Angela Merkel was omnipresent in Germany for 16 years. As Chancellor, she appeared on the political stage almost every day. In her retirement, she now shows herself from a completely different side.

The ex-Chancellor in a completely different way: Angela Merkel is a guest in a crime podcast. In the SWR format “Let’s talk about murder?!” she doesn’t talk about real atrocities, but about the criminal cases in Richard Wagner’s four-part opera “Der Ring des Nibelungen”. The true crime podcast’s three-part Christmas special, starring former federal judge Thomas Fischer and host Holger Schmidt, was scheduled for release Sunday afternoon.

“I’m also happy that we’re doing something completely different here,” said Merkel when asked why she decided to take part in the format. It is part of their “newly won freedom” to “go in a completely different direction”.

Merkel is a big Wagner fan and regularly attends the Bayreuth Festival. The opening premiere was always one of the few dates of the year when she appeared on the red carpet together with her husband Joachim Sauer, with whom she shares a passion for Wagner. Sauer was therefore also called the “Phantom of the Opera”.

While most celebrities and politicians said goodbye to the Green Hill after the opening, Merkel and Sauer usually stayed longer in Bayreuth privately to watch other performances. The festival traditionally heralded the summer vacation of the couple Merkel/Sauer.

Merkel, who is now 68 years old, did not run for the Bundestag elections last year after 16 years as chancellor. She now appears as a speaker from time to time – for example in September at the city anniversary in Goslar or for the 77th anniversary of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” in Munich. She wants to publish her memoirs in autumn 2024, as her publisher recently announced.

The podcast with the ex-CDU boss about the murders, intrigues, human and divine abysses in Wagner’s mammoth work should be available from 4 p.m. in the ARD audio library, among other places.