Music: Conductor in Demand

Since Wieland and Wolfgang Wagner began redraping Grandfather Richard's operas in modern scenic dress seven years ago, première audiences at the Bayreuth Festival have usually focused more on the props than the performance. But last week at the festival's curtain raiser—a new Wolfgang Wagner production of Tristan und Isolde—all ears were sharply tuned to the sounds coming out of the concealed orchestra pit. There Conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch, at 34 perhaps the most gifted German conductor to emerge since Herbert von Karajan and the youngest ever to conduct at Bayreuth, was making his most important operatic debut.

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