Star-studded Salzburg Festival begins | Music | DW | 18.07.2014
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Star-studded Salzburg Festival begins

Nearly 300 events ranging from operas and concerts to plays are planned in Mozart's city of birth. The classical music fest kicked off on Friday, featuring special programming related to Richard Strauss' 150th birthday.

A scene from the 2014 production of Hugo von Hoffmansthal's Jedermann

Hugo von Hoffmansthal's "Jedermann" opens the festival each year

Mozart's birth city is once again the center of the classical music universe as it provides a stage to a cross section of the scene's biggest stars. For 45 days, through the end of August, 270events will take place in 16 venues.

Josef Haydn's oratorio "Die Schöpfung" (The Creation) will sound out in the festival's central venue, performed by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir under Bernard Haitink.

One day later, a Salzburg Festival ritual follows with the performance of Hugo von Hofmannsthal's play "Jedermann" (Everyman), which opened the very first Salzburg Festival close to one century ago.

Hofmannsthal, along with director Max Reinhardt and composer Richard Strauss, founded the event in 1920. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Strauss' birth, meaning he's represented with a variety of works on the program, including his "Rosenkavalier" opera (stage direction: Harry Kupfer; musical direction: Franz Welser-Möst). The genius loci is represented in a production of Mozart's opera "Don Giovanni."

Also, the world premiere of the opera "Charlotte Salomon" will take place (librettist: Barbara Honigmann; composer and conductor: Marc-Andre Dalbavie). The piece takes its name from a painter born in Berlin, who was murdered while pregnant in Auschwitz at age 26 in 1943.

A festival site in Salzburg

The idyllic Austrian city serves as a backdrop for the annual classical music gala

Blending traditions

In a series titled "Ouverture spirituelle" (Spiritual Overtures), Christian and Islamic musical traditions meet.

The complete cycle of Anton Bruckner's symphonies will be played under conductors Gustavo Dudamel, Riccardo Muti, Riccardo Chailly, Daniel Barenboim, Bernard Haitink and Franz Welser-Möst.

Pianist Rudolf Buchbinder will play all 32 of Ludwig van Beethoven's piano sonatas over the course of seven evenings.

The orchestras on this year's program include the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle and the Vienna Philharmonic with conductor Daniele Gatti and pianist Lang Lang as soloist and, finally, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw Orchestra under Mariss Jansons.

For the third time, Alexander Pereira serves as director general of the wide-ranging music event. Toward the end of the season - on August 30 - another tradition continues with the glittering festival ball, held in Salzburg's Felsenreitschule (Summer Riding School).

rf / gsw / nm (salzburger festspiele)

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