Wagners festival place in Bayreuth
The series about historical places of opera art. Get to know exciting excursion and travel ideas for opera lovers. This time: Villa Wahnfried and the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth
All Destinations on google maps with links to detailed Blogposts:
Richard Wagner in Bayreuth
Wagner’s lifelong dream was to build his own festival house, where he could realize the Gesamtkunstwerk (Total Work of Art) – the unification of the arts of music, architecture, theater and stage design. Wagner chose this provincial town in order to be able to give maximum attention to the performances during the festival without the distractions of a big city.
It was clear to Wagner from the beginning that the performance of such a work was hardly possible in the existing theater landscape.
The idea of a festival theater was born early on. But it was to take another 25 years before it was completed. Securing the financing for this enormous undertaking cost Wagner a lot of work. In 1872, he moved to Bayreuth with his wife Cosima, and construction work began. Together with many patrons, he succeeded in raising money for the laying of the foundation stone for the Festspielhaus and for the purchase of Villa Wahnfried. The raising of capital to finance the Festspielhaus was slow and he had to travel a lot, giving lectures and conducting, and his heart was badly affected. Once again Ludwig helped him out of a jam with a considerable amount of money. Fortunately, he had a group of young artists around him who helped him with various tasks, and the group was given the nickname “Nibelungenkanzlei”.
Four years later, the Festspielhaus was opened with Rheingold. The first festival took place in 1876 in the presence of Wilhelm and all the European cultural celebrities and became Wagner’s greatest triumph. However, this first festival was a financial fiasco, which made it take six years until the next festival in 1882, where Wagner premiered his last work, “Parsifal”.
Destination Villa Wahnfried / Richard Wagner Museum
From 1874 Bayreuth and the Villa Wahnfried was the center of life for the Wagner family. It was built according to the wishes of Richard Wagner. After his death it remained the ancestral home of the Wagners. After Siegfried Wagner’s death, his English-born wife Winifred took over and received Adolf Hitler there, among others. It was damaged during the war and served as a US Army quarters for a few years. Afterwards, it was again inhabited by the Wagners for a few years. Later it became the property of the city of Bayreuth, which made the place accessible as the Richard Wagner Museum.
It was clear to Wagner from the very beginning, that the performance of such a work like “The ring of the Nibelung” in existing theatres was hardly possible. Early the idea of his own festival theatre was born. But it was to take another 25 years until its completion. Securing the financing of this enormous undertaking cost Wagner a great deal of work. In 1872 Wagner and his wife Cosima moved to Bayreuth, and construction work began. Together with many patrons he succeeds in raising money for the laying of the foundation stone of the Festspielhaus and for the purchase of the Villa Wahnfried. Four years later the Festspielhaus is opened with Rheingold. The first festival took place in 1876 in the presence of Emperor Wilhelm and all the European cultural celebrities and became Wagner’s greatest triumph of his entire life.
With the Ring and the construction of the Festspielhaus, Wagner completed his vision of the Gesamtkunstwerk: the union of the arts of music, poetry, architecture and stage design. The Festspielhaus still impresses with its excellent acoustics and view of the stage and the covered orchestra pit.
Festival Tickets must be obtained in advance over the long term. Guided tours are offered selectively.
The link to the opera portrait of “The ring of the Nibelung”: