Hannibal (Sölden, April 22). The Greatest Show You Can Enjoy in The Alps

"We wanted to perform it only once – but now the glacier spectacle has become the Alpine Everyman", Ernst Lorenzi (Initiator)

Next April 22nd, the historical spectacle HANNIBAL will be performed again on the giant open-air stage at Sölden's Rettenbach Glacier. The performance of "HANNIBAL – The Crossing of the Alps" is all about the historical facts of the Second Punic War and its leading character Hannibal, who is described in a biographical way with all modern theater settings on a really incomparable Nature Arena.

The artistic network directed by Lawine Torrèn in collaboration with Sölden and Red Bull, has put on stage Hannibal's historic crossing of the Alps. 500 actors will take part in the new production of Carthage's epic attack on Rome by crossing the Alps with his army of elephants. But instead of elephants, the spectators will see snow-grooming machines. Skiers, climbers, parachutists do act as modern-day warriors. Giant horsemen cross the endless glacier fields on their Skidoos while flying acrobats try to hinder the attack. The ultimate showdown features plenty of music, light effects, video films, and a pyrotechnic show.

How Hannibal Show was born

Ernst Lorenzi, a local from Sölden and founder of this gigantic open-air theater spectacle, has always been convinced that the Alpine scenery of Rettenbach Glacier is truly unique. He thought that both the terrain and geographic features resemble a giant Colosseum – an ideal setting not only for winter sports but also for events of a very different kind. Together with Red Bull owner Didi Mateschitz, a magnificent idea was born: performing a theater play in the giant natural glacier arena! First, they thought about the story of “Ötzi – The Iceman”, but after three years the project was turned down. Soon after, Lorenzi met producer Hubert Lepka who also knew Didi Mateschitz. They talked about this glacier spectacle idea to connect skiing and aviation with classic mythology in contemporary fashion, including also snow-grooming machines as they resemble bulls or elephants. So the wheels were set in motion and Hubert Lepka suggested “Hannibal” – and the glacier play as we know it now was born.

The art group Lawine Torrèn stages Hannibal’s life story in the form of a breath-taking glacier spectacle and as a modern parable about leadership, intrigues, world politics, and the striving for power.

In 2001, the first “Hannibal” performance took place. Since then the open-air spectacle has been set on stage on the Rettenbach Glacier every two years in the middle of April.

Hannibal (Sölden). Foto: Ernst Lorenzi

The Story

Hannibal's crossing of the Alps in 218 BC with 60,000 men and 37 elephants was one of the major events of the Second Punic War, and one of the most celebrated achievements of any military force in ancient warfare. He overcame steep mountainsides, fast-changing weather, and avalanches. Although Hannibal’s army was superior, they did not conquer the city of Rome.

In 202 BC the Roman Empire struck back and defeated Hannibal in the battle of Zama under the leadership of Scipio. Rome became the leading power in the Mediterranean while Carthage, which was located near today’s Tunis, lost all of its status.