Highlights from the opening of the 2018 Richard Wagner Festival in Bayreuth and a new production of Wagner's romantic opera "Lohengrin," with the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra conducted by Christian Thielemann.
Richard Wagner had a vision: writing the texts to operas, setting them to music, staging and rehearsing them in the dual role of director and conductor, and bringing it all to pass at his own festival in a specially designed theater.
And who designed that theater? That was Wagner too. 1876 marked the very first Bayreuth Festival: all Wagner all the time, which is how it's been for most of the 142 years since. Music critics have come from every part of the world to experience the event, many this time looking forward to the stage sets by the famous German artist Neo Rauch.
"As a newcomer to the art of set design, I think that theater should convey a world of dreams," said Rauch. "It should take us out of everyday life and into a parallel sphere where the after-effects of the daily news maybe fade away and where a healing process can begin, which is urgently needed."
Lohengrin (excerpts from acts one and two)
Roles and soloists:
King Henry – German bass Georg Zeppenfeld
Lohengrin – Polish tenor Piotr Beczala
Elsa of Brabant – German soprano Anja Harteros
Telramund – Polish baritone Tomasz Konieczny
Ortrud – German soprano Waltraud Meier
The Herald – Latvian baritone Egils Silins
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Conductor: Christian Thielemann
Recorded by Radio Bavaria, Munich (BR) in the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on July 25, 2018.