The Festspielhaus is famous for the exquisite acoustical design by Richard Wagner himself. All materials are wood, to not dampen the acoustics. The sound is wonderful. The house holds about 2,000 people. The seats are not comfortable. Wagner did not want fabric or cushions to affect the sound.
The progressive buttress-like fixtures widen toward the stage, meaning that there is no clear line between the audience and the stage world.
Wagner was the first to really bury the orchestra out of sight of the audience. He went further and even covered up the orchestra front, so it is entirely invisible. The sound rises up and bounces out from the stage, mixing with the sound of the singers' voices.
Alan stands in front of the set for Die Valkyrie.
Matthias Lippert, our tour guide, is a set designer at the Festspielhaus.