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Bayreuth Festspiele

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The annual Bayreuth Festspiele will be held 25 July – 28 August 2008 in Bayreuth, the capital of Upper Franconia. The Festspiele is an internationally recognised celebration of the music of Richard Wagner, a German composer who lived in Bayreuth for the last years of his life. Wagner himself was instrumental (get it?) in organising the 100-year-old music festival. Tickets to the event are so in demand that waiting lists can extend for more than ten years.

 

This year for the first time, opera aficionados have the opportunity to view a performance of Wagner’s "Die Meistersinger of Nürnberg" (The Mastersinger of Nuremberg) on the Internet via LiveStream, to be broadcast live on 27 July, 2008, at 4 p.m. This is a highly anticipated performance, as it is an ‘interpretation’ of the work by Katharina Wagner, the great-granddaughter of Richard Wagner.

 

It isn’t free though – you must purchase a ticket to the tune (ha ha!) of 49 euros. There are around 10,000 tickets available. When you purchase a ticket via LiveStream, you can view the performance live and then once again at any time of your choice between 27 July and 2 August, 2008.

 

If free is more your thing, there will also for the first time be a public viewing, with a large outdoor screen with room for 15,000 people to watch.

 

For more information or to purchase your ticket for the online broadcast, visit the official site: Bayreuth Festspiele

 

Deutsche Welle: Wagner Festival goes digital in a search for new fans

 

2008 Bayreuther Festspiele Spielplan

 

Festspiele.de

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49Euro is very very expensive for a pod cast. One will probably be able to see it a few weeks later on Arte.

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I agree -- if the purpose of the streaming broadcast is to reach out to and attract a new, presumably younger generation of opera enthusiasts, they need to adjust the pricing to accommodate their target audience. I'm not sure the performance will be re-broadcast on TV, though; so far I haven't heard or read anything to that effect.

 

There's another good article in the IHT about the Internet broacast.

 

 

Organizers hope the online screening will draw new fans to an annual event devoted entirely to the 10 mature stage works by Richard Wagner. Fans often wait seven years or more for the opportunity to buy tickets...

 

... While New York's Metropolitan Opera and Milan's Teatro alla Scala have offered high-definition theatercasts in recent years, the price usually has been closer to €15 (US$24). And many arts organizations have free audio streams of performances on their Web sites.

 

Bayreuth spokesman Alexander Busche said the hefty price will offset the cost of filming and purchasing the media rights to the singers' performances. "We have a lot of costs," he said.

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The public viewing idea is interesting though... is that ticketed as well or is it just turn up?

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My understanding is that anybody can just turn up for the viewing, which is to be held in the main town square in Bayreuth. Should actually be a nice evening out if the weather holds. I'd love to go, but I'll be out of the country at the time.

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Wagner is often staged throughout the world. (Die Meistersinger closes the Munich festival every summer.) People don't wait so long for tickets because of the the performances themselves or the staging. People spend years waiting to get tickets so that they can appreciate the theater itself. The festspielhaus is VERY different from any other opera house. The placement of the orchestra, the acoustics, the arrangement of the seats, all has been designed to provide a unique experience. Personally, I'd love to see and hear a performance in the theater, but would never pay that much to watch it on a small computer screen and hear it piped through my computer's speakers. I could buy a DVD for that much and probably get much higher quality audio and video.

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On the subject of Bayreuth opera and opera houses, another place well worth a visit is the Markgräfliches Opernhaus (Margravial Opera House), which is where Wagner staged his operas before building the Festspielhaus. It was built in the 1740s and is one of the few surviving baroque opera houses of this period in all of Europe, and is the only authentic baroque theater in Germany. While the theatre itself is not all that big (it seats 520), it has a very deep stage -- at 27 metres, it was the stage that attracted Wagner to the opera house and to Bayreuth in the first place.

 

It is an absolutely stunning place; while the outside is a bit drab and austere, the inside auditorium is incredibly ornate, with elaborate carvings and gilded columns. And the acoustics are fantastic. If you can catch a performance of any kind there, I highly recommend it. The atmosphere is wonderful, you really feel as if you've stepped back in time.

 

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the.pulic.viewing.is.'just-show-up'

 

they.will.be.releasing.a.DVD.sometime.soon.

 

A.cd.of.the.Ring.comes.out.next.

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Well the ‘other’ opera house is quaint, but this is where I work.

 

And, yeah, it’s great!

 

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