Extraordinarily successful 2017 Jubilee Season – 50 Years of the Salzburg Easter Festival

Applause after the "Walküre" premiere. Photo: OFS/Creutziger
Applause after the "Walküre" premiere. Photo: OFS/Creutziger

On 17 April 2017, a remarkable season of the Salzburg Easter Festival came to a close. The 50th anniversary of the Festival has been celebrated with a programme that was extraordinary in many ways. At the heart of it was the re-creation of the Walküre of 1967 with which Herbert von Karajan inaugurated ‘his’ Easter Festival. Vera Nemirova directed a new production of the opera using the original stage designs of Günther Schneider-Siemssen, as reconstructed by Jens Kilian. The audience was unanimous in its jubilant applause for all those involved, first and foremost Christian Thielemann and the Staatskapelle Dresden and their exceptional ensemble of singers, with Peter Seiffert as Siegmund, Georg Zeppenfeld as Hunding, Vitalij Kowaljow as Wotan, Christa Mayer as Fricka, and Anja Harteros and Anja Kampe in their stage debuts as Sieglinde and Brünnhilde respectively.

The accompanying exhibition about this re-creation, curated by Margarethe Lasinger in the Salzburg Museum, also met with an enthusiastic reception. The exhibition has seen a total of 3,015 visitors, of whom 1,316 were attending the Easter Festival.

The re-creation of the Walküre was also the topic of conversation at Symposium I, where its director Vera Nemirova explained and discussed her production concept. Symposium II – aka the Karajan Music Tech Conference – gathered together some 300 international representatives from the fields of music, media, technology and related areas for a high-profile conference on the influence of current technologies on today’s music perception.

The concert programme saw inspired performances from the Staatskapelle Dresden, which is enjoying its fifth season as the Easter Festival’s Orchestra in Residence, as also from the two guest orchestras, the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Vienna Philharmonic. The winner of this year’s Herbert von Karajan Prize, the young Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov, was afforded special acclaim. Eliette von Karajan personally presented him with the award at the Concert for Salzburg.
The chamber opera Lohengrin by Salvatore Sciarrino enjoyed great success with both the audience and the international press. A few days before the premiere, it was announced that its production team will also be responsible for Jedermann at the 2017 Salzburg Festival: director Michael Sturminger and his designers Renate Martin and Andreas Donhauser. Peter Tilling conducted the œnm. Sarah Maria Sun’s exceptional portrayal of the main role of Elsa was the focus of particular praise.

A total of 24,000 tickets were sold for the 17 performances of the 2017 Salzburg Easter Festival (in 2016: 12 performances, 17,000 tickets). The seat occupancy rate in the Grosses Festspielhaus is 95.5%. The majority of events was sold out – in particular the Walküre, almost all the concerts in the Grosses Festspielhaus, and the Chamber Concert with Daniil Trifonov.

We are delighted to be able to announce that the number of members of the Association of Patrons rose by 300 compared to last year, making a total of 2,200 members.

The interest in the Salzburg Easter Festival increased considerably among the international media, and has more than doubled compared to last year: 141 journalists from 13 countries have reported on the 2017 Jubilee edition of the Easter Festival.

In 2018 the Salzburg Easter Festival will open on 24 March with the premiere of a production of Puccini’s Tosca directed by Philipp Stölzl, who was responsible for the successful 2015 production of Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci. Anja Harteros will sing the title role, with Aleksandrs Antoņenko as Cavaradossi and Ludovic Tézier as Scarpia.

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