Friday, March 26, 2010

Souvenirs from Bayreuth 2009 (1)

Whatever is the good thing you've heard about the Opera Festival in Bayreuth, it is true. ;) 
It's a special experience, and if you're a Wagner fan you really take heaps of pleasure. You may think the adventure is just a money-drainer but it's less than you probably expect it to be. 

The only major expense is of course the ticket for one of the operas. I think the myth of it being dreadfully expensive is due to the risk you take by going to Bayreuth without opera tickets: It may easily happen that you pay for your trip, hotel and what-not, and then you spend 4-5-6 hours a day waiting in front of the Festspielehaus' box-office without ever getting to see to see even 1 Act of any opera. When I say that I assume you didn't wait for 10-15 years to get the famous tickets (I wouldn't have that kind of patience...

Let's face it: It is kinda crazy to go to Bayreuth and hope someone would return his tic on the day you're standing in front of the box-office and you'll be the lucky one to get it. That's why nobody wanted to go with me, but I'm living proof that the risk can pay off: I've spent three days in Bayreuth and saw three operas (well, 2 and a half). 

I collected here some photos that might bring you a bit of Bayreuther-Summer-2009 atmosphere, and maybe even encourage you to go and feel the Green Hill  yourselves.

Approaching the legendary theater (Festspielhaus) is fun. You see the street signs such as "Meistersingerstrasse", "Nibelungstrasse"... The long street leading to theater is called "Siegfried Wagner Allee". If you're a Wagner fan it's cool :)

In a pretty park, right in front of the Festspielhaus, you can't miss the busts of Richard and Cosima Wagner. In a park adjacent to the Festspiel-complex there is also a bust of Franz Liszt.

Top-left is the sign "NO ticket has been returned" -- for the show scheduled that day (Parsifal). In the photo beneath you can see the "courageous" peops waiting.

Bizarrely, people in the line were not talkative, they were silently scanning one another; They'd politely answer to your question but wouldn't pick up the conversation... Hold on - it gets weirder: in November 2009 in Berlin (Lohengrin at UDL), I recognized 2 persons from that line in Bayreuth and they came to me to say hello and were very-very friendly. Then I met another one in Stuttgart (for the premiere of Herheim's Rosenkavalier) who even insisted to pay me a beer during the intermission...That's your lesson about the German Wagner-fans :)

OK, here comes the best part, i.e. proof that patience often pays off ==> see my ticket in the right pic above -  230 €.

A friend of 2 elegant Italian ladies had to cancel her trip to Bayreuth. The two didn't know about the procedure to return the extra-ticket to the box-office, nor they spoke any German or English... but since I was close enough to catch on their conversation I jumped in and proposed to buy their extra-ticket. [See how useful it can be to speak several languages!] They kept thanking me for solving their "problem" (sic!), and I... and I went around jumping like a 12 yrs old kid. :)

That's not all. When I saw my seat I was like "You must be freaking kidding me!": 4th row, seat 17, which means right in the middle. If somebody took me to the main auditorium before the show and asked me to pick the best seat, THAT would be the one.

Bavarian folklore: Lederhosen are still en vogue in Bayreuth  [and in Munich!]; beer is irresistible...

The girls in the left pic are the Festival hostesses; all dressed in gray suits and wearing the same violet scarfs, carry the white shiny bags with the same violet edges -- that violet color is on their web-site, on the program-book,  in the theater too (and the color of the ticket is the same violet).

I didn't mention the awesomeness of the content of the program? OK,  I just did.


  1. I would SOOOOOO go there even without a ticket :) Think of me the next time, ahaahah

  2. It is special and even visiting the town is something that stays with you.

    Everything is so classy and to experience the atmosphere, plus the unmatchable acoustics of the auditorium of the Festspielhaus is definitely unforgettable.