It began with an empty niche in a small theater. Twenty years later, people from all over the world gather around. The Richard Wagner Festival Wels became an increasingly popular meeting place for „Wagnerians“.
There are two reasons why the audience traveled to Wels once a year: the Welser performances were characterized by their high musical ambitions and a beautiful scenic realization, which were visualized as original as possible in counter-position to the director-theater of Wagner. „One can not show on the stage, which does not occur in the play“, says director Renate Doppler.
Back to the beginnings: In 1983, the family Just-Doppler had acquired the Welser Hotel Greif with the accompanying theater. They renovated the jewel and put the stage on the cutting edge. One day Walter Just, Trodat company founder and Wagner enthusiast, noticed the empty niche: no doubt that this special place was created for a bust of Richard Wagner. "My father has always been a great connoisseur and lover of Wagner's music", says Renate Doppler. The bust was celebrated with a Wagner concert, which was a great success and the initial ignition for the following years. No one could have dreamed that this could be an international success.
In Wels, where Hans Sachs, the central figure from "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg" spent several years, the Wagner project developed systematically and with great love. After the opening concert 1989 in the presence of „Bayreuth“ manager Wolfgang Wagner one decided to organize a gala every year. The glamorous festivals was carried by vocalists like Theo Adam, Lisbeth Balslev, Simon Estes, Reiner Goldberg, Sabine Hass, Janis Martin, Uta Priew, Hans Sotin, Bernd Weikl, Heinz Zednik and many others.
The famous stage designer, Günther Schneider-Siemssen, encouraged to do stage performances and so in 1995 "Tristan und Isolde" went on the stage with unprecedented success. The audience storm was so great that the production was repeated in the two subsequent years. This was followed by "The Valkyrie". From 2002 "Siegfried", "Parsifal", "The Flying Dutchman" and "Lohengrin", "Tannhäuser", and a new production "Tristan und Isolde" under the new scenic direction of Dietmar Solt.
One third of the audience came from abroad. The effort for the organization was minimal due to the familiar work milieu. Intendant Renate Doppler was not only responsable for the schedule and occupation, but also for the company's office, advertising etc. Like the audience, the celebrity singers loved this small, fine festival. After the end of the festival in 2015, the idea of a new festival formed and became the new "Richard Wagner Festival - International Productions".