Florian Karg: Alphirte und Opernsänger
A big stage

All summer long, Allgäu’s Florian Karg works and lives as a herdsman in the mountains near Hindelang. With no electricity or hot water. In the winter months, he returns to the stage as an opera singer

Shepherd and opera singer Florian Karg

Natural landscapes as far as the eye can see, or a sold-out concert hall? Florian Karg can choose! In the summer, he works as an alpine cowherd in the Allgäu. During the winter break, he earns applause as a tenor on the stage. A life of two worlds.

Florian Karg spends the alpine summer on the Plättele alpine pasture in the Obertal near Bad Hindelang – together with his family and 122 heifers. Up here, humans and animals live very closely. “I know every single animal personally. Each one has unmistakeable traits and is their own character”, explains Karg.

Humans and animals in harmony on the alpine pasture

The work is hard – but life is simple. The family sleeps in simple mountain huts, featuring only the essentials. There is no electricity, no hot water. They get up at daybreak. They go to bed when the sun goes down. In between, Karg and his four children walks several kilometres, driving the heifers from one pasture to the next – keeping vigilant at all times to ensure that no animal gets lost or injured.

The cattle grazes some 2,000 metres above sea level in high summer. The higher they get, the more species-rich nature becomes: lush green grass, colourful flowers, meadows rich with herbs.

"I cannot live without my mountains“

An eventful journey back to the Allgäu

The free spirit Karg cannot imagine a life without the alpine pastures. But he actually wanted to forge a quite different path through life: He trained to be a carpenter. But he didn’t find it fulfilling enough. After his military service, he wanted to become a zither player. The course was cancelled at short notice.

He made the rapid decision to study classical singing at music college instead. He was a talented opera singer and was well aware of his love of music. Despite this, he was driven back to his home. “I am prone to extreme home-sickness. I cannot live without my mountains, the animals and my family”, says Karg.

Letzte Vorbereitungen vor der Opernaufführung

The alpine landscape and the Viehscheid

Shepherds are very well respected in the Allgäu. They help to preserve the alpine landscape. If the heifers don’t graze the meadows, they become overgrown. The grass suffocates the flowers and the herbs can no longer grow. The healthy diet is like a natural pharmacy for the animals. They grow into strong and robust animals.

During the “Viehscheid“, also known as the “Almabtrieb” (or “transhumance” in English), the cowherds celebrate a year of safe grazing together with the farmers and villagers. The Alpe Plättele is open from the beginning of June to the beginning of October. It is located at 1340 meters in the Hintersteiner valley at the end of the Obertal.

 

Aufführung der Weihnachtsoper "Stille Nacht"

Part-time opera singer

At the same time, the Viehscheid is the signal for the start of his second passion. The end of the alpine summer means that Karg once again has time to sing. Rehearsals for the Christmas opera “Silent Night” – which is performed in Bad Hindelang and Memmingen – begin from October. The opera tells the story of how the world-famous carol was created.

Karg plays the lead role. As a tenor, he impresses audiences with his powerful voice and enjoys the thundering applause. Despite this, he doesn’t regret opting for the alpine pastures: “Sometimes, after a performance, I think that it would have been nice to have been a famous opera singer. But as soon as the final curtain falls, I am happy that I can go back to my alpine pastures and my heifers.”

Find out more about Florian and his two passions www.alpgenuss.de (only in German)

Die über 120 Jungrinder weiden bis auf 2.000 Meter Höhe

... from Florian

Hiking the Jubilee Trail
One of the most beautiful tours for me is the Jubiläumsweg. You walk on a beautiful high trail at around 2,000 meters with views of the Oberstdorf and Hindelang mountain valleys.

 

Get to know more of our Bavaria Insiders

40 Stunden Arbeit stecken in einer Zirbenholz-Maske

Mask carver Timm Buckley

The scary masks made by Timm Buckley are sure to give you goosebumps at festivals such as Perchtenläufen, Walpurgisnacht or Johannesfeuer

Read more
Die passende Technik zur Hautalerei hat Daniel erst entwickeln müssen

Skin painter Daniel Bensmann

Art as a matter of skin! A visit at Bad Hindelang's tattoo artist, hunter and artist. His speciality? Paintings on animal skins

Read more
Florian am Simssee: Einmal rundherum sind es 20 Kilometer

Sparkling designs by Florian Blickenberger

Designer Florian Blickenberger continues an old tradition. The inspiration for his work as a jewellery designer comes from his homeland

Read more
Thomas verfremdet die Themen durch leichte Abstraktion

Artist Thomas Neumann

Thomas Neumann’s pictures can be seen where Munich is at its most Bavarian: in the Wiesn festival tent and in the “Wirtshaus am Nockherberg”

Read more
Der Regensburger Künstler in seinem Atelier

Streetartist Andre Maier

Andre Maier is a muralist. He paints works of art several metres high on Regensburg’s walls, making the city a little more colourful

Read more
„Wir sind eine Nachbarschaftskneipe, in der man sich wohlfühlen soll“

Innkeeper Stefan Stretz

With his bar “Schanzenbräu”, Stefan Stretz has changed the face of the former Nuremberg district of Gostenhof, aka GoHo

Read more

News from Bavaria

Get first-hand tips on stories, travel reports and events!