Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 12:39 UK

Bayreuth Festival to be webcast

Wolfgang Wagner
Wolfgang Wagner (r) has been in sole charge of the event since 1967

Germany's annual Bayreuth opera festival will show its opening performance live via the internet for the first time, organisers have said.

It is hoped the online screening will draw new fans to the annual event.

But only 10,000 people will be able to watch Die Meistersinger of Nuernberg on the web and will have to pay 49 euros (39) to do so.

The prestigious annual event dedicated to the music of Richard Wagner will be held on 27 July.

It will be the first video recording of a Bayreuth performance since 1991, and the first in front of a live audience.

'Complicated hoops'

Aficionados of the 100-year-old festival in southern Germany sometimes wait up to 10 years for the opportunity to buy one of the 2,000 tickets, forking out up to 208 euros (165) for the privilege.

"Those are complicated hoops, and it can be crazy to jump through them all," said Katharina Wagner, a great-grandaughter of Richard Wagner, who is staging the production.

"But for those who only know Bayreuth by name, maybe they will say, 'Okay, I'll check it out if I can watch it at home on my laptop," she said.

While New York's Metropolitan Opera and Milan's Teatro alla Scala have offered high-definition theatre casts in recent years, the price usually has been closer to 15 euros (12).

Many arts organisations also have free audio streams of performances on their websites.

Bayreuth spokesman Alexander Busche said the hefty price will offset the cost of filming and purchasing the media rights to the singers' performances.

Busche also said that the live premiere would also be shown for free at a public viewing in Bayreuth's town square.

This year's event will be the last with Richard Wagner's grandson Wolfgang as director after 57 years.




SEE ALSO
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29 Apr 08 |  Entertainment
Wagner's guardian
20 Jul 07 |  Magazine
Wagner 'wins' Bayreuth battle
14 Dec 01 |  Entertainment
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