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Apr. 9, 2020
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Austria’s largest arts festival Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival Weeks) 2020
Despite its longevity and its large scale as an international European arts festival, a series of resignations of programmers and artistic directors had detracted from the stability of the programming of the Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival Weeks) in recent years. Beginning in 2018, for a tenure of six years, the festival took on former director of the Kunsten Festival des Arts, Christophe Slagmuylder, as overall artistic director. Slagmuylder would have assumed full leadership of programming as of this year, however the festival now considers its options in light of its cancellation on account of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
This year’s Festwochen was set to feature 46 pieces that included 15 world premiers. Among these, a number of works would have concerned themselves thematically with what Brecht dubbed “Dark Ages,” dealing as such with endings of various kinds, or prescient works concerned with our future.
Among the works to have been featured are as follows. Toshiki Okada’s Eraser Forest, which premiered at the KYOTO EXPERIMENT; Heiner Goebbels’ Everything that Happened and Will Happen, which takes a critical look at Europe’s modern wars; Philippe Quesne’s Farm Fatale, which presents the environmental problems that attend modern agricultural practices through the eyes of a scarecrow and accompanied by birdsong; Quesne’s first attempt at directing opera in a post-humanistic interpretation of Gustav Mahler’s The Song of the Earth; a world premier solo performance by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker; and Romeo Castellucci’s presentation of Mozart’s Requiem as an ode to life expressed through the mode of a mass funeral.

[Festival Outline]
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 programming features operas and performing arts from around the world with leading directors, conductors and orchestras providing the latest in performing arts, consisting of works in both classical styles and the newest productions, along with contemporary works in new staging. In 2011, Luc Bondy became to festival’s overall director, Stephanie Carp the theatre director and Stéphane Lissner the music director and 45 productions from 23 countries drew a total audience of 180,000. From Japan, artists including potudo-ru and Akira Takayama have participated in the past.
+Wiener Festwochen