Lang’s "Der Reigen" at the Bregenzer Festspiele

“Everything is dance here – the music, the images, the bodies and their emotions. And the staging has a further big asset: it’s witty notwithstanding all the malice of this amorous lovers’ carousel.” (SWR 2)

In July 2019, the Bregenz Festival presented Bernhard Lang’s Der Reigen. Five years after its world premiere in Schwetzingen, the opera finally had its first production in Lang’s native Austria. Music director Walter Kobéra conducted a co-production with Vienna’s Neue Oper featuring the Amadeus Ensemble of Vienna and soloists Anita Giovanna Rosati, Barbara Pöltl, Thomas Lichtenecker, Alexander Kaimbacher and Marco Di Sapia.

 “[…] The score – played with enormous dynamism by the strings, wind, percussion and synthesizers of the Amadeus Ensemble of Vienna under conductor Walter Kobéra – reflects the rhythm of the words […].” (Der Westallgäuer)

Arthur Schnitzler’s provocative play Reigen (La Ronde) takes on vivid new colours in the sardonic staging by Alexandra Liedtke. The director draws the audience into a vicious cycle of love, lies and promiscuity that becomes almost inescapable in our brave new world of brave new technologies. Photo and video sequences curated by the stage designers Falko Herold and Florian Schaaf enhance the performance’s dramatic effect.

After its premiere at the Bregenz Festival, Lang’s Der Reigen, featuring the same cast and ensemble, will be given at the Wien Modern Festival at the Neue Oper on 12, 15, 16 and 18 November 2019.

Picture of Bernhard Lang's 'Der Reigen' at the Bregenz Festspiele
NP of Der Reigen, Bregenz 2019

Der Reigen (2012)

Music theater for 5 voices and 23 instruments
Libretto by Michael Sturminger (2012)
based on Arthur Schnitzler's Reigen (1896/97)
WP: 25.04.2014, Schwetzingen 
Duration: ca. 90' (without intermission)


The story focuses on ten characters from different social classes who, by twists of fate, all become involved in an “amorous round dance”. Each of them appears in two scenes, engaging in a morally questionable relationship with another. It all begins with a prostitute trying to win over a soldier; then the soldier attempts to seduce a naive parlour maid, who in the next scene is forced to endure the unambiguous sexual advances of the young gentleman, and so the chain of affairs continues. The librettist Michael Struminger has slightly modernized the original characters: the count becomes a businessman; the soldier, a policeman. And by giving the role of the actress to a male singer, he has brought the character’s gender identity into question. Merged with Lang’s music, Schnitzler’s play enjoys a well-earned revitalization.
Picture of Bernhard Lang's 'Der Reigen' at the Bregenz Festspiele
NP of Der Reigen, Bregenz 2019

Press quotes

“[…] Highly charged, richly colourful music, a cohesive and imaginative staging and a flawless ensemble – a premiere can hardly ask for more. Bernhard Lang’s music-theatre version of Arthur Schnitzler’s once scandalous drama Reigen (La Ronde) becomes yet another high point of the Bregenz Festival […].”
ORF Online, 31 July 2019

“Bregenz’s Reigen can fairly be described as the absolute embodiment of a total package. Inventive stage direction, great voices and music that grasps and multiplies the essence of the text.[…]”
Vorarlberger Nachrichten, 31 July 2019 

Everything contributes to the incredible atmosphere and looks great, including Florian Schaaf’s set, which allows changes of room and place by means of an enormous wall. Liedtke populates it with the theatrically spot-on performances of her five singers. […]”
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 01 August 2019

“The audience followed the proceedings with concentration and evident satisfaction, acclaiming the performers and staging team with hearty applause.” 
Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung, 01 August 2019

“Bernhard Lang effectively portrays his heterogeneous characters, placing them securely in their demi-mondes using elements of various musical styles.”
Kultur – Zeitschrift für Kultur und Gesellschaft Online, 03 August 2019

“The Bregenz Festival has achieved something quite extraordinary with this co-production. Music theatre at its finest.”
Kultur – Zeitschrift für Kultur und Gesellschaft Online, 03 August 2019

Picture of Bernhard Lang's 'Der Reigen' at the Bregenz Festspiele
NP of Der Reigen, Bregenz 2019

Score of Der Reigen


Digital sheet music

Score (full and piano reduction), parts, libretto of Der Reigen are available on nKoda.
View on nkoda

Photos: Anja Köhler