Salzburg Festival 2021 – Opera


“During the weeks in which we have been preparing the Salzburg Festival’s 2021 programme, the coronavirus pandemic has again tightened its grip on the world. We are therefore all the more grateful to be able to look back on last summer. It felt like the most wonderful gift for our centenary that we could resoundingly demonstrate the power of the arts exactly 100 years after our founding, and thus reinvigorate the Festival’s founding idea in a truly remarkable way.

Bettina Hering, Lukas Crepaz, Helga Rabl-Stadler, Markus Hinterhäuser and Florian Wiegand, photo SF/Anne Zeuner

Who could have imagined just a few months ago that performances of the founding play of the Salzburg Festival, Jedermann, of Elektra, Così fan tutte or Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony would be possible in these times of the coronavirus crisis? Or that it would again be possible to bring people together in celebration of the arts? From Salzburg, we sent a powerful signal to the world. This beacon was lit thanks to our wonderful artists, our staff, and you – our valued audience. Thank you for your enthusiasm, and also for maintaining the discipline that is so necessary throughout this pandemic.

We aim to send another similarly powerful signal in 2021. Our plan next summer is to present important work that could not be realized in 2020. These opera, theatre and concert performances will extend the Festival’s centennial celebrations until the autumn of 2021. Under the heading of ‘Pax – Peace’, our Ouverture spirituelle will tie in to the founding idea of the Festival as a project devoted to peace through the spirit of the arts. Two completely opposed ways of perceiving the world are a central preoccupation of our opera and theatre productions: radical individualism versus the humanistic idea of a society based on solidarity, as invoked by Luigi Nono in his work Intolleranza 1960. Nobody could have guessed the significance this conflict would have today and how painfully the loss of togetherness would be felt.

Directorate of Salzburg Festival

According to the cultural theorist Aleida Assmann, ‘cults and the act of performing have always had a community-building aspect to them’. The Salzburg Festival ‘boosts a cult for the arts, revitalizes European cultural memory, sharpens reflection on essential questions of human existence, and places the aesthetic experience for the senses at the forefront.’”

Kind regards, Helga Rabl-Stadler, Markus Hinterhäuser, Lukas Crepaz: Directorate of the Salzburg Festival

Teodor Currentzis

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni

The opera Don Giovanni, then more commonly known in its German version as Don Juan, was the first opera to be performed at the Salzburg Festival, conducted by Richard Strauss in 1922. Romeo Castellucci and Teodor Currentzis are responsible for the new production of Don Giovanni in 2021. Vitality and destruction: in this essential ambivalence director Romeo Castellucci sees the fascination of the protagonist of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. To Castellucci, an approach to this figure means confronting its ambiguity and complexity as well as its inner imbalance. Lorenzo da Ponte’s libretto reduces Don Giovanni to the roguish seducer. Mozart, on the other hand, opens up abysses, dimensions of tragedy and anarchy. Romeo Castellucci’s Salome was voted ‘Performance of the Year’ by the journal Opernwelt in 2019, honouring the best director and stage sets. Teodor Currentzis conducts his MusicaAeterna Orchestra and MusicaAeterna Choir.

Davide Luciano, photo Opera Online

The young Italian baritone Davide Luciano makes his Salzburg Festival debut as Don Giovanni. At his side, Nadezhda Pavlova sings Donna Anna and Federica Lombardi, a graduate of the 2015 Young Singers Project, appears as Donna Elvira. Michael Spyres takes on the role of Don Ottavio. David Steffens is Masetto; Mika Kares sings the Commendatore. Vita Priante embodies Leporello, while Anna Lucia Richter sings Zerlina. The premiere of the new production takes place on 26 July 2021.

Elektra 2020, photo Bernd Uhlig

Richard Strauss Elektra

Celebrated by audience and critics alike during the summer of 2020, the production of Richard Strauss’ Elektra is revived in 2021 with seven performances. The role of Elektra will be performed again by the Lithuanian singer Aušrine Stundyte, who won accolades for her portrayal in 2020. Vida Miknevičiūtė sings Chrysothemis for four performances, making her role debut. Asmik Grigorian returns once more as Chrysothemis for three performances (18, 23, 28 August). Tanja Ariane Baumgartner revives her Clytemnestra. Christopher Maltman is a new addition to the ensemble in 2021, singing the role of Orestes. Franz Welser-Möst conducts the Vienna Philharmonic and the Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus. The premiere takes place at the Felsenreitschule on 27 July.

Cecilia Bartoli, photo Decca/Uli Weber

George Frideric Handel Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno

George Frideric Handel composed his first oratorio, Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, during a stay in Rome which was part of a longer voyage through Italy in 1707. The libretto was written by the influential cardinal Benedetto Pamphilj. In this oratorio, Handel set the feelings, thoughts and action of four allegorical persons to music: Beauty (Bellezza), sung by Mélissa Petit, Pleasure (Piacere), sung by Cecilia Bartoli, Disappointment (Disinganno), sung by Lawrence Zazzo, and Time (Tempo), sung by Charles Workman. Despite the religious and allegorical concept, Pamphilj tells the story of Bellezza with psychological realism. Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno is a moving, deeply human Jedermann drama. The production premieres on 21 May at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival and returns in the main summer programme of the Salzburg Festival, like every Whitsun opera production. The revival of George Frideric Handel’s oratorio is directed by Robert Carsen. Gianluca Capuano conducts, returning to the Festival stage after his 2019 Whitsun Festival triumph in the opera Alcina. The orchestra Les Musiciens du Prince-Monaco, founded by Cecilia Bartoli, performs. The premiere is scheduled for 4 August at the Haus für Mozart.

Così fan tutte 2020: Marianne Crebassa (Dorabella), Lea Desandre (Despina), Johannes Martin Kränzle (Don Alfonso), Andrè Schuen (Guglielmo), Bogdan Volkov (Ferrando), Elsa Dreisig (Fiordiligi), photo SF/Monika Rittershaus

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Così fan tutte

Born amidst the 2020 pandemic, the idea of Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser and director Christof Loy to present Così fan tutte without major stage machinery turned out to be an enormous success with audience and critics alike. Director Christof Loy employs minimalist aesthetics, which has nothing with the coronavirus, but simply corresponds to his view of the work, as he points out. Conductor Joana Mallwitz and he developed an abridged version of the opera, focusing entirely on the protagonists. Joana Mallwitz conducts the Vienna Philharmonic and the Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus. The triumphant ensemble of 2020 includes Elsa Dreisig as Fiordiligi and Marianne Crebassa as her sister Dorabella. Bogdan Volkov sings Ferrando, Andrè Schuen appears as Guglielmo. Lea Desandre and Johannes Martin Kränzle sing Despina and Don Alfonso. The revival premieres on 6 August at the Großes Festspielhaus.

Ingo Metzmacher, photo Harald Hoffmann

Luigi Nono Intolleranza 1960

Intolleranza 1960, Luigi Nono‘s first musical theatre work, was commissioned by the International Festival of Contemporary Music at the Venice Biennial and had its world premiere in 1961 at the Teatro La Fenice. The Italian composer wanted to establish a new form of musical theatre. He used new composition techniques, electronic music, pre-recorded tapes and called Intolleranza not an ‘opera’, but an ‘azione scenica’, or staged action. Intolleranza 1960 is a passionate protest against racism, intolerance, oppression and the violation of human dignity, and the environmental catastrophe that occurs at the end of the work links it to our discourse today. The conductor Ingo Metzmacher, for whom Nono’s ‘work and his legacy […] are something akin to a guiding star,’ is among the pre-eminent experts on the composer’s work. His performances of Prometeo and the opera Al gran sole – carico d’amore are unforgotten. At the Felsenreitschule, Metzmacher conducts the Vienna Philharmonic and the Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus. Jan Lauwers, who most recently directed Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at the Salzburg Festival in 2018, will be responsible for directing as well as the stage sets, choreography and video. He combines solo dancers of his Needcompany with dancers of the BODHI PROJECT and SEAD – Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance. The main roles will be sung by Sean Panikkar, Sarah Maria Sun and Anna Maria Chiuri. With this new production, the Salzburg Festival continues its exploration of Luigi Nono’s oeuvre, which is unique throughout the world. The premiere takes place at the Felsenreitschule on 15 August.

Anna Netrebko, photo Vladimir Shirokov

Giacomo Puccini Tosca

Condensed into two hours of music, the fictitious story of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca is set in three historical places in Rome: at the church Sant’Andrea della Valle, the Palazzo Farnese and Castel Sant’Angelo. Puccini made all three main figures of the piece – Floria Tosca, Mario Cavaradossi and their unscrupulous adversary Scarpia – iconic characters of the art of interpretation. ‘Tosca is about individuals in extreme situations. There’s perhaps no other opera that so precisely and uncompromisingly takes the most intensive human emotions on a continuous rollercoaster ride, with the music drawing the listener in with an irresistible force,’ says Michael Sturminger, who directs the opera. ‘In being brought into a present-day setting, the archaic power of the work is not nullified by modern banality, but seen with contemporary individuals in a new light cast on a familiar classical masterpiece.’ Marco Armiliato conducts the Vienna Philharmonic, the Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus and the Salzburger Festspiele und Theater Kinderchor. Anna Netrebko will sing the role of Floria Tosca, Yusif Eyvazov appears as Mario Cavaradossi, and Ludovic Tézier takes on the role of Barone Scarpia. They are joined by Krzysztof Bączyk (Cesare Angelotti), Matteo Peirone (Sagrestano), Mikeldi Atxalandabaso (Spoletta) and Rupert Grössinger (Sciarrone). This revival from the Salzburg Easter Festival has its premiere on 21 August at the Großes Festspielhaus.

Morton Feldman in Amsterdam, 1976, photo Wikipedia

Morton Feldman Neither (in concert)

Neither, Morton Feldman’s opera in one act for soprano and orchestra of 1977, sets a text by Samuel Beckett and will be performed once in concert alongside Morton Feldman’s String Quartet and Orchestra of 1973 at the Kollegienkirche on 13 August. Ilan Volkov, who made his most recent appearance at the Salzburg Festival in 2018, conducts the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna and the Minguet Quartet. Sarah Aristidou sings the soprano role, therein making her Salzburg Festival debut.

Alain Altinoglu

Hector Berlioz La Damnation de Faust (in concert)

La Damnation de Faust of 1846 is among the greatest and most brilliant works by Hector Berlioz. The libretto was written by the composer himself and Almire Gandonnière, based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust. Here Faust appears not as Goethe’s restless seeker after knowledge but as a romantic, melancholic figure in the grip of loneliness and ennui, with whose sufferings and yearning Berlioz doubtless identified. The ‘légende dramatique’ describes Faust’s path from feelings of alienation and frustration, his failure in respect of knowledge, social participation, God, nature and love, to his end in hell – a path on which he is driven by Méphistophélès, who confronts Faust as if from the depths of the latter’s own subconscious. Berlioz initially described La Damnation de Faust as an ‘opéra de concert’ or ‘concert opera’, never intending it to be staged. Therefore the piece will be performed in concert at the Salzburg Festival, on stage at the Großes Festspielhaus. Alain Altinoglu conducts the Vienna Philharmonic, the Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus and the Salzburger Festspiele und Theater Kinderchor. Elīna Garanča stars as Marguerite, Charles Castronovo embodies Faust and Ildar Abdrazakov sings Méphistophélès. Peter Kellner takes on the role of Brander. The performance takes place on 22 August. (After Press materials)

Marijan Zlobec


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