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Sto at The Bregenz Opera Festival in Austria

July 30, 2019

“The set is sloping and the actors will be moving about on it, so the entire structure has to be extremely durable. Nothing can slide about,” explains the master painter Frank Schulze, describing the challenges involved in coating the huge head and hand structure. “I’ve been working with Sto products for the past 20 years. They’ve proven their worth time and again when it comes to slip resistance and durability.”

Scene-creator Philipp Stölzl and his team have been working on the gargantuan construction for a total of three years. The Sto finishes and coatings were applied by artisans from the professional studio of theatre sculptor and painter Frank Schulze.

Since the head is essentially a facade, Sto being a facade specialist offered a huge product range to choose from. The real challenge started when Frank Schulze, Philipp Stölzl and Sto talked about the material demands. The hydraulic construction can be moved in many directions and needs to withstand the effects of weathering on the lake as well as the movement of the actors as they navigate the stage. A durable, flexible and slip resistance coating material was needed.

The bonding agent StoPrep Contact prepared the substrate for the subsequent filling and spraying of the finish. The reinforcing compounds and fillers from the StoArmat Classic product range demonstrate excellent properties in terms of crack and impact resistance, making them ideally suited to a project like this.

Also the aspect of sustainability played a major role in the selection of materials. As the curtain of the Festival closes, constructions of this scale are either auctioned off or – if this is not possible – recycled.

The giant hydraulic head of court jester Rigoletto forms the backdrop for the opera at 14 m high and weighing in at 175 tonnes. Two oversized hands – both fully hydraulically operable – are positioned at the sides and are without doubt a stand-out feature of the Bregenz Festival 2019.

Sto has been involved in the production of the set designs for the Bregenz Festival for several years, helping to develop technical solutions that allow the imposing stage constructions to be brought to life. The 74th Bregenz Festival is taking place from 17 July to 18 August, with Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto being performed on the world’s largest floating stage.

Rigoletto - Sto at The Bregenz opera Festival in Austria