Der Barometermacher
Der Barometermacher
© Anna-Maria Löffelberger

The Barometer Maker on the Magic Island

Ferdinand Raimund

MAGICAL FARCE WITH MUSIC

Premiere 03/19/2021 / Salzburg State Theatre

Synopsis

A Raimund play on climate change! If only I could change the world as I see fit, if I had enough gold and weapons and could travel wherever I wanted to go – and if I could make the weather… It is a coincidence that lands the barometer maker Quecksilber on the magic island and it is yet another coincidence that he, of all people, receives three magic gifts from the fairy Rosalinde, who has to bestow these gifts on a mortal every 100 years: a wand that turns everything it touches into gold, a horn that summons an army when it is tooted and a sash that takes the person who wears it to any place in the world. Delighted with his sudden riches, Quecksilber travels to the empire ruled by Prince Tutu on the eastern part of the island in order to marry the prince’s daughter Zoraide.

“To build a barometer there is no need / We each make our own fine weather indeed: / The rich bathe in sunshine, the vain like a breeze / The poor sit in rainfall and hope not to freeze.” Raimund takes an ironic look at the way we shape our world; author and director Bernd Liepold-Mosser examines the classic Austrian play’s relevance for today’s world. Regarding the music of the magical farce, it is singer/songwriter Clara Luzia who creates a new sound for the Salzburg version. “Der Standard” writes about her music: “Even though everything has been said in pop music, it has rarely sounded this good.”

The actor Ferdinand Raimund had commissioned Karl Meisl to write a benefit play in 1823, but the spirits of the theatre seemed to conspire against the idea. In the end, Raimund (1790–1836) himself had to write the play – his first – to make sure he and his colleagues had enthralling material for their performance. Inspired by a fairy-tale called “The Long-Nosed Princess”, Raimund created a magical farce that would become a classic of Austrian theatre.

The Austrian author, stage, opera and film director, exhibition curator and artistic director Bernd Liepold-Mosser explores the art of barometer-making from a modern perspective – with a humorous view on climate change. Karla Fehlenberg first worked for the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin and has been freelancing as a stage and costume designer since 2011.