Amid the summer scenery of Zurich, an annual festival presents a unique combination of opera, concerts, drama, dance and fringe theatre. The programme is devised by the city's four most renowned cultural institutions.
The festival was founded in 1996 as a successor to the June Festival Weeks (1921 – 1993). It was started primarily by Alexander Pereira, Director of the Zurich Opera House at the time. In 2013 the festival was given a new profile, with greater cooperation between the four major cultural institutions – the Opera House, the Schauspielhaus theatre, the Kunsthaus gallery and the Tonhalle Orchestra. The Festspiele Zürich were organised under a single banner for the first time in 2013.
Although the four cultural institutions devise the programme, the Museum Rietberg, the Gessnerallee Theatre and the Neumarkt and Rigiblick theatres are also regularly involved. Over four weeks in June and July, these venues present theatre, opera, concerts, dance, exhibitions, readings and discussions.