The Amazing Floating Stage of Bregenz Festival

Our visit to the world wettest opera

Every summer, since 1946, audiences flock to the Austrian state of Vorarlberg to see the amazing floating stage of Bregenz Festival. In the 2015/2016 season, the festival celebrated 70 years of existence with Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot, where people don’t just sing, they also jump into the water.

Too bad we couldn’t see any of this since Bregenz was just the first step of our Vorarlberg Summer Tour. To make things even worst, the time we spent in Bregenz wasn’t the most pleasant to take pictures since it was overcast and with a little bit of a light rain. This is why the pictures that you can see here are kind of gray and of an empty floating stage. Either way, it was so cool that we had to write something about here.




But before we talk about our experience in Bregenz and the floating stage, we have to talk a little bit about the history of Bregenz Festival.

Bregenz Festival, called Bregenzer Festspiele in german, is more than an opera on a floating stage. This is a performing arts festival that happens every year in July in August in Bregenz. The festival was founded in 1946, only one year after the end of the Second World War. And it became an international event since then with people coming from Switzerland, France and Germany just to see the festival.

The most famous part of Bregenz Festival is the floating stage or Seebühne like it’s called in german. It has space for 7.000 seated people in an open air amphitheater by the Lake Constance. The sight is amazing, even on a cloudy day like the one we spent in Bregenz.

At Bregenz Festival, you can also find Festspielhaus where rare opera and concerts are performed. Werkstattbühne is where performances of contemporary theater and opera happen. There is the Theater am Kornmarkt with its drama performances and operetas and, to finish this, there is also the Theater Kosmos where you can see cross-culture and drama performances.

Turandot has one of the most famous arias from Giacomo Puccini. Called Nessun Dorma - no one may sleep - it’s a call from a Chinese princess that no one is to sleep for the night because she has to find out the name of a mysterious prince or else, return his love. This is the main theme from the opera that played at the floating stage of Bregenz Festival in the 2015/2016 season.
Turandot has one of the most famous arias from Giacomo Puccini. Called Nessun Dorma - no one may sleep - it’s a call from a Chinese princess that no one is to sleep for the night because she has to find out the name of a mysterious prince or else, return his love. This is the main theme from the opera that played at the floating stage of Bregenz Festival in the 2015/2016 season.
Turandot has one of the most famous arias from Giacomo Puccini. Called Nessun Dorma - no one may sleep - it’s a call from a Chinese princess that no one is to sleep for the night because she has to find out the name of a mysterious prince or else, return his love. This is the main theme from the opera that played at the floating stage of Bregenz Festival in the 2015/2016 season.

During the time that we were in Vorarlberg, we visited the empty stage where Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot would be played later that day by the Lake Constance. The stage is made to look like a Chinese castle and has clay soldiers going from the stage into the water that creates a really interesting visual.

Turandot has one of the most famous arias from Giacomo Puccini. Called Nessun Dorma – no one may sleep – it’s a call from a Chinese princess that no one is to sleep for the night because she has to find out the name of a mysterious prince or else, return his love. This is the main theme from the opera that played at the floating stage of Bregenz Festival in the 2015/2016 season.

In 2017, it will be Georges Bizet’s Carmen from July 19 to August 20 at Bregenz Festival. If you’re looking for tickets, you have to visit their official website to see how much it is and when can you see it.

Turandot has one of the most famous arias from Giacomo Puccini. Called Nessun Dorma - no one may sleep - it’s a call from a Chinese princess that no one is to sleep for the night because she has to find out the name of a mysterious prince or else, return his love. This is the main theme from the opera that played at the floating stage of Bregenz Festival in the 2015/2016 season.
Turandot has one of the most famous arias from Giacomo Puccini. Called Nessun Dorma - no one may sleep - it’s a call from a Chinese princess that no one is to sleep for the night because she has to find out the name of a mysterious prince or else, return his love. This is the main theme from the opera that played at the floating stage of Bregenz Festival in the 2015/2016 season.
Too bad we couldn’t see any of this since Bregenz was just the first step of our Vorarlberg Summer Tour. TO make things even worst, the time we spent in Bregenz wasn’t the most pleasant to take pictures since it was overcast and with a little bit of a light rain. This is why the pictures that you can see here are kind of gray and of an empty floating stage. Either way, it was so cool that we had to write something about here.

During the time we were in Bregenz, it was constantly raining. Since we didn’t want to waste our time in the city, we headed to the Vorarlberg Museum because they were hosting a great exhibition with smaller versions of some of the most amazing floating stages of Bregenz Festival. Below you can see some of the floating stages we loved the most and a little bit of the story behind them.

One of the most famous Bregenz Festival stages is the one from the 2007/2008 season. This is where some scenes for the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace were filmed. We remember watching it on TV some time before going to Bregenz and it looked almost unreal.

One of the most famous Bregenz Festival stages is the one from the 2007/2008 season, where Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca was the main act. This is where some scenes for the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace were filmed. We remember watching it on TV some time before going to Bregenz and it looked almost unreal.

One of the most famous Bregenz Festival stages is the one from the 2007/2008 season. This is where some scenes for the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace were filmed. We remember watching it on TV some time before going to Bregenz and it looked almost unreal.




In 2001, La Bohème from Giacomo Puccini came to Bregenz Festival with an updated look that included Ricard pastis in the Latin Quarter of Paris. We loved the way that there are huge chairs going into the water and a huge ashtray as a performance piece.

In 2001, La Bohème from Giacomo Puccini came to Bregenz Festival with an updated look that included Ricard pastis in the Latin Quarter of Paris. We loved the way that there are huge chairs going into the water and a huge ashtray as a performance piece.

For the 2011/2012 season of Bregenz Festival, Umberto Giordano’s André Chénier was performed with its four acts and has a stage that features a human body that floats on the water and opens its neck in one of the acts. Almost surreal.

For the 2011/2012 season of Bregenz Festival, Umberto Giordano’s André Chénier was performed with its four acts and has a stage that features a human body that floats on the water and opens its neck in one of the acts. Almost surreal.

The picture that you can see here is just a small piece of the apocalyptic stage built for Porgy & Bess by George Gershwin in the 1997/1998 season. Originally set in an African American scenario in the United States, everything here went in a different direction in the Bregenz Festival tradition.

The picture that you can see here is just a small piece of the apocalyptic stage built for Porgy & Bess by George Gershwin in the 1997/1998 season. Originally set in an African American scenario in the United States, everything here went in a different direction in the Bregenz Festival tradition.

Another floating stage that caught our attention is the one from the 2005/2006 season when West Side Story was played over Lake Constance. it was such a success that more than 200.000 people came to Bregenz to see it played live.

Another floating stage that caught our attention is the one from the 2005/2006 season when West Side Story was played over Lake Constance. it was such a success that more than 200.000 people came to Bregenz to see it played live.

A Masked Ball by Giuseppe Verdi was the opera performed during the 1999/2000 season and it features an open book and a huge skeleton that goes into the water. We can only imagine how amazing it may have looked.

A Masked Ball by Giuseppe Verdi was the opera performed during the 1999/2000 season and it features an open book and a huge skeleton that goes into the water. We can only imagine how amazing it may have looked in real life.

A Masked Ball by Giuseppe Verdi was the opera performed during the 1999/2000 season and it features an open book and a huge skeleton that goes into the water. We can only imagine how amazing it may have looked.

During the 1987/1988 season, the stage was built for The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach. We loved how it integrates the water into the opera and even includes gondolas!

During the 1987/1988 season, the stage was built for The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach. We loved how it integrates the water into the opera and even includes gondolas!

During the 1987/1988 season, the stage was built for The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach. We loved how it integrates the water into the opera and even includes gondolas!

Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore got its action moved from a rebellion in the Aragorn Court into a modern industrial landscape that is painted in red and features fearsome chimneys spitting fire into the sky.

Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore got its action moved from a rebellion in the Aragorn Court into a modern industrial landscape that is painted in red and features fearsome chimneys spitting fire into the sky.

During the time we were in Bregenz, it was constantly raining. Since we didn’t want to waste our time in the city, we headed to the Vorarlberg Museum because they were hosting a great exhibition with smaller versions of some of the most amazing floating stages of Bregenz Festival. Below you can see some of the floating stages we loved the most and a little bit of the story behind them.

The Amazing Floating Stage of Bregenz Festival

If you want to be a part of the Bregenz Festival 2017, take a look at their website and check out the prices of tickets. Arriving in Bregenz from Zurich is a piece of cake and it seems to be even easier when you come from Munich.


Fotostrasse visited Bregenz in July 2016 by invitation from Vorarlberg Tourist Board and it was really amazing.



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