One year after the end of the Second World War, the first Bregenz Festival was held: the week-long Bregenz Festwoche. The inaugural performance was staged upon two barges moored on Lake Constance – one carrying the stage structures for Mozart’s early work Bastien et Bastienne, the other the orchestra. In a town that did not even possess a theatre, the idea of mounting a festival seemed eccentric; but the initially makeshift solution of choosing the loveliest part of the town – the lake – as the stage proved to be a hugely successful one. Visitors from Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France made the Festival an international event in its very first year. The Festival orchestra from the outset was the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, which has made a major contribution to the evolution and success of the Festival.
Thanks to strong public interest, the Festival became longer each year and its program became more varied. To accommodate the growing audience, the stage and festival house have been refurbished and enlarged over the years.
The Bregenz Festival made its debut on the cinema screen in the Bond movie Quantum of Solace. The Opera has been incorporated intriguingly into the action of the film: the chase through the Festspielhaus is at the end like an apocalyptic silent film – interspersed with dramatic scenes from the Bregenz Tosca.
In 2010 Aida had attracted the biggest number of spectators to the Seebühne stage in the festival’s history and it is now available on the big screen, this time in full length.