Spring clean for the Lake Stage
SPRING CLEAN FOR THE LAKE STAGE
MADAME BUTTERFLY GETS BEAUTY TREATMENT
6,659 NEW SEATS INSTALLED IN LAKESIDE ARENA
Bregenz, 25.4.23. More than 20 metres above Lake Constance, Robert Grammel awakens the Madame Butterfly stage set from its winter sleep. Like a professional climber, the Bregenz Festival’s scene painter has abseiled half way down the gigantic set sculpted like a crumpled piece of paper. With a brush and a palette knife he is patching up small cracks in the surface that were caused by cold weather.
Sprucing up the lake stage involves a lot of work: there are about 1,340 square metres of surface area that are undergoing special cosmetic treatment. “As the scene painter I am responsible for all the surface structure that is visible,” Grammel explains. The stage sculpture consists of 117 separate pieces and measures about 23 metres in height by 33 metres in width. The spring clean needs to be finished by the middle of June in time for the start of rehearsals. The Giacomo Puccini opera, which was a big hit with audiences last summer, is returning for its second run and premieres on 20 July.
New seating for the lake stage audience
And across from the stage in the lakeside viewing area there’s a lot going on, too. As part of the general renovation of the Festspielhaus the arena seating is being replaced. The first of the 6,659 new seats has now been installed. Once the work is completed in early summer, this section of the lakeside promenade, which has also been remodelled, will be publicly accessible again and there will be an unobstructed view of the Madame Butterfly stage. Those who can’t wait that long might like to use our online X-ray viewer, a tool that offers fascinating views of the lake stage as well as behind the scenes and even inside the spectacular set. The lakeside promenade will be closed again when renovation of the lake stage commences at the end of the 2023 season.
There are challenges ahead for the sound and lighting departments, too. At the end of last year’s festival the technicians removed the loudspeakers and the spotlights. They will start being reinstalled in May. As soon as the loudspeakers have been put in place, the testing, measuring and configuring work begins in order to have a fully functioning sound system when rehearsals start in June. “This year we have to get to know the new situation in the auditorium, so we can adjust the loudspeakers as necessary in order to be able to offer the optimum acoustic experience again,” says the head of the sound department, Clemens Wannemacher.
A mild winter
In addition, the health and safety specialists inspect the foundations for frost damage and ensure the surfaces of the paper stage set are not slippery. The working boats are also launched. “The mild winter with few frosty days didn’t do much harm to the stage set. The damage is limited; structurally at least everything is sound,” says a contented Manfred Achberger, Health and Safety Manager.
Madame Butterfly tickets available
The enormous stage set must be operational by the time rehearsals start in mid-June. From then, director Andreas Homoki will be rehearsing virtually every day for the first night of the second run on 20 July. Twenty-six performances of the Puccini opera are scheduled. At the present time about two thirds of the nearly 185,000 available tickets for Madame Butterfly (including the dress rehearsal and Young People’s Night) have been booked. For many performances tickets are still available in several price categories.
The 2023 Bregenz Festival runs from 19 July to 20 August. For tickets and information please visit www.bregenzerfestspiele.com or call tel. 0043 5574 4076.
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