Free Bayreuth screening of Wagner opera was popular, numbers show
Jul 28, 2008, 19:40 GMT
Bayreuth, Germany - The first live, free screening of a Wagner opera on a giant outdoor display in Bayreuth, Germany proved popular, with a gate of 38,000, festival organizers said Monday.
The number includes multiple comings and goings during the event Sunday afternoon on a Bayreuth square, so the number of unique persons who attended was far lower, festival spokesman Peter Emmerich said. Only 15,000 were allowed on the site at one time.
'The broadcast was technically perfect too,' he said.
Katharina Wagner, great-granddaughter of composer Richard Wagner, directed the production of the Meistersingers of Nuremberg and emerged from the theatre with the cast to celebrate with the crowd outside after the performance.
Seats in the theatre during the Wagner Festival are hard to get, with a waiting list often five years or more for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Those indoors wore evening wear and those outside beach wear.
Wagner, 30, said the public showing of the opera made her ancestor's dream of taking his operas to as many people as possible come true. She is expected to be appointed joint head of the festival in September, succeeding her father Wolfgang Wagner.
Eight television cameras filmed her production and it was shown on a 90-square-metre screen. Including the breaks, the whole event lasted six hours and a half. Drinking and talking went on afterwards for several more hours into the hot summer night in Bayreuth.
Emmerich said that if the free event were to be repeated, it would require a corporate sponsor to step forward. This year's event was backed by the German electronics and engineering conglomerate Siemens. The festival inside the theatre runs untill August 28.