Bayreuth (German pronunciation: [baɪˈʁɔʏt] (listen); Upper Franconian: [ba(ː)ˈɾaɪ̯t]) (Bavarian: Bareid) is a medium-sized city in northern Bavaria, Germany, on the Red Main river in a valley between the Franconian Jura and the Fichtelgebirge Mountains. The town's roots date back to 1194. In the early 21st century, it is the capital of Upper Franconia and has a population of 72,148 (2015). It is world-famous for its annual Bayreuth Festival, at which performances of operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner are presented.
Location of Bayreuth
|Admin. region||Upper Franconia|
|• Lord Mayor||Brigitte Merk-Erbe (BG)|
|• Total||66.92 km2 (25.84 sq mi)|
|Elevation||340 m (1,120 ft)|
|• Density||1,100/km2 (2,900/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|Dialling codes||0921, 09201, 09209|
The town is believed to have been founded by the counts of Andechs probably around the mid-12th century, but was first mentioned in 1194 as Baierrute in a document by Bishop Otto II of Bamberg. The syllable -rute may mean Rodung or "clearing", whilst Baier- indicates immigrants from the Bavarian region.
Already documented earlier, were villages later merged into Bayreuth: Seulbitz (in 1035 as the royal Salian estate of Silewize in a document by Emperor Conrad II) and St. Johannis (possibly 1149 as Altentrebgast). Even the district of Altstadt (formerly Altenstadt) west of the town centre must be older than the town of Bayreuth itself. Even older traces of human presence were found in the hamlets of Meyernberg: pieces of pottery and wooden crockery were dated to the 9th century based on their decoration.
While Bayreuth was previously (1199) referred to as a villa ("village"), the term civitas ("town") appeared for the first time in a document published in 1231. One can therefore assume that Bayreuth was awarded its town charter between 1200 and 1230. The town was ruled until 1248 by the counts of Andechs-Merania. After they died out in 1260 the burgraves of Nuremberg from the House of Hohenzollern took over the inheritance.
In 1398 Bayreuth was partitioned from Nuremberg, becoming the Principality of Bayreuth (German: Fürstentum Bayreuth). Until 1604, however, the princely residence and the centre of the territory was the castle of Plassenburg in Kulmbach and as such the territory was officially known as the Principality of Kulmbach. The town of Bayreuth developed slowly and was affected time and again by disasters.
Bayreuth was first published on a map in 1421.
In February 1430, the Hussites devastated Bayreuth and the town hall and churches were razed. Matthäus Merian described this event in 1642 as follows: "In 1430 the Hussites from Bohemia attacked / Culmbach and Barreut / and committed great acts of cruelty / like wild animals / against the common people / and certain individuals. / The priests / monks and nuns they either burnt at the stake / or took them onto the ice of lakes and rivers / (in Franconia and Bavaria) and doused them with cold water / and killed them in a deplorable way / as Boreck reported in the Bohemian Chronicle, page 450"
In 1605 a great fire, caused by negligence, destroyed 137 of the town's 251 houses. In 1620 plague broke out and, in 1621, there was another big fire in the town. The town also suffered during the Thirty Years War.
A turning point in the town's history came in 1603 when Margrave Christian, the son of the elector, John George of Brandenburg, moved the aristocratic residence from the castle of Plassenburg above Kulmbach to Bayreuth. The first Hohenzollern palace was built in 1440-1457 under Margrave John the Alchemist. It was the forerunner of today's Old Palace (Altes Schloss) and was expanded and renovated many times. The development of the new capital stagnated due to the Thirty Years' War, but afterwards many famous baroque buildings were added to the town. After Christian's death in 1655 his grandson, Christian Ernest, followed him, ruling from 1661 until 1712. He was an educated and well-travelled man, whose tutor had been the statesman Joachim Friedrich von Blumenthal. He founded the Christian-Ernestinum Grammar School and, in 1683, participated in the liberation of Vienna which had been besieged by the Turks. To commemorate this feat, he had the Margrave Fountain built as a monument on which he is depicted as the victor of the Turks; it now stands outside the New Palace (Neues Schloss). During this time, the outer ring of the town wall and the castle chapel (Schlosskirche) were built.
His successor, the Crown Prince and later Margrave, George William, began in 1701 to establish the then independent town of St Georgen am See (today, the district of St Georgen) with its castle, the so-called Ordensschloss, a town hall, a prison and a small barrack. In 1705 he founded the Order of Sincerity (Ordre de la Sincérité), which was renamed in 1734 to the Order of the Red Eagle and had the monastery church built, which was completed in 1711. In 1716 a princely porcelain factory was established in St. Georgen.
The first 'castle' in the park of the Hermitage was built at this time by Margrave George William (1715–1719).
In 1721 the town council acquired the palace of Baroness Sponheim (today's Old Town Hall or Altes Rathaus) as a replacement for the town hall built in 1440 in the middle of the market place and destroyed by fire.
In 1735 a nursing home, the so-called Gravenreuth Stift, was founded by a private foundation in St. Georgen. The cost of the building exceeded the funds of the foundation, but Margrave Frederick came to their aid.
Bayreuth experienced its Golden Age during the reign (1735–1763) of Margrave Frederick and Margravine Wilhelmina of Bayreuth, the favourite sister of Frederick the Great. During this time, under the direction of court architects, Joseph Saint-Pierre and Carl von Gontard, numerous courtly buildings and attractions were created: the Margravial Opera House with its richly furnished baroque theatre (1744–1748), the New 'Castle' and Sun Temple (1749–1753) at the Hermitage, the New Palace with its courtyard garden (1754 ff) to replace the Old Palace which had burned down through the carelessness of the margrave, and the magnificent row of buildings in today's Friedrichstraße. There was even a unique version of the rococo architectural style, the so-called Bayreuth Rococo which characterised the aforementioned buildings, especially their interior design.
The old, sombre gatehouses were demolished because they impeded transport and were an outmoded form of defence. The walls were built over in places. Margrave Frederick successfully kept his principality out of the wars being waged by his brother-in-law, Frederick the Great, at this time, and, as a result, brought a time of peace to the Frankish kingdom.
1742 saw the founding of the Frederick Academy, which became a university in 1743, but was moved that same year to Erlangen after serious riots because of the adverse reaction of the population. The university has remained there to the present today. From 1756 to 1763 there was also an Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Roman Catholics were given the right to set up a prayer room and Jewish families settled here again. In 1760 the synagogue was opened and in 1787 the Jewish cemetery was dedicated.
Countess Wilhelmina died in 1758 and, although, Margrave Frederick married again, the marriage was only short-lived and without issue. After his death in 1763, many artists and craftsmen migrated to Berlin and Potsdam, to work for King Frederick the Great, because Frederick's successor, Margrave Frederick Christian had little understanding of art. He also lacked the means due to the elaborate lifestyle of his predecessor, because the buildings and the salaries of the mainly foreign artists had swallowed up a lot of money. For example, the court - which under George Frederick Charles had comprised around 140 people - had grown to about 600 employees by the end of the reign of Margrave Frederick. By 1769 the principality was close to bankruptcy.
In 1769 Margrave Charles Alexander, from the Ansbach line of Frankish Hohenzollerns, followed the childless Frederick Christian and Bayreuth was reduced to a secondary residence. Charles Alexander continued to live in Ansbach and rarely came to Bayreuth.
In 1775 the Brandenburg Pond (Brandenburger Weiher) in St.Georgen was drained.
Following the abdication of the last Margrave, Charles Alexander, from the principalities of Ansbach and Bayreuth on 2 December 1791 its territories became part of a Prussian province. The Prussian Minister Karl August von Hardenberg took over its administration at the beginning of 1792.
The town centre still possesses the typical structure of a Bavarian street market: the settlement is grouped around a road widening into a square; the Town Hall was located in the middle. The church stood apart from it and on a small hill stood the castle. Some sixty years later the town (at that time a tiny village) became subordinate to the Hohenzollern state, and when this state was divided, Bayreuth ended up in the County of Kulmbach.
The rule of the Hohenzollerns over the Principality of Kulmbach-Bayreuth ended in 1806 after the defeat of Prussia by Napoleonic France. During the French occupation from 1806 to 1810 Bayreuth was treated as a province of the French Empire and had to pay high war contributions. It was placed under the administration of Comte Camille de Tournon, who wrote a detailed inventory of the former Principality of Bayreuth. On 30 June 1810 the French army handed over the former principality to what was now the Kingdom of Bavaria, which it had bought from Napoleon for 15 million francs. Bayreuth became the capital of the Bavarian district of Mainkreis, which later transferred into Obermainkreis and was finally renamed as the province of Upper Franconia.
As Bavaria was opened up by the railways, the main line from Nuremberg to Hof went past Bayreuth, running via Lichtenfels, Kulmbach and Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg to Hof. Bayreuth was first given a railway connexion in 1853, when the Bayreuth–Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg railway was built at the town's expense. It was followed in 1863 by the line to Weiden, in 1877 by the railway to Schnabelwaid, in 1896 by the branch line to Warmensteinach, in 1904 by the branch to Hollfeld and in 1909 by the branch via Thurnau to Kulmbach, known as the Thurnauer Bockala (which means something like "Thurnau Goat").
On 17 April 1870 Richard Wagner visited Bayreuth, because he had read about the Margrave Opera House, whose great stage seemed fitting for his works. However, the orchestra pit could not accommodate the large number of musicians required, for example, for the Ring of the Nibelung and the ambience of the auditorium seemed inappropriate for his piece. So, he toyed with the idea of building his own festival hall (the Festspielhaus) in Bayreuth. The town supported him in this project and made a piece of land available to him, an undeveloped area outside the town between the railway station and Hohe Warte, the de:Grüner Hügel ("Green Hill"). At the same time Wagner acquired a property at Hofgarten to build his own house, Wahnfried. On 22 May 1872 the cornerstone for the Festival Hall was laid and, on 13 August 1876, it was officially opened (see Bayreuth Festival). Planning and construction were in the hands of the Leipzig architect, Otto Brückwald, who had already made a name for himself in the building of theatres in Leipzig and Altenburg.
In 1886, the composer Franz Liszt died in Bayreuth while visiting his daughter Cosima Liszt, Wagner's widow. Both Liszt and Wagner are buried in Bayreuth; however Wagner did not die there. Rather he died in Venice in 1883, but his family had his body brought to Bayreuth for burial.
The new century also brought several innovations of modern technology: in 1892, the first electric street lights; in 1908 a municipal electricity station, and, in the same year, the first cinema.
In 1914–15, one section of the northern arm of the Red Main was straightened and widened after areas along the river had been flooded during a period of high water in 1909.
After the First World War had ended in 1918, the Workers' and Soldiers' Council took power briefly in Bayreuth. On 17 February 1919, there was a three-day coup, the so-called Speckputsch, a brief interlude of excitement in the otherwise rather staid town.
In a series of völkisch and nationalist "Deutscher Tag" (German Days), the NSDAP organised the event in Bayreuth on 30 September 1923. More than 3,300 military and civilian people gathered (equivalent to 15% of the inhabitants), although Minister of Defence Otto Gessler had forbidden the participation of Reichswehr units. Among the guests were mayor Albert Preu as well as Siegfried and Winifred Wagner, who invited keynote speaker Adolf Hitler to Wahnfried house. There he met writer Houston Stewart Chamberlain, son-in-law of Richard Wagner and anti-semitic race theorist. Also on that day, Hans Schemm met Hitler for the first time.
In 1932, the provinces of Upper and Middle Franconia were merged and Ansbach was chosen as the seat of government. As a small compensation, Bayreuth was given the merged state insurance agency for Upper and Middle Franconia. Unlike the provincial merger, the merger of those institutions was never reversed.
Being a stronghold of right-wing parties since the 1920s, Bayreuth became a center of Nazi ideology. In 1933, it was made capital of the Nazi Gau of Bavarian Ostmark (Bayerische Ostmark, in 1943 Gau Bayreuth). Nazi leaders often visited the Wagner festival and tried to turn Bayreuth into a Nazi model town. It was one of several places in which town planning was administered directly from Berlin, due to Hitler's special interest in the town and in the festival. Hitler loved the music of Richard Wagner, and he became a close friend of Winifred Wagner after she took over the festival. Hitler frequently attended Wagner performances in the Bayreuth Festival Hall.
Bayreuth was to have received a so-called Gauforum, a combined government building and marching square built to symbolise the centre of power in the town. Bayreuth's first Gauleiter was Hans Schemm, who was also the head (Reichswalter) of the National Socialist Teachers League, NSLB, which was located in Bayreuth. In 1937 the town was connected to the new Reichsautobahn.
Under Nazi dictatorship the synagogue of the Jewish Community in Münzgasse was desecrated and looted on Kristallnacht but, due to its proximity to the Opera House it was not razed. Inside the building, which is once again used by a Jewish community as a synagogue, a plaque next to the Torah Shrine recalls the persecution and murder of Jews in the Shoah, which took the lives of at least 145 Jews in Bayreuth.
During the Second World War, a subcamp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp was based in the town, in which prisoners had to participate in physical experiments for the V-2. Wieland Wagner, the grandson of the composer, Richard Wagner, was the deputy civilian director there in late 1944 and early April 1945 . Shortly before the war's end branches of the People's Court (Volksgerichtshof) were to have been set up in Bayreuth.
On 5, 8 and 11 April 1945 about one third of the town, including many public buildings and industrial installations were destroyed by heavy air strikes, along with 4,500 houses. 741 people were also killed. On 14 April, the U.S. Army occupied the town.
After the war Bayreuth tried to part with its ill-fated past. It became part of the American Zone. The American military government set up a DP camp to accommodate displaced persons (DP), many of whom were Ukrainian. The camp was supervised by the UNRRA.
The housing situation was very difficult at first: there were about 53,300 inhabitants in the town, many more than before the war began. This increase was primarily due to the high number of refugees and expellees. Even in 1948 more than 11,000 refugees were counted. In addition, because many homes had been destroyed due to the war, thousands of people were living in temporary shelters, even the festival restaurant next to the Festival Hall housed some 500 people.
In 1945, 1,400 men were conscripted by the town council for "essential work" (clean-up work on damaged buildings and the clearing of roads). A significant number of historic buildings were demolished post-war but cultural life was soon back on track: in 1947 Mozart festival weeks were held in the Opera House, from which the Franconian Festival Weeks developed. In 1949 the Festival Hall was used for the first time again and there was a gala concert with the Vienna Philharmonic led by Hans Knappertsbusch. In 1951, the first post-war Richard Wagner Festival took place under the leadership of Wieland and Wolfgang Wagner. Wieland Wagner's fresh and non-traditional stagings "restored credibility to a theater that had been totally ruined by Nazi ideology."
In 1949 Bayreuth became the seat of the government of Upper Franconia again.
In May 1972, a serious accident occurred at the folk festival in the town, when an overcrowded carriage derailed and several people were thrown out. Four died and five were injured, some seriously. At that time, it was the worst disaster on a roller coaster since the Second World War.
In 1999 the world gliding championship took place at Bayreuth municipal airport.
In 2006, Bayreuth chose its first CSU member and mayor, the lawyer, Michael Hohl, and, in 2007, a Youth Parliament, consisting of 12 young people, aged 14–17 years, was elected for the first time. The end of October saw the opening of the long-planned bus station and its associated office building on the newly created Hohenzollernplatz.
|Largest groups of foreign residents|
The town is best known for its association with the composer Richard Wagner, who lived in Bayreuth from 1872 until his death in 1883. Wagner's villa, "Wahnfried", was constructed in Bayreuth under the sponsorship of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was converted after World War II into a Wagner Museum. In the northern part of Bayreuth is the Festival Hall, an opera house specially constructed for and exclusively devoted to the performance of Wagner's operas. The premieres of the final two works of Wagner's Ring Cycle ("Siegfried" and "Götterdämmerung"); the cycle as a whole; and of Parsifal took place here.
Every summer, Wagner's operas are performed at the Festspielhaus during the month-long Richard Wagner Festival, commonly known as the Bayreuth Festival. The Festival draws thousands each year and has persistently been sold out since its inauguration in 1876. Currently, waiting lists for tickets can stretch for 10 years or more.
Owing to Wagner's relationship with the then unknown philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the first Bayreuth festival is cited as a key turning point in Nietzsche's philosophical development. Though at first an enthusiastic champion of Wagner's music, Nietzsche ultimately became hostile, viewing the festival and its revellers as symptom of cultural decay and bourgeois decadence – an event which led him to turn his eye upon the moral values esteemed by society as a whole – "Nietzsche clearly preferred to see Bayreuth fail than succeed by mirroring a society gone wrong."
Bayreuth lies on the Red Main river, the southern of the two headstreams of the River Main, between the Fichtelgebirge Mountains and Franconian Switzerland. The town is also part of the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region.
The borough of Bayreuth is divided into 39 districts:
Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Dfb" (Humid continental climate) using the 0°C isotherm and "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate) using the -3°C isotherm.
|Climate data for Bayreuth|
|Average high °C (°F)||1
|Average low °C (°F)||−4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||46
The results of the 2008 local elections in Bavaria were as follows (in brackets the change from the 2002 elections):
The town of Bayreuth has twinning partnerships with the following towns:
There is also a cultural partnership with the state of Burgenland, Austria, and a university partnership between the University of Bayreuth and the Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
Margrave Albert Achilles, who was also Elector of Brandenburg, presented the town Bayreuth in December 1457 with the coat of arms that it still bears today. Two fields show the black and white coat of arms of the Hohenzollerns. The black lion on gold with a red and white border was the municipal coat of arms of the burgraves of Nuremberg. Along the two diagonals are two Reuten, small triangular shovels with a slightly bent shaft. They represent the ending -reuth in the town's name." 
The Margravial Opera House was opened in 1748 and is one of the finest Baroque theatres in Europe. It is both a museum and the oldest working tableau in Bayreuth.
The Bayreuth Town House (Stadthaus), likewise, does not have its own ensemble. It is regularly used by the Theater Hof as well as the Tourneetheater.
The only two theatres with their own ensemble are the Studiobühne Bayreuth and amateur dramatic society, Brandenburg Kulturstadl. The venues of the studio theatre in Bayreuth are the domicile of the theatre in the Röntgenstraße, the ruins of the Bayreuth Hermitage and the courtyard of Bayreuth piano manufacturer, Steingraeber & Söhne.
In the town centre is the Court Garden (Hofgarten) of the New Palace. Near the Festival Hall is the Festival Park. On the southern edge of the town lie the Ecological-Botanical Garden of the University of Bayreuth. On the Königsallee, east of the town centre, is the relatively small Miedel Garden.
The best known park in Bayreuth is that of the "Eremitage" (Hermitage) in the district of St. Johannis. With a total area of almost 50 hectares it is the largest park in Bayreuth.
Bayreuth has been chosen to host the Bavarian Country Garden Show in 2016. For this reason another park called Wilhelminenaue was built on the Main water meadows between the Volksfestplatz and the A9 motorway.
The oldest surviving cemetery is the Town Cemetery (Stadtfriedhof) with a large number of gravestones of famous people. On the southern edge of the town is the Southern Cemetery (Südfriedhof) and crematorium. The districts of St. Johannis and St. Georgen have their own cemeteries. On Nürnberger Straße, in the east of the town, is an Israeli cemetery.
Over 60 clubs offer just under one hundred sports. The most successful club in the town presently is the Bayreuth Air Sports Community with its Gliding Team: 2002 and 2015 the pilots won the Federal Gliding League, in 2015 they have won even the IGC-World League. The street hockey team of the Hurricans Bayreuth have been German runners-up three times (1998/2004/2006) and champions five times (1996/1997/2001/2005/2007). The basketball team of BBC Bayreuth plays in the Basketball Bundesliga (division 1), the HaSpo Bayreuth handball team, the footballers of SpVgg Bayreuth and the volleyball players of BSV Bayreuth each play in their respective Bavarian League. The ice hockey team, EHC Bayreuth, has also just entered the Bavarian League.
Bayreuth had its sporting heyday in the late 1980s and early 90s. The basketball team, Steiner Bayreuth, were twice German Cup winners (1987/1988 and 1988/1989) and in the 1988/1989 season they also won the German championship. The hockey team of Bayreuth's swimming club (SCC) was twice champions of Second Division South and also played for a year in the Hockey League. At the time that the table tennis team of Steiner Bayreuth was also first class (since 1983 2nd Division, in 1984/85, 1986/87 and 1987/88 1st Division, 1988 relegated and the team has played for many years in the 2nd Football Division. The table tennis players of the 1. Bayreuth FC played in the 1st Division from 1994 to 1997.
In 1999 the World Glider Championships took place in Bayreuth.
Federal roads (Bundesstraßen):
From Bayreuth Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) railway lines run north to Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg, and from there to Bamberg and over the Schiefe Ebene to Hof, east to Weidenberg, southeast to Weiden and south to Schnabelwaid with connections to Nuremberg on the Pegnitz Valley Railway. The lines around Bayreuth are all single-tracked and non-electrified.
Since a 2006/2007 timetable change, Bayreuth has no longer been connected to the DB's long-distance network. However, the Franken-Sachsen-Express still provides a direct connection to Dresden (since December 2007, every two hours). This service is worked by Class 612 diesel multiple units. There are also Regional-Express links via Lichtenfels to Bamberg and Würzburg, and via Lichtenfels and Kronach to Saalfeld.
The town bus routes are operated by Bayreuth Transport and Public Baths (BVB) (Bayreuther Verkehrs- und Bäder GmbH). Sometimes private bus operators run services on behalf of the transport companies. The 15 routes (lines 301-315) operate from Monday to Friday at 20 or 30-minute intervals; on Saturday and Sunday the interval is extended to 30 minutes. Late evening services (from about 20 to 12 pm during the week and to 1 am at weekends), on Sunday mornings a simplified network of six lines (lines 321-326) runs buses at 30-minute intervals. Some lines then operate like an on-call taxi service. The network is star-shaped. Originally, the central station was at the market square in Maximilianstrasse. Since 27 October 2007 the Central Bus Station (ZOH) has been at Hohenzollernplatz at the junction of Kanalstraße on the Hohenzollernring. At this stop there are also bus stops for local buses to facilitate transfers.
Regional rail is operated by the Omnibusverkehr Franken. From 1 January 2010 public transport from the town and district of Bayreuth was integrated into the Nuremberg Regional Transport Network (Verkehrsverbund Großraum Nürnberg).
In most places there is a signed cycle path network. In the centre of Bayreuth itself, cycling is fairly straightforward due to the relatively flat topography, something which encourages the use bicycles as an everyday means of transport. Because of the proximity of the 600 kilometre long Main Cycle Path, Bayreuth is also a destination for many tourist cycle routes. Because of the long service intervals of the Bayreuth town bus system and its long overnight pause, students use bicycles as their everyday mode of transport. Bicycles may be carried for a fee on DB Regio trains leaving Bayreuth and in the VGN's buses.
The local airport supports Bayreuth's commercial aviation traffic, individual business travel, general aviation and air sports. There is no commercial service any more: In 2001, the service which used to operate three times a day from Frankfurt via Bayreuth to Hof, stopped service.
The airfield at Bindlacher Berg is also one of the most important bases for gliding in Germany. For example, the World Championships took place here in 1999. For the air sports community in Bayreuth, the airport is a departure point for glider flights taking part in the national Bundesliga competition league. The local gliding club also provides instruction in flying gliders and light aircraft.
See also: Bayreuth Airport.
For centuries Bayreuth was also a garrison town for the Prussian Army, Royal Bavarian Army, Reichswehr, Wehrmacht, US Army, German Army (Bundeswehr) and the German Border Police (Bundesgrenzschutz). In the early 1990s, following the end of the Cold War the garrison tradition of the town came to an end when the Bundeswehr's Margrave Barracks (Markgrafenkaserne) and the Röhrensee Barracks (Röhrenseekaserne), used by the US Army and the BGS (Grenzschutzabteilung Süd 3), were closed.
Bayreuth is a Landkreis (district) in Bavaria, Germany. It surrounds, but does not include the city of Bayreuth. The district is bounded by (from the north and clockwise) the districts of Kulmbach, Hof, Wunsiedel, Tirschenreuth, Neustadt an der Waldnaab, Amberg-Sulzbach, Nürnberger Land, Forchheim and Bamberg.Bayreuth Festival
The Bayreuth Festival (German: Bayreuther Festspiele) 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 and promoted the idea of a special festival to showcase his own works, in particular his monumental cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen and Parsifal.
Performances take place in a specially designed theatre, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Wagner personally supervised the design and construction of the theatre, 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 Festival has become a pilgrimage destination for Wagner enthusiasts.Bayreuth Festspielhaus
The Bayreuth Festspielhaus or Bayreuth Festival Theatre (German: Bayreuther Festspielhaus, pronounced [ˈbaɪ̯ʁɔʏ̯tɐ ˈfɛstʃpiːlˌhaʊ̯s]) is an opera house north of Bayreuth, Germany, built by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner and dedicated solely to the performance of his stage works. It is the venue for the annual Bayreuth Festival, for which it was specifically conceived and built. Its official name is Richard-Wagner-Festspielhaus.Bayreuth canon
The Bayreuth canon consists of those operas by the German composer Richard Wagner (1813–1883) that have been performed at the Bayreuth Festival. The festival, which is dedicated to the staging of these works, was founded by Wagner in 1876 in the Bavarian town of Bayreuth, and has continued under the directorship of his family since his death. Although it was not originally held annually, it has taken place in July and August every year since the 75th anniversary season in 1951. Its venue is the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, which was built for the first festival. Attendance at the festival is often thought of as a pilgrimage made by Wagner aficionados.The operas in the Bayreuth canon are the last ten of the thirteen that Wagner completed. He rejected the first three – Die Feen, Das Liebesverbot and Rienzi – as apprentice works. Although these have been staged elsewhere and Rienzi was very popular into the early 20th century, the works in the canon exceed them, both in the number of performances given and in the number of available recordings. The term Bayreuth canon is therefore sometimes taken to mean the composer's mature operas. Georg Solti was the first conductor to complete studio recordings of all the works in the canon, starting in 1958 with Das Rheingold and finishing in 1986 with Lohengrin.Bindlacher Berg Airport
Bindlacher Berg Airport (IATA: BYU, ICAO: EDQD), or Verkehrslandeplatz Bayreuth in German, is a regional airport in Bindlach, Bavaria 5 km northeast of the city of Bayreuth.Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth (19 December 1671 – 4 September 1727) was Electress of Saxony from 1694 to 1727 (her death) and titular Queen of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1697 to 1727 by marriage to Augustus II the Strong. Not once throughout the whole of her thirty-year queenship did she set foot in Poland, instead living in Saxony in self-imposed exile. Born a German margravine, she was called Sachsens Betsäule, "Saxony's pillar of prayer", by her Protestant subjects for her refusal to convert to Catholicism and her loyalty to the Protestant faith. Despite the allegiance of Christiane Eberhardine and her mother-in-law, Anna Sophie of Denmark, to Lutheranism, her husband and son, later Augustus III, both became Catholics.Cosima Wagner
Cosima Wagner (born Francesca Gaetana Cosima Liszt; 24 December 1837 – 1 April 1930) was the illegitimate daughter of the Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt and Marie d'Agoult. She became the second wife of the German composer Richard Wagner, and with him founded the Bayreuth Festival as a showcase for his stage works; after his death she devoted the rest of her life to the promotion of his music and philosophy. Commentators have recognised Cosima as the principal inspiration for Wagner's later works, particularly Parsifal.
In 1857, after a childhood largely spent under the care of her grandmother and with governesses, Cosima married the conductor Hans von Bülow. Although the marriage produced two children, it was largely a loveless union, and in 1863 Cosima began a relationship with Wagner, who was 24 years her senior. She married him in 1870; after his death in 1883 she directed the Bayreuth Festival for more than 20 years, increasing its repertoire to form the Bayreuth canon of ten operas and establishing the festival as a major event in the world of musical theatre.
During her directorship, Cosima opposed theatrical innovations and adhered closely to Wagner's original productions of his works, an approach continued by her successors long after her retirement in 1907. She shared Wagner's convictions of German cultural and racial superiority, and under her influence, Bayreuth became increasingly identified with antisemitism. This was a defining feature of Bayreuth for decades, into the Nazi era which closely followed her death in 1930. Thus, although she is widely perceived as the saviour of the festival, her legacy remains controversial.Der Ring des Nibelungen
Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), WWV 86, is a cycle of four German-language epic music dramas composed by Richard Wagner. The works are based loosely on characters from the Norse sagas and the Nibelungenlied. The composer termed the cycle a "Bühnenfestspiel" (stage festival play), structured in three days preceded by a Vorabend ("preliminary evening"). It is often referred to as the Ring Cycle, Wagner's Ring, or simply The Ring.
Wagner wrote the libretto and music over the course of about twenty-six years, from 1848 to 1874. The four parts that constitute the Ring cycle are, in sequence:
Das Rheingold (The Rhinegold)
Die Walküre (The Valkyrie)
Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods)Although individual works of the sequence have occasionally been performed separately, Wagner intended them to be performed in series. The first performance as a cycle opened the first Bayreuth Festival in 1876, beginning with Das Rheingold on 13 August and ending with Götterdämmerung on 17 August. Opera stage director Anthony Freud stated that Der Ring des Nibelungen "marks the high-water mark of our art form, the most massive challenge any opera company can undertake."Die Walküre
Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), WWV 86B is the second of the four music dramas that constitute Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, (English: The Ring of the Nibelung). It was performed, as a single opera, at the National Theatre Munich on 26 June 1870, and received its first performance as part of the Ring cycle at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on 14 August 1876.
As the Ring cycle was conceived by Wagner in reverse order of performance, Die Walküre was the penultimate of the four texts to be written, although Wagner composed the music in the proper sequence. The text was completed by July 1852, and the music by March 1856.
In his composition Wagner largely followed the principles related to the form of musical drama which he had set out in his 1851 essay Opera and Drama under which the music would interpret the text emotionally, reflecting the feelings and moods behind the work, by using a system of recurring leitmotifs to represent people, ideas and situations rather than the conventional operatic units of arias, ensembles, and choruses. Wagner showed greater flexibility in the application of these principles, particularly in Act 3 when the Valkyrie maidens engage in regular ensemble singing.
As with Das Rheingold, Wagner wished to defer any performance of the new work until it could be shown in the context of the completed cycle, but the 1870 Munich premiere was arranged at the insistance of his patron, King Ludwig II of Bavaria. More so than the other Ring dramas, Die Walküre has achieved some popularity as a stand-alone work, and continues to be performed independently from its role in the tetralogy.
The story of Die Walküre is based on the Norse mythology told in the Volsunga Saga and the Poetic Edda. In this version the Volsung twins Sieglinde and Siegmund, separated in childhood, meet and fall in love. This union angers the gods who demand that Siegmund must die. Sieglinde and the couple's unborn child are saved by the defiant actions of Wotan's Valkyrie daughter Brünnhilde, who as a result faces the gods' retribution.FSV Bayreuth
The FSV Bayreuth is a German association football club from the city of Bayreuth, Bavaria.
The club was formed in a merger of the football departments of 1. FC Bayreuth and BSV 98 Bayreuth in May 2003. BSV was the product an earlier merger between VfB Bayreuth and TuSpo Bayreuth.Gau Bayreuth
Gau Bayreuth (until 1942, Gau Bayerische Ostmark (English: Bavarian Eastern March)) was an administrative division of Nazi Germany in Lower Bavaria, Upper Palatinate and Upper Franconia, Bavaria, from 1933 to 1945. From 1926 to 1933, it was the regional subdivision of the Nazi Party for these areas.Jahrhundertring
The Jahrhundertring (Centenary Ring) was the production of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen, at the Bayreuth Festival in 1976, celebrating the centenary of both the festival and the first performance of the complete cycle. The festival was directed by Wolfgang Wagner and the production was created by the French team of conductor Pierre Boulez, stage director Patrice Chéreau, stage designer Richard Peduzzi, costume designer Jacques Schmidt and lighting designer André Diot. The cycle was shown first in 1976, then in the following years until 1980. It was filmed for television in 1979 and 1980. While the first performance caused "a near-riot" for its brash modernity, the staging established a standard, termed Regietheater (director's theater), for later productions.Medi Bayreuth
Medi Bayreuth, official stylized as medi bayreuth, is a German professional basketball club that is based in Bayreuth, Germany. It was founded as BBC Bayreuth in 1999. The team plays in the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL), the highest division of basketball in Germany. Since 2013, the company medi is the head and naming sponsor of the team.Parsifal
Parsifal (WWV 111) is an opera in three acts by German composer Richard Wagner. It is loosely based on Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, a 13th-century epic poem of the Arthurian knight Parzival (Percival) and his quest for the Holy Grail (12th century).
Wagner conceived the work in April 1857, but did not finish it until 25 years later. It was his last completed opera, and in composing it he took advantage of the particular acoustics of his Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Parsifal was first produced at the second Bayreuth Festival in 1882. The Bayreuth Festival maintained a monopoly on Parsifal productions until 1903, when the opera was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Wagner described Parsifal not as an opera, but as Ein Bühnenweihfestspiel ("A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage"). At Bayreuth a tradition has arisen that there be no applause after the first act of the opera.
Wagner's spelling of Parsifal instead of the Parzival he had used up to 1877 is informed by one of the theories about the name Percival, according to which it is of Arabic origin, Parsi (or Parseh) Fal meaning "pure (or poor) fool".Principality of Ansbach
The Principality or Margraviate of (Brandenburg-)Ansbach (German: Fürstentum Ansbach or Markgrafschaft Brandenburg-Ansbach) was a free imperial principality in the Holy Roman Empire centered on the Franconian city of Ansbach. The ruling Hohenzollern princes of the land were known as margraves, as the principality was a margraviate (but not a march).Principality of Bayreuth
The Principality of Bayreuth (German: Fürstentum Bayreuth) or Margraviate of Brandenburg-Bayreuth (Markgraftum Brandenburg-Bayreuth) was an immediate territory of the Holy Roman Empire, ruled by a Franconian branch of the Hohenzollern dynasty. Since Burgrave Frederick VI of Nuremberg was enfeoffed with the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1415/17, the Hohenzollern princes transferred the margravial title to their Franconian possessions, though the principality never had been a march. Until 1604 they used Plassenburg Castle in Kulmbach as their residence, hence their territory was officially called the Principality of Kulmbach or Margraviate of Brandenburg-Kulmbach until the Empire's dissolution in 1806.Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner (; German: [ˈʁɪçaʁt ˈvaːɡnɐ] (listen); 22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is chiefly known for his operas (or, as some of his later works were later known, "music dramas"). Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Carl Maria von Weber and Giacomo Meyerbeer, Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk ("total work of art"), by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama. He described this vision in a series of essays published between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).
His compositions, particularly those of his later period, are notable for their complex textures, rich harmonies and orchestration, and the elaborate use of leitmotifs—musical phrases associated with individual characters, places, ideas, or plot elements. His advances in musical language, such as extreme chromaticism and quickly shifting tonal centres, greatly influenced the development of classical music. His Tristan und Isolde is sometimes described as marking the start of modern music.
Wagner had his own opera house built, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, which embodied many novel design features. The Ring and Parsifal were premiered here and his most important stage works continue to be performed at the annual Bayreuth Festival, run by his descendants. His thoughts on the relative contributions of music and drama in opera were to change again, and he reintroduced some traditional forms into his last few stage works, including Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg).
Until his final years, Wagner's life was characterised by political exile, turbulent love affairs, poverty and repeated flight from his creditors. His controversial writings on music, drama and politics have attracted extensive comment, notably, since the late 20th century, where they express antisemitic sentiments. The effect of his ideas can be traced in many of the arts throughout the 20th century; his influence spread beyond composition into conducting, philosophy, literature, the visual arts and theatre.SpVgg Bayreuth
SpVgg Bayreuth is a German football club based in Bayreuth, Bavaria. Apart from coming within two games of earning promotion to the Bundesliga in 1979, the club also reached the quarter finals of the DFB-Pokal twice, in 1977 and 1980.University of Bayreuth
The University of Bayreuth is a public research university situated in Bayreuth, Germany. It was founded in 1975 as a campus university focusing on international collaboration and interdisciplinarity. It is broadly organized into six undergraduate and graduate faculties, with each faculty defining its own admission standards and academic programs in near autonomy.
The university offers several interdisciplinary courses such as Philosophy & Economics, Global Change Ecology, Theatre and Media studies, and Health Economics.
In 2017 the university was ranked 29 in the Times Higher Education world university ranking for universities founded less than 50 years ago.
It is a member of the Elite Network of Bavaria (Elitenetzwerk Bayern), a coalition of research universities jointly offering graduate programs and international doctorate programs.