The legendary Bayreuth Festspielhaus has nothing in common with other theatres of its period. Completed in 1976, this opera house is Richard Wagner’s brainchild from start to finish and the largest free-standing timber structure ever erected. The goal of the architecture is to support the music, to highlight it and provide no distractions for the audience – from the spartan wooden seats, to the covered orchestra pit, to the lack of galleries or boxes. Its design is also very democratic – each seat in the house gives equal view of the stage. As the theatre was designed specifically for Wagner’s operas, the covered orchestra together with the positioning of the stage work together to create a mystical aura which elevates the performances, the mythical content of the operas, and the experience of the viewer. Approaching the modest brick and wood building, located a short distance from the city on top of a hill, gets you in the appropriate frame of mind to enjoy what you know will be a spectacular production within. Visit Bayreuth for the ultimate experience of Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk – a concept in which performances meld with their surroundings to create a harmonious whole.