Notably, the Burgtheater recognises fellow artists by extending honorary memberships to those who have demonstrated particular accomplishment. The Burgtheater’s ring of honour, which was designed, manufactured and personalised by Juwelier Wagner in 2010, was presented for the very first time on this memorable evening to the Doyen of the theatre, Kammerschauspieler (a title awarded to particularly outstanding actors) Michael Heltau.
The official guests, escorted by “Wagnerian Grail-keepers” bearing torches, walked the red carpet that adorned the entrance to Juwelier Wagner and were welcomed with glasses of champagne. Brandishing his typical enthusiasm and flair, Martin Traxl hosted the evening expertly. Juwelier Wagner’s proprietors, Hermann and Katharina Gmeiner-Wagner, along with Matthias Hartmann, the Director of the Burgtheater, welcomed everyone who attended.
The Junge Burg, a performance ensemble comprised of 12 members, captivated the audience with an energetic and imaginative performance.
Matthias Hartmann, the Director of the Burgtheater, was visibly touched by the exceptional performance of “Junge Burg”. He arrived on stage beaming with joy and proudly applauded “his young artists”. Afterwards, he gave a brief overview of the programme he initiated to promote young artists, including its goals and the successes the programme has already achieved.
The artistic highlight of the evening was the appearance of the Doyen of the Burgtheater,Kammerschauspieler Michael Heltau, who gave his rendition of “Die Briefe des Josef Kainz”(The Letters of Josef Kainz).
Dr. Georg Springer, Director General of Bundestheater Holding, presented some of the key points of unique sponsorship concepts and cited the Vienna State Opera’s ring of honour as an example.
Actor Michael Heltau, renowned within Austria’s borders and beyond, is the first honorary member to receive the Burgtheater’s ring of honour. The ring was presented to him by Director Matthias Hartmann and Dr. Georg Springer. Mr. Heltau was “extremely pleased and honoured to have been selected for such an esteemed award”.
Maria Happel, an ever-popular and revered member of the Burgtheater ensemble, closed the evening with a remarkable vocal performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”, which was quite well-suited to the evening’s theme.
The atmosphere was exceptional throughout the entire evening, with even greater lustre being added by celebrity guests from the world of art: Kammerschauspieler Bernd Birkhahn,Kammerschauspieler Rudolf Melichar, Gerhard Blasche, Sunnyi Melles, Regina Fritsch, Johannes Krisch, Nicholas Ofczarek and Tamara Metelko, Sven Eric Bechtolf and Pauline Knof, Joachim Meyerhoff and Roland Koch.
Vienna’s Burgtheater represents a unique blend of tradition, diversity and the highest levels of contemporary art.
It ranks among the most important art theatres in Europe, and plays a leading role both in the German-language and international theatre scenes. The theatre’s premier element, its renowned ensemble, is indeed the “soul” of the Burgtheater.
Although modern programmes and contemporary structures have been instituted to keep pace with the times, the Burgtheater holds fast to many of the traditions associated with luminous personalities including Paula Wessely, Attila Hörbiger, Oskar Werner and Raoul Aslan: actors and actresses who have contributed to the Burgtheater’s celebrated reputation – which it continues to enjoy today.