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A Salzburg Festival preview, by TESS CREBBIN


Together with the annual Bayreuth Wagner Festival, the Salzburg Festival is among one of the world's most prestigious Europe-based music festivals. Every year, it attracts the finest conductors, directors, singers and actors to the baroque town in the Austrian Alps where Mozart was born. Richard Strauss was one of the founding fathers of this festival, the idea for which was born toward the end of World War I. Officially, the festival opened on 22 August 1920, with a performance of Jedermann by Hugo von Hoffmanstal (another of the founding fathers). A festival theatre was eventually built, between 1925 and 27. The festival has been going since then, and every summer it presents operas, plays and concerts of the finest.

Barbara Bonney
Barbara Bonney

This year's Salzburg Festival takes place from 24 July to 31 August 2004 and several musical delicacies are on offer. First, there is Purcell's King Arthur, in a new version by Jürgen Flimm, under the musical direction of Nikolaus Harnoncourt. The première will take place on the festival opening night of Saturday 24 July, with further performances right through 25 August. Barbara Bonney and Michael Schade are among the singers.

Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Photo © Harry Schiffer
Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Photo © Harry Schiffer

Ramón Vargas will sing Ferrando in Mozart's Così fan tutte, premièring on 30 July, and going on until 29 August. Vargas recently had to cancel his appearances at the Munich Opera Festival due to illness and so everyone is looking forward to seeing him on stage, hopefully completely well again.

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Copyright © 22 July 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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