Former German chancellor Angela Merkel arrives with husband Joachim Sauer for the opening of the annual Bayreuth Festival featuring the music of German composer Richard Wagner at the Festival Theatre (Richard-Wagner-Festspielhaus) in Bayreuth, southern Germany on July 25, 2022. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP)

Angela Merkel arrived on time, but not particularly early: Exactly 15 minutes before the performance began, former Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived at the Bayreuth Festival on Monday for the premiere of the new “Tristan and Isolde” production. The timing was perfect, as traditional wind instruments from the balcony of the Festspielhaus announced the imminent start of the performance.

Merkel traveled with her husband Joachim Sauer, both of whom are big fans of Richard Wagner’s music. The former head of government wore a bright yellow two-piece ensemble consisting of a blazer and a long skirt – similar to her visit to Bayreuth in 2019.

The moderator Thomas Gottschalk, known for his often unusual outfits, appeared conspicuously inconspicuous at the Festspielhaus: this time he wore a bronze-colored jacket, a bow tie and a white shirt. The onlookers applauded him on Monday: Gottschalk has a kind of home advantage, he grew up in Kulmbach, a few kilometers away.

“Finally one of us,” exclaimed a fan on the edge of the red carpet. Gottschalk’s friend Karina Mroß wore an evening dress with a cape in a dark pink shade and glitter elements.

The director of the Richard Wagner Festival, Katharina Wagner, only showed up for a very short time. At the king’s portal of the Festspielhaus, she was photographed with the Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder, while wearing a mask.