Osterfestspiele – 2016

Osterfestspiele 2016

Osterfestspiele – 2016

Continuity and Renewal

In their foreword to the programme brochure for the 2016 Salzburg Easter Festival, Artistic Director Christian Thielemann and Intendant Peter Ruzicka explain the guiding dramaturgical principles behind their programme.

Herbert von Karajan’s Artistic Standards

When Herbert von Karajan founded the Salzburg Easter Festival almost half a century ago, he set artistic standards that have proven lasting and have remained firm and steadfast while other events, styles and the international festival landscape have changed around them. It is our desire to take up this great tradition at the 2016 Easter Festival, and also to preserve it by demonstrating both continuity and renewal. In doing so we would like to offer our special thanks to Peter Alward and Bernd Gaubinger for their undimmed, constant commitment to the artistic and economic future of the Easter Festival.

Verdi’s Otello and the Poet Behind the Opera: Shakespeare

With Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello we are placing a major work of the European operatic repertoire at the heart of our programme in 2016. This work also brings the poet into focus on whose drama Verdi based his tragedy in music: William Shakespeare, who for centuries has animated and inspired the music world like no one else. Our concert programmes this year follow the traces of his influence – from Weber’s Oberon Overture via Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tchaikovsky’s fantasy overture Romeo and Juliet and Henze’s Eighth Symphony, down to a new work in which Manfred Trojahn engages with four of Shakespeare’s women characters. As a spiritual counterpoint to our opera, we shall also feature the great masses by Bach and Beethoven.

Close Relations Beween Opera and Concert

We are very keen to relate our opera and concerts as closely as possible to each other so that each may be enriched by the others, just as we also endeavour to afford the musical voices of today the space that they deserve. Each event should possess its own meaning, while the Festival as a whole should convey a unified, holistic experience. Music and theatre should become audible and visible through their multifarious relationships with each other.

We hope you will agree that we have developed an inspiring programme for the 2016 Easter Festival, and look forward to your response!

Christian Thielemann
Prof. Dr. Peter Ruzicka

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The “Conductor of the Century”

Herbert von Karajan was one of the most significant conductors of the 20th century. In 1967 he founded the Salzburg Easter Festival, which soon became an annual meeting place for opera lovers and music lovers from all over the world – especially for those who wanted to experience Karajan with “his orchestra”, the Berliner Philharmoniker, in an exclusive setting.

An Exceptional Artistic Personality

Much has been written of this “conductor of the century”. Born in Salzburg in 1908, Herbert von Karajan first conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1938, and from 1955 to 1989 he left his mark on it as its Chief Conductor. From 1948 to 1964 Karajan was also Concert Director of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna and from 1957 to 1964 he was Artistic Director of the Vienna State Opera. From 1948 onwards he conducted at the Salzburg Festival, of which he was the Artistic Director from 1956 to 1960. In 1960 he conducted Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier at the opening night of the Grosses Festspielhaus and as conductor, opera director and member of the Directorate he continued to play a significant role in the artistic orientation of the Salzburg Festival until 1988. In 1967 von Karajan founded his own festival, the Salzburg Easter Festival, which he directed until his death in 1989.

Karajan’s Inheritance

Herbert von Karajan’s endeavour to attain artistic perfection, combined with his passion for technology, led him to make an impressive number of sound and video recordings. These feature some 800 works by 200 composers. The Herbert von Karajan Website and the Eliette and Herbert von Karajan Institute offer further information about Karajan’s discographic heritage and other aspects of his life and work. The Institute’s archives encompass, for example, a database of all his conducting engagements, along with reviews and programme booklets and information on all the known recordings and photos.

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