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The Arts Intel Report

A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler
A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler

Der Freischütz, by Carl Maria von Weber

The stage of Der Freischütz, on Lake Constance.

Kongresskultur Bregenz GmbH Platz der Wiener Symphoniker 1 6900 Bregenz - Austria

The German director Philipp Stölzl’s Gothic flair, not unlike Tim Burton’s in the movies but a lot less fey, seems just the ticket for Carl Maria von Weber’s diabolical old tale of innocence and corruption. Deep in the forests of Bohemia, a crack marksman is suddenly missing his shots—a predicament that threatens to cost him the hand of his bride. What to do but sell his soul for a clutch of magic bullets? If the hokey libretto raises snickers today, the Romantic sweep of Weber’s music—from the ravishing overture (a concert-hall favorite) to the bone-rattling Black Mass in a midnight gorge—paved the way for Richard Wagner. Devotees of the Bregenz experience will know that the mammoth stage floats on the waters of Lake Constance and that the surreal visuals surpass Fantasia even as they dwarf The Ten Commandments. Shows run two hours without intermission, rain or shine, and umbrellas are strictly verboten. —Matthew Gurewitsch

Photo: Karl Forster/© Bregenzer Festspiele