Music of the highest quality in the country. In the past twenty years a renowned festival with international charisma came about from this visionary idea. From the commitment of one individual, the endeavour came to involve many participants. We take a look behind the scenes into the eventful past of Tyrol Festival Erl.
Time in the Passionsspielhaus
Tyrol Festival Erl was founded in 1997 by conductor, director, composer and author Gustav Kuhn and since then has taken place in July every year. Perfect conditions were available in Erl and the people of Erl have a deep affinity for the stage, with theatre performances held here for over 400 years. After the Second World War, the original Passionsspielhaus which was made out of wood was destroyed by a fire. In the 1950s, the Passionsspiele Association commissioned architect Robert Schuler to design a new building. Since 1959 the aspiring building in gleaming white has been a feature of the appearance and repute of this little Tyrolean town. In the early days, Tyrolean Festival Erl was performed in the years between the folk play in the Passionsspielhaus - which would otherwise have lain empty - a place which was famed at that time for its perfect acoustics for classical music. Chamber music was played in the village church and in Gasthof "Blaue Quelle".
Opening of the new Festspielhaus
The festival has grown as the years have progressed, and with that, so too has its needs. Gustav Kuhn built up his own orchestra and so the search was on for a venue where performances could be held in the winter too. In the end it was Festival President Hans Peter Haselsteiner who facilitated the construction of the Festspielhaus. 20 million Euro of financing came from the Haselsteiner’s family private foundation. Since its opening in 2012, the summer season has been extended to take in a winter season of a minimum of 12 days. However, the new Festspielhaus does not yet hold performances in the cold season; due to the different acoustics in the two buildings, opera performances, and most of the concerts and chamber concerts are presented in the Festspielhaus in the summer months. The main repertoire – including operas by Richard Wagner – as a general rule are held in the Passionsspielhaus.
The Festival Hall offers unique architecture and an excellent production environment. It is home to ist own orchestra and also a costume shop. Organized as a limited liability corporation since 2005, the Tiroler Festspiele have become one of the most interesting cultural institutions of the region. The artistic quality, innovative and varied programming of concert and opera performances is attracting a large audience year by year.
The festival was founded in 1998 by Gustav Kuhn, who led it as its Intendant until 2018. After an interim season under the artistic leadership of Andreas Leisner, the Tiroler Festspiele have signed Bernd Loebe as its new Intendant starting September 2019.
The village of Erl can look back on a proud 400-year continuous tradition of performing Passionplays. Therefore Erl offers a unique athmosphere where nature, artistic ambition and achievement meet to allow for unique audience experiences in concerts and opera.
Through his passion, engagement and rich experience Bernd Loebe—with the support of Marcus Küchle and a competent team—will lead the Tiroler Festspiele into a new era. During his tenure as the Intendant of the Oper Frankfurt the company was named „Opera House of the Year“ (Opernwelt) three times already. He has received international recognition and possesses an exceptionally large international network. Therfore even his first season will feature a star studded lineup of major international artists. Furhtermore, Bernd Loebe is dedicated to the development of talented young artists at the beginnings of their careers. For them, Erl will become a place to nurture and grow.