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May. 8, 2017
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Opening of the “Wiener Festwochen” one of Austria’s leading comprehensive arts festivals (May 12 – June 18, 2017)
The Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival Weeks) is held annually in May and June over the course of five weeks in the Austrian capital of Vienna. Each year approximately 40 works are presented, from genres that include music, visual art and theater, and draws overall attendance exceeding 180,000. Having high aesthetic standards, the festival’s program is focused on art works that have strong relevance in contemporary society. Tomas Zierhofer-Kin, who has taken over the directorship of the festival beginning this year, explains, “My goal is to present not just art that attacks the local bourgeois, but art such that extends a helping hand to many.”
The opening work on the program this year will be the winner of Eurovision 2014, singer-drag queen Conchita Wurst: a large scale concert will be given in conjunction with the Vienna Symphony. This year will also feature a new series of events titled “Academy of Unlearning,” which will consider the post-colonial era from an academic perspective. Directing the program will be Gayatri Spivak, a professor at Columbia University.
Major theatrical works on the program will include Peter Brook’s Battlefield, Romeo Castellucci directing Democracy in America and Ivo van Hove directing Obsession, in a production featuring Jude Law in the lead role. Works of socially marginalized artists—for reasons of nationality, race or religion—have also been featured prominently in the program. Works include Ishvara by Tianzhuo Chen, a native of Beijing, currently based in London, in whom the influence of Shuji Terayama is strong; Distropic by Brooklyn-resident African American choreographer and also human rights activist Niv Acosta and The Self-made Aristocracy by the choreographer group La Fleur from the Ivory Coast and currently based in Paris.

Festival Outline
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 as 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. Luc Bondy became the festival’s overall director in 2011, with Stefanie Carp as director of the drama department and Stephanie Listner as director of the music department, presenting 45 works from 23 countries that drew a total audience of 180,000. From Japan, artists including potudo-ru and Akira Takayama have participated.
+Wiener Festwochen