Splendid opening of the 29th Film Festival at Vienna’s Rathausplatz

- Mayor Michael Ludwig and State Opera Director Dominique Meyer kicked off
  the summer’s cultural highlight in Vienna
- Thousands of visitors enjoyed the delayed live broadcast of Aida in a warm
  outdoors setting
- Star-studded ensemble made a surprise appearance at the Rathausplatz after
  the operatic finale in the State Opera House

(Vienna, 30 June 2019) While the sun slowly set behind the towers of the City Hall yesterday and a mild summer evening laid over the city, numerous public figures from political, economic, media and cultural circles and scores of visitors from across Austria and abroad gathered for the eagerly anticipated opening of the 29th Film Festival at Vienna's Rathausplatz. Host Mayor Michael Ludwig and State Opera Director Dominique Meyer welcomed the guests before this year's festival season started at 9:30 pm with the first notes of the delayed live broadcast of Aida from the Vienna State Opera. Following the film screening, another highlight awaited: the artists, who had just been seen on the screen, personally visited the Rathausplatz after their performance at the State Opera and were greeted by the audience with thundering applause.

The atmosphere between City Hall and the Burgtheater was filled with excitement. Summery temperatures and an air of anticipation swirled around the square for the upcoming opening of the 29th Film Festival. Hundreds of visitors did not want to miss the unique opportunity to watch Guiseppe Verdi's masterpiece Aida in a delayed live broadcast from the Vienna State Opera and came early to secure good seats. Many guests from political, economic, media and cultural circles – such as Mayor Michael Ludwig, City Councillor Peter Hanke, City Councillor Peter Hacker, Birgit Sarata, Aleksey Igudesman and the ensemble of Aida – wanted to experience the prelude of this musical and culinary summer adventure live in the heart of the city. 

Mayor Michael Ludwig personally launched the festival and was impressed with the ambience on the Rathausplatz and the audience’s palpable excitement. “The Film Festival reflects the music capital’s quality of life in all its facets. It is our way of inviting all the people of Vienna – and its guests – to enjoy an incomparable, magical summer night filled with music under the stars and in the heart of the city with free admission and barrier-free access. To be able to inaugurate this event together with everyone present is one of the most pleasant tasks one has as a mayor,” said Ludwig.

As a prominent guest on stage, Mayor Ludwig was able to welcome the State Opera director and newly appointed head of Milan's Scala, Dominique Meyer, to the stage, who thanked the City of Vienna for this year's festival theme “150 Years of the Opera House on the Ring”: “An important goal of our anniversary celebrations was to make the opera house even more accessible. With this in mind, I am grateful to the City of Vienna and IMZ for the wonderful cooperation and increased presence at this year's Film Festival at the Rathausplatz, which is about to start with two delayed broadcasts from the Vienna State Opera. I hope that numerous Viennese and visitors alike will embrace the wide and unique range of operas, ballets and open-air concert broadcasts,” said Meyer.

Peter Hanke, the City Councillor for Economic Affairs, was also pleased with the successful opening: “Even after 30 years, the Film Festival is still unique to Europe – from a technical, architectural and programmatic aspect and not least because of its unmistakable flair. Time and again, the festival has turned the summers in Vienna into a special kind of personal, cultural and culinary experience for more than 900,000 music enthusiasts.”

The Aida ensemble live at Rathausplatz

The attendees took pleasure in Guiseppe Verdi's tour de force until well after midnight. The evening was rounded off perfectly with the on-stage appearances of numerous of Aida’s performers, including Marco Armiliato (conductor), Elena Guseva (Aida), Ekaterina Gubanova (Amneris), Simone Piazzola (Amonasro), Peter Kellner (king) and Mariam Battistelli (priestess). The audience was thrilled and thanked the ensemble with thunderous applause (and standing ovations). It was a grand finale to the opening festivities and a successful start to the 65-day film festival season on Vienna's Rathausplatz. 

Film Festival at Vienna’s Rathausplatz
June 29th to September 1st 2019
Start of films: daily at nightfall
Catering 11 am to midnight

Children’s Opera Festival at the Rathauspark
Every Friday from 5pm
Active sports programme from 2pm to 5pm

Admission is free!

More information at:

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