Bianca and Falliero

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July 2020

A city seeks to dominate the world, it reveals conspiracies by spying ambassadors, conquers its enemies and becomes isolated due to the fear of danger. Behind its high walls the megalomaniac mini state suppresses every form of individuality, emotions and love. The misanthropic system seizes up. This oppressive atmosphere is the setting for the family drama Bianca e Falliero, the last opera Rossini wrote for La Scala Milan, one of his most attractive and yet, unjustifiably so, rarely played works. The librettist Felice Romani combines a spy story with a variation on the theme of Romeo and Juliet, although in this case the alien families are involved in a long-standing inheritance squabble. Bianca, the daughter of the Senator Contareno, is secretly in love with General Falliero, but the political and financial interests of her father are a threat to her love. Bianca is mercilessly misused as a hostage in the feud between the families. Falliero, the victorious defender of the state, returns from the war precisely at the moment when Bianca is to be forced to marry Capellio. Conflicts are inevitable; Bianca’s emotional turmoil between love for her father as the original bond and the promised devotion to her lover gave Rossini the opportunity to expand his means of vocal and orchestral expression. During the composer’s lifetime the opera did not establish itself in the repertoire, not least because of the high demands it makes of the singers. It was not until 1986 that the work was rediscovered, thereby revealing its extraordinary qualities.

Program and cast

Conductor: Giuliano Carella

Stage Director: Tilmiann Köhler

Stage Design: Karoly Risz

Costume Design: Susanne Uhl

Dramaturgy: Zsolt Horpácsy

Orchestra of the Tyrolean Festival Erl

Bianca: Heather Philips

Falliero: Beth Taylor

Priuli: Attila Mokus

Contareno: Bruce Sledge

Capellio: Giovanni Battista Parodi

A chancellor / an officer / a bailiff: Michael Petruccelli

Festspielhaus Erl



Designed by Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, Vienna, the extraordinary structure boasts 862 seats (130 of which are flexible seats near the orchestra) and the world’s largest orchestra pit (160-sq meters). The total useable surface is 7,000-square meter. General contractor was STRABAG, project manager Ing. Georg Höger.


The new Festspielhaus respects and compliments the architecture of the old Passionsspielhaus and its natural surroundings in a unique way: in the summer, when the Tyrolean Festival Erl or the Passion Plays take place at the white Passionsspielhaus, the dark Festspielhaus will blend with the dark forest, allowing the Passionsspielhaus to be dominant. In the winter it is the other way round: while the white Passionsspielhaus will fade into the surroundings, the dark Festspielhaus will stand out against the white landscape.


The Festspielhaus offers the modern infrastructure that has been sorely missing at the Passionsspielhaus, including a foyer with cloakroom, modern stage machinery, several rehearsal rooms and plenty of space for administrative offices. The Festspielhaus provides the Tyrolean Festival Erl with the basic conditions it needs to ensure the Festival’s success will continue into the future.




The Passionsspielhaus in Erl, built between 1957 and 159 on plans by architect Robert Schuller, is an architectural and acoustic masterpiece. The structure blends with its surroundings and is a visual extension of the adjoining mountains.
Thanks to its striking shape the Passionspielhaus instantly became Erl’s greatest landmark. Austria’s largest orchestra theater accommodates up to 1500 visitors. The 25-meter wide stage is tiered and provides a spectacular backdrop for the 500 passion play actors as well as the orchestra of the Tyrolean Festival Erl, which performs onstage as there is no orchestra pit. 


A café serving snacks and beverages was added in 1997 and an Art Room for 150 visitors was opened in 2003.  
When the Festspielhaus was renovated between October 2006 and April 2007 all sanitary facilities were upgraded; an “orchestra pit” with scissor lift and a substructure for the main stage were added; the auditorium got equipped with a deaf loop system and a new floor; the catwalk, the exterior design, the cellar beneath the donkey ramp, the refreshment stand, all electrical installations and the ventilation system were replaced; and the wardrobe and the stairway renovated.  






Germany, Eastern Austria
A8 Munich-Salzburg, Autobahndreieck Inntal, A 93, Motorway exit Nussdorf/Brannenburg or Oberaudorf/Niederndorf

Italy, Switzerland, Western Austria
Inntalautobahn A 12, motorway exit Kufstein Nord or Oberaudorf/Niederndorf; from Italy: after Brenner Pass take A 13 and A 12 (approx. 1 h 20 min to Erl); from the Swiss border it’s a 3 hour drive to Erl; the entire journey is on motorways and expressways.

In Austria, the use of motorways and expressways is subject to payment of a toll.

Munich – Erl approx. 1 hour by car
Salzburg – Erl approx. 1 hour by car
Innsbruck – Erl approx. 45 hour by car



All long distance and regional trains stop in Kufstein. 




Innsbruck (90 km),
Salzburg (90 km),
München (110 km).


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