The Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, which is made up of some of the world’s best musicians, has been performing the works of composer Richard Wagner since the Bayreuth Festival’s inception in 1876.
The Bayreuth Festival is a music festival held annually in Bayreuth, Germany, at which performances of operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner are presented. Wagner himself conceived of the festival to showcase his own works and supervised the design and construction of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, which contained many architectural innovations to accommodate the huge orchestras for which Wagner wrote, as well as the composer’s particular vision about the staging of his works. The Orchestra itself is placed in a cavernous room below the stage, completely invisible to the audience.
For the ceremonial laying of the theater’s cornerstone on May 22, 1872, Wagner himself conducted a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, a tradition that is continued to this day by the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra each summer.
The members of the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra are chosen from leading German and international orchestras, with certain traditions holding sway for generations, such as the use of horn players from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Festival has become a pilgrimage destination for Wagner enthusiasts, who often must wait years to obtain tickets.
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