© Osterfestspiele Salzburg/ Karl Forster

Parsifal in a forest of tubes

Every year, guests from all over the world flock to the Salzburg Easter Festival. The real star of the 2013 Wagner-special opera performance was the meter-high tubes made of PLEXIGLAS® and filled with smoke.

It was not only the new residence orchestra and artistic director that wowed the guests at the Easter Festival 2013 but the stage design of the “Parsifal” opera as well. The changing effects of the PLEXIGLAS® tubes adapted to the ongoing performance and impressively showed what can be created by combining light, smoke and the high optical quality of the brand acrylic glass by Evonik.

Light effects created by smoke

The Salzburg Easter Festival

Founded in 1967 by Herbert von Karajan, the Salzburg Easter Festival has become one of the most famous festivals in the world. Every year from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday, a high-quality program is put on for visitors with opera performances marking the beginning, end and simultaneously the highlight of the festival. Various orchestra, choir and chamber music concerts complement these performances.

In the first act, the audience saw a forest of PLEXIGLAS® tubes, made by the plastics specialists from k-tec GmbH, that spanned the entire 30 meters of the stage. At first, the tubes, which were up to nine meters tall, remain unlit and empty and serve as a subtle background for what is happening on stage. At a pivotal moment of the play, they are filled with smoke and their appearance changes, making them look like marble columns. Later on, green light inside the tubes makes the stage seem like a dreary and cold place. White light, on the other hand, turns the smoke into large luminaries later in the play, which bathes the stage in bright, almost sacral light.

Due to the high transparency and light transmission of the material, the tubes of PLEXIGLAS® are barely visible in this interplay of smoke and light. This puts the focus on the effects – and theater critics agreed: Set designer Alexander Polzin succeeded in creating an impressive stage design.

PLEXIGLAS® – the star of stage design

The brand acrylic glass from Evonik is a popular material for stage design. PLEXIGLAS® was not only used for the Easter Festival Salzburg but various stage designers at the Nibelungfestspiele (Nibelung festival) in Worms were also enthusiastic about its wide range of possible applications. Irina Schicketanz, for example, used the material for the play “Gold – Der Film der Nibelungen” (Gold – the movie of the Nibelungs).

Gigantic dimensions

The logistics of the stage design was also impressive. Based in Radstadt near Salzburg, k-tec GmbH manufactured a total of 27, over nine-meter long colorless tubes made out of PLEXIGLAS®. Depending on the diameter of the tubes – between 500 and 2000 millimeters – the plastics specialists seamlessly merged one, two or even three parts together using ACRIFIX®.

“Parsifal” at the Easter Festival

PLEXIGLAS® was also used in the third act of the performance: A sloping surface made out of the brand acrylic glass from Evonik, similar to an ice floe, severed both as a graveyard and altar during the performance.

© Osterfestspiele Salzburg/ Karl Forster