We should be used to technological wonders by now, but it's still pretty amazing that I'm sitting here at my desk, listening to the Bayreuth Festival live over the Internet. (Calling Jon Gordon of Future Tense!)
Of course, this is at the same time that I'm fielding emails, blogging, etc., and this was not exactly the reverent mood in which Wagner intended Parsifal to be heard--but I guess Bayreuth is keeping up with the times. As near as my college German could make out, the staging involves references to the Nazi period, Marlene Dietrich, and the festival itself. And the festival website includes a link to a German Wagner Wiki, and a comic strip commenting wryly on the whole Wagnerian phenomenon.
I don't know if it's sold out--more info here--but this Sunday you can see a Bayreuth performance of Die Meistersinger over the Net. At 49 Euro a "ticket," it's more expensive than, say, a Met HD ticket, but cheaper than Bayreuth itself. Not too mention a shorter waiting list.
I can add to this the following: I am a native Bayreuther, live in Minneapolis since 31 years and yesterday my friend in Bayreuth called me and told me that they do a live video performance of the Meistersinger for about 15,000 citizen of Bayreuth and the place of all places is where the yearly fair (Volksfest) is held. (Just like the Euro Cup for soccer!) I tried to find it on the Internet but was not that lucky.
My friend was skeptical about the whole thing - Wagner belongs in the Festspielhaus and she was afraid the whole affair is getting way to much watered down.
But I feel the public can make their own decision to go or not to go and has a way to experience what normally only people could see who could afford the overpriced tickets (some were on a waiting list for seven years!