Bayreuth Festival, also called the Richard Wagner Festival, annual season of performances of Wagner's works, held in the Bavarian town of Bayreuth. Around 1851, Wagner began to visualize a festival theater that would be devoted to the performance of great German works for the theater. In 1876 the Wagner Festival Theatre (the Festspielhaus) was completed at Bayreuth, and the first festival took place. Planned by Wagner himself, the Festspielhaus is an amphitheater with many notable features, including a sunken, covered orchestra pit and unusually fine acoustics. Despite the composer's original intention, the Bayreuth Festival presents performances consisting solely of Wagner's works, usually Parsifal, the
Ringcycle, and one other work. The festival was interrupted for seven years after World War II but resumed in 1951.
See study by F. Spotts (1996).
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