Don't know if this we'll help, but I was able to solve some problems with 
bridges listed in /etc/network/interfaces by replacing "allow-hotplug" by
"auto".

All my interfaces are auto, like this (simplified here):

------------

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet manual

auto eth1
iface eth1 inet manual

auto eth2
iface eth2 inet manual

auto eth3
iface eth3 inet manual

auto br0
iface br0 inet static
 bridge_ports eth0 eth1

auto br1
iface br0 inet static
 bridge_ports eth2 eth3

------------

If it can be of any help... 

I feel like this /etc/network/interfaces way of configuring the network is
getting old, less and less appropriate as time goes on.

Fabien 

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