CROSS Festival, Verbania

February 2020 -

 Winner of the CROSS Award & CROSS Residency

With the concept of "European Kitchen Encounters" and its first installment "VR-BANIA", the team around Carmen C. Kruse and Manuel Zwerger won the 5° edition of the CROSS Award and a CROSS Residency in Verbania. The project explores the relationship between its community, its traditions, and cuisine through interviews with members of the region at Lago Maggiore. Together with the interviews, the most mentioned dish builds the basis of a new music-theater piece. The project takes place in three stages: First, an interview phase and immersion in the region, then a three-week development phase with workshop visits, and lastly the performance itself, which focuses on a "snapshot in time" perspective of the artists encounter with the community.  Out of these encounters emerges a VR immersive experience.


"VR-BANIA" is the first installment of the new music theater series "European Kitchen Encounters" that creates local pieces and then presents them coupled with another European community's installment to encourage understanding and solidarity across Europe.   

CROSS Award  & CROSS Residency

CROSS Award is an international award, born in 2014 from an idea by Tommaso Sacchi and directed at early works in the field of performing arts (dance, theatre, music). The award aims to stimulate the investigation and artistic expression related to the union of different styles and genres, evaluating as rewarding factors the multi-language practices, the commingling of techniques and codes related to the various performing arts and a strong connection to a territory. The aim of the competition is to identify new productions that bring into dialogue the languages of the body and of the stage action with the musical composition. Three residencies are awarded by a jury of experts (critics, artists, curators and designers) and a territorial jury according to artistic and technical criteria. Three projects are also chosen for a CROSS residency and receive a budget to produce their work and a 16-day residency in Verbania, Italy. The 5th Edition had 262 nominations from 32 countries. More


Conceived by Carmen C. Kruse and Manuel Zwerger. 


Creative Team

Manuel Zwerger



Carmen C. Kruse

Stage Director

Ariane Stamatescu

Set & Video Designer

Leonora Scheib

Project Management

Manuel Zwerger

The South Tyrolean composer studied composition at the conservatory in Innsbruck and at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus. In his work he strives for interdisciplinary cooperation and exploration of sound, scene, movement and stage. His compositions have been performed by the Ensemble Modern, Windkraft – Kapelle für neue Musik, Ensemble chromoson, Ensemble airborne extended, Tiroler Kammerorchester Innstrumenti and the Streichorchester Sonarkraft in Argentina, Russia, Turkey and Europe. Zwerger received a composition scholarship from the Akademie Musiktheater heute, the Richard-Wagner-Verband Wien and the Hilde-Zach-Kompositionsförderstipendiums der Stadt Innsbruck.


Carmen C. Kruse 

The Austrian-German director focuses on creating places of encounters in new and repertoire work. Together with composer Manuel Zwerger, Kruse currently explores the relationship between new work and community. She made her directing debut with Cavalli's "L'Egisto" at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival 2017. Productions at Osterfestspiele Baden-Baden, Staatstheater Mainz, and with the Ensemble Modern Frankfurt followed. Kruse received a directing scholarship from the Akademie Musiktheater heute and was invited to the Directors Lab of the Lincoln Center Theater in 2018.


Ariane Stamatescu

Ariane Stamatescu is a freelance set, video, and costume designer, based in Berlin. She holds a diploma in stage and costume design from the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden and studied scenography at the École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Her work consists of set and video designs for theater and opera, video installations and photography, concert installations, music videos, and collectively devised work. Productions have been seen at festivals like Ostrale (’13 + ’16) and Dresdner Anatomy, as well as Tischlerei Deutsche Oper Berlin, Heimathafen Neukölln, and Parc André Malraux, Paris. Among others, she is currently developing an Augmented Reality application in the production lab of the HTW Berlin.



Leonora Scheib

Leonora Scheib is a cultural manager, dramaturg and music theatre maker based in Vienna. As an assistant and revival director she worked at renowned opera houses such as Theater an der Wien, Bregenzer Festspiele and Danish Royal Opera. She completed self-designed bachelor and master of arts degrees in music-theatre and opera sciences at the University of Vienna and MDW, concluding her studies with a thesis on programming and producing contemporary opera. From 2018 to 2021 she is a fellow of the Akademie Musiktheater heute, designed to foster and connect future talent in the music theatre world. She specializes in the creation of new music theatre and opera.





Impressions from phase 1

Feb 5-9, 2020 in #Verbania