Ambrogio Maestri

Ambrogio Maestri sings the role of Alfio in Cavalleria rusticana


The top-ranking cast for next year’s opera production has been completed: The renowned baritone Ambrogio Maestri has been engaged to sing the role of Alfio in Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana.

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Jonas Kaufmann (c) Mathias Bothor

Jonas Kaufmann receives ECHO Klassik award

Jonas Kaufmann, who will play a major artistic role at the 2015 Salzburg Easter Festival, will receive the renowned ECHO Klassik award for his CD The Verdi Album. After his highly acclaimed appearance as Don José in Carmen in 2012, the sought-after tenor will return next year to our festival to perform major roles in the operas Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci as well as to sing in Verdi’'s Requiem.


Bavarian Radio Chorus receives ECHO Klassik award

The Bavarian Radio Chorus will receive the 2014 ECHO Klassik award in the category "Ensemble/Orchestra of the year" for their recording of choral works by Alfred Schnittke and Arvo Pärt. Since the beginning of the new era with Christian Thielemann and the Staatskapelle Dresden, the chorus has performed annually at the Salzburg Easter Festival’s choral concert. Peter Dijkstra, the artistic director of the chorus, conducted the award-winning recording and will also be the chorus master for next Easter’s choral concert which features Verdi’s Requiem.
The award presentation takes place on 26 October at Munich’s Philharmonie im Gasteig.




2015 Salzburg Easter Festival's programme finalised

The 2015 Salzburg Easter Festival’s programme has been finalised. The children’s concert Kapelle für Kids will be continued. Next year, the brass players of the orchestra, together with Puppet Alma, will introduce the audience to the world of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s opera Pagliacci.
Furthermore the Konzert für Salzburg (Concert for Salzburg) programme has been expanded: Conductor Nikolaj Znaider will open with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio italien op. 45.
Find the detailed concert programmes here >>>


Music as inspiration


In 2015, the Salzburg Easter Festival is staging the two famous verismo operas Cavalleria rusticana by Pietro Mascagni and Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo for the first time. Philipp Stölzl will both direct and design the sets. Originally from Munich, Stölzl is one of the most sought-after directors of his generation, making a name for himself with opera productions, feature films and music videos. In 2013 his screen adaptation of Noah Gordon’s The Physician was released, starring Ben Kingsley. In this interview, Philipp Stölzl describes how he wants to tell the stories of Cavalleria and Pagliacci as if in a film.


Philipp Stölzl at the Bauprobe for Cav & Pag; on the left: Michael Veits, design director of the Salzburg Festival. Photo: Andreas Hirsch

In 2015 you’re going to be a guest director at Salzburg again, for the first time since your Benvenuto Cellini at the 2007 Summer Festival. This time, you’ll be at the Easter Festival, directing your first-ever Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci. What particularly interests you about these two works?


These works are very straightforward but possess immense emotional power. They are about one thing, namely how love can be directly bound up with suffering, and how crazily far it can drive us: to burning jealousy, to humiliation, to lies, to cold contempt and to murder. That is an eternal topic in the theatre. It affects us today just as it did over a hundred years ago when these two one-acters were written.


Both operas are situated “close to the people”, one could say. In both, jealousy transforms a great love into hatred - a hatred that leads to murder. Where do you see the connections between the two works?


These two operas revolve around the exact same topic, even though it is different in each case in terms of narrative and music. At first glance it seems strange that they should always be performed together. But the deeper you delve into it, the more you find that experiencing the same story twice, one after the other, possesses a great suggestive power. It’s a bit like being in a dream, or in a loop that you can’t get out of.


You’ll be showing Cavalleria rusticana in black and white, while Pagliacci will be in colour. Why this difference?


Cavalleria reminds me of Kafka. The manner in which the machinery of disaster is set in motion is both very clear and at the same time inevitable. This machinery then keeps on turning until the hero is murdered in an honour killing. I feel that this Kafkaesque drama can be really telling in a dark, colourless but precise aesthetic, like in a woodcut. Pagliacci has the same look - but in colour. It is a visual variation, just as Pagliacci itself is more colourful in its narrative and its music; in comparison to the “cinematic” Cavalleria it’s also more operatic. And then, of course, there’s the fact that Pagliacci plays among showmen, where colour strongly suggests itself.


What are the time and place you’ve chosen for these two operas? The impressions we got at the set rehearsal pointed to a certain degree of abstraction with regard to the period of their composition and their original settings.  


The “woodcut aesthetic” that we’ve devised naturally functions in a more graphic manner, not so much in a classical, realistic way. But within this aesthetic we quote the world of workers in Italy in the 1920s, and naturally neo-realism too. I think that the stories absolutely need the texture of a specific social setting in order to come alive. The audience has to be able to ask itself: Where are we? Who are these people? That’s what the concept of verismo is all about. I really wanted to rather get away from that fusty folklore of the old “village square in Sicily” stage setting that you always see for these pieces.



Continuation of the interview >>>

Philipp Stölzl at the Bauprobe for Cav & Pag. Photo: Andreas Hirsch

Our next opera production: a work in progress

Find exctitng photos from the Bauprobe (technical rehearsal) of Cavalleria rusticana/ Pagliacci here >>>



The 2015 programme

Please find an introduction to the 2015 programme here >>>


and both our next season's programme brochure and a text only file with the entire programme below:


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