Remembering Peter Hofmann at Bayreuth

as Siegmund in Chéreau Walküre, Bayreuth

as Siegmund in Chéreau Walküre, Bayreuth

This month the Bayreuth Festival will open with Tristan und Isolde, followed by Lohengrin. The lovely tribute received recently from a French admirer of Peter Hofmann’s art reminded me of the power of a presence like Peter’s to inspire the admiration and awe that great art always does. It has been twenty-five years since Peter filmed the Chéreau Walküre in 1980, twenty-nine since his debut as Siegmund. He went on to become the Lohengrin, Parsifal, Stolzing, Tristan, and , of course, Siegmund of the next dozen years on the Green Hill.  If régisseurs like Hans Neuenfels are shaking the foundations of Wagner’s Festspilehaus today, one must remember how revolutionary Patrice Chéreau’s Ring was and how transformative Peter’s (and his colleagues like Jeannine Altmeyer, Gwyneth Jones, Donald McIntyre and all that Ring cast) performance was! In looking back at my own visits to Bayreuth, I treasure a little memory of a morning my husband and I visited Wahnfried, Wagner’s home. We were able to sit in the great music salon and request the playing of a recording of the Meister’s music.  We chose Peter’s Grail Narration and settled back in the seats to listen. From the first mystical tones to the last proud declaration, his reading sent shivers through us. There in that magical instant the music was transcendent, joining the present to the past and, as Wagner would surely have wished, reaching into the future.

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7 thoughts on “Remembering Peter Hofmann at Bayreuth

  1. I’ll think about you, Carla, and also Peter, when I’ll be in Bayreuth, where I’ll attend Lohengrin and visit the Wahnfried Haus. All the best !

  2. Thank you for remembering Peter Hofmann great voice and talent, he deserves not to be forgotten and to be discovered.

    • My comment was addressed to Mrs Carla Maria Verdino-Sullwold following her recent article , not a post, tribute under “Remembering Peter Hofmann at Bayreuth”. I own full collection of CD/DVD of Peter’s great performances/songs and shows. He still makes my day and will remain in my heart. My wish is for whoever had not yet the chance listening to his great voice would through “You Tube”.

  3. I returned home astonished from Bayreuth ! The ambiance, music, voices and the special staging by Neuenfels of Lohengrin made it all exciting to its smallest details, everything in the entire performance made sense.
    Of course, I took this opportunity to rent a car to visit Bayern. On my way, I made a short detour to pay my tribute to Peter Hofmann at the cemetery of Wunsiedel, where he is resting. I also get a glimpse at the Schönreuth mansion nestled in a tiny village in the middle of a peaceful countryside, where Peter spent several years of his life.
    Later on, while visiting the Linderhof Palace, I was lucky to also visit on this site a remote museum in Königshäuschen (Royal Lodge) , that very few people take the time to do. While visiting I heard music that reminded me something. In a small room, there was a video exhibit : there I had an unexpected pleasure of viewing and listening excerpts from Act II of Die Walküre, with Peter and J. Altmeyer. Strange coincidence !!! http://www.schlosslinderhof.de/deutsch/park/bild04.htm
    I believe I caught a virus, because I must and will return next year to Bayreuth and I intend to visit the dedicated room of Peter in Kemnath.

  4. Thanks for this post. I fondly remember Peter Hofmann as a wonderful performer. I first saw him at the Met in the early 80’s and then, of course, when the Chereau Ring was presented on PBS in New York. I had the very good fortune to see him with Jeannine Altmeyer as Siegmund and Sieglinde in the SF Ring in 1985 (pure magic) and then, 2 months later, as Parsifal at Bayreuth in a mesmerizing Gotz Friedrich production (with a very young Waltraud Meyer as Kundry). I always felt that you had to see him to have the full experience. And I consider myself lucky to have been able to see him in his prime. Thanks again.

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