St Galler Festspiele – Opera, Music & Dance in A Unique Location
The St Gallen Festival in A Unique UNESCO World Heritage Location
25th June – 9th July 2021
Performances Under the Stars
Classical music enthusiasts should pencil in their diaries the dates from 25th June to the 9th July as the annual St. Gallen Festival (St Galler Festspiele) is back this year with a series of very special musical and performing art events.
One can hardly imagine a more atmospheric setting for a Summer festival than the impressive UNESCO World Heritage grounds of St. Gallen’s baroque cathedral and adjoining abbey. Listening to the St. Gallen Symphony Orchestra under the star-light summer sky is a truly otherworldly experience and should definitely be on the bucket list for all classical music aficionados.
Franz Schmidt’s Notre Dame – An Opera Rarity on centre stage
As in the past, the St. Gallen Festival brings some little-know gems and long forgotten masterpieces back into the limelight. This year’s program revolves around another iconic sacral building: the Notre Dame of Paris. After joining forces on several award-winning performances in Germany, Spain and France, director Carlos Wagner and stage designer Rifail Ajdarpasic come together for Franz Schmidt’s opera “Notre Dame”. Loosely based on Victor Hugo’s novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, they recreate the atmosphere of 15th-century Paris at the St. Gallen Festival. Schmidt’s late-romantic piece is considered a true rarity in the opera world as it has hardly been performed outside of Austria since its debut in 1914. Rifail Ajdarpasic’s stage set will likely not be a disappointment either: the impressive design will feature the replica of the Notre Dame’s iconic gothic rose window hanging 17 metres above the festival stage.
Classical Music Concerts in The Impressive Grounds
Other events featured in the St Galler Fest program include religious and secular musical works performed at different locations within the majestic abbey complex.
Echo – A Unique Dance Performance
For the first time in the Festival’s history the art of dance will make its debut on the St. Gallen stage. Swiss-Canadian choreographer and designer Kinsun Chan together with drummer Fritz Hauser have created a special performance called Echo featuring 8 percussionist alongside a dance troupe. Echo will allow the cathedral’s outstanding acoustics to take centre stage in the performance, blending sound, echo, and dance, making for a very spectacular experience.
Restricted Access due to Covid-19 Measures
In order to conform with the current regulations, access to the festival area is restricted to people who have either been vaccinated, recovered from Covid or tested negative by a PCR or non-self-administered rapid test. Please make sure to check the festival’s website to ensure you are able to comply before booking your tickets.
Tickets to the festival’s events can be booked on the St Galler Festspiele website here, or by email or by phone.
How to get there
By Public Transport
Trains run between Zurich’s Main Station and St. Gallen every 15 to 20 minutes and tickets cost around CHF 15.50 with a half-fare card. Tickets to the St. Gallen Festival are also valid as a public transport ticket on the day of the performance in the Ostwind tariff zones of 210, 211 and 212 (St. Gallen and its suburbs). The cathedral and the abbey are just a short walk from St. Gallen’s train station.
When arriving by car from Zurich take the Kreuzbleiche exit on the motorway and follow the signs to the centre. Coming from direction St.Margrethen, take the exit St.Gallen/St.Fiden and then follow the sings to the city centre. The Cityparking Brühltor and Burggraben car parks are located just a few minutes away from the festival grounds.
Other Things To See & Do In St Gallen
If you decide to stay overnight and perhaps make a “mini break” you might want to choose a hotel from this hotel listing from St Gallen Tourism.
For some sightseeing ideas for the city please check out our article here for suggestions on places to visit and things to do in Gallen.
St Galler Festspiele
Dates: 25th June to the 9th July 2021
Types of performance: Opera, Music, Dance
Tickets: St Galler Festspiele website
Please note the special Covid requirements prior to purchasing tickets.
Article written by Peter Toller
An IT Manager by profession, Peter loves the great outdoors and is an avid explorer of Switzerland and enjoys hiking and discovering new places in his free time.
Peter’s Instagram account is @ptoller
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