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Deutsche Grammophon artist Joseph Calleja came, smiled and won the fans' hearts when he modestly explained: 'I know that my voice still has a lot of growing to do. I would like for everyone to keep in mind that I am only twenty six, and hence in the early stages of my career.' Both Calleja and Netrebko showed, with their approachable behaviour toward their fans, that despite of their recent successes on the classical music scene, they have not become bigheaded.

Anna Netrebko at the Rudolf Budja Gallery. Photo © Anja Ullrich
Anna Netrebko at the Rudolf Budja Gallery. Photo © Anja Ullrich

Following her appearance at Katholnigg, Netrebko paid a visit, with her manager and her film producer in tow, to the Rudolf Budja Gallery that is rapidly establishing itself as a major meeting hub during the Salzburg Festival. Budja runs galleries across Austria and also in the United States, and he proudly led a genuinely fascinated Netrebko through the pictures in his gallery -- of which one special highlight is a snapshot taken by the photographer and Austrian Princess Sayn Wittgenstein Sayn who caught maestro Nicolas Harnoncourt on camera as we have never seen him before: unrecognizable with goggles while doing up an old farmhouse with his sons that he bought recently. The princess's son came to inspect the famous photograph and to have his picture taken with the well-known gallery owner. Budja also hosted the likes of Diana Damrau who sang some Wunderhorn songs from her new CD -- so if you were interested in meeting the stars of the Salzburg festival then you needed to head to Budja's. A visit to his gallery is made that much nicer by the fact that Budja has his own fully-stocked American bar, complete with professional bar keeper, for his guests.

Also, Salzburg can always be counted on to celebrate an individual composer when music history warrants it. This year the festival outdid itself in paying homage to Dvorák in the one hundredth anniversary year of his death, with three marvellous Dvorák-related concerts that were complemented by a Thomas Hampson interview session about Dvorák and his life.

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Copyright © 14 October 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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