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Culture

Wagner Goes Virtual

Richard Wagner fans can now have a look at the famous Festspielhaus, which hosts the annual Wagner Festival, without having to go all the way to Bayreuth.

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Bayreuth's Festspielhaus only plays Wagner.

The 91st Wagner Festival in Bayreuth kicks off on July 25. But those fans who tried to get tickets in vain can still have a look at the stage or orchestra pit at the famous opera house – at least in the Internet.

The organizers of the Festival have updated their website to include a virtual tour of the Festspielhaus (www.bayreuther-festspiele.de). It also includes data and documents on the Festival’s history.

Wagner was initially attracted to Bayreuth in the 1860s by its 18th century opera house. He was looking for somewhere to stage his Ring cycle of operas. The mayor and town council were impressed with Wagner, and offered him a site on a hill at the northern edge of the town, where he could build both his opera house and a home for himself.

Since Bayreuth was within the territories of Wagner's patron, King Ludwig, he accepted.

Wagner specified that the opera house would be called the Festspielhaus or Festival House. He stipulated, however, that it would only be used for the presentation of his operas in an annual festival.

This year’s Festival begins with a new production of "Tannhäuser" by Philippe Arlaud. It ends on August 28.

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