The Bayreuth Festival is the oldest opera festival. And yet, to this day, there has not been a standard work on its history. Oswald Georg Bauer, a renowned Wagner and Bayreuth expert, has now filled this immense gap. On approximately 1450 richly illustrated pages, his history spans an arc from Richard Wagner’s initial idea to construct the Bayreuth Festspielhaus in 1850 to the first festival in 1876, and progresses from the “old” vs. the “new” (postwar) Bayreuth up to 2000. It concludes with the era of Wolfgang Wagner, whom the author, as a long-standing member of staff at the festival, experienced first-hand. The work goes beyond just a knowledgeable description of the Bayreuth Festival’s eventful history; moreover, each individual production and its resonance in the press is described in detail and vividly represented with numerous illustrations. The clear structure allows the reader to move around and peruse the book at will or to use it as a reference work. This publication is the compilation of the author’s many years of research. For his work, Bauer evaluated all the available sources in both German archives and abroad. This research included the first in-depth analysis of the entire body of source material in the archives of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus and the collections in the Richard Wagner Archive at Haus Wahnfried.