A new artistic director: Elisabeth Sobotka
In summer 2015, Bregenz Festival opened the season with the new artistic director Elisabeth Sobotka and the opera Turandot on the Lake. Marco Arturo Marelli was the stage director and designer, Paolo Carignani conducted the Wiener Symphoniker. In 1979, the opera had already been part of the festival's programme but did not return until 2015. Former artistic director of the Oper Graz succeeds David Pountney
Festival of the Year
"... great art (sometimes) creates great economic benefits"
David Pountney at the award ceremony
At the third International Opera Awards ceremony in London in April of 2015, Bregenz Festival won in the category Festival of the Year honouring it as the best music theater festival. Furthermore, Bregenz Festival was nominated for world premiere with HK Gruber's Tales from the Vienna Woods as well as for accessibility.
Former artistic director David Pountney accepted the award at the Savoy Theatre in London. In his short acceptance speech, he called on British politicians to support the arts more strongly. In his opinion, Bregenz shows that "great art may also create great economic benefits". John Allison, editor of the renowned English opera magazine Opera, and the British executive Harry Hyman founded the International Opera Awards in 2013.
Opera on the Lake: 98% of tickets sold
Opera at its best has always been spectacle with a brain. And nowhere is that marriage of seriousness and showmanship pursued more openly than at the Bregenz Festival. […]
New York Times (Online), Zachary Woolfe
At the end of the 70. season, 98 % of the tickets for the Opera on the Lake were sold. More than 171,000 people of the 228,000 guests in total only came to see Turandot. Marco Arturo Marelli’s production and stage design and Paolo Carignani and Giuseppe Finzi’s musical direction of Giacomo Puccini’s last opera impressed audience and critics alike.
Les Contes d' Hoffmann at the Festspielhaus
[...] It is the prime example of a directorial work that allows the ancient art form of opera to indulge the senses again. For this "Hoffmann" is radical, crude and plump, he is vicious and filled with a sense of romance as dark as can be, sometimes chaotic and with schoolboy manners too. [...]
At the Festspielhaus the opera Les Contes d'Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach was staged. The opera was directed by Stefan Herheim and seen by more than 7,500 guests, corresponding to 98% of capacity. Johannes Debus was the musical director.
Both composers of the operas performed during the season of 2015 were also featured in the orchestral concerts with the Wiener Symphoniker: On the one hand, Giacomo Puccini's Messa di Gloria was performed and, on the other hand, Jacques Offenbach was represented with his Concerto Militaire for violoncello and orchersta. Miroslav Srnka's newest orchestral work No Night No Land No Sky, which premiered in Cologne in May 2014, was performed in Austria for the first time. Furthermore, works of Luciano Berio, Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Franz Schubert were part of the programme. The Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg played the Wesendonck-Lieder by Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahm's Symphony No. 4 in e-minor.
New: Opera Studio and Opera Atelier
The newly established Opera Studio at the Kornmarkttheater in Bregenz celebrated its start with the debut production of Così fan tutte, which featured six young singers. It was already in May that the Festival invited guests to the Kunsthaus Bregenz, where it offered inspiring insights into the newly established Opera Atelier, which is to host the premiere of a music theatre in the summer of 2017. Furthermore, the Austrian premiere of The Golden Dragon was part of the 70. Bregenz Festival's programme as well as a series called Musik & Poesie.
During the 20. summer since the foundation of the cross culture project, many young people watched Turandot at the crossculture night. Furthermore, another 2,000 children and teenagers participated in workshops, the Fest des Kindes, Brass meets Banda and other events, granting them a young festival summer where they could not only watch but also actively take part in the programme.
One Million TV viewers
The broadcasting of Turandot turned out to be a unique premiere as it became a transnational TV event: For the first time, three TV channels - SWR (Germany), SRF (Switzerland) and ORF (Austria) - broadcasted the Opera on the Lake at the same time. Moreover, they allowed their viewers to take a glimpse behind the scenes of the opera and - in the so-called backstage version - the cast too got a chance to speak. Additionally, 3sat broadcasted the entire event. More than a million TV viewers participated. It was the first time that so many people saw an opera staged in Bregenz on TV.