Monday, December 17, 2012

"Bülow, working under Wagner's instructions, needed to add more musicians to the orchestra; this, however, meant the removal of some thirty stalls for the public. When informed of his, Bülow cried 'What difference does that make, whether we have thirty schweinehunde [pigs] more or less in the place?' Bülow had spoken in a dark theatre, unaware that anyone might be listening to his devastating words. But a reporter from the Neuste Nachrichten, sitting unnoticed in the hall, quickly ran back to his paper, and Bülow's offhand remark became the following day's front-page headline. Deeply embarrassed, Bülow wrote a letter of apology, stating, not very convincingly, that he had not been referring to the 'cultured Munich public' but rather to the anti-Wagerian critics. The Neueste Nachrichten printed the letter and accepted the apology, but other papers were quick to seize any opportunity to humiliate Wagner and his supporters. The Neuer Bayerischer Kurier, for example, printed the same headline, 'Hans von Bülow is Still Here!' every day for a week, in increasingly large letters, in an attempt to drive the conductor from Munich and thus ruin the premiere of Tristan und Isolde."

from The Mad King by Greg King

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