Bregenzer Festspiele 2021

Bregenzer Festspiele

Giuseppe Verdi’s opera ‘Rigoletto’ – the tragic tale of unrequited love, hatred and passion will be taking its fateful course during a second season to be played in 2021. ‘Rigoletto’ – the first in the Trilogia popolare and one of the most frequently staged pieces by Verdi – is to be performed on the lake with Philipp Stölzl from Germany as the stage director and Enrique Mazzola as the musical director.

Besides the performance on the lake, the opera ‘Nero’ is also being presented at the Festspielhaus. Young singers at the Opera Studio are developing another opera, which is to be performed at the Vorarlberg Landestheater (State Theatre). Other items on the programme: orchestra concerts, music and poetry, opera studio and cross-culture have been scheduled for November. Bregenz’s cultural programme for the summer will be as varied and extensive as always.

A look behind the scenes

It is the world’s largest lake stage! Interested visitors are able to take a look behind the scenes and discover interesting facts about the history of the Bregenz Festival and how it has developed over time.  

Guided tours at

More information about the Bregenzer Festspiele

The success story actually came about as a makeshift solution. In 1946, the city of Bregenz didn’t have a stage big enough to host Mozart’s early work ‘Bastien et Bastienne’ and so two gravel barges close to the gondola harbour were turned into the first opera stage on the lake. Even then, the audience was delighted by the charm of this location.

Visitors from Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France already turned the festival into an international event in its very first year. Four years later, Bregenz Festival was given its first permanent lake stage on wooden posts. On rainy nights, around 1,000 visitors and the artists relocated to a nearby gymnasium where the play was performed. The lake stage was ultimately renewed and enlarged in 1979 and the Festspielhaus (Festival Theatre) was opened in 1980. This meant that it was possible to relocate straight to the theatre as soon as bad weather struck.

The Vienna Symphony travelled to Bregenz in its capacity as the festival orchestra for the very first production – it remains a permanent fixture at the Bregenz Festival to this day.

In 1998, the festival with its lake stage, the big hall in the Festspielhaus and the new Werkstattbühne (Workshop Stage) created the foundation for an extensive broadening of the programme. A total of 12,000 seats are now available. The festival reaches around 10,000 young people in the form of the cross-culture programme every year.

The Magic Flute – already a huge breakthrough in 1985 – was staged for the second time in 2013. It was met with enthusiastic reviews by the press, which demanded more of the same. Productions have been performed for two years in a row ever since then and the stage structures have become more stable, more lavish.  

The new artistic director Elisabeth Sobotka has been in charge of the programme since 2015. ‘Turandot’ was followed by ‘Carmen’, ‘Rigoletto’ by Giuseppe Verdi was shown in 2019 and 2021 and 2022 ‘Madame Butterfly‘ is coming.

Next Dates

20 July to 21 August 2022