Opera Daily 🎶 — The Floating Opera Stage
This week's Opera Daily features Bregenzer Festspiele and Lake Constance, the world's largest lake stage
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The Floating Opera Stage
The Bregenzer Festspiele is a world-renowned music and arts festival that takes place every summer in the picturesque city of Bregenz, Austria.
Every year, the festival attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.
But let’s not kid ourselves — they come for its unique setting: an open-air opera house on a floating stage on Lake Constance.
The lake is situated where Germany, Switzerland, and Austria meet.
The imagination of the festival’s set designers has no limits. They are the secret stars of this festival. Every new set takes, on average, 215 days to construct, and they seem to outdo themselves every year.
The stage is surrounded by an enormous water basin, which allows for an incredible view of the surrounding mountains. The stage itself is large enough to accommodate an orchestra of 100 musicians and a chorus of 200 singers.
Thankfully they require all singers not to be afraid of heights and be able to swim. In 2013 during a production of The Magic Flute, three singers and an extra accidentally feel into the lake, including Kathryn Lewek who was singing The Queen of the Night.
Let’s listen to a selection from a past season at Bregenz and look at some photos of the amazing stages over the years.
🎧 Listening Example (3 minute listen): Compilation from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Bregenz Festival, July 2022, Barno Ismatullaeva (Cio-Cio-San), Annalisa Stroppa (Suzuki), Edgaras Montvidas (Pinkerton), Brian Mulligan (Sharpless), Wiener Symphoniker, Enrique Mazzola, conductor
Thank you for reading (and listening), and feel free to reply with feedback or leave a comment.
PS. If you missed last week’s selection, we featured the English opera Peter Grimes by British composer Benjamin Britten.
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How many people can attend these performances? Also, is this one of those festivals where you have to buy tickets years in advance?
Did the Queen of the Night (Lake) sue the Festival ? When the fog or mist move in, it could be a very perilous stage. Are the singers miked ?