Immling 2024 festival opening with an acclaimed “AIDA” performance.

Festival opening with an acclaimed “AIDA” performance.

Yunuet Laguna, Joseph Dahdah @ VerenaVonKerssenbrock

On 22.6. the time had come again – Immling opened its opera house for the 2024 festival season. Anyone passing the driveway the week before would have seen the sponsor flags flying – an unmistakable sign, just like the signs all over Bad Endorf directing festival visitors to the parking lot, because the only way up is by shuttle bus.

The weather played along, at least before the opening, and festively dressed visitors waited eagerly for admission in mild temperatures. Finally, the large gates opened and the hall filled up. As always, there was first a witty welcome from our guests of honor by director Ludwig Baumann, who was delighted with the visit of Ilse Aigner, President of the State Parliament, together with all Immlingen residents and guests.

Ms. Aigner also welcomed the guests and then handed over to Michael Artmann, Member of the State Parliament. As a native of Rosenheim, it was a particular pleasure for him to bring good news from the Minister for Science and Art, Markus Blume: the state government has increased its support for the Immling Festival by a further 30% – a very important contribution to the work with children and young people that Immling has been doing for ten years. The audience thanked them with loud applause for their great support.

District Administrator Lederer also spoke briefly. He reminded the guests of this year’s festival motto, “MITMENSCHLICH”, to which the opera AIDA fits perfectly, because here a love is shattered by the inhuman power games of the superiors.

And then it started! Lights out, spotlight on, Maestra von Kerssenbrock entered the orchestra pit to great applause and introduced her festival orchestra, a grown unit from many nations who play together here and show how powerfully music connects.

And the chess game on the stage cast a spell over us as the overture began softly.

Those in the know know that the Immling Festival Hall was once a riding hall – now, of course, it is a fully-fledged opera house with a capacity of 730 spectators. However, this original construction also shapes the unique character of the Immlingen operas. As there is neither a curtain nor movable stage elements, director Baumann has once again turned the entire house into a stage without further ado. On the stage, everyone looks spellbound to the back, then a beam of light falls down the long center aisle and a breathtaking acrobatic group appears, whirling their artists weightlessly through the air as they enter! Sometimes the fanfares announce the action from behind, sometimes the choir suddenly sings from outside. The slaves drag themselves up the center aisle to the stage and as a spectator you are always in the middle of the action, directly part of the music and the singing!

And then our singers – Yunuet Laguna (Aida) made her European debut with us, she comes from Mexico and came straight from the Met to the rehearsals. Joseph Dahdah (Radamès) stepped in at short notice as the original tenor had to drop out due to illness. Theo Magongoma joined the international ensemble from South Africa as Amonasro, not forgetting Darina Gapitch (Amneris) from Poland. These top-class voices in a breathtaking production by Ludwig Baumann made the audience completely forget that the (sad) ending was already a foregone conclusion – we followed the story spellbound and immersed ourselves in the Pharaoh’s court, an evening on the Nile, a court of law and finally a gloomy burial chamber, all set in a minimalist stage design by Claus Hipp.

Even if the stage can hardly be changed – thanks to the fantastic lighting magic that Ludwig Baumann and Maximilian Ulrich had worked out together, transforming the entire stage either indoors or outdoors, even with a battlefield in the background – without frills, but with a clear message.

The audience rightly stood for the first final applause at the choir’s performance and celebrated all those involved with frenetic applause.

The audience rightly stood for the first final applause at the choir’s performance and celebrated all those involved with frenetic applause.

Have you run out of tickets for the premiere? Don’t worry, we’ll be performing Aida a few more times, and tickets are still available – just don’t wait too long!

Daniel Artmann, Ilse Aigner, Klaus Stöttner @ Nicole Richter