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GERMANY 25 Jul 2013 Wagner festival begins in Bayreuth

Bavaria’s Bayreuth Festival, a 40-day homage to the operatic works of Richard Wagner, celebrates the bicentennial of the German composer’s birth

July 25, 2013 - NULL

GERMANY 25 Jul 2013 Wagner festival begins in Bayreuth

Bavaria's Bayreuth Festival, a 40-day homage to the operatic works of Richard Wagner, celebrates the bicentennial of the German composer's birth this summer, and remains classical music's most exclusive, elitist and conservative event. Each year, only 60,000 music lovers are fortunate enough to enter the Festspielhaus opera house - a venue that will only stage Wagner's operas - even though half a million people will have attempted to buy tickets. Some opera-goers wait patiently for ten years to get a seat. But for the first time, and for one performance only

GERMANY 25 Jul 2013 Wagner festival begins in Bayreuth

Bavaria's Bayreuth Festival, a 40-day homage to the operatic works of Richard Wagner, celebrates the bicentennial of the German composer's birth this summer, and remains classical music's most exclusive, elitist and conservative event. Each year, only 60,000 music lovers are fortunate enough to enter the Festspielhaus opera house - a venue that will only stage Wagner's operas - even though half a million people will have attempted to buy tickets. Some opera-goers wait patiently for ten years to get a seat. But for the first time, and for one performance only, the 2013 Festival permitted tickets to be sold online with no eligibility restrictions. All tickets were sold out in a matter of seconds.

The Festspielhaus opera house, built in 1876, witnessed the original première of Wagner's four-part Ring Cycle. Over 130 years later, audiences can still enjoy all the "music-dramas" that make up the Ring, Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. The festival also includes performances of other Wagnerian classics, such as Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Lohengrin.

The Wagner family have managed the event for almost a century, and is headed this year by the composer's great grand-daughter, Katharina Wagner. Nevertheless, the conservative event is not without its occasional scandal. Last year, as audiences awaited a new production of "Die Fledermaus", Evgeny Nikitin, a Russian opera singer cast in the title role, announced he was pulling out following a row over a "Nazi" tattoo he sported on his chest. (WRITTEN MAR 2013 BY NEWSAHEAD CORRESPONDENT LAWRENCE SMALLMAN)

KEYWORDS: Bayreuth Festival, Bavaria, Germany, Europe, July 2013, Richard Wagner, bicentennial, German composer, opera-goers, Wagner operas, Ring Cycle, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Lohengrin, Evgeny Nikitin, Katharina Wagner, scandal, Wagner family scandal, music news, entertainment news, Nazi tattoo, Festspielhaus opera house

RELATED READING:

Bayreuth Festival's official website
http://www.wagneropera.net/Bayreuth/2013-Bayreuth-Festival-Programme.htm

Wagnerian Ticket Schwindle: Government Gives Bigshots All the Good Seats (1 Jul 2011) http://reason.com/blog/2011/07/01/wagnerian-ticket-schwindle-gov

Bass-Baritone Evgeny Nikitin Withdraws from Bayreuth Performances Following Report of Swastika Tattoo (21 Jul 2012) http://www.operanews.com/Opera_News_Magazine/2012/7/News/Evgeny_Nikitin.html

Date written/update: 2013-07-25