From Otello to Shakespeare’s Women

Carlos Álvarez will replace Dmitri Hvorostovsky in the role of Iago
Carlos Álvarez will replace Dmitri Hvorostovsky in the role of Iago

Otello is the centre stage of the 2016 Salzburg Easter Festival - and the poet, on whose drama Verdi based his tragedy in music: William Shakespeare. The concert programmes 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 by Manfred Trojahn entitled Four Women from Shakespeare. As a spiritual counterpoint, the programme features the great masses by Bach and Beethoven.

Christian Thielemann will conduct the new production of Verdi’s Otello. The renowned opera director Vincent Boussard will be responsible for the staging and Vincent Lemaire for the sets. They have already worked together elsewhere, including for productions of Rise and fall of the city of Mahagonny at the Berlin State Opera and Madama Butterfly and La fanciulla del West at the Hamburg State Opera. The costumes will be designed by Christian Lacroix, one of the world’s best known fashion designers, who in recent years has also made a name for himself as a costume designer. As Johan Botha had to cancel his performance due to illness, José Cura, one of the world’s most in-demand tenors, will perform the title role. Dorothea Röschmann, a soprano who enjoys international success, will sing Desdemona. Unfortunately Dmitri Hvorostovsky had to withdraw, too, due to illness, therefore we are going to welcome Carlos Álvarez in the role of Iago. Benjamin Bernheim (Cassio), Christa Mayer (Emilia), Georg Zeppenfeld (Lodovico), Bror Magnus Tødenes (Rodrigo), Csaba Szegedi (Montano) and Gordon Bintner (Araldo) round out the line-up of top-class soloists.

Vladimir Jurowski is the Guest Conductor

Vladimir Jurowski, the Chief Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, ist the guest conductor at the 2016 Salzburg Easter Festival. He will be partnered in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1 by Rudolf Buchbinder, one of today’s leading pianists. Anne-Sophie Mutter, one of the most successful violinists of our time, will perform Beethoven’s “Triple Concerto” together with the cellist Lynn Harrell and the pianist Yefim Bronfman under the baton of Christian Thielemann.The choral concert will also be conducted by Christian Thielemann. The Bavarian Radio Chorus will sing Beethoven’s Missa solemnis; the soloists will be Krassimira Stoyanova, Christa Mayer, Daniel Behle and Georg Zeppenfeld.

Sacred Music in the Concert for Salzburg

Religious music also comes to the fore in the Concert for Salzburg in 2016. The original version of Bach’s Mass in b minor will be heard alongside Carl Maria von Weber’s Missa sancta - two works that were composed for the Dresden court ensemble, the then Hofkapelle, which exists to this day under the name Staatskapelle Dresden. The soloists Anna Lucia Richter, Christa Mayer, Peter Galliard and Georg Zeppenfeld will be joined by the Dresden Kreuzchor under its Kantor, Roderich Kreile. This will be the first-ever guest performance by the Kreuzchor at the Easter Festival.

A World Premiere: Four Women from Shakespeare

The Salzburg Easter Festival has commissioned a new work for soprano and chamber ensemble from the German composer Manfred Trojahn. It will be performed in two chamber music programmes at the 2016 Salzburg Easter Festival. The soprano Juliane Banse will give the world premiere of this new work on 22 March 2016, accompanied by musicians of the Staatskapelle Dresden under the direction of the composer. Trojahn has written the following about his new piece: “I first became fascinated by Shakespeare’s characters when I wrote my opera As You Like Itfor the Bavarian State Opera in 1998. That fascination has never left me since, and so in this new work I have endeavoured once again to approach the women characters in Shakespeare whom I particularly love. In this work, very different, contrasting characters come together in the smallest possible space. This demands an incredible degree of adaptability from the singer performing the work. Titania’s monologue from the Midsummer Night’s Dream [...], Juliet’s encounter with Romeo in which she tenderly, bashfully but very decidedly declares her love [...], traumatised Ophelia, and finally [...] Lady Macbeth, who exudes an incantatory air in her self-obsessive bloodlust. The ensemble chosen to accompany the singer comprises flute, clarinet, harp and string quartet, which allows me the colours necessary to describe the different nuances of the four characters.”


Additional, Accompanying Events

Besides continuing Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz’s popular introductory lectures to the opera production, in 2016 a new, additional event will be on offer: an overview of the Otello discography (“Diskographische Nachlese”), by and with the renowned music journalist and author Jürgen Kesting.