A sleepy little town in Austria’s Vorarlberg region, most of the year Bregenz can be found peacefully dozing by Lake Constance, hugged tight by the Bregenzerwald Mountains of the eastern Alps. Until July and August swing around, that is, when culture kids flock there in their thousands to be a part of the buzzing cultural hub of the famed Bregenz Festival (Bregenzer Festspiele).
A vibrant menagerie of culture, art and music, the spellbinding highlight of the entire Bregenz Festival is without a doubt the open-air opera, seating 7,000 and drifting out on Bregenz’s Lake Constance.
A giant lily pad of culture – said to be the world’s biggest – this year’s soaring tones that will reach out over the waters are from Georges Bizet’s 19th century operatic masterpiece, Carmen.
No other performance could possibly electrify the Austrian night like an Andalusian love fest of unrequited love, uncontrollable passion and tragic destiny, we can see the waters ripple in anticipation already.
And with opera sets famed for their flair and extravagant design, this year’s floating opera is sure to wow, designed by set designer to the stars, Es Devlin.
Art features here too, where Bregenz’s modernist art gallery (Kunsthaus Bregenz) strikes the skyline with its strong geometric shapes, designed by famed Swiss architect, Peter Zumthor.
From one art legend to another, the alpine art hotel Gasthof Hirschen Schwarzenberg - a 30-minute skid down the mountain to the Bregenz Festival - is owned by legendary art collector, Franz Fetz and is the perfect Austrian lair to base yourself for this humming-ly brilliant Bregenz Festival, 19th July to 20th August.
A lively kaleidoscope of creativity, culture, poetry and music, hugged tight by the Austrian Alps, the Bregenz Festival is simply a must-do on any culture kids calendar. Before heading straight to Bregenz shimmy into the cultural scene first by flying in to Zurich and staying at cultural masterpiece Widder Hotel (where Eames chairs snuggle up to 13th century Medieval frescoes) before then hopping in the car on to Bregenz, an hour and a half’s journey.
For more of Austria’s busy festival scene, there is always the historical Salzburg Festival and the cultural hub of creative cool, Arthotel Blaue Gans, or of course Austria’s beautiful capital of Vienna, where you can snuggle up in off-radar art & culture den, Hotel Altstadt Vienna.
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