Art & Culture: Lake Constance/Vorarlberg
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t has been said that opposites attract and it is precisely a combination of old and new that makes the region of Lake Constance (Bodensee), Vorarlberg, so thrilling. In the westernmost part of Austria, tucked away into a four-country corner of Germany, Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Bodensee-Vorarlberg region has a daring imagination. The cities of the region – Bregenz, Dornbirn, Hohenems and Feldkirch – combine rural idyll with urban flair. The juxtaposition of old and new architecture defines the landscape and the culture of this region. Its annual music festival in Feldkirch (the Feldkirch Festival), plays ancient and modern scores throughout the months of May and June. Here, an old indoor swimming pool in Feldkirch is now host to the ‘Poolbar Festival’, a sixweek jamboree for DJs and musicians from all over the world. In contrast to this super-modern event, the nearby Hohenems hosts a festival dedicated
entirely to the composer Franz Schubert – an intimate homage to his musical genius, in the beautiful bucolic surrounds of the Austrian mountains. tradition meets modernity Nowhere is this synthesis more apparent than at the Bregenz Festival, where a hi-tech floating stage on the glistening lake has become a platform for some of the world’s most distinguished operas. Every year the Bregenz Festival brings together the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, performers (who are rising stars), and directors to produce awesome feats of modern entertainment. Productions like the upcoming Umberto Giordano’s ‘André Chénier’ (to be performed on the floating stage in July and August 2011) are packed with high voltage drama and global cultural fusion. As well as the festival’s staggering feats of set design, Lake Constance provides a sublime backdrop for each show. The audience seated on the lake’s shoreline look out at stunning sunsets and waters
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beyond. Scenic sunsets, ominous clouds or misty evenings add to the spectacle. When it comes to culture, the region’s capital Bregenz certainly punches above its weight. The Kunsthaus Bregenz (KUB) is Vorarlberg’s most important art and exhibition centre and a spatial concept. The glass façade mirrors the elements and channels the light of Lake Constance. ‘From the outside, the building looks like a lamp’ says the KUB’s Pritzker-winning architect, Peter Zumthor. He has created a living modern edifice in this ancient town. The KUB is a portal to the world of international art. Indeed, the British artist and sculptor Antony Gormley has recently created his world-renowned project ‘Horizon Field’ in association with the Kunsthaus Bregenz. On display in the mountains of Vorarlberg from August 2010 – April 2012, Opposite page, from top: evening time at the festival house during the Bregenz Festival; the Kunsthaus Bregenz (KUB) is renowned for the art it showcases
Kunsthaus Bregenz; andereart/Bregenzer Festspiele
Vorarlbergʼs stunning Lake Constance provides a perfect backdrop for the arts
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Art & Culture
Meet the locals
Summer of music 10 July – 19 August 2011
‘Horizon Field’ consists of a hundred lifesize cast iron figures of the human body, placed at precisely 2,039 metres above sea level. Of the project, Gormley says ‘the installation recognises the deep connection between social and geological territory; between landscape and memory’, a theme that resonates deeply with the identity of Vorarlberg. There are also numerous museums to visit whilst you’re in this region, notably the Rolls-Royce Museum in Dornbirn, which opened in 1999. Here you’ll find the world’s most impressive collection of Rolls-Royces and over 1,000 exhibits with guided tours, including the Phantom 1, 11 and 111.
Performance art feast 23 September – 16 October 2011
‘The region of Vorarlberg combines tradition and modernity in an extremely unique way. The Kunsthaus Bregenz, which was built by the Pritzker award-winning architect Peter Zumthor, and opened in 1997, is an internationally renowned example of this combination of elements. Made from glass, steel and concrete, it stands in the light of Lake Constance and absorbs the changing light of the sky. Peter Zumthor said that from the outside, it looks like a lamp. Visitors from all over the world are amazed by this architectural highlight and the art you will find here in the Kunsthaus. I especially appreciate the openness and the curiosity of the local people here when reacting to internationally known artists and their work.’
‘I absolutely love the work I do with with Rolls-Royce and Bentley and the opportunity to test drive a different car every day is very appealing to me! Stories and memories about certain exhibits are inspiring time and time again and over the last 40 years, we have not just collected cars and accessories, but also many interesting items that describe the lives of RollsRoyce owners over the years. Visitors can enjoy the extensive amount of exhibits – we have more than 1,000 in our museum – and of course, the chance to see the many famous cars – like the Queen Mother’s Phantom 111 – we have on display here. We are the world’s biggest Rolls-Royce museum and our friendly, caring and competent staff will ensure you have an unforgettable experience when you come to visit us.’
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Every year the steirischer herbst (festival for contemporary art) in the Styrian capital of Graz guarantees the opportunity for unexpected perspectives in unusual performance venues, such as abandoned factory buildings, swimming pools and underground mine tunnels. The festival presents a diverse programme of drama, film, architecture, music, literature, and visual art and one of its hallmarks is the incorporation and networking of both international and regional artists. Over the years, Graz’s close proximity to Slovenia, Croatia and the Central and Eastern European regions has enabled this to flourish. 2011 promises to excite and intrigue.
MD, Rolls-Royce Museum
Celebrate with Salzburg 27 July – 31 August 2011 Every summer the Salzburger Festspiele dominates this Baroque city. Some of the great artists of classical music appear on the stage of the Festspielhaus, and international stars like Anna Netrebko, Ricardo Muti and Edita Gruberova have become regulars here. In the splendid ambience of the city’s Domplatz, every year, thousands of performers demonstrate the harrowing story of the life and death of the rich man in Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s ‘Everyman’ (staged here every year since the beginning of the festival in 1920). Visitors can also experience contemporary theatre on Hallein’s Perner Island, in the middle of the Salzach River.
Vienna Festival Week 13 May – 19 June 2011 Dominik Mentzos, steirischer herbst
cuisine and culture While the region is a hub for international artists, it is also a truly Austrian province steeped in history and an authentic alpine way of life. Whilst cuisine is traditional, in restaurants you will discover that it is complemented with startlingly modern and classic fare. The region is packed with high quality restaurants, many of which are modern in style and 18 of which bear the prestigious Gault-Millau chef ’s hat. It is also known for its fine schnapps; be sure to visit award-winning distillers like Freihof Destillerie in beautiful Lustenau, Albert Büchele’s Michelehof or go to the village of Fraxern to taste the unique and delicious ‘Fraxner Kriase’ cherry schnapps. The cultural and culinary scene on the Austrian side of Lake Constance draws attention way beyond its borders. The fresh, modern imagination of the Bodensee-Vorarlberg region and its inhabitants makes it an inspiring place to explore. Above all, it’s nature that steals the show. The region’s world-class artistic, musical and architectural feats certainly impress – but there’s no doubt that the region’s real forte is the sheer spellbinding beauty of nature.
The Carinthischer Sommer music festival is ranked among the most important in Austria today. It began in 1969 on the shores of Lake Ossiach and is renowned today for the classical and new music talent that it showcases. Many musicians come to Carinthia every year and perform in atmospheric venues such as Ossiach Abbey, the mountain church in Tiffen, the ‘Stone House’ of architect Günther Domenig in Steindorf, the gothic church St. Martin/Feldkirchen and Glanegg Castle. Highlights for 2011 include appearances by Rudolf Buchbinder, Vladimir Fedosejey, Evelyn Glennie, Magdalena Kožená, Sabine Meyer and Heinrich Schiff.
Innovative and contemporary theatre will be the focal point of the annual Wiener Festwochen in 2011 when artists and ensembles from all over the world will present celebrated productions. The festival is not only a wealth of music, dance, and the visual arts but also a festival that emphasizes openness toward other worlds and cultures and provides ample space for forward-looking works. Among the highlights of the 2011 Festwochen, in addition to the open-air event that kicks off the festival on Vienna’s Rathausplatz, is artistic director Luc Bondy’s evocative staging of Giuseppe Verdi’s tragic opera ‘Rigoletto’. www.austria.info/treasures Austria’s Hidden Treasures 13