Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Irony and Mystery at the Burgtheater

Austria itself is the theatre - Thomas Bernhard

Only yesterday there came the extraordinary news that Vienna's Burgtheater director Matthias Hartmann, who recently had his contract extended, has been sacked. 

Some of my friends are in shock. Such a drama, the director ordered to clear out his desk; it has never happened before in the long history of the Burgtheater they tell me. 

Hartmann received his marching orders from Austria's new Kulturminister Josef Ostermayer.

This evening, curtain-up at 6pm,  a premier of Hans Henny Jahnn's play Die Krönung Richards III (The Coronation of Richard III), described as a piece of modernist eroticism, is scheduled to get underway at the theater without a director.

The Burg, was established in 1741 by the Austrian ruler, the Empress Maria Theresa. Her son Joseph II referred to the Burg, as it became known in Viennese shorthand,  as the German national theatre.

In 1888 the theatre, which had originally been housed next to the royal palace, moved to its present home. There is still a wing with a red carpeted staircase awaiting the reigning monarch, should one dare to arise in today's 2nd Republic.

Only 4 hours to go and on the Burgtheater website 400 unsold tickets remain on offer.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were several more dramatic scenes, and many unexpected twists and turns in this unfolding story.

Tonight's performers include veteran actor Ignaz Kirchner 


  1. Hermann Beil is to take temporary charge at the Burg.

  2. News: Karin Bergmann takes temporary charge with Hermann Beil available to give advice.


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