straight up
"Whereas the public, that representation of daily life, forgets the confines of the auditorium, and lives and breathes now only in the artwork which seems to it as Life itself, and on the stage which seems the wide expanse of the whole World."
Richard Wagner with manuscript  

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Click to play video Excerpt from Wagner in Bayreuth
Richard Wagner | Total Artwork <1949>

German opera composer Richard Wagner believed that the future of music, music theater, and all the arts, lay in an embrace of Gesamtkunstwerk or total artwork, a fusion of the arts that had not been attempted on this scale since the classic Greeks. In 1849, Wagner wrote the essay, The Art-work of the Future, defining the synthesis of the arts in which opera served as a vehicle for the unification of all the arts into a single medium of artistic expression.

The Festpielhaus (Festival House) Theater opened in 1876 in Bayreuth, Germany, where Wagner applied his theatrical innovations including: darkening the house, surround-sound reverberance, and the revitalization of the Greek amphitheatrical seating to focus audience attention on stage. This approach to opera foreshadowed the experience of virtual reality, immersing the audience in the imaginary world of the stage.