A new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, plus Tannhäuser, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Day trips to Bamberg and Nürnberg. Hotel Arvena Kongress.
There are many Rings, but only one Bayreuth. It is the ultimate Wagner experience, to hear the Maestro’s music, in his city, in his opera house.
The Bayreuth Festival has it all: pomp and pageantry, fanfare and feuding, musical epiphanies, production-related outrages, political clashes, foot-stamping approval and the occasional chorus of boos. It is evocative, exhilarating, all-consuming and unlike any other musical experience anywhere. You have likely heard tell of the bottom breaking wooden benches, of the lack of air-conditioning, of the hour-long intervals that make for seven-hour marathons at the Festspielhaus… but unless you have experienced it, you have not heard this music played live with such sublime perfection.
2020 is once again a “Ring Year” in Bayreuth, and the highly-anticipated new production is yet to be announced. Der Ring des Nibelungen will be staged by Austrian director Valentin Schwarz, who turns 30 this year, and will be conducted by Pietari Inkinen from Finland, who is only nine years older. Schwarz won the Ring Award in 2017, an international stage directors’ competition. He has staged Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Theater an der Wien and Maurizio Kagel’s Mare Nostrum at the Cologne Opera. The 2020 Ring will be his first Wagner opera. Inkinen was the principal conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Prague Symphony, the Orchestra of the Ludwigsburg Castle Concerts and the German Radio Philharmonic of Saarbrücken and Kaiserslautern.
Lise Davidsen will perform the role of Sieglinde, Andreas Schager takes his signature turn as Siegfried in Siegfried, Petra Lang sings Brünnhilde in Die Walküre, Daniela Köhler takes that role in Siegfried, and Christine Goerke sings Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung, in her company debut.
The cast will also see Stephen Gould as Siegfried in Götterdämmerung, Georg Zeppenfeld as Hunding, Klaus Florian Vogt as Siegmund, Günther Groissböck as Wotan / Der Wanderer, Stefan Vinke as Loge, John Lundgren as Alberich, Christa Mayer as Fricka and Ain Anger as Hagen.
The 2020 season, the Festival’s 109th, will also see a revival of the 2019 Tobias Kratzer production of Tannhäuser, as well as a Barrie Kosky production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg conducted by Philippe Jordan and the only performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 during the Festival, commemorating the composer’s 250th birth year.
Our seats will be excellent, all in the orchestra stalls, and accommodation will be at the simple but spacious (and air-conditioned!) Arvena Kongress.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 20
Independent departures from North America and elsewhere for overnight flights to Germany.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 21
Upon arrival in Munich, Frankfurt or Nürnberg, you are met by a driver and transferred to Bayreuth and the centrally-located Hotel Arvena Kongress.
19.00 This evening we gather for introductions in the lobby before departing for our Welcome Dinner at Restaurant Oskar.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 22
Breakfast and lunch are included each day at our hotel.
10.00 This morning we take a guided walking tour of Bayreuth, featuring Haus Wahnfried, Wagner’s grave site, the tranquil formal gardens of the New Palace and the spectacular Margraves Opera House.
15.00 We gather in the lobby and transfer to the Festspielhaus for a 16.00 curtain of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Volle, Zeppenfeld, Kränzle). Philippe Jordan conducts the Barrie Kosky production. Dinner is included at the opera house during the interval.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 23
10.00 Today we visit several of our favourite museums in the Old Town, including the Museum of Art and the Franz Liszt Museum.
15.00 We gather in the lobby and transfer to the Festspielhaus where we enjoy a cocktail prior to the 16.00 curtain of Wagner’s Tannhäuser (Milling, Gould, Gubanova). Dinner is included at the opera house during the interval.
MONDAY, AUGUST 24
10.00 Today we tour the Eremitage, the Old Palace of the Margraves, with its impressive grounds, Orangery and Sun Temple.
17.00 We gather in the lobby and transfer to the Festspielhaus for Wagner’s Das Rheingold (Groissböck, Vinke, Mayer, Lundgren). 18.00 curtain. Runs 2 h. 30 m.
20.30 Dinner is included afterward at the Goldener Anker.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 25
Enjoy the day at leisure.
15.00 We gather in the lobby and transfer to the Festspielhaus for a late afternoon curtain (16.00) for Die Walküre (Vogt, Zeppenfeld, Groissböck, Lang). Dinner is included during the interval at the Steigenberger Festspiel Restaurant.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26
09.30 This morning we board our private coach for a day trip to Nürnberg, stopping at the Nazi Rally grounds on the way. Once there, we explore the sights associated with the Nuremberg trials, including a tour of the Nazi “art bunker.” Lunch is included.
16.00 We transfer back to Bayreuth, where the rest of the evening is at leisure.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 27
Enjoy the day at leisure.
15.00 We depart for Siegfried (Schager, Groissböck, Lundgren). 16.00 curtain. 20.30 Dinner is included during the interval at the Steigenberger Festspiel Restaurant.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 28
10.00 This morning we depart for a full-day excursion (with lunch) to Bamberg. We meet our guide and tour the Cathedral, the Old Court, the New Residence, the Rose Garden, the Old Town Hall and Little Venice.
12.30 Lunch is included at the Bamberg Hofbräu.
16.00 We return to Bayreuth where the evening is at leisure.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 29
10.00 Today we tour the gorgeous Margravial Opera House (too small for Wagner!) and also the Steingraeber & Söhne piano factory.
15.00 We gather in the lobby and transfer to the Festspielhaus for a 16.00 curtain of Götterdämmerung (Gould, Lundgren, Anger, Goerke). Dinner is included during the interval at the Steigenberger Festspiel Restaurant.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 30
The final day is at leisure.
18.00 We gather in the lobby and transfer to the Festspielhaus for our final performance: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, conducted by Marek Janowski. 19.00 start.
20.30 Farewell Dinner is included after the concert at the Bürgerreuth Restaurant.
MONDAY, AUGUST 31
Departure transfers are included to various airports and will be discussed on-site.