Trials and explosions, classics and revolutions - and its own constitution! The Vienna Festival declares itself a free Republic of Vienna.
In 2024, the Wiener Festwochen will reinvent itself: from May 17, Elfriede Jelinek, Kornél Mundruczó, Peter Brook, Florentina Holzinger, Carolina Bianchi and nora chipaumire, among others, will meet Kirill Serebrennikov, Tim Etchells and Oksana Lyniv in Vienna. Corporations, media houses, politicians and well-meaning people are brought before a tribunal of art, Arnold Schönberg and Karl Kraus are celebrated, the relationship between man and machine is explored, a folk play is sent through Vienna and diesel engines are ritually blown up. The festival under the directorship of Milo Rau declares itself the Free Republic of Vienna - a republic of art by everyone for everyone! In addition to the artistic productions, there is plenty of room for participation.

This year's Wiener Festwochen will take place from May 17 to June 23 and offer 46 productions and artistic projects from the fields of spoken theater, opera, music, dance, performance, visual arts and activism. One focus is on participatory formats and projects with free admission. In 2024, the Wiener Festwochen will declare itself the Free Republic of Vienna with its own anthem, flags, new revolutionary institutions (Akademie Zweite Moderne, Die Wiener Prozesse), a festival headquarters (Haus der Republik), a party headquarters (Club der Republik) and the Council of the Republic consisting of 100 national and international members. "Who, if not us - when, if not now? Vienna is the capital of modernity, we are now proclaiming a second modernity, together with hundreds of intellectuals, artists and citizens from Vienna, Austria and the whole world," says Festival Director Milo Rau.

"Let's bring back the splendor of life!"
Vienna City Councillor for Culture Veronica Kaup-Hasler says: "The Wiener Festwochen is making an ambitious start to the first festival edition under the directorship of Milo Rau: as a festival that intervenes with the means of art - inspiring, courageous and political. With sensational international productions, the Wiener Festwochen opens wide the windows to the world and continues the tradition of the festival, which has always been inspiring and exciting in its best times. The transdisciplinary program brings together impressively big names and a pleasing number of them are female. Some positions will provoke debate and that's a good thing: art is allowed to polarize. It is important that society finds places for coming together and dialog in art. I am therefore delighted to see how strongly these participatory formats are anchored in the program presented today."

A Noiva e o Boa Noite Cinderela © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

A Noiva e o Boa Noite Cinderela © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

Big names of world theater meet radical performers
The Free Republic of Vienna is a republic of the arts: "Five and a half weeks of polyphonic, passionate, combative, crazy world theater!" is how the Festival Director describes it at the press conference. This spring, Vienna will become the world capital of theater: Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó's PARALLAX is a family story about the privilege and burden of identity, Frenchwoman Caroline Guiela Nguyen tells the tragic, global production story of a royal wedding dress in LACRIMA, and the winner of the Golden Lion at the Biennale di Venezia Christiane Jatahy brings Hamlet back as a woman. Performance star Florentina Holzinger will celebrate a joint mass with the audience with the project SANCTA (working title) and Jossi Wieler will bring the award-winning Jelinek production Angabe der Person to the Volkstheater. Carolina Bianchi will use her own body to question the boundaries of art in her globally discussed performance Die Braut and Goodnight Cinderella, Agnieszka Polska will explore the relationship between man and machine in her first theater production The Talking Car and Leonie Böhm, together with Kim de l'Horizon, will transform the Blutbuch into the theatrical narrative Blutstück.

Fronte Vacuo © Marcel Urlaub

Fronte Vacuo © Marcel Urlaub

The Free Republic under the sign of resistance
The festival focuses on the themes of resistance and revolution: musically, Russian dissident Kirill Serebrennikov brings a panorama of resistance from the Prague Spring to the present day to the stage of the Burgtheater right at the beginning of the festival with BAROCCO, while Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv sets an example against war with Jevhen Stankovych's Kaddish Requiem in and in cooperation with the Wiener Konzerthaus. Milo Rau's Mozart adaptation La Clemenza di Tito takes a close look at the sham morality of the elite of the well-meaning in Hall E. The world premiere of nora chipaumire's project Dambudzo at and in cooperation with the mumok and the multimedia opera Woman at Point Zero by Bushra El-Turk also promise revolutionary potential. El-Turk is one of the first ten members of the global women composers* platform Akademie Zweite Moderne, which was presented to the public in New York in February and, under the patronage of Nuria Schoenberg Nono and in cooperation with the Arnold Schönberg Center, ORF Radiokulturhaus and Ö1, is radically globalizing and feminizing the legacy of the Viennese modernist hero Arnold Schönberg.

Barocco © Fabian Hammerl

Barocco © Fabian Hammerl

Multimedia and poor theater
In addition to major musical and spoken theater events, lovers of multimedia theater spectacles also get their money's worth: In ROHTKO by Łukasz Twarkowski, a 12-member ensemble sheds light on the world's biggest art scandal, the relationship between original and copy and questions the value of art, while Yves Degryse blurs the boundaries between fiction and documentary in The Making of Berlin. Tim Etchell's two-person play Die Rechnung is characterized by humour and will travel through the districts of Vienna from the Tschauner Bühne in Ottakring to the 48er Tandler or the soccer club in Floridsdorf - in cooperation with the Volkstheater in the districts. Tempest Project - the last work by theater magician Peter Brook, who died in 2022 - promises biting humor combined with sophisticated poetry, as does Meine Zeit wird nicht kommen, our multi-part homage to another protagonist of Viennese modernism: Karl Kraus. In addition to cabaret artist Florian Scheuba and actors Cornelius Obonya and Robert Stadlober, writers Barbara Zeman and Clemens J. Setz as well as the grindcore band Onkel Gusta will radically update the works of the eloquent satirist and critic in five lectures in cooperation with the Vienna Library in City Hall. The age of the combustion engine will be declared over by Flemish theater maker Kris Verdonck: in his performance EXHAUST / ajax, a tractor engine will be ritually sacrificed in a huge explosion after a procession lasting several hours.

Liebestod © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

Liebestod © Christophe Raynaud de Lage

House of the Republic and The Vienna Trials
The heart of the festival is the House of the Republic in the Folklore Museum. In cooperation with the Climate Biennale and the Ethnographic Museum, the Viennese are invited to come to the open headquarters of the Free Republic of Vienna for the entire five and a half weeks. Here, the staff of the Vienna Festival work side by side with local and international initiatives in their open offices. The hearings of the Council of the Republic take place weekly and the future constitution of the Free Republic is being worked on. The public is also invited to the open workshop of the stage design class at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Seminars, workshops and discussion rounds with activists from the landless movement MST, residents of the Zad de Notre-Dame-des-Landes as well as representatives of the Republic of Rojava and countless other partner organizations of the Free Republic of Vienna will promote exchange with urban society. The Viennese trials at the Odeon will also be revolutionary during the festival: The whole of Austria - corporations, politics, the media and not least art itself - will be summoned before the tribunal of the newly created republic, verdicts included. At the end of five and a half weeks of festival, the results of discussions, trials, hearings etc. are set down in the Vienna Declaration. As a binding set of rules for the next four years, it forms the basis for the future programming of the Festival Weeks. The Wiener Festwochen | Freie Republik Wien is thus the first festival in history to adopt its own constitution together with its audience!
May 17 to June 21, 2024
www.festwochen.at