Press conference before the close of the 2019 season
A total of 250,000 visitors expected by Sunday evening
Arrivederci "Rigoletto" till summer 2020
Bregenz, 16.8.19. A circus world on Lake Constance, multiple knights of sad countenance, and a highly varied programme capable of drawing a big audience – the Bregenz Festival comes to a close on Sunday evening with a projected total of 250,000 visitors. Eighty events were on the programme of the nearly five week long summer festival – this year in its 74 season. Demand for tickets was exceptionally high throughout.
Rigoletto, the opera on the lake stage, continues to play to capacity audiences. If there are no further cancellations due to rain, as many as 180,000 people will have seen the Bregenz production by the festival's end. All 27 performances of the opera are sold out. Three more performances of the open air production remain, including this evening's, So far this season, Rigoletto has played indoors in the Festspielhaus three times.
A Rigoletto as touching as it is spectacular
This is the first time the Giuseppe Verdi opera has been performed at the festival since it was founded in 1946. "What Rigoletto director Philipp Stölzl has conjured up on Lake Constance is nothing less than a sensation" was the judgement of German broadcaster Südwestrundfunk Baden-Württemberg. Audiences were no less enthusiastic, responding with long ovations to the drama played out in and on the colossal clown's head and the captive balloon that rises to a height of about 40 metres, which together make up the Lake Constance stage set.
Long-time aficionados of the Bregenz Festival are agreed that this lake stage production offers an interpretation of the Verdi opera as touching as it is spectacular, with cleverly crafted spaces for intimate scenes but also the effect a big show – though the sophisti-cated technology is always at the service of the artistic ideal.
Next year Rigoletto returns to the lake stage for a further 27 performances, premiering on 23 July and playing till the final day of the festival, 23 August 2020. The festival opens for its 75th season on 22 July with a performance of Nero by Arrigo Boito in the Festspielhaus. Tickets go on sale on the festival website this Sunday evening (except for premieres, Lounge and Premium tickets). The Bregenz Festival is due to present its 2020 programme on 13 November 2019.
Four venues for one knight
The self-proclaimed "knight of the sad countenance" has made an appearance in four different sections of the this year's programme. On the second evening of the festival the curtain went up on Don Quichotte, the opera at the Festspielhaus. Mariame Clément's dazzling production cast new light on what may be the best known figure of world liter-ature, probing what heroism is in today's world as well as exploring masculinity and new gender roles. The opera was seen by 4,603 people, playing to a 99 per cent capacity audience.
Cervantes' famous figure also appeared at the Kornmarkttheater in a genuine premiere – a spoken theatre adaptation of the classic novel Don Quixote. This co-production with Deutsches Theater Berlin was directed by Jan Bosse and starred Ulrich Matthes and Wolfram Koch. They demonstrated how unconventional, how entertaining and how compelling dramatic art can be even without elaborate stage decor and props.
This Sunday morning the Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra will perform three works that are about Don Quixote. Ariane Matiakh will conduct the fourth and final orchestral concert of the season in the Great Hall of the Festspielhaus; tickets are still available.
Finally in the popular series Musik & Poesie Michael Köhlmeier, a writer from Vorarlberg, presented a gallery of fools and jesters, with particular reference to the figures Rigoletto and Don Quixote. Also in the Lake Studio, two other soirées offering literary-musical gems were very well attended, with 98 per cent of tickets sold.
Interpersonal relationships in Eugene Onegin
In its fifth year the Bregenz Opera Studio has transformed the stage of the Kornmarkttheater into an inhospitable natural landscape of marsh, moor and grassland. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin is being staged here by Jan Eßinger as an investigation into emotional states and interpersonal relationships, set in a place that doesn't necessarily have to be in Russia. The production was very well received by the first night audience. The final performance is on Saturday; tickets are available. Total tickets sales of 90 per cent are anticipated.
Two chief conductors at three Vienna Symphony concerts
Both Philippe Jordan and Fabio Luisi – the current chief conductor and his predecessor – stood on the rostrum in the three traditional orchestral concerts with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. All four symphonies by Johannes Brahms were played on two successive days. The orchestral concert series was launched by a performance of Giuseppe Verdi's opulent Requiem. Including the Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra concert on Sunday, the series is expected to draw over 6,000 visitors, representing 98 per cent of capacity.
Superb venue for contemporary theatre: the Workshop Theatre
The Workshop Theatre has once again hosted contemporary music theatre. La Ronde, based on the play by Arthur Schnitzler, received its first performances in Austria on the two last days of July. It was a co-production of the Bregenz Festival and Neue Oper Wien. Starting today, a world premiere takes place on two consecutive evenings and with different performances: Wunderwandelwelt, a music theatre installation created by Francois Sarhan.
Since the end of last year's festival, three open sessions have provided an insight into the process of creating a new piece of music theatre. The opera, the work of composer Alexander Moosbrugger and artist Flaka Haliti, is to receive its world premiere at the 2020 festival. It is entitled Wind in allusion to the sound production of an organ. The opera will be staged by Jan Eßinger.
A look ahead to 2020
The 2020 season begins at the end of May, at least for the youngest fans of the festival. Following up on the great success of Carmen at the Circus in spring 2018, the Bregenz Festival will be offering a Rigoletto for Kids, a piece of music theatre specially conceived for children aged from six to twelve. The partners are once again Aslico - Opera Domani from Como (Italy), the Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra and Superar Vorarlberg.
In summer 2020, the opera at the Festspielhaus will be Arrigo Boito's Nero (Nerone). The opera, which was first staged in 1924 at La Scala Milan, will premiere at Bregenz on 22 July 2020 and receive two further performances. The opera on the lake stage, Rigoletto, opens for its second run on 23 July 2020.
Tickets for the 2020 season go on sale online at 9 p.m. on 18 August 2019, the final day of this year's festival (not including premieres, Lounge and Premium tickets). Bookings can be made by telephone from 19 August at the Ticket Center on 0043 5574 4076.