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Culture

Wagner Festival Goes Digital in a Search for New Fans

The Bayreuth opera festival will offer streaming video and audio on the Internet for its opening performance. The catch: tickets to the digital show will cost 49 euros ($77).

Screenshot Bayreuth Web site

Will Wagner fans pay for a simulcast?

Each year a lucky few fans of Richard Wagner score tickets to a festival which honors his music. The event has become a must for Germany's politicians and jet-set, who pay 208 euros for tickets.

For fans who don't fancy the 10-years waiting list for a seat in the 2,0000-capacity theater, the Bayreuth Festival has decided to offer an Internet simulcast of the opening performance of "The Master Singers of Nuremberg." It will be broadcast on Sunday, July 27 at 4 p.m.

Laptop listeners

The festival will make 10,000 tickets available for the virtual event. Organizers said they hope the online show will tap into a new fan base.

Wagner's great-granddaughter Katharina, who is staging the production, said she hopes many people "who only know Bayreuth by name, maybe they will say, 'OK, I'll check it out if I can watch it at home on my laptop.'"

This year will be the last for Richard Wagner's grandson Wolfgang, who has served as festival director for 57 years.

In addition to the Internet offering, Bayreuth organizers have decided to set up a large screen for public viewing, allowing an additional 15,000 people to watch the performance.

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