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Opera in the quarry: Open air event with an allure for stars and the public

Oper im Steinbruch St. Margarethen, copyrigt Fotograf A. Tischler

It is Europe’s third largest open air opera festival, after Verona and Bregenz. The Opera in the Quarry is an attraction for opera stars, leading musicians and enthusiastic audiences alike. The St. Margarethen quarry in Burgenland, 65 km south east of Vienna in the UNESCO world heritage region of Neusiedlersee, has acquired quite a reputation as a meeting place for international opera enthusiasts.

“We have an impressive outdoor stage”, says marketing  manager Ina Hauer with some pride, and “the opulent setting, in which art and nature merge, together with the outstanding artistic quality, attract over 100,000 music lovers from 40 countries to this quarry every summer.” Popular opera productions of a very high quality have been playing in this rugged and rocky landscape since 1966, on Europe’s largest natural stage, close to the borders of three countries, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. In 2016 the production of “Tosca”, directed by Robert Dornhelm, was awarded the Austrian Musical Theatre Prize as the “Best Festival”.

For music lovers and newcomers to opera

The most convincing reason for working together with operators specialising in tours and in art and cultural travel: “The Opera in the Quarry” offers an outstanding programme highlight for music lovers and newcomers to opera”, explains Ina Hauer, “and a visit can be easily combined with a summer city tour to Vienna or circular tours of Austria and western Hungary.”

This year the festival programme features “Rigoletto” by Guiseppe Verdi in a production by the director and stage designer Philippe Arlaud. In 2018 a new production is being planned, of another Verdi opera, “Il Trovatore“, which is being performed on the impressive main stage of the Open Air Arena.

In 2006 the owners, the private Esterházy Foundation, carried out a thorough upgrading of the venue. There are now two stages, the main stage with a 7,000 square metre concert hall in the open air, seating almost 5,000, and the Ruffini stage, with seats for up to 2,300 people. It was named after the manager of Count Esterházy’s quarry.

Hall 15.1/Stand 100a, Culture Lounge

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