x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Bayreuth performs Wagner in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi made history as the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra played outside of Europe for second time in 120 years.

A harpist with the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra rehearsing for last nights (sat) Abu Dhabi Classics Wagner Gala at the Emirates Palace hotel,
A harpist with the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra rehearsing for last nights (sat) Abu Dhabi Classics Wagner Gala at the Emirates Palace hotel,

ABU DHABI // Abu Dhabi made history last night as the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra played outside of Europe for the first time in two decades. The orchestra entranced the audience at the Emirates Palace hotel with dramatic renditions of operatic masterpieces by Richard Wagner. It was only the second time the orchestra, from Wagner's hometown of Bayreuth, Germany, had played outside of Europe in its 120-year history.

The performance marked the end of the opening weekend of the Abu Dhabi Classics season. Earlier in the day, Katharina Wagner, the great-granddaughter of the German composer, led a workshop for 40 enthusiasts at which she discussed her passion for the music and the intricacies of staging a festival. Abu Dhabi, she said, "really has the chance to get a really serious international classical festival".

Having an orchestra here would help its chances. "An orchestra makes the people feel like they have an identification with the music." Abu Dhabi Classics is a yearlong programme of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage that will bring some of the world's most talented classical musicians to the capital. lmorris@thenational.ae gchamp@thenational.ae