Provisional figures for the 2016 festival

213,000 people attend festival in its anniversary season 
"Turandot" - highest visitor figure for a Puccini opera
"Carmen" comes to lake stage in 2017

Bregenz, 19.8.16. Three events scheduled for the last day of the festival mark the grand finale of an anniversary season full of variety and attracting large audiences. On Sunday there is a morning concert by the Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra, followed in the early evening by a cabaret concert in the Music & Poetry series, and as darkness falls over Lake Constance Princess Turandot will behead her suitors for the last time on the Bregenz open-air stage. In its second season, the opera remains more popular than any other opera by Giacomo Puccini staged at Bregenz Festival.

Currently 94 per cent of the tickets to Turandot have been sold. This means the opera with the world-famous aria Nessun dorma will be seen by about 160,000 people by the end of the festival, providing that all three remaining performances go ahead on the Lake Stage. So far one performance has been transferred to the indoor venue, the Festspielhaus, due to bad weather. The total number of tickets sold to Bregenz Festival events in 2016 is expected to be approx. 213,000. Turandot plays again today and tomorrow, with the last performance on Sunday; tickets are still available. This evening also sees the second and final performance of Make no noise in the Workshop Theatre.

Carmen - booking opens on Sunday evening

On Sunday evening, booking opens on the festival website for next year's Lake Stage production of Carmen. Preparations for the Georges Bizet opera are already well advanced. The stage director is Kasper Holten and the stage designer Es Devlin. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra will be conducted once more by Paolo Carignani.

Lake stages big and small

Right next to the towering set for Turandot a second lake stage of very different dimensions was created for another operatic event – unprecedented in the festival's history because it took place the evening before the official opening ceremony and before the second season premiere of Turandot on the big lake stage. Mozart's singspiel Bastien und Bastienne was presented on a barge converted into a stage and moored in the municipal marina. Bregenz Festival organized the show to commemorate the founding of opera on the lake in 1946, when the same work was staged at the same location. The opera was performed free of charge and drew an estimated audience of 1,800.

Hamlet acclaimed at the Festspielhaus

Lengthy and in some places frenzied applause greeted the premiere of the long-forgotten opera Hamlet at the Festspielhaus on the opening evening of the festival. Receiving its first ever performance in Austria, the opera was sold out on all three evenings and was seen by a total of 4,612 opera fans. There was high attendance and enthusiastic applause also for the three orchestral concerts given by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Together with the matinee concert by the Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra this coming Sunday, ticket sales for the concert series will total at least 5,600.

In the second year of its existence, the Opera Studio played to capacity audiences at the Kornmarkt Theater: its four performances of Don Giovanni were attended by 1,940 opera-goers. Small-scale but high-class, the Music & Poetry series has enjoyed an enthusiastic reception at its classic venue, the Lake Studio in the Festspielhaus. On Sunday, soprano Measha Brueggergosman presents a programme of cabaret songs; a few tickets are still available.

Three contemporary music events

The contemporary music programme at the Workshop Theatre proved that a modern music theatre premiere can generate great interest. The demand for tickets to Staatsoperette - Die Austrotragödie was so strong that the dress rehearsal was opened to the public at short notice. Almost 1,000 people saw the stage adaptation of the notorious TV film Staatsoperette. This evening sees the second and final performance of Make no noise at the Workshop Theatre. Receiving its first production in Austria, the chamber opera about a relationship between two traumatized individuals enthralled the first-night audience. At a concert in the Kunsthaus Bregenz, the Opera Workshop offered another sneak preview of an opera that is in the process of being composed. The opera, entitled To the Lighthouse, will be given its world premiere at the Workshop Theatre during the 2017 Bregenz Festival. The next in a series of such insight sessions is scheduled for 28 November in the Kunsthaus Bregenz.

Fall of the wall

On Monday morning, just a few hours after the final Turandot performance, the imposing opera stage standing in Lake Constance will start to be dismantled. For the first few days, technicians will remove the loudspeakers and spotlights built into the set and other remaining devices. Then stone by stone by the massive wall – 72 metres wide and 27 metres high – will be taken down. The ochre-coloured wall is a steel-and-wood construction faced with 650 synthetic masonry blocks. In October the first wooden piles will be rammed into the lake bed as the foundations for the Carmen stage set, the first approximate outlines of which will be visible in March.

From gravel barge to opera stage

To mark the festival's anniversary, an exhibition celebrating 70 Years of the Bregenz Festival opened in the foyer of vorarlberg museum one week before the festival began. The exhibition continues until 11 September; admission is free. Using original documents, short films and accompanying texts, it illuminates the early years leading up to the mid eighties, the time of the festival's artistic re-conception, which is still followed today. A booklet has been published to accompany the exhibition – Vom Kieskahn zur Opernbühne im See (From gravel barge to opera stage in the lake). It summarises this early history and offers an overview of the more recent history of the festival.

Carmen to be opera on the lake in 2017 & 2018

Carmen returns to the Lake Stage in 2017 and 2018. It will be directed by Kasper Holten, with sets designed by Es Devlin and Paolo Carignani conducting the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Georges Bizet's ever popular opera was last staged on the Bregenz lake stage in 1991 and 1992. It premieres on 19 July 2017, with 25 further performances scheduled.

Moses in Egypt at the Festspielhaus in 2017

The opera at the Festspielhaus next year will be the rarely staged work Moses in Egypt (Mosè in Egitto) by Gioachino Rossini. The premiere is on 20 July 2017, after which there will be two more performances. The biblical tale of plagues and the parting of the Red Sea will be staged by Dutch artist Lotte de Beer together with the theatre group Hotel Modern. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Enrique Mazzola, an Italian born in Spain, while designer Christof Hetzer, acclaimed for his sets for The Tales of Hoffmann, will be returning to the Bregenz Festspielhaus.

The 2017 Bregenz Festival runs from 19 July to 20 August. Tickets to all events except premieres are available from Sunday evening on the festival website


Provisional balance for 2016 – Commercial director Michael Diem, festival president Hans-Peter Metzler, artistic director Elisabeth Sobotka