Image: Bregenzer Festspiele Orchesterkonzert Festspielhaus Wiener Symphoniker / Dietmar Mathis
During our Hang 2020, all participants will enjoy both an indoor symphony performance of works of Ludwig van Beethoven and Richard Strauss by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra as well as a performance of the Giuseppe Verdi opera Rigoletto on the lake stage of the Bregenz Festival.
The first Bregenz Festival was held one year after the end of WWII in 1946—immediately attracting an international audience. Because the town lacked a theater, the week’s events were staged on barges moored on Lake Constance, launching the Festival’s signature commitment to floating stage opera productions.
The unique and “epic” stagings of opera on the world’s largest lake stage draw tens of thousands of spectators annually. Over 200,000 people attended the Festival’s record-setting lake stage production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute in 2014, which played to 100% capacity. The lake stage features one of the world’s best open-air sound systems.
The Vienna Symphony Orchestra has been the Festival’s orchestra since the beginning, playing a major role in the Festival’s enduring success. The Festival’s indoor venues host a variety of other events that attract music lovers of all ages, including concerts by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and other orchestras, chamber music performances, productions of lesser known operas, and programs for children.
Lake Stage Performance of Rigoletto
In the 2019 and 2020 seasons, the Bregenz Festival’s Lake Constance stage will feature—for the first time on the Festival’s floating stage—Giuseppe Verdi’s masterpiece Rigoletto. The production’s director and stage designer is German opera director and filmmaker Philipp Stölzl, whose circus world conception of Rigoletto features a giant clown’s head and a “big, dynamic machine…something like a marionette.” (Check out the lake stage webcam, which provides an updated image of the stage every two minutes.)
Lake Stage 2019 panorama view with Rigoletto set – Image: own
Rigoletto is a staple of the operatic repertoire. It had its first performance in 1851, based on Victor Hugo’s play The King Amuses Himself. Following extended negotiations with censors, Verdi and his librettist changed the plot’s womanizer to a duke and named the duke’s jester Rigoletto. Bregenz director Stölzl describes Rigoletto as a story about “power and the abuse of power.” The opera’s most famous aria, “La donna è mobile” (“woman is fickle”), is one of Verdi’s most well-known and popular melodies.
The Vienna Symphony Orchestra—Vienna’s “cultural ambassador and premier concert orchestra”—is one of Europe’s most prestigious orchestral ensembles. Founded in 1900, the orchestra is known for its commitment to traditional, Viennese orchestral sound, which it shows off in a core repertoire focused on works from the Romantic era. The orchestra has been in residence at the Bregenz Festival since the Festival’s inception; it is not only responsible for the Festival’s indoor and outdoor opera productions but regularly headlines orchestral concerts on the Festival program.