Bayreuther Festspiele 2017 – Operas, Symposium, Concerts, Cinema and More


Bayreuther Festspiele 2017 

As announced at the closing press conference for the 2016 Festival by Festival Director Katharina Wagner, the Bayreuth Festival is launching a new supporting programme this year. It is entitled Bayreuth Discourse and is designed as a series of events for the academic and artistic analysis of Wagner’s work and legacy.

A two-day symposium will be held in summer 2017. This year’s theme will be ‘Wagner’s Work and National Socialism’. Lectures and discussions will examine facets of Wagner’s personality and the effect of his works and writings during the Nazi regime and the long-term consequences. Four concerts will feature music by opponents and victims of Nazi rule.

Bayreuth Discourse is intended to be a platform where the controversies surrounding the composer and ideas about the complex meanings and legacy of the person and work of Richard Wagner can be discussed. Representatives of different disciplines including artists, academics, musicians, and theatre professionals will meet in one-on-one discussions.

Bayreuth Discourse is generously supported by the Gesellschaft der Freunde von Bayreuth e.V. and takes place in cooperation with the Richard Wagner Museum of Bayreuth.

For further information see



28 July 2017: Wagner under National Socialism: A Fall from Innocence?

29 July 2017: Opera without Wagner? Music without Opera? The situation of the arts during the post-war reconstruction

both 10am – 5.45 pm, at Haus Wahnfried, free admission


28, 30 July, 1, 22 August 2017

Participants include members of the Festival Orchestra, Daniel Behle (tenor), Jürgen Kruse (piano), and others

each 8:00 pm, at Haus Wahnfried, Admission €25.

Elsewhere the Festival opens on 25 July with Barrie Kosky’s eagerly awaited new production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with Michael Volle as Sachs, Johannes Martin Kränzle as Beckmessser, Anne Schwanewilms as Eva and Klaus Florian Vogt as Walther von Stolzing, with Phillippe Jordan conducting. Hartmut Haenchen returns to conduct Uwe Eric Laufenberg’s production of Parsifal with Andreas Schager taking over from Vogt in the title role. Katharina Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde sees René Pape as Marke joining Stephen Gould (Tristan) and Petra Lang (Isolde) with Christian Thielemann conducting. It is the final outing for Frank Castorf’s Ring with Stefan Vinke as Siegfried and Catherine Foster who has sung Brünnhilde for all the five seasons, Marek Janowski has the baton once again.

Also on 25 July the always wonderful Wagner für Kinder continues and this year it is Tannhäuser. The opera was last put on in 2010 but this is a new production. Lasting about 70 minutes or so these take place on one of the rehearsal stages in the morning (or afternoon if there is no performance).

One of Bayreuth’s best-kept secrets is the annual Masterclass which this year will be with Stephen Gould and will take place from 8 to 11 August 2017 in the auditorium of the Markgräfin-Wilhelmine Gymnasium in Bayreuth and will end with a public final concert in the great hall of Haus Wahnfried on 13 August 2017 at 11 am.

Finally, Wagner im Kino brings a delayed transmission of the opening night of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg to cinemas in Germany, Austria and Switzerland but sadly nowhere else it seems.

Full information is available on the Bayreuther Festspiele website

Previous Bayreuth reviews are available on this Seen and Heard website and there will be new reviews of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Parsifal and Tristan und Isolde here in mid-August.

Jim Pritchard

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