A wintry Freischütz on the lake stage, an early Rossini ‘gangland’ opera at the Festspielhaus

Press Day: Opera on the lake, opera at the Festspielhaus

Bregenz, 4 July 2024. Rehearsals are currently taking place twice a day on the lake stage, in the wintry village set built for Philipp Stölzl’s production of Der Freischütz. The performers involved are mostly not in costume, and the musical accompaniment is still on the piano. But this Saturday will see a complete run-through of Weber’s opera, premiered in 1821, for the first time in original conditions at the principal piano rehearsal. At the weekend, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra is expected in Bregenz – and the stage and orchestra rehearsals can begin.

A Romantic gothic horror tale
“I wanted to do this opera here when I first started at Bregenz,” Stölzl says. He has deliberately chosen a completely different form for Der Freischütz than for his previous production, Rigoletto. “The place we have created here right up close to the auditorium is a magical, poetic world that you can almost reach out and touch. We have totally embraced the Romantic gothic horror tale that forms the basis of the Freischütz. In our production of the opera – half of which is actually spoken theatre – there will be a lot of condensing and interpenetration. On top of that there will be sound effects: howling wolves, crunching ice, gunshots and thunder,” he explains.

In spite of the summer heat, visitors should be made to shiver by the eerie atmosphere of the village half-sunk in a marsh. That's what director Philipp Stölzl is aiming at. As he says, "Der Freischütz is essentially a dark, Faustian tale: Max sells his soul for earthly happiness and pays a bitter price for it. In those draughty huts, primordial conflicts are fought out, and it's a grim, bare-knuckle fight.”

Lake stage debut on 17 July
Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz is being performed on the lake stage at Bregenz for the first time, with the premiere on 17 July 2024. The director, stage and light designer is Philipp Stölzl. The Munich-based director is returning to Lake Constance following his acclaimed Rigoletto, the opera on the lake stage in 2019/21. The conductor's baton will be shared by the festival's conductor in residence Enrique Mazzola, who was also music director for the Rigoletto production, and Erina Yashima.
The opera on the lake stage in 2024 is scheduled to play on 28 evenings. For the entire run, a total of approx. 199,000 tickets went on sale (incl. the dress rehearsal and Young People's Night). Bookings are at the very healthy level of the lake stage productions of Carmen in 2017/18 and Rigoletto in 2019/21. There is ticket availability mainly for the August performances of Der Freischütz.

Tancredi, a masterpiece of Rossini’s youth, amidst gang warfare
Two mafia families at loggerheads, an external enemy that is out to get them, and two young women who, in a man’s world, attempt to find happiness together – Tancredi, Gioachino Rossini’s youthful masterpiece, which catapulted him in 1813 when only 20 years of age to the forefront of Italian composers of his day, has been in rehearsal at the Festspielhaus for three weeks now.

To make this opera – whose main characters in the original libretto are Crusaders and Saracens – relatable and compelling for audiences today, the German stage director Jan Philipp Gloger and the stage designer Ben Baur have set the action of Tancredi in a fictive South American country where drug cartels hold sway and rival criminal gangs are locked in conflict with one another. The epicentre of this male world with such explosive potential is the spectacular villa of drug baron Argirio.

Highly topical and relevant
The world we see on stage makes the conflicts in the opera very tangible and urgent. The hero of the title, Tancredi, was originally a trouser role. But in the masculine, Catholic, restrictive world of the Bregenz production, Tancredi is a woman who has fallen in love with another woman, Amenaide, and disguises herself as a man in order to have any agency at all in the man’s world she finds herself in. “We don’t have knights lined up in a guard of honour, but instead a queer love story between two women in a world dominated by drugs and violence,” Gloger says. “That enables us to tell the story of the relationship between Amenaide and Tancredi in a way that’s highly topical and relevant for today.”

Musically speaking, Tancredi, although an early work, already displays Rossini’s musical inventiveness, with its lively melodies and rousing finales. The music director will be Yi-Chen Lin, who Bregenz Festival audiences will remember as a conductor of Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. The set has been designed by Ben Bauer, the costumes by Justina Klimczyk. The Festspielhaus production premieres on 18 July 2024.

Programme for over 227,000 visitors
The Bregenz Festival in its 78th season presents a rich and varied programme for more than 227,000 visitors over five summer weeks from 17 July to 18 August 2024. In addition to the spectacular Freischütz on the lake stage and the operatic thriller Tancredi at the Festspielhaus, festival-goers can look forward to two world premieres (Unmögliche Verbindung and Hold Your Breath) at the Workshop Theatre, the Opera Studio production of both Rossini’s The Marriage Contract and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, guest performances of the new play Mondmilch trinken as well as concerts big and small at the Festspielhaus (Great Hall & Lake Studio) and the Kunsthaus Bregenz.

The 2024 Bregenz Festival runs from 17 July to 18 August. For tickets and information please visit www.bregenzerfestspiele.com or call tel. 0043 5574 4076.

08.07.2024

Pressetag I, "Der Freischütz"

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, "Der Freischütz"

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Philipp Stölzl (Regie | Bühne)

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Philipp Stölzl (Regie | Bühne)

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Elisabeth Sobotka (Intendantin)

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Enrique Mazzola (Conductor in Residence)

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Nikola Hillebrand (Agathe)

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Mauro Peter (Max)

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Probeneinblick

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Probeneinblick

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Tancredi

© Bregenzer Festspiele/ Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Jan Philipp Gloger (Inszenierung)

© Bregenzer Festspiele/ Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Yi-Chen Lin (Musikalische Leitung)

© Bregenzer Festspiele/ Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Anna Goryachova (Tancredi)

© Bregenzer Festspiele/ Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, "Tancredi"

© Bregenzer Festspiele/ Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Probeneinblick

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Probeneinblick

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler
04.07.2024

Pressetag I, Probeneinblick

© Bregenzer Festspiele / Anja Köhler