The 2011 Bayreuth Festival opens this Monday with a performance of Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser, in a new production by avant-garde director Sebastian Baumgarten. As usual, this opening night performance, as well as the first nights of the rest of the operas being performed this year, will be broadcast via the Internet over a variety of online stations. For clarity of sound, together with uninterrupted broadcasts, I recommend listening to it over Bavarian Radio (Bayerische Rundfunk), but if you click here you can examine this year's schedule, and the various radio networks that will be broadcasting the performances.
In addition, on August 14th there will be a live video broadcast of Lohengrin, directed by Hans Neuensfels. This production premiered last summer to great critical acclaim. This year the leading roles will be sung by Klaus Florian Vogt, Annette Dasch, and Georg Zeppenfeld. For information about how you can watch this transmission click here.
In addition, to prepare yourself for the video transmission you can listen to "Of Rats and Men and Lohengrin" my podcast of last year's opening night by clicking here.
The Bayreuth Festival is always an important cultural event, and this year's live video performance of Lohengrin will allow fans all over the world the chance to experience Mr. Neuensfels controversial vision of Wagner's opera (see picture above). If anything, it promises to be a puzzling but fun staging, and I am sure it will be greeted, as it was last year, with the usual mix of bravos and boos. Make sure you tune in.