those affected to contact the management directly.” He emphasized: “No insults or physical assaults will be tolerated.”

The Kurier reports that festival director Katharina Wagner herself was affected by an attack. “That’s true,” she told the newspaper. Other women are also quoted with their negative experiences: “Touchy touchy,” said one of the newspaper. “For some of us, this is everyday life.”

According to the newspaper, the former music director of the festival, Christian Thielemann, was also criticized for his tone. He is said to have shouted at and insulted musicians – an accusation that the star conductor vehemently rejects: “There’s nothing to it,” he told the dpa and spoke of a “misunderstanding”. All employees in the Festspielhaus would still have to wear masks to protect themselves from corona infection. “It can happen that you don’t understand things that other people have said. I’d be careful if I pick something up.

The courier also reports misogynist statements and an email about the fact that there are two bassists in the orchestra. “One is enough,” it should have said. “There is no mail at all,” said Thielemann to the dpa. The atmosphere at the festival is excellent, emphasized the conductor, who is to conduct Lohengrin this year. He spoke of “very harmonious, fantastic work” and was concerned that it may now be “forgotten” by the reports on the allegations.