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Bayreuth Festival 2021: all operas, all stars

The Bayreuth Festival 2021 starts on July 25, 2021 and delights all opera fans with the works of German composer Richard Wagner (1813–1883) until August 25. So here on the StarkConductor Blog I’m giving an overview of the Bayreuth Festival 2021. In the course of this you can read here which pieces will be performed this year and who is in the cast.

What you will read in this article:

Der Fliegende Holländer

The opera, which Richard Wagner wrote under the impression of a stormy ship voyage, had rather moderate success at its premiere in 1843. Only after a revision of the original version did the piece become increasingly popular.

bayreuth festival 2021 flying dutchman

Der Fliegende Holländer – Cast at the Bayreuth Festival 2021

The Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv is responsible for the musical direction of Der fliegende Holländer, which is historic in that it will be the first time in the history of the Bayreuth Festival that a woman will conduct. The staging is by Russian director and set designer Dmitri Tcherniakov. Georg Zeppenfeld, Asmik Grigorian, Eric Cutler, Marina Prudenskaya, Attilio Glaser and John Lundgren will be on stage.

The cast of Der Fliegende Holländer at the Bayreuth Festival 2021 at a glance:


Oksana Lyniv


Dmitri Tcherniakov

Stage design

Dmitri Tcherniakov


Elena Zaytseva


Gleb Filshtinsky


Tatiana Werestchagina


Georg Zeppenfeld


Asmik Grigorian


Eric Cutler


Marina Prudenskaya

Der Steuermann

Attilio Glaser

Der Holländer

John Lundgren


Why is the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth?

Richard Wagner had also considered having the festival held in Zurich, Weimar or Munich. However, he decided on Bayreuth after visiting the Margravial Opera House there (one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world!).

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Along with the rarely performed opera Das Liebesverbot, this work is considered Richard Wagner’s only comic opera, although it also contains melancholy features. After Wagner had already made the first sketches in 1845, the work was not to be premiered until 23 years later (!) under the direction of Hans von Bülow in Munich.

bayreuth festival 2021 hans sachs

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Cast at the Bayreuth Festival 2021

Philippe Jordan is the conductor, while Barrie Kosky and Rebecca Ringst are responsible for direction and stage, respectively. Hans Sachs is embodied by Michael Volle and Johannes Martin Kränzle plays Beckmesser.

The cast of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Bayreuth Festival 2021 at a glance:


Philippe Jordan


Barrie Kosky

Stage design

Rebecca Ringst


Klaus Bruns


Ulrich Lenz


Franck Evin

Hans Sachs, Schuster

Michael Volle

Veit Pogner, Goldschmied

Georg Zeppenfeld

Kunz Vogelgesang, Kürschner

Tansel Akzeybek

Konrad Nachtigal, Spengler

Armin Kolarczyk

Sixtus Beckmesser, Stadtschreiber

Johannes Martin Kränzle

Fritz Kothner, Bäcker

Werner Van Mechelen

Balthasar Zorn, Zinngießer

Martin Homrich

Ulrich Eisslinger, Würzkrämer

Christopher Kaplan

Augustin Moser, Schneider

Ric Furman

Hermann Ortel, Seifensieder

Raimund Nolte

Hans Schwarz, Strumpfwirker

Andreas Hörl

Hans Foltz, Kupferschmied

Timo Riihonen

Walther von Stolzing

Klaus Florian Vogt

David, Sachsens Lehrbube

Daniel Behle

Eva, Pogners Tochter

Camilla Nylund

Magdalene, Evas Amme

Christa Mayer

Ein Nachtwächter

Günther Groissböck

Why is the Bayreuth Festival so special?

The special thing about the Bayreuth Festival is that it focuses on just one composer – Richard Wagner. Only works by Wagner are performed.


Richard Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser is based on a traditional folk ballad. Numerous themes that play a role in Wagner’s later works are already laid out here: The difference between sacred and profane love, and redemption through love.

bayreuth festival 2021 tannhäuser

Tannhäuser – Cast at the Bayreuth Festival 2021

Axel Kober will conduct Tannhäuser this year. Tobias Kratzer will direct and Rainer Sellmaier will be responsible for the stage and costumes. Günther Groissböck takes on the role of Landgraf Hermann and Stephen Gould gives Tannhäuser, while Markus Eiche can be experienced as Wolfram von Eschenbach and Magnus Vigilius as Walther von der Vogelweide.

The cast of Tannhäuser at the Bayreuth Festival 2021 at a glance:

ConductorAxel Kober
DirectorTobias Kratzer
Stage designRainer Sellmaier
CostumesRainer Sellmaier
LightingReinhard Traub
VideoManuel Braun
DramaturgyKonrad Kuhn
Landgraf HermannGünther Groissböck
TannhäuserStephen Gould
Wolfram von EschenbachMarkus Eiche
Walther von der VogelweideMagnus Vigilius
BiterolfOlafur Sigurdarson
Heinrich der SchreiberJorge Rodríguez-Norton
Reinmar von ZweterWilhelm Schwinghammer
Elisabeth, Nichte des LandgrafenLise Davidsen
VenusEkaterina Gubanova
Ein junger Hirt

Katharina Konradi
27.7. | 2.8. | 5.8.

Alexandra Steiner
13.8. | 16.8. | 23.8.

Le Gateau ChocolatLe Gateau Chocolat

represented on stage by: Kyle Patrick

OskarManni Laudenbach
Why is the Richard Wagner Festival Theater in Bayreuth so special?

The Richard Wagner Festival Theater in Bayreuth has an extremely deep orchestra pit, above which there is also a sound cover. Richard Wagner wanted to make the “effort of producing sound” invisible. In addition, the acoustics in the Festspielhaus are excellent because most of the auditorium is made of wood. The ceiling is a painted canvas because Wagner wanted to imitate an “open-air theater”.

Die Walküre

Die Walküre is a part of Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen. The premiere of Die Walküre took place in Munich in 1870. Wagner’s autograph of the opera has been considered lost since World War II.

bayreuth festival 2021 die walküre

Die Walküre – Cast at the Bayreuth Festival 2021

The 2021 Bayreuth Festival’s Walküre will be special, as action artist Hermann Nitsch will be responsible for its design. According to information from the Festival, the Walküre performances will be framed by commissioned works of various art forms that deal with the Ring des Nibelungen. Pietari Inkinen will be the conductor, and Klaus Florian Vogt, Dmitry Belosselskiy, Günther Groissböck and Lise Davidsen, among others, will sing and perform.

The cast of Die Walküre at the Bayreuth Festival 2021 at a glance:


Pietari Inkinen


Hermann Nitsch


Peter Younes


Klaus Florian Vogt


Dmitry Belosselskiy


Günther Groissböck


Lise Davidsen


Iréne Theorin


Christa Mayer


Kelly God


Brit-Tone Müllertz


Stephanie Houtzeel


Christa Mayer


Daniela Köhler


Nana Dzidziguri


Marie Henriette Reinhold


Simone Schröder

Why are the first violins to the right of the conductor at the Bayreuth Festival?

In the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, the first violins sit to the right of the conductor so that the sound openings face the stage at an angle. This takes into account the special orchestra pit in Bayreuth and ensures that the acoustics on stage are improved.

Parsifal (concert version)

Parsifal was described by Richard Wagner himself as a stage dedication festival. Wagner originally decreed that Parsifal could only be performed in the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Parsifal is Wagner’s last music-dramatic work.


Parsifal (concert version) – Cast at the Bayreuth Festival 2021

The musical director of the Bayreuth Festival and Wagner specialist Christian Thielemann will conduct. Singing in the concert performance will be Michael Volle, Günther Groissböck, Georg Zeppenfeld, Stephen Gould, Derek Welton and Petra Lang.

The cast of Parsifal (concert version) at the Bayreuth Festival 2021 at a glance:


Christian Thielemann


Michael Volle


Günther Groissböck


Georg Zeppenfeld


Stephen Gould


Derek Welton


Petra Lang

1. Gralsritter

Tansel Akzeybek

2. Gralsritter

Timo Riihonen

1. Knappe

Alexandra Steiner

2. Knappe

Simone Schröder

3. Knappe

Martin Homrich

4. Knappe

Attilio Glaser

Klingsors Zaubermädchen

Tuuli Takala


Katja Stuber


Simone Schröder


Alexandra Steiner

 Bele Kumberger

Marie Henriette Reinhold

Eine Altstimme

Simone Schröder

When was the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth opened?

The Festspielhaus in Bayreuth was opened on August 13, 1876. Richard Wagner’s work Das Rheingold was given at the opening.

Concert with Andris Nelsons

The Bayreuth Festival 2021 will be rounded off with two concerts under the musical direction of Andris Nelsons, the music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Excerpts from Die Walküre, Lohengrin, Parsifal and Götterdämmerung will be heard. The singers will be Christine Goerke, Günther Groissböck and Klaus Florian Vogt.

Who built the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth?

The Festspielhaus in Bayreuth was originally planned by Gottfried Semper. However, the planning was completed by Otto Brückwald, who built on Gottfried Semper’s plans.

Bayreuth Festival 2021: Overview of all performances

Now that you know this year’s operas and performers, here’s an overview of all the performances at the Bayreuth Festival 2021:

July 25: Der Fliegende Holländer
July 26: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
July 27: Tannhäuser
July 29: Die Walküre
July 31: Der Fliegende Holländer
August 1: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
August 2: Tannhäuser
August 3: Die Walküre
August 4: Der Fliegende Holländer
August 5: Tannhäuser
August 7: Der Fliegende Holländer
August 8: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
August 10: Parsifal (concert version)
August 11: Der Fliegende Holländer
August 12: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
August 13: Tannhäuser
August 14: Der Fliegende Holländer
August 16: Tannhäuser
August 17: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
August 19: Die Walküre
August 20: Der Fliegende Holländer
August 22: Concert with Andris Nelsons 1
August 23: Tannhäuser
August 24: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
August 25: Concert with Andris Nelsons 2

Bayreuth Festival 2021 on TV and radio

The Bayreuth Festival 2021 will be broadcast on radio and television. There will be four live broadcasts from BR-KLASSIK, for example. I wish you an inspiring Wagner summer!

Jonathan Stark – Conductor
Jonathan Stark – Conductor

Hello! I'm Jonathan Stark. As a conductor, it is important to me that visits to concerts and operas leave a lasting impression on the audience. Background knowledge helps to achieve this. That's why I blog here about key works of classical music, about composers, about opera and much more that happens in the exciting world of music.

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