Music is always a mixture of tradition and zeitgeist. Especially in Richard Wagner’s birthplace Leipzig.
For over 800 years, Leipzig has breathed music and celebrates its musicians with festivals every year. From 20 June to 14 July 2022, the Leipzig Opera will be in the spotlight of the music world with the international Richard Wagner Festival performing his complete work.
Under the motto “Three Weeks of Infinity”, the music city of Leipzig will celebrate WAGNER 22, a top-class festival in honour of the composer. In his home city, visitors can look forward to a musical experience with all 13 completed opera dramas in chronological order from his entire works. In addition to the well-known pieces for the stage such as “The Fairies”, “The Flying Dutchman” and “Parsifal”, the programme also includes “Das Liebesverbot” (love prohibition) and “Rienzi”. The Gewandhaus Orchestra will perform under the direction of Intendant and General Music Director Prof. Ulf Schirmer and other conductors.
For the performances, the organisers of the festival rely on the experienced ensemble of the Leipzig Opera as well as on guests who are internationally known for their Wagner interpretations, such as Evelyn Herlitzius, Jennifer Holloway, Lise Lindstrom, Daniela Sindram, Manuela Uhl, René Papa, Markus Eiche or Michael Volle, among others.
In 2013, the city of Leipzig revived the myth of Richard Wagner and duly celebrated the 200th birthday of its famous son, who was born on 22 May 1813. In addition, the cooperation between the Leipzig Opera and the Bayreuth Festival (BF-Medien) helped to bring Wagner’s early works to the stage and thus make the forcefulness, energy and power of these compositions visible. In this context Leipzig was also rightly given the title of “Wagner City” again. Since the 200th anniversary of his birth, Leipzig Opera has continued to expand its repertoire of works by the artist.
With WAGNER 22, however, the city not only remembers Richard Wagner, but at the same time honours Gustav Brecher, former general music director and later opera director of Leipzig. The conductor of Jewish descent shaped the musical landscape of the city until his forced retirement by the National Socialists (Nazis) and initiated this music-romantic total artwork at the time. He also helped the Leipzig Opera to gain international recognition and attention through the musical avant-garde of the 1920s.
The main sponsor of the festival is Porsche Leipzig GmbH. The sports car manufacturer’s cultural commitment also makes a two-day public viewing and open-air cultural festival on Augustusplatz possible. On 25 June 2022 “The Flying Dutchman” and on 26 June 2022 “Tannhäuser” will be broadcasted live and free of charge.
The very young audience will not miss out either: The Musikalische Komödie (Operetta and Musical Theatre) will perform a “Ring for Children”. Those who also want to physically walk in the footsteps of the master can either book a suitable guided tour of the city with Leipzig Erleben GmbH or get to know other central German Wagner sites. The supplementary programme organised by Leipzig Tourismus und Marketing GmbH offers six exclusive WAGNER 22 day trips to places that Richard Wagner once discovered. Those who would like to visit Leipzig and experience WAGNER 22 can still book numerous travel offers at www.leipzig.travel.
In addition, the city of music can best be experienced by following the Leipzig Music Trail all year round. This musical walking tour in the city centre connects the most important original workplaces of famous composers, including also Wagner’s school building Alte Nikolaischule and the Wagner monument behind the Leipzig Opera House.
Photo credit: Tom Schulze