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Founded in 1946, the festival presents a wide variety of musical and theatrical events in several venues:
- Seebühne (or floating stage), with 7,000 seats, is the location for large-scale opera or musical performances on a stage over water on the shores of Lake Constance.
- Opera or musical productions on the floating stage generally tend to come from the popular operatic repertoire, but often are extravagantly original and innovative productions/ stagings, frequently using the waters of the lake as an extension of the stage. Recent productions have included Aida by Giuseppe Verdi in 2009 & 2010; Tosca by Giacomo Puccini in 2007–2008; Il trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi in 2005–2006; West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein in 2003-2004; La bohème by Giacomo Puccini in 2001–2002, and Ein Maskenball (Un ballo in maschera) by Giuseppe Verdi in 1999–2000.
- Festspielhaus presents performances of rarely performed opera and concerts.
- Werkstattbühne presents performances of contemporary theatre and opera.
- Theater am Kornmarkt presents operetta and drama performances.
- shed8/Theater Kosmos venue for drama and crossculture performances.
Since December 2003, David Pountney has been the artistic director of the festival.
In 2010, the festival offered about 100 performances that drew an audience of close to 200,000.
Over April and May 2008, scenes for the 22nd James Bond film Quantum of Solace were filmed on the Seebühne during a performance of Tosca and in June 2008 the German broadcasting corporation ZDF hosted its 2008 European Football Championship live broadcast studio on the floating stage.
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