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American baritone Thomas Hampson says, 'We need not hate modernity to love tradition. It's vital that we maintain a dialogue between the past, present and future. As for this festival -- there's too much at stake to not present work of the utmost artistic integrity.'

Outgoing director Ruzicka has this to say: 'The festival should present and foster the entire richness and variety of western art, from the Renaissance to today. Opera and drama should turn from the current trend of deconstructivism and post-modern fun culture and aim to achieve an integral theatre experience affecting the spirit and senses.'

And from Simon Rattle [watch and listen -- chapter 19, 1:43:29-1:45:31] who took Peter Grimes to European opera-lovers: 'Salzburg Festival must rediscover its risk taking -- it can't simply live on it's name. It has to reject conservative forces holding it back. If not, it will become "just another" festival.'

Palmer's heady, skilfully conjured cocktail of concerts, rehearsals, history, lively anecdote, festival philosophy and crystal gazing is further reinforced with its identity parade of authorities from outside the festival. They include President of Austria, Heinz Fischer; Salzburg's Archbishop, Alois Kothgasser; Governor (Landeshauptfrau) of Austria State, Gabi Burgstaller; Etielle and Isabella von Karajan; Austrian composer, Gerhard Wimberger and Gernot Friedel, director of the posthumous, 89 minute (Arthaus Musik) DVD documentary Herbert Von Karajan -- a Portrait (1999).

Finally a word from pre-eminent American theatre director Peter Sellars: 'Mozart was concerned with the present -- his operas have potent messages for today. The festival must free our spirits to consider our cooperative existence; through its audacity and the highest artistic achievement, it should provoke discussion -- and in and around Salzburg Festival everyone is talking.'

For inveterate festival-goers and Mozart devotees -- mandatory viewing!

Copyright © 2 August 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


Tony Palmer's Film about The Salzburg Festival

DC10016 DVD 16:9 PAL Region 0 (worldwide) Stereo FIRST RELEASE 195' 2006 Isolde Films/Digital Classics plc

Peter Kraus-Kautzky, research; Felix Bauer, photography; Steve Gibbs, digital editing; Roger Watling, digital remastering; Lance England, sound mixer; Arthur Reynolds and David Sigall, associate producers; Renate Bienert and Sabine Bauer, producers; Tony Palmer, director and editor; Peter Lusk, executive producer



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