The Bayreuth Festival is dedicated exclusively to the operatic works of German composer Richard Wagner. The five-week series of performances begins each year on July 25 in Bayreuth.
The concept of the Bayreuth Festival stemmed from Richard Wagner himself as a performance venue for his largest-scale work, "The Ring of the Nibelung." Wagner (1813-1883) launched the festival in 1876, and only works by him have been staged there ever since: the Ring cycle, "Parsifal" and five other operas. All performances take place in the Bayreuth "Festspielhaus," a theater Wagner specifically designed to create the optimal blend of orchestral and vocal sound required for his works. On opening day, the Bayreuth Festival is a glamorous social event attended by Germany's cultural and political elite. Most of the performances each season are sold out years in advance.
On today's show: A look back on a week of horrific attacks, from Syria to Afghanistan, France to Germany. We find out what happened on Twitter during the Munich shooting, and why the world doesn't seem to be paying attention to rising civilian deaths in Afghanistan. Plus, the victims of Turkey's failed putsch, Germany's journalist boot camp, and the Bayreuth festival opens with Wagner's Parsifal.
Every year, lovers of opera flock to the southern German town of Bayreuth for the Wagner Festspiele, a world-renowned opera festival dedicated to the works of Richard Wagner. This year's event, which went ahead following a number of recent attacks in the region, showcased the opera, Parsifal.
Richard Wagner's knights of the Holy Grail opera was reset in the Islamic world as security measures were tightened at the Bayreuth Festival. The audience booed the production, though the soloists were top notch.
Bayreuth stage director Uwe Eric Laufenberg talks about festival scandals and his production on opening day, July 25. "Parsifal" is particularly interesting in times of widespread religious fundamentalism, he says.
It was a last-minute upset, but not unusual for the Bayreuth Festival. Conductor Andris Nelsons called off his opening night performance and will be replaced by Hartmut Haenchen. Here's a history of Bayreuth drop-outs.
Guarding against terrorist attacks, the theater housing the annual Bayreuth Festival has been cordoned off. Production teams for the opera event say the increased security measures are ruining the festival's atmosphere.