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Bregenz opera festival shaken and stirred by the 007 connection

20-Nov-2008 • Quantum Of Solace

The name's Pountney, David Pountney. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it? Still, the artistic director of the Bregenz opera festival in Austria (he was also part of the team that ran English National Opera in the 1980s) is as quietly smug as any double-O now that his festival has featured in the latest James Bond film, Quantum of Solace - reports The Guardian.

An extended sequence in the film takes place during a performance of Philip Himmelmann's 2007 production of Tosca, on Bregenz's spectacular floating stage on Lake Constance - with lots of exciting spying and chasing to the sound of the famous Te Deum. And the really brilliant part? Unlike commercial product placements, Bregenz got paid. "We charged what it cost and a little bit more," said Pountney. "This is fantastic publicity, immeasurable. What comes from this is recognition on an unbelievable scale. Some of the nicest sequences in the film are the chase through our building. Of course, it's not a very good film otherwise."

The production - at least, the Te Deum scene and most of act two - was specially mounted for a week of filming through the night from 6pm to 6am. An army of 1,500 local extras was marshalled (in reality, there are 7,000 seats, so people were moved around to give the impression of a sell-out show). For the benefit of those who study continuity and other errors in Bond films (though the Diary thinks you need no encouragement), here's one for the list: Bregenz lacks an airport, even though the baddies are said to be flying there. And nobody dresses up for the opera at Bregenz - it's come as you are. If you fancy it, they are doing Aida next year.

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