Austria’s leading comprehensive arts festival “Wiener Festwochen” opens (May 13 – June 19, 2016)
The Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival Week) is held every year for five weeks from May into June in Austria’s capital of Vienna. Each year brings a program of about 40 invited works that gather and total audience of as many as 180,000. The policy for the festival’s programming is to present music, visual arts and performing arts that speak to contemporary society, while always maintaining high artistic standards. The festival’s overall director is the Austrian pianist Markus Hinterhäuser. The head of Drama Department has changed several times in recent years, and since last year it has settled with the Moscow-native journalist Marina Davydova as head, and serving as Chief Dramaturg is Stefan Schmidtke.
The opening work on the performing arts program is A bit more everyday by Iranian director Afsâneh Mâhian and playwright Mahin Sadri, which was so well received in its premiere at the 2015 International Fadjr Theater Festival in Tehran, Iran. On stage, three women in a simple modern kitchen in contemporary Iran, speak about the unexpected paths their lives took after war broke out with Iraq in the 1980s, in a tale of war, law and religion spoken in poetic words.
Invited from Moscow is Konstantin Bogomolov’s production of An Ideal Husband. Comedy That is the sensation of the Moscow theatre scene, with performances are sold out six months in advance. Bogomolov’s interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband freely blends in fragments of Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Goethe’s Faust, Chekov’s Three Sisters and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Other invited works by master directors and choreographers on this year’s program include the musical-theatrical production Isolde’s Supper directed by Swizerland’s Christoph Marthaler; Belgian director Jan Fabre’s 24-hour marathon production Mount Olympus. To Glorify the Cult of Tragedy; Italian Pippo Delbono’s play Orchid inspired by Delbono’s mother’s death; a new solo play directed and performed by Britain’s Simon McBurney, The Encounter, in which binaural recording and transmission is used to transmit the soundtrack that evokes an adventure tale in the depths of the Amazon rainforest transmitted to the audience through provided headphones. Also, four rare film works by Susan Sontag shown.
This is an international festival held since 1951 each May and June in Vienna on the largest scale of any Austrian festival. The venues include the Museums Quartier, Theater an der Wien, Wiener Konzerthaus and the Schauspielhaus, as well locations like markets and squares around the city, making virtually the entire city the festival's stage. The programs feature operas and performing arts from around the world with leading directors, conductors and orchestras providing the latest in performing arts, with works presented in both classical styles and the newest productions, along with contemporary works in new staging. In 2011, the festival was directed by Luc Bondy, with Stefanie Carp as director of the drama department and Stephanie Listner as director of the music department. It will come under new direction with the founder of the Kunsten Festival, Frie Leysen serving as artistic director of the performing arts program and it presented 45 works from 23 countries that drew a total audience of 180,000. From Japan, artists including potudo_ru and Akira Takayama had participated.
- Wiener Festwochen