The Festspielhaus Baden-Baden (Baden-Baden Festival Theatre) is Germany's largest opera house and concert hall with 2,500 seats.
Opened on April 18, 1998, the new building's architecture incorporates the former central train station of Baden-Baden which, today, is the ticket sales hall and the Festspielhaus restaurant "Aida". The architect was Professor Wilhelm Holzbauer (Vienna).
Planned from the outset as a privately financed cultural undertaking, the conversion to Europe's first opera and concert enterprise to operate without public subsidy succeeded following the initial public start-up financing. Since March 2000, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden's private cultural foundation has held the responsibility for the house's business operations. Ticket sales, donations and sponsoring have enabled it to operate privately without public subsidies since early 2002.
Under the direction of Managing Director, Andreas Mölich-Zebhauser, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden's programme is organised around four annual festival periods spread throughout the year. The Whitsun, Summer, Autumn and Winter Festivals each include at least one opera production and several classical concerts. Renowned ballet companies make guest appearances three to four times a year with entertainment shows completing the rest of the programme. Each year, the board of trustees at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden cultural foundation awards the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize to an outstanding international musician. The award includes €50,000 in prize money that must be used by the winner to support young musicians.
Major opera productions at Festspielhaus Baden-Baden to date include La traviata (Valery Gergiev, conductor / Philippe Arlaud, director, 2001), Fidelio (Simone Young, conductor / Philippe Arlaud, director, 2002), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Marc Minkowski, conductor / Macha Makeïeff and Jérôme Deschamps, directors, 2003), Der Ring des Nibelungen (Valery Gergiev, musical direction and concept / George Tsypin, stage design, 2003/2004), Rigoletto (Thomas Hengelbrock, conductor / Philippe Arlaud, director, 2004), Parsifal (Kent Nagano, conductor / Nikolaus Lehnhoff, director, 2004) and Die Zauberflöte (Claudio Abbado, conductor / Daniele Abbado, director, 2005).
Festspielhaus Baden-Baden regularly cooperates with the Mariinsky (Kirov) Theatre St. Petersburg, the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence and many other leading opera houses and festivals. Since 2003, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden has also conducted an education programme. Under the motto "Columbus – Classical Discoveries", the project introduces school and university students to classical music. Sponsors enable the young visitors to attend operas, concerts and ballet performances.
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- Official website of the house (in English, German and French) for all information