Built in 1909 (when the location was part of Germany), the amphitheatre is used for various entertainment events and shows, including opera performances and song festivals. After World War I and almost till end of World War II it was a place of operatic festivals (Zoppot Festspiele) and Sopot was recognized throughout Europe and frequently labelled as the Bayreuth of the North. Here then mostly Wagnerian operas and his music dramas were performed regularly each year.
After World War II the Baltic State Opera performed at the Forest Opera few performances each year between 1962 and 1977 (Aida in 1962, Halka in 1964, Der Zigeunerbaron in 1965, Swan Lake in 1968, Die Fledermaus in 1977), and sporadically outside this range (Tannhäuser in 2000).
Each year, starting from 1964 (with some interruption in the early 1980s), the Sopot International Song Festival takes place at the Forest Opera, events being organized by the Ministry of Culture and Art in cooperation with the Polish Artistic Agency (PAGART). It was a music event transmitted then to the Eastern block countries via television. Starting in 1994 the Polish Television Public Company became the producer of the festival.
An attempt was made to reactivate the Sopot Wagner Festival on the 100th anniversary of the Forest Opera's creation (July 20, 2009), with the special event of a single concert performance of Das Rheingold, conducted by Jan Latham-Konig-for the first time since the end of the 1930s. The announced intention of the organizers is staging the remaining parts of Der Ring des Nibelungen in Sopot (including some of them in the Forest Opera) within the next few years.
Starting in the fall of 2009 Sopot Forest Opera was under extensive renovation and modernization which, according to estimates, will take at least till May 2012 to complete.
Performances in Zoppot Festspiele
The Bayreuth of the North by Einhard Luther, in Opera (Autumn, 1966), 7.
- Das Rheingold in the Forest Opera, Dziennik Bałtycki, 2009-07-21 (in Polish), retrieved 2010-07-03
- See "BART" web-site announcements in external links
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