The festival season has begun. From music and film to opera and literature, there is something for everyone on Germany's cultur calendar in July.
Literature in Klagenfurt
Determining the winner in a literary competition is often the result of lengthy discussions between jurors that place behind closed doors. But the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize is different. The competition is only open to previously unpublished texts and takes place as part of the Festival of German Literature, held this year from July 5-7 in Klagenfurt, Austria. Authors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland will read from their works to an audience. The readings are followed by panel discussions with the author. Not an easy task - given that the whole thing is broadcast live on television. The judges rarely agree and the press coverage is usually controversial. In addition to the media attention, the winner also enjoys a cash prize of 25,000 euros ($31,000).
The Ingeborg Bachmann Prize is broadcast live on television
World music in Rudolstadt
Rudolstadt is a small town in the eastern German state of Thuringia, where the first German Dance Festival was established in 1955. Today it hosts Germany's largest world music festival. Over 20 stages are erected throughout the city, where artists from around the world perform music from their homeland. As part of the Chinese Culture Year being held in 2012 in Germany, China is the country in focus this year. The festival has invited dance groups for a Dance and Folk Festival, allowing Chinese ensembles to share insights into the traditional music and dance of their country.
The event runs from July 5-8 and a highlight of the four-day music festival, which attracts up to 70,000 visitors each year, is the award of the prestigious Ruth World Music Award. This year, the prize goes to one of Germany's most famous singer-songwriters, Hannes Wader, for his life's work. The musician recently celebrated his 70th birthday.
Music in the year of the dragon
China is also a central theme at this year's Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. The event is one of the largest festivals of its kind, and features a wealth of special venues. Concerts take place not only in churches and palaces, but also on farms, in parks, barns and even in an airport terminal. The program features world-class soloists as well as local artists. This year, the range of events includes a shadow theater from Mongolia, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and concerts with many young singers who can take advantage of master classes with world stars likes Grace Bumbry.
"There is something for everyone," said director Rolf Beck. Artistic director Christoph Eschenbach added, "The event should be colorful and reflective of every nuance of music."
The festival runs from July 7 through August 25.
Hollywood instead of Bollywood
Not only music lovers are catered to with summer festivals, movie fans too have some special events to look forward to. This year, the traditional film festival Bollywood and Beyond has expanded into the Indian Film Festival Stuttgart and will feature 40 current film productions.
"The festival program includes all current Indian cinema and all film types and genres. The big Bollywood films are a part of it," commented the festival director, Oliver Mahn. "Bollywood fans were disappointed because the program had only a few typical Bollywood films, but the term Bollywood frightened many friends of Indian cinema away from the festival," Dunning added.
From the July 18-22, feature films, documentaries, and short and animated films that reflect the soul of the Indian nation will be shown in Stuttgart. Visitors can see on the big screen how filmmakers in Mumbai have learned to deal with poverty in their country, or how local people are fighting illiteracy. The festival is the result of a long partnership between the cities of Stuttgart and Mumbai and also incorporates five days of dance and music from India.
The 101st Wagner Festival in Bayreuth
Starting July 25, Wagner fans from around the world will once again flock to the Bayreuth Festival. This is the fourth year the Wagner sisters, Eva and Katharina, have directed the event. Katharina is continuing to reform the festival. In the last years, free outdoor broadcasts of the performances have proven so successful that negotiations are now underway with 100 cinemas across Germany to broadcast there. Katharina Wagner herself scheduled to make an appearance during the intermission at one of the "Parsifal" performances on August 11.
The focus, however, is already on 2013, which will mark the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner's birth. But that doesn't mean this year's program is any less interesting. One highlight is the new production of "The Flying Dutchman," directed by Jan Philipp Glogler and conducted by Christian Thielemann.
Author: Gudrun Stegen / bos
Editor: Kate Bowen