Cecilia Bartoli, the Artistic Director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival, presents a homage to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s oeuvre under the motto “Tutto Mozart”. She describes this year’s programme as follows:
Cecilia Bartoli, photo Fabrice Demessence
“To think about the amount of marvellous music Mozart created in an unbelievably short space of time reduces us to awe and humble silence. He created a universe, a world of its own which gives us endless pleasure. It may surprise you that since taking on the position of artistic director at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival in 2012, I have never focussed on Mozart here. So I thought ‘wenn schon, denn schon’ (‘If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well’), and decided to dedicate four exceptional days to my favourite composer, with humour and Mozartkugeln included. Because more than anything, I would like to transmit the joy of singing, performing and listening to Mozart’s music.
Last year, I turned back to La clemenza di Tito and realized that I had forgotten how magnificent this stunningly beautiful and unjustly neglected opera is. This insight got me so excited that I decided to perform in a staged production of La clemenza di Tito for the first time.
Daniil Trifonov,photo SF / Marco Borrelli
So here we are: in 2024, Robert Carsen creates a new production of La clemenza di Tito at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival, where you can witness my stage debut as Sesto, together with some wonderful Mozart singers and Les Musiciens du Prince — Monaco on period instruments, all led by conductor Gianluca Capuano.
Around this programmatic nucleus we have created other performances dedicated to the sheer joy of Mozart’s music. For me as an Italian, and a person who ardently loves theatre, the symbiotic Mozart-Da Ponte relationship — where the words melt into a perfect unity with the music — is truly one of the most fantastic artistic collaborations in opera history. A frolicsome Da Ponte gala staged by Davide Livermore contains substantial scenes and arias from Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni.
A more formal concert contains sacred music, in which Mozart demonstrates a deep earnestness that we rarely find in his comedies. The fantastic choral parts will be sung by the vocal ensemble Il Canto di Orfeo.
András Schiff, photo SF / Marco Borrelli
A completely different world of Mozart is contained in his piano music. I am delighted that my great friend András Schiff will take us through this important part of Mozart’s universe. Daniil Trifonov, on the other hand, will play the majestic C major Piano Concerto K. 503 for us, and I am looking forward to finally welcoming this wonderful pianist to the Whitsun Festival as a soloist. He will be accompanied by a highly respected chamber orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, with their chief conductor Paavo Järvi. Two of Mozart’s major symphonies will complete the programme for their first visit to the Whitsun Festival.
Cecilia Bartoli in the role of Rosina
To outline the world of Mozart in four days is ambitious but impossible really. However, it is a start, and a homage. Because in spite of his permanent presence in Salzburg, you never get tired of Mozart’s music. You can return to it endlessly, as long as it is always treated with love and care.”
The Programme in Detail
LA CLEMENZA DI TITO
Composed shortly after Die Zauberflöte in 1791, but premiered a few weeks earlier, La clemenza di Tito remains fascinating for the way in which Mozart breaks free from the constraints of opera seria to write music of rare poignancy.
Cecilia Bartoli sang the role of Orfeo in Christoph Willibald Gluck’s rarely-performed Parma version of Orfeo ed Euridice
TRIFONOV & JÄRVI – Symphony in D major K. 297 – “Paris” · Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in C major K. 503 · Symphony in C major K. 551 – “Jupiter”
After winning prizes at the Chopin, Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky Competitions in 2010 and 2011, Daniil Trifonov has developed a spectacular career on the world’s leading stages. Alongside his highly personal interpretations of the great Russian composers and the works of Chopin, he has also made his mark as a sensitive Mozartian. We are therefore very excited that Trifonov — now the same age as the mature Mozart — will be representing the genre of the instrumental concert on our programme. The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Paavo Järvi, who round out the programme with two symphonies, are making their first appearance at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival.
UNE FOLLE JOURNÉE – A staged opera pasticcio featuring ensembles and arias from Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni
Mozart’s legendary humour is usually imbued with a dash of philosophy and a pinch of melancholy. In a Figaro-esque evening specially created for Salzburg, we will embrace this Mozartian spirit by placing the inspired collaboration between the Salzburg-born composer and Lorenzo Da Ponte centre stage. Voice types as we know them today had not yet emerged when Le nozze di Figaro was written, and the fact that roles such as the Countess, Susanna, Cherubino, Marcellina and Barbarina were all sung by sopranos will be playfully explored in this concert. Unfazed by vocal boundaries, our first-class Mozart ensemble will switch from one role to another with ease and relish, sometimes even within a single scene.
MASS IN C MINOR K. 427
A historically informed performance on Whitsunday will feature the Mass in C minor, which Mozart composed in Vienna but intended to be premiered in the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter in Salzburg. This concert, dedicated to Mozart’s sacred works, is given by the Baroque orchestra Les Musiciens du Prince — Monaco, the vocal ensemble Il Canto di Orfeo, and their chief conductor Gianluca Capuano.
RECITAL ANDRÁS SCHIFF – Sonatas and Works for Solo Piano
For András Schiff, Mozart was “perhaps the greatest genius of all time, a heaven-sent gift to humankind”. Few musicians living today bring such authority to this body of work. Committing to a detailed programme a year before the concert, however, is a practice that András Schiff finds too restrictive: “You wouldn’t decide that far ahead what to have for dinner either…!” Lately he has opted for a more spontaneous approach, and will announce his programme from the stage.
Plácido Domingo, photo Fiorenzo Niccoli
50 YEARS OF DOMINGO IN SALZBURG – Opera Gala with Arias and Duets by Rossini, Bizet, Massenet, Verdi and Selected Zarzuelas
Mozart may not have played a central role in Plácido Domingo’s repertory, but despite all their differences, the two are connected by their tireless creativity and boundless vitality. And of course, by Salzburg: an important place for both musicians, and the site of many great artistic achievements. Plácido Domingo has been performing in Salzburg for 50 years and takes to the stage this time as part of a gala featuring numerous Operalia prize winners, a vocal competition founded by Domingo some thirty years ago to promote young operatic talent. The Munich Radio Orchestra performs under the baton of Marco Armiliato. (After Press materials).
Cecilia Bartoli sang the role of the Queen of Egypt in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto