Tristan und Isolde Conductors in Bayreuth

1886

Felix Mottl

1889

Felix Mottl

1891

Felix Mottl

1892

Felix Mottl

1906

Michael Balling
Felix Mottl

1927

Karl Elmendorff

1928

Karl Elmendorff
One of the performances this year was recorded and released on CD. Norwegians Gunnar Graarud is Tristan and Ivar F. Andresen King Marke. Listen to Andresen here (link will open your default MP3 player).

1930

Arturo Toscanini

On 26 June 1930, in the presence of Siegfried, Winifred, Daniela, Eva and the assembled musical directors and assistants, Toscanini took his first rehearsal. It turned out to be something of a shock. The maestro demanded the highest virtuosity, and was angry when he did not find it. Instead of being grateful, as a 'non-German', for being allowed to conduct on the 'hallowed' soil of Bayreuth, he complained - and in Italian, to boot. Lieselotte recorded that ' when he did not like the way the second violins played a particular passage, he brought his baton down so hard that it broke in half, and he threw the broken halves over his shoulder and stamped his foot ... the musicians are already grumbling about his intensive rehearsals. He sings, or rather croaks, loudly along with every part.' His frequent beating out of the time, accompanied by a furious 'no, no', earned him the nickname 'Toscanono'.
Brigitte Hamann: Winifred Wagner: A Life at the Heart of Hitler's Bayreuth

 

For Toscanini it was a great night, his Bayreuth debut. To his presence—perhaps his last engagement as an opera conductor —was ascribed an early sell-out of admissions for the whole season. He is conducting all five Tannhauser performances, the three of Tristan. Before him no South European had held the conductor's wand at the Festspielhaus. Thus to him had fallen the honor of bringing true Friedrich Nietzsche's words of long ago to Wagner: "We must 'Mediterraneanize' music." Tannhauser had not been given in Bayreuth in 25 years. It was an equally long time since Toscanini had conducted it. After each act (and at following performances) the great audience cheered tempestuously, threw hats, stamped, applauded, called for conductor and cast. But they called vainly. There are no curtain calls at Bayreuth.
(Time Magazine, Monday, Aug. 04, 1930)

1931

Wilhelm Furtwängler

1938

Karl Elmendorff

1939

Victor de Sabata

1952

Herbert von Karajan

1953

Eugen Jochum

1957

Wolfgang Sawallisch

1958

Wolfgang Sawallisch

1959

Wolfgang Sawallisch

1962

Karl Böhm

1963

Karl Böhm

1964

Karl Böhm

1966

Karl Böhm
A performance from this Festival was recorded.

1968

Karl Böhm

1969

Karl Böhm

1970

Karl Böhm

1974

Carlos Kleiber

“Although Kleiber was reputed to be a most difficult conductor, he differed from Leonard Bernstein and Georg Solti in being able to reconcile his wishes with the requirements of the Bayreuth management. His threee years with us, 1974-6, were almost completely devoid of friction, and his musical achievements were enthusiastically hailed by artists, festival staff, and audiences alike. It was unfortunate that personal reasons prevented him from conducting in 1977, the last year of his Tristan production.”
Acts – the Autobiography of Wolfgang Wagner

 

 

1975

Carlos Kleiber

1976

Carlos Kleiber
Horst Stein

1977

Horst Stein

1981

Daniel Barenboim

Johanna Meier as Isolde

A new production. Stage director: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle.

1982

Daniel Barenboim

1983

Daniel Barenboim
This production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle was filmed and released on DVD with Johanna Meier and René Kollo as Isolde and Tristan.

1985

Daniel Barenboim

1986

Daniel Barenboim

1987

Daniel Barenboim

1993

Daniel Barenboim
New production. Stage director: Heiner Müller.

Waltraud Meier

1994

Daniel Barenboim

 

 

1995

Daniel Barenboim
This production by Heiner Müller became a huge success. It was Waltraud Meier's debut as Isolde. The production was filmed and released on DVD with Waltraud Meier and Siegfried Jerusalem as Isolde and Tristan.

1996

Daniel Barenboim

1997

Daniel Barenboim

1999

Daniel Barenboim

1999 was the last year Daniel Barenboim appeared at the Bayreuth Festival: “I never made a conscious decision to leave Bayreuth. It was a process of evolution. In 1997, I decided I wanted to return to Argentina in the summer of 2000, because I had played my first piano recital in Buenos Aires on 19 August 1950. The desire to return and play a concert in Buenos Aires on 19 August 2000 ran in a slightly sentimental vein. I would have preferred to appear in the same hall, which was very small, but it does not exist any more. Therefore, the concert was to take place at the Teatro Colón instead. I shared my thoughts with Wolfgang Wagner, who understood perfectly well, and I told him jokingly that, like a true criminal, I had to return to the scene of the crime. Ideally he would have liked to have someone conduct Meistersinger in my absence. However, as we pondered the options, it became clear rather quickly that it would have been very impractical to have someone else conduct it for one year, and have me come back the year after. It made more sense to have the same conductor in 2000 and also in 2001. So the decision to leave was simply the result of reason and timing.”
Daniel Barenboim - A Life in Music


2005

Eiji Oue

2006

Peter Schneider

2008

Peter Schneider
Tristan: Robert Dean Smith
Isolde Iréne Theorin

 

Isolde Iréne Theorin, Bayreuth Festival, Marthaler production

Read interview with Irene Theorin here

2009

Peter Schneider

2011

Peter Schneider

2012

Peter Schneider

 

2015

Christian Thielemann
A new production by Katharina Wagner.

   

 

2016

Christian Thielemann

2017

Christian Thielemann

2018

Christian Thielemann