A very special magic in Worms - the Nibelungen Festival

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Before the start of the Nibelungen Festival 2022, I met Petra Simon. She is the artistic and technical director of the Festival. This means she is responsible for all decisions in front of and behind the the stage. So she has already accompanied and seen a large number of the performances. seen.

There is a magic to this beginning.

The Nibelungen Festival has been held in Worms since 2002. The idea of the founders was to revive this treasure, which is linked to Worms with the Nibelungen saga. The Nibelungenstadt offers the original setting of the saga. Here in front of the imperial cathedral the queens fought. At almost the same place in front of the cathedral, the Nibelungen Festival now takes place every year.

"The artistic flair of the founders around Mario Adorf was already believed in at the beginning," Ms. Simon told me. Over the years, however, the Nibelungen Festival has continued to grow and has proven its charisma. Over the course of two decades, well-known actors from theater and television such as Uwe Ochsenknecht, Oscar Ortega Sánchez, Roland Renner, Jürgen Prochnow, Klaus Maria Brandauer and actresses such as Katja Weizenböck, Alexandra Kamp and Jasmin Tabatabai have appeared on stage. "The artists and performers are happy to come back to work on the Cultural program participate. Or they visit their friends and colleagues and watch the performance." So you can watch the celebrities not only on stage, but also meet them in the stands or in Heylshof Park.

Every year anew

No two years are the same, because each time a new play is performed. It is always about the Nibelungen story, but each play treats it in a different way. This also means that each year a new focus is set and a new theme is established for the entire Nibelungen Festival and the cultural program. In 2022, the play "hildensaga. Ein Königinnendrama" was about the women of the Nibelungen saga.

Some impressions from the 2022 production:

From July 7 to 23, 2023, the new play by playwright Maria Milisavljević, "BRYNHILD", premiered for the first time. Brynhild and Siegurd rewrite their story in a consistently contemporary reading. As a great love story, as a family drama, as a tragedy, as a thriller. It will be interesting to see how the well-known material can be told in a modern and new way with all its archaic power.

It is not only the audience that is always full of expectation as to what will happen this time. Mrs. Simon, too, is always curious to see exactly how the production will be staged. Sometimes the plays themselves determine how the saga is interpreted. Other times it is the director who looks at the work in his or her own way. Ms. Simon still remembers the year 2004, when Karin Beier staged part of the original Hebbel play and brought a new touch to the old work.

Even if the theme of this year's Nibelungen Festival and some special features were known in advance, this certain magic always arises anew when the play begins. Something will definitely happen every time that you didn't expect and that will cast a spell over you.

For the last 20 years, not only the artistic artistic scene has been looking to Worms every year, expecting a new spectacle. The city is now known for the Nibelungen Festival not only in known throughout Germany. Ms. Simon tells me that the team behind the scenes is also team behind the scenes is becoming more and more international. By the way, also a small special feature. Because Worms does not have a permanent theater, all the trades required for the all the trades needed for the performance are reassigned and teams are put together. and teams are put together. That's always a bit of a challenge, but also promotes creativity. At the Nibelungen Festival, people come together behind the behind the scenes and on stage, people who are needed for precisely this play. needed.

The cathedral - main actor or background

The one atmosphere during the performance in front of the cathedral would be or at least it is difficult for Ms. Simon to decide on just one. one atmosphere. Each play, each director interprets the cathedral in a different way. the cathedral in a different way. Sometimes it is the protagonist, sometimes only the but something always happens to the cathedral and the atmosphere throughout the evening. mood. 

If you sit in a theater, everything is perfectly illuminated and the lighting mood is exactly as the director and the lighting technician imagine it. The performance of the play of the Nibelungen Festival begins at 20:30 and ends around 23:30. The open-air stage will be affected not only by the attached spotlights, but also by the sun and moonlight. When night falls, one is drawn deeper and deeper into the play and the cathedral. At the same time, there are these indescribably magical moments when the full moon shines over the cathedral or wind passes through the leaves of the trees at exactly the gripping point of the monologue. Each performance thus becomes different from the next and unique.

Ms. Simon assures me: "You can see well from every seat. see. Even in the last row, you can follow the actors' and actresses' facial expressions through the transmission on the LED walls, you can follow the facial expressions of the actors and actresses." The the further back you sit, the more you can experience the entire backdrop of the stage in front of the cathedral at a glance. the cathedral at a glance.

When the rows in the stands fill up, then - even if it doesn't start yet - all eyes are already forward to the stage in front of the cathedral. No curtain blocks the view. The stage set and the backdrop in front of the cathedral are present the whole time and already exude that certain atmosphere. The play begins and immediately with the first note, the first actress, the first actor, the first sentence, calm returns and everyone is captivated.

The magic in the break

Not only the stage and the grandstand, which are specially erected in front of the Kaiserdom, are a real special feature. The open-air foyer in Heylshofpark is unique. Focus has already named it the most beautiful theater foyer in Germany.

The greenery of the trees, soft music of artists, in the middle the big Luther shoes and the fountain, which runs with water dyed red especially for the festival. Ms. Simon describes it so beautifully, "It creates an overall experience. When you walk through the beautiful park in the front, then to the bleachers and watch the play." During intermission and after the performance, people have another chance to experience and linger in Heylshof Park illuminated. With a Stroll ticket you can take the opportunity to experience the park during the festival without visiting the production. Of course, you will not only enjoy the ambience, but also Rhine-Hessian wine and a gastronomic offer. Supplementary bookable arrangements offer additional great deals with the Wine Lounge and Dinner in the Park.

Theater meets Festival

A stage, actors and a play - these are all the classical elements of a theatrical performance. But the Nibelungen Festival is so much more. more. It offers a unique experience. The memories of this evening evening are hard to put into words afterwards. Even Mrs. Simon finds this difficult during when I ask her about her favorite moments from the last few years. recent years. "It's the entire atmosphere and every piece that is so itself is so unique." After a little reflection, it is then individual scenes from productions that have stuck in her memory. A single scene in which actors and actresses, the costumes and the entire scenery with the cathedral created this unique situation worth remembering. have created.

Find out everything about the current play of the Nibelungen Festival and the cultural program on the page of the Worms Nibelungen Festival.

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As an external author for the Rheinhessen blog, I like to take you with me on my discovery tours through Rheinhessen. With camera and notebook always in my luggage, I explore the region of a thousand Hiwwel, get to know the diversity of wine and meet hospitable Rheinhessen.

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