© Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Siegfried 2019


Obituary for Dr. Oswald Georg Bauer.
 Obituary for Dr. Oswald Georg Bauer, Rainer Fineske.

On December 12, 2023, Dr. Oswald Georg Bauer died in Munich at the age of 82 after a long illness.

Who does not know Dr. Oswald Georg Bauer, his reputation for his deep knowledge and as a lecturer in our associations is legendary, always competent with joy and great knowledge on the subject of Richard Wagner and Bayreuth. Dr. Bauer was born in Würzburg and there was and still is a decades-long connection with him and the Bayreuth Festival, which became his place of work for many decades from 1974 onwards.

 It is so easy to say today that he was Wolfgang Wagner's right-hand man, which is a statement that should not be underestimated. Together with Festival Director Wolfgang Wagner in his leading position at the Festspielhaus, he was instrumental in installing new ones, such as the Chereau Ring, which is now considered by many Wagner fans to be the Ring of the Century. 

He knew the Bayreuth Festival like no other before him and, despite his departure from the Festival, he remained closely connected with many employees and long-time companions, also in close friendships.

In 2019, he received the Bayreuth Medal in Gold, presented by the then Lord Mayor of the city, Mrs. Brigitte Merk-Erbe. It is fair to say that Bayreuth was the epicenter of Dr. Bauer's long and extensive work in the field of opera and music.

Due to his extensive knowledge of the Bayreuth Festival, Dr. Bauer was specifically commissioned by Wolfgang Wagner in 1989 to write a festival chronicle, which he completed in 2016, after 27 years.

His decades-long affiliation with the Bayreuth Festival, of which he was and remained the most loyal collaborator in the truest sense of the word, enabled him to work with the best sources of Richard Wagner's extensive oeuvre. Partly with the documents that the festival itself possessed at the time or with the sources that are available in the Wahnfried house. As a theatre scholar, he felt a constant need to open up new documents and to process them scientifically. His numerous publications bear witness to this source of knowledge.

His volume on Wieland Wagner's oeuvre testifies to this knowledge and extensive access to the sources.

When Dr. Bauer presented his magnus opus at Haus Wahnfried (where else), his first words were: "Complete the eternal work"! Based on a quote by Wotan from the Rheingold.

He describes the history of the festival in his 1300-page work: "The History of the Bayreuth Festival. Volume I: 1850-1950 and Volume II: 1951-2000", Oswald Georg Bauer worked on it for 27 years and it weighs 7.5 kg. A read, a reference work on the history of the Festival, which was not even remotely available in such detail and such large scale, that is his legacy to the next generations of Wagner friends and visitors to the Bayreuth Festival.

Rainer Fineske