Schnee im Festspielhaus 2015

The piece 2015

Schnee im Festspielhaus 2015

Snow falling in front of the iron curtain

Since the beginning, the Salzburg Advent Singing in the Grosses Festspielhaus has always taken place in front of the mighty 34-ton Iron Curtain. This artistically designed Iron Curtain made of polished brass is not only an eye-catcher, it also serves in particular as fire protection between the audience and stage area. Behind this metal curtain, there is plenty of space and technical equipment to make it snow properly.

In front of the Iron Curtain, there is only a very cramped and limited opportunity for “Snowfall” in the narrow aisle of the lighting equipment high in the sky above the auditorium. Mother Hulda would really struggle to find enough space to shake her pillows! The congenial Salzburg stage technician Harald Schöllbauer has discovered a 10 cm narrow slot in this aisle for the first time, through which he can produce snow for the Advent Singing stage using a specially developed snow-making system. The system is filled manually by a stage technician and the distribution of the flame-retardant stage snow (soft trickling snow) is controlled by speed-controlled radial fans from the lighting control room.

The biggest challenge was to ensure that the light snowfall landed precisely in the narrow space provided on the stage between the orchestra and the backdrop, and this was planned in the best possible way. We were only able to find out whether it really worked perfectly at the preview, as the 2,000 people in the auditorium, together with the air conditioning system, cause a thermal air movement in this huge theater hall that should not be underestimated and for which there is absolutely no experience in this special case in front of the Iron Curtain. In the end, it worked wonderfully, the audience and performers were thrilled by the snow in the Grosses Festspielhaus.

Hans Köhl