Operatic productions at Bregenz get two-year runs so this in effect David Pountney’s final programme before Elisabeth Sobotka takes over in 2015. Pountney has proven effective at putting his stamp on the festival and next summer’s edition is once again something to go for should you share his tastes. The new lake production, which he is directing, will be Die Zauberflöte, and the Festspielhaus opera the world premiere of The Merchant of Venice by one André Tchaikowsky. Pountney is currently just about Tchaikowsky’s only champion and presumably hopes to change that with a composer portrait that also includes concerts and a symposium. (Some months ago he blogged about Tchaikowsky here.)
Causing a bit of a stir in the Austrian press at the moment is the cutting of the festival’s drama division; I’ve also noticed that the concert programming, carried mainly by the Wiener Symphoniker, looks a bit bare compared to recent festivals, with no visiting ensembles. The drama cut Pountney explains as a conscious decision to free up funds for more music theatre projects, which include a new work based on Iain Banks’ The Wasp Factory, with music by Ben Frost and text adapted by Pountney, and the Austrian premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s American Lulu in the John Fulljames production that will later tour the UK. American Lulu is also rumoured to be making a 2014 appearance at the Theater an der Wien in yet another new staging, which would make three productions in as many years.
Because a British-born Intendant has to be good for something, full Bregenz details can be seen on one of the most comprehensive English-language arts websites in Austria.