An abominable night at the opera?

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The Richard Wagner Festival opened with a controversial production of the opera Parsifal in southern Germany yesterday.

The Richard Wagner Festival opened with a controversial production of the opera Parsifal in southern Germany yesterday.

This year's festival began with the German tenor Endrik Wottrich singing the title role, days after calling the director Christoph Schlingensief's staging "an abomination" on Bavarian radio. Last year Wolfgang Wagner, 84, a grandson of the composer and artistic director of the festival held in Bayreuth, chose Mr Schlingensief, best known for his provocative theatre, to direct the production after criticism that the festival had grown staid. But weeks before opening, the director clashed with Mr Wagner, who allegedly had to undergo counselling. The row, reportedly over casting and instrumentation, was so serious the pair spoke only through lawyers. In the production, Parsifal is daubed with blood from the vagina of a giant statue.

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