The Richard Wagner Festival comes to an end this Monday (August 28) on the Green Hill in Bayreuth. The finale is the celebrated, colorful “Tannhäuser” production by director Tobias scratches with conductor Natalie Stutzmann on the podium and Klaus Florian Vogt in the title role.

Shortly before the start of the festival, the tenor took over from Stephen Gould, who had canceled at short notice due to illness – and surprisingly announced his complete departure from the stage at the weekend.

The festival had made unusual headlines this year because there were still tickets for the opera spectacle, which is traditionally always sold out, shortly before the start and even during it. This year’s balance sheet from the festival management is therefore awaited with a certain amount of excitement.

“The myth of Bayreuth is alive,” said Bavaria’s Minister of Art Markus Blume (CSU) of the German Press Agency at the end of the festival. The concept was right this year. Blume spoke of “great interest from the audience” and “great artistic achievements”.

By that he meant “for example ‘Parsifal’ under the conductor Pablo Heras-Casado or the ‘Tannhäuser’ debut of the conductor Natalie Stutzmann”. He also welcomes “the further opening of the festival with open air shows, children’s operas and other offers,” said the minister. “I like the idea of ​​offering Wagner for everyone. Cultural education has to be considered.”

Financing and new approaches

After the end of the festival, everything will soon revolve around the question of how things will continue on the Green Hill in the future. Because the Society of Friends of Bayreuth will be able to pay less in the future, the Free State of Bavaria has announced that it will take over its share – and has asked the federal government to do the same. This would significantly expand state influence in Bayreuth.

“The festival needs future-proof structures for modern performances. Even a well-known festival must be open to new things if it wants to reach the audience in the long term,” said Blume. “Together with the federal government, with the city of Bayreuth and with the Society of Friends, we will tackle this in the fall. For me, this includes the planned new distribution of the shareholder shares, a modernization of the operational business in the areas of sponsoring, marketing and sales and new approaches in management.”

And another important question arises: Who will direct the festival in the future? Will a Wagner ruler stay over the hill? Katharina Wagner’s contract runs until 2025. At the moment everything speaks for an extension – but the final decision has not yet been made. “We will take a detailed look at your concept for the future of the Bayreuth Festival in the fall,” said Blume. “The talks will then follow.”