The black market for tickets to the legendary Bayreuth Festival is flourishing more than ever, the daily Handelsblatt reported on Wednesday.
In a pre-release of an article to be published in its Thursday edition, the newspaper said that, with a month to go before the start of the annual month-long summer festival dedicated exclusively to the works of Richard Wagner, a total of 524 tickets had so far been put up for sale on the online auction site eBay. That was more than during the whole of last year, the newspaper said.
And the tickets are selling for more than double their face value, with the the average surcharge amounting to 139 percent, compared with 136 percent in 2011, the newspaper found.
Tickets for Bayreuth are among the hardest to come by in the classical music world, with fans waiting 10 years or more for a chance to enter the hallowed Festspielhaus, the opera built to Wagner's own designs.
Officially, the ticket prices this year range from 35 euros ($44) for the cheapest seats to 280 euros for the top category. But on the black market, the 35-euro tickets are selling for more than six times their face value, while the top-price tickets are fetching up to 50 percent more, Handelsblatt said.
The hottest selling ticket this year is for the festival's sole new production, The Flying Dutchman, in a new staging by German director Jan Philipp Gloger and conducted by Bayreuth's star conductor Christian Thielemann. Prices here are at more than three times the face value of the ticket.
By contrast, those for Christoph Marthaler's eight-year-old staging of Tristan And Isolde are much less popular, with an average surcharge of 80 percent.
The Bayreuth Festival is held every year between July 25 and August 28.
This year there will be a total of 30 performances of five different operas -- The Flying Dutchman, Tristan And Isolde, Lohengrin, Tannhaeuser and Parsifal.
The festival organisers this year changed the process for ticket allocation after the federal court of auditors complained that only 40 percent of tickets were freely available, with the rest going to sponsors and celebrities.