Throughout its 65 year history, this festival has consistently presented the year’s most innovative offering of music, drama, performance, and dialogue – not only showcasing our fair city to global visitors, but bringing the world to Vienna.
In our May issue, we’ve highlighted some of the theater productions that will be staged. Here are some tips for opera and concerts. (See bottom of page for information on ticketing.)
May 13, 21:20 – Opening Concert on Rathausplatz
The festival opens with a free outdoor concert on Rathhausplatz. This year’s televised concert, titled “Blech.Blas.Musik.Tanz” (Brass.Band. Music.Dance), promises a mash-up of traditional and modern folk and classical music. The theatrical puppetry of Nikolaus Habjan (who also happens to be a world-class whistler) will stitch together the performances by five virtuoso bands, including the genre-bending local quintet Alma, as well as by Superar – a Viennese Sistema-style school choir and orchestra project.
Through June 15 – Festwochen Concerts at the Musikverein
The Festwochen Concerts at the Musikverein bring the world’s most talented ensembles, conductors and soloists to town. Visiting orchestras include: the Boston Symphony Orchestra (May 9 & 10); the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse (May 21, 23, 24); the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (May 26, 27 & 28); and the Staatskapelle Dresden (June 8).
The late Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s Concentus Musicus Wien will perform Beethoven’s Ninth (May 30). Rudolph Buchbinder (May 12 & June 6), Maurizio Pollini (June 11), and Krystian Zimmerman (May 19) will display their piano mastery in solo recitals. Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, accompanied by pianist Lambert Orkis, will play works by Currier, Mozart, Poulenc, Ravel and Saint-Saëns (June 13).
May 19 & 20, 19:30 – The Passenger (opera)
A modern opera dealing with the theme of liberation, The Passenger by Polish-Russian composer Mieczysław Weinberg, tells the story of holocaust survivor Zofia Posmysz as she emigrates to Brazil in the 1950’s. A production (in several languages with German subtitles) of the Frankfurt Opera, its Vienna premiere will be on May 19.
Theater an der Wien
June 3 & 4, 20:30 – Isolde’s Supper
Theater director Christoph Marthaler, who staged a music-theater performance in the Austrian Parliament for the 2013 festival, returns this year with Isoldes Abendbrot, an evening of staged singing in homage to the great mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. A discussion with the audience follows the June 4 performance. In German.
Halle G im MuseumsQuartier
June 4 & 5, 19:00 & 21:30 – Woe Betide the Cold Monsters
The Konzerthaus will host a series of four concerts labelled Wehe den eiskalten Ungeheuern with works by international 20th century composers Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Luigi Nono, Arnold Schoenberg, Hanns Eisler, Gustav Mahler, Ernst Krenek, Georg Friedrich Haas and Frederic Rzewski. The Klangforum Wien ensemble will be joined by soloists, including Markus Hinterhäuser on piano and Moldovan violin virtuosa Patricia Kopatchinskaja.
June 14, 19:30 – Fidelio (premiere)
Beethoven’s opera Fidelio, will be freed from the prison of its traditional staging by acclaimed Russian director Dmitri Tcherniakov in his Vienna debut. Additional performances on June 16, 18 and 20.
Theater an der Wien
Wiener Festwochen May 13 – June 19
Phone: +43 1 589 22 22
Festwochen Box-office: 6., Lehárgasse 3a
Halle E&G MQ: 7., Museumsplatz 1
Festival Center in the Kunstlerhaus: 1., Akademiestraße 13 (opens May 14)