Opera arrangement in Esterhazy and Land St. Margarethen

The State of Burgenland and the Esterhazy Private Foundation have established a joint venture for the Opera at the Quarry in St. Margarethen. Both partners hold 50 percent each in the newly established non-profit “SBS Opernbetrieb Burgenland GmbH”. Katarina Reiss takes over the art direction and Dietmar Postiner takes over the commercial direction. Daniel Serafin remains director, and nothing will change in terms of direction, says Governor Hans-Peter Toskozil (SPÖ).

Toskosil explained that about five years ago, the government made a commitment to support the opera at St. Margarethen and preserve the space. Now the next steps must be taken to protect the activities: “The government no longer acts as a financial provider, but participates in the joint venture with 50 percent.” Along with Posteiner, the state provides an economic management director who continues to act as the festival director of the Mörbisch Lake Festival. Riess is currently the managing director and artistic operations director of the Oper im Steinbruch, and he will take over the artistic direction of the new company.

The state governor expects coordination from close collaboration and outlines detailed platform designs. Marketing and management can become more effective and cheaper. Although we are working in an area that is not generating dividends, we also need to keep costs under control in the future. St. Margarethen and Morbisch are “very important” for the region with the lake grid and “very important” for Burgenland as a cultural and tourist destination, Toskosil said.

The two places needn’t shy away from comparisons to Bregenz and Salzburg, Toskozil said firmly and at the same time angrily that, unlike the other two states, Burgenland received no support from the central government. It has federal laws that provide federal co-financing. The state governor had already mentioned this at a conference of cultural representatives and state secretary Andrea Mayer (Greens), but it was “not met with much approval”. Now Toskozil wants to wait for the new federal government and announced that he will make another move: “So we are treated equally, you can certainly demand that.” If there is no equal treatment, he can envision this as “legally contesting.”

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However, cooperation here at the state level is good and “on equal footing,” Esterhazy board member Matthias Gruen stressed. The opera will continue to be performed at the Quarry, nothing will change, he also mentioned the name of the new company. The aim is to achieve a consistent result over the next few years. “The biggest lever is the number of visitors,” Grün said, noting the higher sales figures than the previous year. The more events there are, the more tickets there are. But he also expects the use of synergies and the involvement of the central government. This year’s production of “Aida” – which premieres on July 10 – is still being carried out by Arenaria for reasons of legal commitment, but the joint venture’s work begins immediately.

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