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Wim Wenders expected to direct Bayreuth 'Ring' cycle in 2013

January 11, 2011 | 10:44 am


Filmmaker Wim Wenders -- whose movies include "Wings of Desire," "Paris, Texas" and "Buena Vista Social Club" -- is in talks to direct the 2013 production of Wagner's "Ring" cycle at the Bayreuth Festival, according to reports this week in the German media. 

"I am convinced that we will come to an agreement, even though we are still working out details," Katharina Wagner, the festival co-director, told the German newspaper Die Welt. "Wenders has always understood music as a central element in his work.... He knows what he is talking about and what he is getting into."

The 2013 festival will mark the 200th birthday of Richard Wagner, who was born in 1813 in Leipzig. "The Ring of the Nibelung" is a mythological epic that comprises four individual operas -- "Das Rheingold," "Die Walküre," "Siegfried" and "Götterdämmerung." The operas have a combined running time of more than 15 hours and are performed in rotation throughout the monthlong festival held during the summer in the German town.

This would be Wenders' first foray into the world of opera. The festival's most recent "Ring" production was directed by German playwright Tankred Dorst and premiered in 2006. Past directors have included Wolfgang Wagner (the composer's grandson who died in 2010), Patrice Chéreau, Peter Hall, Harry Kupfer, Alfred Kirchner and Jürgen Flimm.

Wenders is rumored to be paired with Russian conductor Kirill Petrenko. The most recent "Ring" cycles at Bayreuth have been conducted by Christian Thielemann.

In 2001, Bayreuth hired Lars von Trier to direct a production of the "Ring," but the Danish filmmaker ultimately withdrew from the project in 2004, stating that he was not up to the challenge.

Wenders' most recent movie project is "Pina," a documentary of the late modern-dance choreographer Pina Bausch, that is expected to premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February.


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-- David Ng

Photo (top): Wim Wenders. Credit: John Thys / AFP/Getty Images

Photo (bottom): A scene from the Los Angeles Opera production of the "Ring" cycle. Credit: Los Angeles Times