Festival with tradition and world fame
Since 1946, the Bregenz Festival has offered viewers an effectively staged opera every two years as well as other accompanying programs. Operas and musicals are performed annually in the adjoining festival hall. In 2014 this festival drew over 265,000 visitors. The Austrian capital of the state of Vorarlberg itself has just under 30,000 inhabitants. The Bregenz floating stage, located in the middle of Lake Constance, is unique and is used for every opera house.
The original floating stage was built for the 1949/50 season, including a connection to the festival hall and orchestra pit. At the opening in 1946, the performance took place on two gravel barges pushed together. In the years that followed, the stage was continuously expanded. The stage was given its current shape with a concrete core and a surface resting on wooden pillars for the 1979/1980 season. Further modifications were made to adapt the stage to the technical requirements. With a current audience capacity of over 7,000 seats, the Bregenz floating stage is one of the largest open-air stages in the world. The Bregenz lake stage achieved world fame, in addition to the musical highlights, above all through its appearance in the James Bond film adaptation of “A Quantum of Solace”.
Musical excellence and easy travel
Since the beginning of the festival, the Vienna Philharmonic has been responsible for the musical implementation of the respective opera. These are among the best orchestras in the world and have conductors such as Richard Strauss and Herbert von Karajan among their directors. The musical quality and the scenic productions have received international awards several times. Apart from the festival, Bregenz offers ample opportunity for entertainment with its old town and rich museum landscape. Hardly any other international festival can be easily reached in as many ways as Bregenz. Whether by car, train, plane or ship across Lake Constance, the journey offers the opportunity to experience the idyllic landscape.
Every friend of the performing arts and classical music would like to be part of a performance at the Salzburg Festival. This festival has been held in July and August since 1920. They are considered the most important classical music festival and are a highlight in Austria’s cultural life.
In Salzburg, among other things, pieces by Mozart are always performed. International artists, whether singers, musicians, conductors or actors appear and are cheered by the audience. Every year around 200 performances take place, which are seen by around 250,000 visitors. If you want tickets for certain performances, you have to get hold of them very early on. Since artists often live in and around Salzburg during the festival, visitors to Mozart’s city can be lucky enough to see one or the other celebrity up close.
The play “Jedermann” is the most famous and sought-after performance of the Salzburg Festival. Hugo von Hofmannsthal wrote this play about the dying of the rich man, which was premiered in Salzburg in August 1920. It is a special honor for the performer of Jedermann to be able to play this role. Many famous and extraordinary actors excelled as everyone. The Jedermann call on Domplatz is legendary. If the weather permits, you can play outside on the cathedral square in front of the unique backdrop of the cathedral.
Many of the performances take place in the Great Festival Hall. The former small festival hall was converted into the house for Mozart in 2006. It is located near the Felsenreitschule. This unconventional place is a quarry that has a stage, seats and, if necessary, a roof. The stones for the cathedral construction come from the rocks of the quarry.
The world-famous conductor Herbert von Karajan, born in Salzburg, shaped the Salzburg Festival for many years and also introduced the Easter Festival in 1967, at which he performed new opera productions with the Berlin Philharmonic every year. Whitsun concerts are also given as part of the Salzburg Festival.
Opera Ball Vienna
The Vienna State Opera turns into the most beautiful and famous ballroom every year in Mardi Gras, on the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday. In just a few days, the auditorium, orchestra pit and stage can be converted into a single large dance floor. The whole opera house is adorned with magnificent flower arrangements and is ready for 5,000 guests for one night. The Opera Ball is also called the Ball of Artists. Many prominent guests from culture, art and business are always expected. Ticket orders come in from all over the world, and they are very popular despite the high prices. Celebrities receive various guests in the boxes. Every year there is a guesswork out of which guest of honor a well-known master builder conjures up. Sometimes he doesn’t have a very lucky hand with the selection.
The first highlight after the arrival of the guests is the entry of the young ladies and gentlemen committee. 180 pairs of debutants, who must be between 17 and 24 years old and have good knowledge of dancing left waltzes, open the ball with a well-rehearsed, remarkable choreography. You can only open the ball once in your life. Here, too, there are inquiries from interested parties from all over the world. After singing and ballet, the ball will be opened by the young dancers with the Blue Danube Waltz. Afterwards it is “all waltz” and now everyone can storm the dance floor and enjoy the evening.
People have always loved to dance in Vienna. Even at the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1814/15 there were artist festivals in the Hof Opera Theater. Later balls in the redouten halls of the Hofburg and in the Theater an der Wien. Emperor Franz Josef did not allow dance festivals in the new opera house on the Ring until 1877. The first opera ball under this name took place in January 1921. The last ball before the war took place on the eve of WWII. In 1956, after the opera was rebuilt, the celebrations took place here for the first time.