A chilly summer, a well attended Opera on the Lake and a celebrated showcase project: That was the 2010 Bregenz Festival. Giuseppe Verdi's Aida - in Bregenz without pyramids but with blue feet, a copper elephant and giant cranes - turned out to be by far the most visited Opera on the Seebühne in the festival's history.
"In Foreign Lands"
In 2010, the unifying theme of the festival was "In Foreign Lands". One central element of this theme was a retrospective of the works of Miezcysław Weinberg (1919-1996), a long forgotten Polish-Russian composer. One of the highlights was the scenic world premiere of his opera The Passenger at the Festspielhaus as well as the Austrian premiere of The Portrait at the Theater am Kornmarkt and a symposium dealing with the composer's life and works. The Passenger is about the unexpected reunion of a former SS guard and an Auschwitz prisoner. It is based on a short novel by Zofia Posmysz, who was a Polish Auschwitz survivor born in 1923. The performance proved that a supposedly "complex" work can turn into a crowd puller. In October 2011, the Berlin based magazine "Opernwelt" honoured The Passenger as "rediscovery of the year". In June, Bregenz Festival presented Weinberg's work at the Metro Kino (a local cinema) in Bregenz as part of a movie week.
The Musik & Poesie performances at the Seestudio offered not only chamber music composed by Weinberg but also poems written by Russian authors that all deal with the theme "In Foreign Lands".
The Deutsche Theater Berlin, that had already delighted visitors in the 1990s, returned to Bregenz in 2010 with its new artistic director Ulrich Khuon. Khuon was no stranger, as he was the former artistic director of the well-known Thalia Theater before. The "Berliner" started with Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Lukas Bärfuss's Öl.
Kunst aus der Zeit: interrelated performances
The performances of the contemporary series Kunst aus der Zeit were also related to Weinberg, because the opera Jacob's Room about the pioneer of electronic music - Morton Subotnick - suffered the same fate as Weinberg's The Passenger: Instead of being put to stage, the multimedia work, which was composed in the 70s, was pigeonholed until 2010, when it celebrated its acclaimed world premiere at the Werkstattbühne in Bregenz.
Festival within the Festival
The other "festival within the festival" - the cross culture programme for young people - convinced with an extensive and diverse programme in 2010: starting with the Fest des Kindes, opera and band workshops, concerts for families and school classes (rocky roccoco and Saiten!) as well as the Aida performance on the cross culture night.