Impossibility of holding the 2020 Salzburg Easter Festival because of the coronavirus pandemic

On account of the current legal situation, the developments of recent days and the earnest expectations for the near future, the General Meeting, the Advisory Board and the Management of the Salzburg Easter Festival GmbH were on 12 March 2020 compelled to announce, with great regret, that it will be impossible to hold the 2020 Easter Festival, not least because of the prospect of an official prohibition.

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Christian Thielemann, the Artistic Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival, photos OFS/Matthias Creutziger

For the management, employees and artists who have been engaged in long-term preparations for the 2020 Easter Festival, this cancellation is extraordinarily distressing. Naturally, we shall make our contribution to the official measures aimed at containing the pandemic, also to protect our audiences, our artists and the population. (Press release)

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Salzburg, 3 March 2020

It’s just a few weeks until the opening night of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Don Carlo on 4 April, which will mark the beginning of the 2020 Salzburg Easter Festival – the next highlight in Salzburg’s annual cultural calendar. Tickets are still available for almost all events, though no longer in all categories.
Don Carlo will begin in unusual fashion: with a new instrumental prologue by Manfred Trojahn that uses orchestral music and scenic depiction to introduce the action of the opera. The opera will be conducted by Christian Thielemann, the Artistic Director of the Easter Festival, and the director will be Vera Nemirova, who staged the jubilee production of Die Walküre in 2017. The top-class cast of soloists features Ildar Abdrazakov as Filippo II, Yusif Eyvazov as Don Carlo and Franco Vassallo as Rodrigo. After her triumph as Tosca in 2018, Anja Harteros will return in the role of Elisabetta, while Ekaterina Semenchuk will sing Eboli. They will be accompanied in the pit by the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Orchestra in Residence of the Easter Festival, which will also play in all the concerts.

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Daniel Harding, photo Julian Hargreaves

Daniel Harding, one of the most successful conductors of the younger generation, will direct Gustav Mahler’s Tenth Symphony. The Herbert von Karajan Prize will be presented to the extraordinary violinist Janine Jansen, who will play Beethoven’s Violin Concerto under the baton of Christian Thielemann. In this year of his 250th birthday, Beethoven’s works will have a special place on the programme of the Easter Festival. The same concert as his famous Fifth Symphony will also see the world première of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Der Zorn Gottes (‘The wrath of God’), which was commissioned by the Easter Festival and is dedicated to Beethoven.
The Choral concert offers a very special late-Romantic tour-de-force that is rarely
experienced live: the monumental Gurre-Lieder by Arnold Schoenberg. Christian Thielemann will conduct, the soloists are Camilla Nylund, Christa Mayer, Stephen Gould, Wolfgang AblingerSperrhacke, Kwangchul Youn and Franz Grundheber, and they will be joined by the Bavarian Radio Chorus and the Prague Philharmonic Choir.
Rudolf Buchbinder, one of the best-loved pianists of our age, will also be dedicating himself to Beethoven. In the Concert for Salzburg – which is already sold out – he will direct and play the First and Fifth Piano Concertos along with a rarity: the Sixth Piano Concerto, which has survived only in fragmentary form.
The Easter Festival’s successful Chamber Opera series will conclude with the world première of La piccola Cubana, a project by Hans Werner Henze and Hans Magnus Enzensberger from the 1970s that focuses on the life story of Rachel, a dazzling artiste in pre-Revolutionary Cuba.
The Chamber concerts will feature music by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Henze and Aribert Reimann, played by musicians from the Staatskapelle Dresden. (Press release)

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Salzburg, 29 March 2020

At the end of a 10-year project, a very special work on the art of conducting is published in time for Christian Thielemann’s 60th birthday. Images join words in a testimony to the truth and intimate intensity of conducting. They convey the meticulousness as well as the spontaneity and passion of rehearsal work.
Conducting is – literally – handicraft. How it can, in interaction with the orchestra, create a complex figure of sound has always been the stuff of myths. Christian Thielemann, Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden and Artistic Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival, is one of the most eminent figures of his profession. At three major sites of his art – Dresden, Bayreuth and Salzburg –, he has allowed the camera to demystify it: through ruthlessly close pictures of his gestures, by avoiding any posturing. In this way the viewer is allowed in to a captivating lesson in conducting. Christian Thielemann somehow embodies the music of Mozart, Verdi and Wagner, opening up an undreamt-of entry into the essence of conducting. (Press release)

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