Ukrainian-born maestra Oksana Lyniv became the first woman to conduct a production in the 145-year history of Germany's renowned Bayreuth opera festival.
Lyniv opened the festival on July 25 with the premiere of The Flying Dutchman, with Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband in the audience.
When asked what she thought of the festival having its first female conductor, Merkel simply said, "Finally!"
Bayreuth is one of the world’s best-known music festivals dedicated to the works of 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner.
Born in Brody, in western Ukraine, to a family of musicians, Lyniv has spent a good part of the past two decades in the German-speaking world.
The 44-year-old has been leading orchestras worldwide and since 2017 has been the principal conductor at the Graz Opera and of the Graz Philharmonic Orchestra in Austria.
But she has also continued to be devoted to the development of classical music in Ukraine, establishing in 2016 the LvivMozArt International Classical Music Festival in Lviv, Ukraine, and the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine.
The festival's 2020 season was canceled due to the coronavirus. This year, the number of tickets on sale have been reduced and people attending must be fully vaccinated, test negative, or show they have recovered from COVID-19.