Bayreuth Festival kicks off with Merkel in attendance

BAYREUTH, GERMANY, Britta Schultejans and Cordula Dieckmann (dpa)- The Bayreuth Festival in celebration of German composer Richard Wagner began Thursday despite scorching heat.
Among the guests of honour was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who arrived without her husband, Joachim Sauer.

Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner

She instead arrived with Bavarian Premier Markus Soeder.
"Today I'm responsible for my wife and for the chancellor," Soeder joked as he accompanied Merkel over the red carpet.
The chancellor is well known as a fan of Wagner, the 19th-century German composer whose works are celebrated at the festival.
The chancellor and other guests came to see Wagner's opera "Tannhaeuser," directed by Tobias Kratzer, conducted by Russia's Valery Gergiev and with Stephen Gould in the lead role.
Kratzer's production also continued outside of the opera hall. The first intermission featured a drag queen performing in the park outside the hall.
Women had an easier time dressing for the event, which was plagued by extreme weather as record highs have been logged multiple times in the last two days in Germany.
While most of the women were wearing colourful, light evening gowns, the men were mostly in dark suits and tuxedos. Most men even had a bow tie around their necks.
The festival in Bayreuth is scheduled to last until August 28.

Friday, July 26th 2019
Britta Schultejans and Cordula Dieckmann (dpa)

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