Scrotum al factotum

The Venusberg of Machines

By ANDREW POWELL
Published: May 16, 2017

MUNICH — Nikolaus Bachler’s Bavarian State Opera has been having its idea of fun with the taxpayer money it receives. In connection with a new Tannhäuser, due May 21, it commissioned for its quarterly Max Joseph magazine a discussion of Wagner’s bacchanale of distant bathing naiads and sedate sirens and downstage (dressed) nymphs. The resulting eleven-section essay by Georg Seeßlen, titled “The Venusberg of Machines,” imagines robots in place of the various classes of ladies, and to ram home this idea BStO further commissioned pictures by Piotr Wyrzykowski, the “media artist” from Gdańsk. Seeßlen’s thinking might have been anticipated by Intendant Bachler. His book credits include: The Pornographic Film (1990), Natural-Born Nazis (1996), Orgasm and Everyday Life (2000), Quentin Tarantino Against the Nazis (2010), Sex Fantasies in the High-Tech World, I to III: Do Androids Dream of Electronic Orgasms?; The Virtual Garden of Pleasures; and Future Sex in Queertopia (collectively 2012), and, his latest, Trump! Populism as Policy. Wagner’s opera will be conducted by Kirill Petrenko and staged by Romeo Castellucci, with of course a separate budget and concept. Tickets run as high as €293 using a new BStO pricing scale. Bachler is the magazine’s publisher; “overall coordination” is by Christoph Koch, the press officer.

Picture © Piotr Wyrzykowski

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