Getting Tickets (Eintrittkarten) for the Wagner Opera Festival
Getting tickets for the Bayreuther Festspiele of Wagner operas in Germany is difficult. Cheap tickets have long waiting lists while package deals are expensive.
Buying tickets for the annual Bayreuther Festspiele is a laborious process. Applications for Bayreuth tickets must be made in writing months in advance and it can easily take ten years to actually get tickets to the most famous Wagner opera festival in the world. Tickets can be as cheap as €8 but many visitors have to settle for package deals costing several hundred euros in order to actually obtain tickets in a given year.
Buying Tickets for the Bayreuther Festspiele in Bavaria, Germany
Most tickets for the annual Bayreuther Festspiele are sold by the organizers of the Wagner festival via a slow and laborious process. Online reservations with instant confirmations are impossible. Applications for tickets must be in writing, months in advance. It generally takes eight to twelve years to actually get tickets to the festival.
In order to buy tickets for the Bayreuther Festspiele, first-time applicants should write to the Wagner festival organizers and request an application form for opera festival tickets. The address is: Kartenbüro, Postfach 10 02 62, 95402 Bayreuth, Germany.
The organizers of the Bayreuth opera festival do not correspond via email or faxes. It is possible to make telephone inquiries, however only on weekdays between 11 am and noon. It is hardly worth the trouble – even if you do get through, you still have to write to the above address but anyway the number to dial is +49 921 78780.
Ticket prices for an opera performance in the Festspielhalle during the Wagner festival are generally between €100 and €300. However, tickets for seats without any stage views can be as cheap as €8.
Getting Bayreuther Festspiele Tickets
The original application form for opera tickets must be mailed back to the Bayreuther Festspiele organizers by mid-October the year preceding the festival the Wagner lover hopes to attend. (The Festspiele is held annually from end July to end August.) It takes around eight years to get to the top of the waiting list but of course, some dates and operas are less popular and the wait could be a bit shorter.
All unsuccessful ticket applicants automatically receive a ticket application form for the following Wagner Opera Festival. It is important to keep applying and not miss a year in order to keep moving up the waiting list.
The easiest way to jump the queue is being famous. Politicians – in government or in opposition in Germany or elsewhere – seem to get tickets easier. Similarly, other prominent people will get tickets easier than the unknown Wagner lover. Members of Wagner appreciation societies apparently get tickets faster too.
Buying Package Deals to the Wagner Bayreuther Festspiele
An alternative to the standard Wagner festival ticket application method is to buy package deals that include tickets to the operas as well as hotel accommodation. These package deals are not particularly cheap but do include tickets and hotel accommodation that are hard to obtain and expensive during the festival period in Bayreuth.
The Festspiele organizers authorized only American Express International in Frankfurt am Main, DER Deutsches Reisebüro in Frankfurt am Main, and Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Nürnberg (Nuremberg) as resellers of unsold tickets. However, several other specialist travel agencies can legally sell package deals with Festspiele tickets included. Some of the top hotels in Bayreuth can also obtain some tickets for guests.
Black market tickets should be avoided. The Bayreuther Festspiele organizers actively try to campaign against black marketers and do confiscate tickets that were bought through illegal means.
Buy Unsold Bayreuther Festspiele Tickets on Performance Day
Unsold and returned tickets are sold at the Tageskasse on the day of the performance between 1:30 and 4 pm. Apparently, tickets are quite often available except for the top performance days. Start queuing early and stay in line as no tickets at 1:30 pm does not mean that tickets may not be available a few hours later.
Hotel accommodation in Bayreuth is a premium during the Bayreuther Festspiele. However, larger centers such as Nuremberg and Bamberg are only an hour away by car or train.