Opera houses often need to resort to elaborate marketing campaigns to sell tickets, but not the Bayreuth festival, for which tickets are famously difficult to obtain. Requests must be made in writing; the Bayreuth website, which is entirely in German, warns not to email or fax. A rejection is almost guaranteed.
The most expensive tickets cost 208 euros, with balcony seats available for 13 euros. According to the Festspiele, ticket prices were on average eight percent higher this year as grants were frozen.
The 2006 festival opens on July 25 with a gala performance of Der fliegende H‹llander. Bayreuth's new production of Wagner's epic Ring cycle will be the first opera 80-year-old German director and playwright Tankred Dorst has directed. He replaces Danish film auteur Lars von Trier, who was originally scheduled to stage the 16-hour behemoth. About a quarter of the ticket requests were for the new Ring.
Singers in the 2006 lineup include American tenor Stephen Gould, who will sing the title role in Siegfried and G‹tterd‹mmerung; American dramatic soprano Linda Watson will sing Br‹nnhilde; German bass-baritone Falk Struckmann singing Wotan, German tenor Endrik Wottrich as Siegmund, and Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka making her Bayreuth debut as Sieglinde. Christian Thielemann will conduct the Ring performances.
In 2007 Katharina Wagner, the composer's great-granddaughter, will make her directing debut at Bayreuth with a new production of Die Meistersinger von N‹rnberg.