VIENNA, July 20 (Xinhua)-- The performing arts festival, Bregenz Festival, began its 70th anniversary on Wednesday at Lake Constance in the border triangle between Germany, Switzerland and Austria, a spokesman of the festival told Xinhua in an interview.
The Bregenz Festival was founded in 1946 in order to distract from the drab postwar period in Austria.
Press spokesman Axel Renner explained the three phases the festival had gone through: "It started with orchestra concerts and stage plays. Then, in the 60s and 70s, operetta performances in the gravel bed of Lake Constance came in the focus of the festival. In the late 70s, there was a festival crisis in Austria. The Bregenz Festival reacted and started in 1985 to stage grand operas of an incredible quality."
Today, about 200,000 people visit the 80 performances each year. Most visitors come from German-speaking countries.
"More than 90 percent come from Germany, Austria and Switzerland," Renner said. "However, we have visitors and artists from all five continents."
Renner is especially proud of the premieres that are presented as part of the festival.
"The first performances are unique in the world," he said. "To give living artists a stage should be the function of a festival."
However, the major attraction remains the world's largest lake stage, with stands providing seats for almost 7,000 people.
Every two years a new production of a grand classical opera is presented. This year, Puccini's opera "Turandot" is being performed.
Stage director Marco Arturo Marelli has placed a wall symbolizing the Great Wall that measures 72 meters wide by 27 meters high, Renner said about the set. In addition, more than 200 copies of the terracotta warriors provide the perfect setting to tell the story of the Chinese princess Turandot.
Not only opera stars have appeared on the floating stage. In 2008, a part of the James Bond film "Quantum of Solace" was filmed on the platform.
"The British direction team of the former production of the opera Tosca captured the attention of the James Bond film crew," Renner said.
The stage's appearance in the Bond film built up the international reputation of the Bregenz Festival.
"The James Bond films are shown in cinemas worldwide. A few weeks after the film release, we got ticket requests even from New Zealand," Renner told.
Currently, festival organizers are already busy with plans for the coming years. In 2017 and 2018, Georges Bizet's "Carmen" will be performed on the floating stage and in 2019 Verdi's "Rigoletto" will be showcased.