Bayreuth (dpa) – Technical revolution on the Green Hill: The Bayreuth Festival is based on virtual reality (VR) and plans a “Parsifal” with 3D elements.

American director Jay Scheib, a professor at the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is set to stage Richard Wagner’s last opera in Bayreuth in 2023. “At the best of times, you won’t always be able to tell what’s real and which is only virtual, ”Scheib said in an interview with the German news agency.

Staging in “Augmented Reality”

“We have big plans for him,” festival director Katharina Wagner said shortly before this year’s festival started. “The whole world is talking about digitization.” This is one of the reasons why there should be “the first full augmented reality production” on Green Hill.

This means: In addition to a real scenography, there are virtual elements that can only be seen with appropriate glasses. “That would be really great, a whole audience with glasses, wouldn’t it?” Said Scheib of the dpa. But it’s also possible to experience the staging in a very classic way without technology, said festival director Wagner.

“Richard Wagner made the orchestra disappear so that we could build an ever deeper link between music and image. I think our job will be to make the theater disappear, or at least to get as close as possible to that experience. “

Scheib is already at the festival this year. There he stages Siegfried’s dragon fight – also with the help of VR technology. “It’s wild,” he said on Saturday.

“An even more intense listening experience”

He does not believe that music will take a back seat with his interpretation of “Parsifal”. “The approaches I have taken over the past few years have always aimed at simply improving the musical experience,” said Scheib of dpa. “So hopefully the extra technology, that extra layer, works like an amplifier and can make the listening experience even more intense. “

He wanted to offer the audience something intense and unusual. “I hope they don’t go home and say, Oh, that was good.”

In the year to come, however, it will be all about the “ring”. Director Valentin Schwarz’s new four-part “Ring des Nibelungen” production is set to hit the stage in 2022 after the festival is canceled in 2020 – and must look for a new “Wotan” in the near term. Because singer Günther Groissböck, who was due to sing the role this year, has canceled at short notice – just five days before the premiere of “Valkyrie” on July 29. “He would like to offer the best quality here at Bayreuth and due to Corona’s long break he cannot guarantee that,” said manager Wagner. A replacement was initially not found within the short period of time on Saturday.

The 2021 Festival is set to begin this Sunday – with a new production by the “Flying Dutchman” and Oksana Lyniv, the first female conductor in the festival’s 145-year history.