A new pair of trousers for the conductor
An audience has a right to a professional show
We all know sayings like "obstacles are there to be surmounted" and "there are no problems, there are only solutions". Uttered at the right moment, they can definitely be effective. But for an event to unfold seemingly hassle-free to those in front of the stage, serious work and lots of correct decisions are required back stage. And even then things don't always go smoothly.
Customers approaching Kongresskultur Bregenz for the first time about hosting an event generally deal with Peter Spritzendorfer. Solid as a rock, verymuch the friendly type, but also tough – on himself – when the chips are down. He's familiar with all technical matters and consequently knows what will work and what is best not attempted. As to the philosophy of Kongresskultur Bregenz, he puts it like this: an event must suit us. This is not the place for anything that involves animals, erotica, or sects. Anything cultural is always good. There we have the chance to be creative.
So what was the story with the conductor's trousers? It was nothing out of the ordinary, in fact. The maestro had left his formal trousers behind in the hotel and we procured another pair for him. How? One of the musicians simply lent him his own pair for the first act. And what did he then wear in the orchestra? Well, he waited in the dressing room without any trousers, as he wasn't due on until the second part of the concert. By that time the conductor's trousers had arrived by taxi. And what was the conductor's name? That will remain a secret.
The hairiest occasions for Peter Spritzendorfer are the opening ceremonies of the Bregenz Festival. Lots of politics, lots of guests of honour, all the international press. To say nothing of the police with their sniffer dogs. For everything to work, you have to keep an eye on every last thing. That's where experience comes in. Any little detail can suddenly become enormously important. For instance the background against which a female minister is giving her speech. If her dress clashes with the backdrop, the television cameras will expose that mercilessly.
One time the following thing happened. Three-quarters of an hour before the first notes of the opening concert were to sound, one of the big side walls fell onto the stage. Musicians' chairs and music stands were demolished, though there are always enough spares. What was worse is that the sheet music had already been put out for the 80 musicians, and was now fluttering all over the place. At a moment like that it can be seen whether team spirit really exists in a house, whether people are willing to muck in together in order that the event can start on time. And then there are more harmless sounding situations that have to be sorted out – when Elton John wants his favourite wine served backstage immediately, for example, or when André Rieu wants geraniums of a very particular colour.
Word has got round by now that Kongresskultur Bregenz is different. You won't find national theatre attitudes here. Everybody is responsible for everything, if necessary. The in-house technicians naturally help technicians from a touring show load and unload their trucks. And when clients find out, for example, what dazzling possibilities the Bregenz Festival House lighting system offers, they sometimes spontaneously change the lighting plan. And usually that's no problem either, says Peter Spritzendorfer, and he should know.
Has been in the company since 1984. Director of event management. Also head of the audience service department, the cleaning department and the porter's lodge.