The most successful figure skating production in the world
In 1995 Art on Ice was merely a pipe dream. Today, the most successful figure skating gala production in the world plays to 80,000 spectators a year.
Back then the local policeman in Küsnacht capitulated in the end and even let people park in nearby gardens. “World class figure skating”, with ticket prices ranging from 15 to 34 francs, moved and enthralled those watching. To celebrate afterwards Reto Caviezel and Oliver Höner, one a businessman in the media sector and the other a figure skater, indulged in a few drinks at the Splendid bar in Zurich. They talked, fantasized and at some late hour had the brilliant idea that a figure skating gala needed the “right” music, not just a band playing in the background, but real concert music – with a stage, singers, an orchestra and dancers. Art on Ice was born.
The premiere, featuring opera star Simon Estes and Denise Biellmann, took place in January 1996 at the Hallenstadion in Zurich. The event budget totaled 350,000 francs and 6,500 tickets were sold.
Art on Ice is a success story. Why? One reason for its success is that the basic concept can be varied. No matter whether a soul diva or a tenor is singing, the choreography of Art on Ice remains a colorful interplay of top athletes and music greats. Year after year Art on Ice is able to surprise fans, thanks also in part to innovations in stagecraft and lighting engineering.
All of this makes Art on Ice much more than just a figure skating gala. Art on Ice is a whole entertainment package. It brings amazement, laughter and the occasional tear to the Lambiel fan, to the construction worker who used to dance to Donna Summer hits at the disco, to the music student who is celebrating a birthday to the sounds of David Garrett, or to the grandmother who so likes Ronan Keating and to her granddaughter who counts Sarah Meier as one of her idols.
In the meantime, Art on Ice is now about to celebrate its 20th anniversary. It has gone on to become the most beautiful and celebrated figure skating event in the world. Art on Ice has become a must-have in a figure skater’s list of achievements, including for Olympic medalists and world champions. For singers and musicians Art on Ice has also become a good place to be seen and heard. Simon Estes started it all and some of those who followed include Montserrat Caballé, Chris de Burgh, Zucchero, Roger Hodgson, Seal, Robin Gibb, Ronan Keating, the Sugababes, Anastacia, Donna Summer, Mick Hucknall, Leona Lewis, Hurts, Nelly Furtado, Chaka Khan and James Morrison.