origin history

It all started in an empty recess in a small theatre.  Today, 20 years later people from all over the world come here. The Richard Wagner Festival in Wels has become more and more  a popular  meeting point for Wagnerians. Here, they find in once a year for two reasons:  The Wels’ performances are characterized by their high musical level and a scenical translation, which deliberately visualises Wagner’s works as text-closely as possible – in opposite  to modern
staging -  without any extravagant conception.  ‘You cannot show on stage, what does not happen  in the work’ the director manager, Renate Doppler, says.

But back to the beginning: In 1983 the family Just-Doppler acquired the Wels’ hotel Greif with its integrated theatre.  Renovating the gem and bringing the stage up to date, Walter Just, the founder of the Trodat-firm and a enthusiastic Wagner admirer, discovered  the aforementioned little recess:  without doubt this special place was perfect  for a Richard Wagner’s bust.  ‘ My father has always been an enthusiast for Wagner’s music’ Renate Doppler tells.  The bust was celebrated with a Wagner Concert, which was a tremendous success and the booster detonation to the following.  No-one had expected it to become such a great  international success.

Systematically and with a lot of love the Wagner project was developed in Wels, the city where Hans Sachs, the main character from „Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg“, spend a few years.  After the opening concert in 1989 in the presence of the director of the Bayreuth Festival , Wolfgang Wagner, the initiators decided to organise a gala every year.  The splendid celebrations were supported by renowned singers such as Theo Adam, Lisbeth Balslev, Simon Estes, Reiner Goldberg, Sabine Hass, Janis Martin, Uta Priew, Hans Sotin, Bernd Weikl, Heinz Zednik and many others.

Finally the prominent stage designer Günther Schneider-Siemssen encouraged the initiators to organise scenical performances.  As a result  in 1995 “Tristan und Isolde” was performed  - with unprecedented success.  The audience rush was so huge that the production was repeated the following two years. Other operas like „Die Walküre“, „Siegfried“, „Parsifal“, „Der fliegende Holländer“ and "Lohengrin" followed.

The Richard Wagner Festival is mainly financed privately and economically stimulates the whole region.  Meanwhile, a third of the audience comes from abroad.  The personal expenditure  for the organisation is minimal and a result of real women power:  the managing director Renate Doppler not only takes care of the calendar and the casting, she also manages  PR etc.  Both  audience and prominent singers enjoy this excellent little festival.

After 26 years and a very emotional opera performance of „Tristan and Isolde“, the festival’s final curtain fell on May 24th, 2015. Unfortunately, there were no sufficient financial supports by the city of Wels and the state government of Upper Austria.

Performances of Richard Wagner Festival Wels since 1995

Tristan und Isolde (1995, 1997, 1999)
Conductoren: Martin Sieghart, Hans Wallat, Ralf Weikert, Johannes Wildner
Soloists: Theo Adam, Alan Cemore, Wilfried Gahmlich, Jürgen Hartfiel, Gwyneth Jones, Janis Martin, Herwig Pecoraro, Uta Priew, Marilyn Schmiege, Gabriele Schnaut, Heikki Siukola, Falk Struckmann, Bernd Weikl, Ekkehard Wlaschiha, Heinz Zednik.

Die Walküre (2000, 2001)
Conductor: Friedrich Haider
Soloists: Lioba Braun, Luana DeVol, Poul Elming, Attila Jun, Rosmarie Lang, Janis Martin, Alfred Muff, Marilyn Schmiege, Nadine Secunde, Heikki Siukola, Hans Sotin.

Siegfried (2002, 2003)
Conductor: Hans Wallat
Soloists: Luana DeVol, Thomas Harper, Attila Jun, Franz Josef Kapellmann, Helen Kwon, Duccio dal Monte, Alfred Muff, Julia Oesch, Sue Patchell, Heikki Siukola, Hartmut Welker, Cornelia Wulkopf.

Parsifal (2004, 2005, 2008, 2009)
Conductor: Hans Wallat, Ralf Weikert
Soloists: Karen Huffstodt, Attila Jun, Franz Josef Kapellmann, Yue Liu, Heikki Siukola, Hans Sotin, Alan Titus, Hartmut Welker.

Tristan und Isolde (2010, 2011, 2015)
Conductoren: Ralf Weikert
Soloists: Stig Andersen, Wolfgang Brendel, Jayne Casselman, Hermine May, John Charles Pierce, Jukka Rasilainen, Marco di Sapia, Hans Sotin, Christian Sturm, Irène Theorin, Michael Wagner, Andreas Hörl, Lioba Braun, Michael Kupfer, Nicolas Legoux.

Parsifal (2012)
Conductor: Ralf Weikert
Soloists: Reinhard Hagen, Anton Keremidtchiev, Artur Korn, Hermine May, Jukka Rasilainen, Ian Storey.

Tannhäuser (2013, 2015)
Conductor: Ralf Weikert
Soloists: Reinhard Hagen, Jon Ketilsson, Astrid Weber, Hermine May, Clemens Unterreiner, Christian Sturm, Nicolas Legoux, Franz Gürtelschmied, Marco Di Sapia, Peter Seiffert, Martin Achrainer, Petra Maria Schnitzer, Judith Németh, Iva Schell.

Der fliegende Holländer (2006, 2007, 2008, 2014)
Conductor: Ralf Weikert
Soloists: Susan Anthony, Arnold Bezuyen, Clemens Bieber, Wolfgang Brendel, Jeffrey Dowd, Norbert Ernst, Reinhard Hagen, Cynthia Makris, Natela Nicoli, Christa Ratzenböck, Svetlana Serdar, Hans Sotin, Christian Sturm, Astrid Weber, Hartmut Welker.

Lohengrin (2009, 2010, 2014)
Conductor: Ralf Weikert
Soloists: Marion Ammann, Thomas Berau, Clemens Bieber, Lioba Braun, Iurie Ciobanu, Marco Di Sapia, Franz Gürtelschmied, Reinhard Hagen, Anton Keremidtchiev, Jon Ketilsson, Yumi Koyama, Nicolas Legoux, Jukka Rasilainen, Kurt Rydl, Petra Maria Schnitzer, Hans Sotin, Clemens Unterreiner, Christopher Ventris.