World premiere at the Workshop Theatre
Armida works her magic at the Kornmarkt
Bregenz, 11.8.22. A music theatre premier at the Workshop Theatre, an Opera Studio premiere at the Kornmarkt, a concert by the newly formed Academy Orchestra, and six remaining performances of Madame Butterfly – the programme of the final week of this year’s festival could hardly be more varied.
Before the 76th season of the Bregenz Festival comes to a close on the evening of 21 August with the 26th performance of Madame Butterfly on the lake stage, visitors can still look forward to a wide range of events taking place at three other venues.
Melencolia: Human longing for deliverance
Melancholy is the theme of a piece of music theatre – “a show against the indifference of the universe” – created by composer Brigitta Muntendof and the dramaturg Moritz Lobeck. This state or mood has affected creative artists since time immemorial, among them Albrecht Dürer in his engraving Melencolia I from the year 1514, which the creative duo behind the show describe as a “symbol of the contradictions and irresolvabilities within the human longing for deliverance”. Melancholy, they say, is a mood that we need in order to learn to bear conflicts which there is no solution to.
The production has been commissioned by Ensemble Modern and the Bregenz Festival. In it, the digital world interacts with the real one. For example, it features artificial, defamiliarised voices, and the audience can use a specially programmed app as well as green screens to experience the show on a partly virtual basis. Sixty loudspeakers create a 3D sound world.
The world premiere is at the Workshop Theatre on 18 August, with a follow-up performance on 20 August.
The Bregenz Festival’s seventh Opera Studio premiere
The second of this season’s two Opera Studio productions will premiere next week, once again at the Kornmarkt-Theater. The first production, L’italiana in Algeri, was enthusiastically received in July. The Opera Studio was established by the Bregenz Festival’s artistic director Elisabeth Sobotka in 2015 with the aim of making it easier for young singers to begin their professional career and also for staging unconventional productions.
For Joseph Haydn’s Armida, Jonathan Brandani, who conducted the first Opera Studio premiere of the 2022 season, will be returning to the rostrum, while the director is Jörg Lichtenstein, who was responsible for the acclaimed Opera Studio productions of Così fan tutte (2015) and The Marriage of Figaro (2017). Brandani will conduct the Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra.
Haydn’s opera centres on the sorceress Armida. In Lichtenstein’s view the work is a “startling mix of fantasy opera, historical drama and a battle royal of love,” which essentially revolves around the difficulties of partnership from a practical point of view. “What is sensationally atypical about this opera is the fact that the characters get out of their depth by themselves, not as a result of external influences,” he says.
Armida is the seventh Opera Studio production of the Bregenz Festival. The premiere is on 15 August, with two further performances to follow.
First Academy Orchestra concert, with world premiere
This Sunday, young musicians aged between 17 and 27 will perform in the first graduation concert of the newly formed Bregenz Festival Academy Orchestra. The concert will be conducted by Daniel Cohen. The young musicians have spent the week leading up to the concert rehearsing the programme with the Israeli conductor and members of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra:
DSONG for Orchestra – Excerpt in Thee Movements (2022), a world premiere by Herbert Willi; Joseph Haydn’s Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra in E flat Major, Hob. VIIe:1, with Selina Ott as solo trumpet; and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D minor op.47.
Cohen has appeared at Bregenz before, conducting Don Quichotte at the Festspielhaus in 2019 and Rigoletto on the lake stage in tandem with Julia Jones in 2021. Born in 1984, at the age of 19 he became a long-term member of the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra as a violinist, where he gained valuable experience with a professional orchestra of young musicians. He is now General Music Director of the Staatstheater Darmstadt and has also conducted the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. A cooperation partner of the Bregenz Festival Academy Orchestra is the Vorarlberg State Conservatory.
The opera on the lake stage, Madame Butterfly, has played to a total audience of over 100,000 at its 15 performances to date (including the dress rehearsal and Cross Culture Night). So far there have been three cancellations due to bad weather.
The 2022 Bregenz Festival runs from 20 July to 21 August. For tickets and information please visit www.bregenzerfestspiele.com or call 0043 5574 407 6.