David Lister: Let's give poor old Wagner a rest – and the Spice Girls while we're at it

 

The most bizarre, but potentially most interesting, suggestion for the arts in recent weeks has come from Germany to coincide with the Bayreuth Festival.

The president of the German Theatre Association Klaus Zehelein chose the annual Wagner celebration, and also the composer's bicentenary, to call for a worldwide moratoriums on productions of the Ring Cycle. There are simply, he says, too many productions of the Ring. Most, he says, are for the wrong reasons – because it's so big.

He will fail, of course, in his wish (and should beware of bumping into those slightly scary, obsessive Wagnerites on a dark evening). But I do wonder if cultural moratoriums are quite as mad as they seem. Perhaps they can be a springboard for imaginative thinking, new commissions, and more cutting edge work.

If I can be Cultural Moratorium Officer for Britain for a few moments, I would suggest for a start a 12 month ban on all Tchaikovsky ballets. They are delightful, of course, but how they dominate the repertoire at the Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, year after year after year. Have a moratorium on Tchaikovsky, and the two incoming heads of both companies will really have to think hard about widening the repertoire and finding different music and different choreographers.

Let's not just stick to the supposed high arts, either. I would want to decree a moratorium on encores at rock concerts, those utterly artificial, totally planned, unspontaneous moments of studied excitement, connived in by performers and audience alike. End the gig with a genuine climax for once. I'd also insist on a moratorium on those absurd excuses for ripping off fans, remasters in both pop and film, directors' cuts and all the other devices which leave listeners and viewers too self-conscious to admit they can't hear or see the difference, especially after shelling out a small fortune for the box set.

In theatre, it's a year with no jukebox musicals please. Sorry, Spice Girls, but we will have to live without your return a little longer, while new composers and lyricists take the stage. It would also do no harm for the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare's Globe to talk to each other and agree for once not to have the same Shakespeare play on at the same time. The next is personal prejudice, but I'm afraid all video art is on pause for a year.

With television drama, it's a cliche to say there are too many police and hospital dramas. Nevertheless, let's address the cliche and have a moratorium on them. Instead, let's have a run of chartered accountant and chartered surveyor dramas. Then we'd see if there were really good scriptwriters, actors and directors out there.

We should not dismiss the thought of moratoriums. They do not signal a dislike of the arts, they signal a desire to move forward and experiment. Herr Zehelein had the germ of a good idea, even if he should avoid going out at night for a while.

Tate St Ives's masterplan should include free entry

The Tate seems busier than ever with major redevelopments underway to both Tate Britain and Tate Modern. I'm pleased to learn that the Tate Britain revamp will involve, among much else, a new Members' room to replace the tiny one that serves members at present. The Tate masterplan also involves a substantial redevelopment of Tate St Ives, the beautiful outpost overlooking the sea. I hope that alongside the rebuilding, there might be an announcement that admission to Tate St Ives will in future be free. It has always struck me as nonsensical, not to say a mite hypocritical, for the Tate to proclaim the virtues of free admission, while keeping rather quiet about the fact that in St Ives, as opposed to London and Liverpool, visitors have to pay each time they go in. The Tate management claims it has little choice as the building is leased, and it is the council that insists on the charges. But that's not sufficient excuse. The Tate itself could subsidise free admission in St Ives. Why should gallery goers in Cornwall be second class citizens?

Hiking up ticket fees is not so 'super' for the public

I'm grateful to Mark Shenton of The Stage newspaper for lending support in his organ to my campaign against booking fees, and for pointing out one that I had missed – the charge being levied on tickets for the forthcoming arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. A top price ticket of £65 at London's O2 incurs a booking fee of £8.45; the cheapest seat of £45 has a £6.85 fee. These are absurdly high percentages on the seat prices, a superhike on Superstar that surely the show's composer and producer Andrew Lloyd Webber will want to address.

d.lister@independent.co.uk

twitter.com/davidlister1

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas