The Wiener Festwochen started on Friday evening with a brilliant opening party on Rathausplatz. According to the organizers, at least 50,000 visitors came to the start, which was themed “Last Night on Earth”. After the people had stood up to the Burgtheater, according to the Festwochen, even the ring was temporarily closed. The young audience was particularly active when the band Bilderbuch and the rapper Yung Hurn performed.
“I have to disappoint you, I’m not singing today!” This is how Councilor for Culture Veronica Kaup-Hasler (SPÖ) greeted the guests on the packed town hall square. After years of pandemic restrictions, they are “back” and want to “celebrate this with a big performance. This city can do it! We can do it! We want to spread our arms wide for you all.” It was the only speech of the evening. There was also no moderation at all – and it worked extremely well.
David Schalko, who brought in Kruder & Dorfmeister as musical masterminds, was responsible for concept and staging this year. On the stage, reminiscent of a large foil tube, in which a ball was embedded in the center, they were enthroned at the turntables and sonicated the town hall square with a set that heated everyone up. In addition there were the promised “fat visuals” by “hand mit auge”. The entire town hall facade was graphically displayed and temporarily transformed into a spooky castle. The fact that it collapsed or burst into flames may not have been the happiest choice of picture given the real war that existed a few hundred kilometers from Vienna.
Flying Town Hall
How surprising was the concept of “Last Night on Earth” in general. Caroline Peters, who is represented in the festival program with a performance based on the science fiction short story “The Machine Stops” by EM Forster published in 1909, presented the theme in several appearances in a kind of Spider-Woman costume: the rockets are there aimed at us, humanity will be history in a few minutes. “This your last night on earth: Dream!” Escapism instead of a call to action? Surrender to fate instead of making every effort to change fortunes for the better? It’s a good thing that this message wasn’t really heard, if only because it was drowned out by the loud music.
Experimental singer Sofia Jernberg with a mini performance and the group Liquid Loft with a living picture remained artistic accessories. The tone was set by Kruder & Dorfmeister, Bilderbuch, who put on a powerful 15-minute performance, and rapper Yung Hurn. The musician, who was controversial because of his lyrics, appeared smartly in a suit and tie and was accompanied by the Wiener Singakademie. Lines of text like “And I’m driving through the night and I’m driving through the city” (“Ferrari”) or “Your body, my body” (“Diamant”) didn’t seem worth getting excited about, but in the midst of enthusiastic fans there was also an anti -Sexism poster sighted.
At the end, the graphic artists ignited the rocket engines and let the city hall take off into the night sky illuminated by the moon and stars. And if it wasn’t the “Last Night on Earth” after all, a total of 37 productions at the Wiener Festwochen are waiting for their audience until June 18th. Around 36,000 tickets will be available for the 159 planned performances. (apa)