The boy is mine

One of the most popular plays by famed playwright Johann Nepomuk Nestroy is to be performed for the 50th time at Vienna’s Burgtheater.

“Liebesgeschichten und Heiratssachen” is a turbulent rollercoaster ride featuring a handful of notorious characters. While some of them are trying to ensure that their pristine reputation remains unaffected, others are busy backstabbing.

Nestroy was a shrewd observer of 19th century society. His hard-hitting plays have been delighting audiences with absolutely unimaginable twists and turns. Director Georg Schmiedleitner has created a thoroughly beguiling exhibition of self-centred individuals.

Television star Gregor Bloeb – who has controversially been given the leading role – is really pulling it off as quick-tempered Florian Fett. Markus Meyer – who plays Nebel, a witty crook – is also causing some show-stopping moments. Regina Fritsch and Marie-Luise Stockinger excellently muddle through this big maze of romantic confusion.

It is just a shame that the brilliant Alexandra Henkel – her “Girls & Boys” monologue is this season’s sensation – is featuring in just a vacuous supporting role in this astutely arranged two-and-a-half hour delight.

On 18th May, Schmiedleitner’s adaption of the play Nestroy penned in 1843 will be performed for the 50th time. Visit http://www.burgtheater.at to purchase your ticket.

Photo: © Georg Soulek / Burgtheater

Green-white déjà vu for Hartberg

Rapid face Hartberg another time just days after the Green-Whites celebrated a convincing away victory.

The Green-Whites performed poorly in the first half on Tuesday but upped their game to cruise past Hartberg 4-2. Due to reformed Bundesliga schedules, the tradition-rich team from Vienna play the Styrian side once more this weekend (Saturday 5pm, Allianz Stadion).

Hartberg are threatening to be a killjoy once more. In March, Markus Schopp’s team achieved a 2-2 draw in Vienna after having been 0-2 down. This result kept Rapid out of the championship playoff featuring Red Bull Salzburg, LASK and Sturm Graz among others.

Especially Thomas Murg earned praise on Tuesday – even from Rapid’s opponents. “It’s almost impossible to get a hold of him when he’s got the ball. He’s an excellent player, that’s why he’s at Rapid – the question is how much longer this is the case,” Hartberg keeper Rene Swete said in a post-match statement.

The midfield strategist – who recently named Juventus star Paulo Dybala as his idol – said: “I don’t like talking about myself. I prefer talking about the team. I think we didn’t play well in the first half. Our performance improved after the break.”

Typifying the determined player, Murg has been a joy to watch recently – despite a high percentage rate of missed chances. With seven goals, the former SV Ried ace is Rapid’s most prolific scorer this season.

Murg recently extended his contract until 2022. Confronted by Rapid Magazin with speculations concerning a possible move abroad, the 24-year-old underlined: “I’m supporting Dortmund. Joining BVB one day would be a dream come true. I also like Spanish and Italian league soccer. But now I got to focus on what’s important – and that’s Rapid.”

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>> http://www.tsv-hartberg-fussball.at

Burgtheater ‘beaten by Basel and Munich’

The Burgtheater’s reputation has dipped alarmingly, according to critics.

Der Standard claims that venues such as the Theater Basel and Munich’s Kammerspiele have gained the edge over Vienna’s most famous stage.

The newspaper also criticised Karin Bergmann – who will leave the Burgtheater shortly after having been in charge for the last five years – for not having done enough about the number of female directors and writers. According to the Viennese newspaper, just 28 women have directed plays during her term. This is a sharp contrast to their 79 male counterparts. Der Standard deplores the fact that just 16 plays were written by female authors. Ninety-one were penned by men.

Bergmann has however also earned praise from the newspaper. In its review of her term, Der Standard underscores that the Burgtheater currently has a remarkable rate of 83 per cent as far as ticket purchases are concerned. Furthermore, Bergmann managed to keep the institution from sliding back into chaos. It was anything but plain sailing when she took over from Matthias Hartmann. The repercussions of his term – from slanderous accusations against executives to financial irregularities – were felt for a long time.

“Die lächerliche Finsternis” and “Die Welt im Rücken” have been named by Der Standard as the most outstanding plays at the city-centre stage in recent years, while “Willkommen bei den Hartmanns” has been branded as “racist”.

Meanwhile, Martin Kusej has hinted that the Burgtheater could become a loud opponent of political developments in Austria and Europe. Asked by national broadcaster ORF to define his relationship with Culture Minister Gernot Blümel of the conservative ÖVP, Kusej – who will take over from Bergmann as head of the Burgtheater – explained: “We are in touch. There has been communication. But I’m sure that the minister is aware that I see certain things in a different way.”

>> http://www.burgtheater.at

Kusej wants ‘open-minded’ Burgtheater

Martin Kusej has vowed to underline the significance of European diversity at the Burgtheater.

The Carinthian theatre and opera director is set to take over from director Karin Bergmann this autumn. “In my opinion, a theatre has to be open-minded. There should be no borders onstage,” Kusej told Austrian newspaper Der Standard.

“Being confronted with so many languages in Vienna is fascinating to me. I want this aspect to have an impact on what is happening at the Burgtheater. I love languages. I speak seven languages myself,” he added.

Kusej directed “Der Weibsteufel” at Vienna’s Akademietheater, which is part of the Burgtheater association, in 2008. News that the contracts of several renowned actors will not be extended have given an uneasy tension to his much-anticipated return. Stefanie Dvorak and Petra Morzé and have to leave the tradition-rich theatre after many years of cast membership.

Asked by Der Standard whether it was true that he informed award-winning director Andrea Breth about his decision not to assign her as of autumn by sending a text message, Kusej stressed: “That’s not true. Breth is a director I admire a lot. She had a long-term contract at the Burgtheater. This contract has expired. I aim at working with a new wave of directors. Apart from that, Breth has said she’s busy until 2022.”

Ulrich Rasche is hotly tipped to be in charge of the first play of Kusej’s term. Confronted with this claim, the incoming Burgtheater boss told Der Standard: “I’ve heard he’ll open the season with ‘Nathan the Wise’. I won’t comment on that. I prefer keeping the tension up.”

Visit http://www.burgtheater.at for upcoming performances.

Shell-shock selfie

Painful flashbacks and the need for forgiveness are the core issues of an acclaimed new play.

The Burgtheater Vienna is staging “Beben” by Maria Milisavljevic at the Vestibül, a small stage which is the ideal terrain for experimental and contemporary productions. The play underlines the difficulty of coping with war traumas in our social media era with all its distasteful procedures. The four actors put on ambitious performances in this intense 75-minute play taking place on a cunningly arranged set featuring frames and glass.

Director Anna Stiepani is creating a febrile atmosphere at the Vestibül where “Beben”, with its hypnotic maze of words, fits in perfectly with other current productions such as “Girls & Boys” starring the brilliant Alexandra Henkel and “Drei sind wir” by Wolfram Höll.

For tickets and information on what else is coming up at the Burgtheater and the Akademietheater, go to http://www.burgtheater.at

Photo: © Reinhard Werner / Burgtheater

Rapid ready for revenge as Bickel bids farewell

A painful defeat in Mattersburg crushed Rapid’s championship playoff ambitions last month. Now the team vow revenge.

Rapid face the Burgenland side on their home turf (Allianz Stadion, 5pm) on Saturday in what will be the third match of the relegation playoff. Not just the Green-Whites won both their opening fixtures. Mattersburg also garnered six out of six points.

The Vienna-Hütteldorf outfit are determined to recreate some sort of can-do spirit as a season of numerous defeats and disappointments draws to a close. Sporting director Fredy Bickel recently announced his decision to retire this summer, citing the failure to challenge Red Bull Salzburg for the title as main motivation for his departure. However, the ongoing spat between the club board and some die-hard supporter groups is undoubtedly another significant reason.

Former Rapid coach Zoran Barisic has been hotly tipped to replace Bickel. As a player, Barisic was one of the driving forces behind Rapid’s trophy-grabbing team in the 1990s. One of his teammates was Dietmar Kühbauer, the club’s current coach.

Meanwhile, Austrian Football Association officials have decided to relocate the upcoming ÖFB Cup final from Generali Arena in Vienna, the stadium of Rapid’s fiercest rivals FK Austria, to Klagenfurt’s Wörthersee Stadium. Police have expressed safety concerns regarding the clash between Rapid and Red Bull scheduled for Labour Day while fans of FK Austria expressed their disagreement.

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Brand-new & brilliant

The Burgtheater Vestibül has cemented its status as a source of bliss with a string of outstanding performances.

Alexandra Henkel is a revelation in Dennis Kelly’s gripping drama “Girls & Boys”. Having been part of the Burgtheater cast for many years, the German boasts an intensity and charisma here that few artists can rival. The experienced stage and television actress delivers some jaw-dropping moments as things look promising for her character before things take a terrible turn for the worse.

Henkel’s magnificent performance in “Girls & Boys” is undoubtedly responsible for the great demand in tickets in a highly competitive market. However, other acclaimed contemporary plays such as “Etwas kommt mir bekannt vor” by Liat Fassberg have also ensured that the Vestibül is widely considered as one of the best venues to see exciting new productions.

Meanwhile, several popular 20th century theatre standards are on the Burgtheater schedule this season. “Die Ratten” features Andrea Wenzl and Roland Koch while August Diehl stars in Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey into Night” (Eines langen Tages Reise in die Nacht).

>> http://www.burgtheater.at

Photo: © Reinhard Werner / Burgtheater