Celebration of Mozart in Salzburg and Vienna
Published: April 2009
By James Fenton
<p>All eyes are on Salzburg and Vienna as they celebrate Mozart's 250th birthday. <em>James Fenton</em> reports. PLUS T+L's guide to cultural events in Europe</p>
It is quite certain that when I am in Salzburg I long for a hundred amusements, but here not for a single one. For just to be in Vienna is itself entertainment enough," wrote 25-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1781 from the imperial capital to his father, Leopold, in Salzburg. Mozart lived only 35 years (1756-1791), but he wrote more than 600 musical works spanning every known genre, and the two great Austrian cities associated with him—Salzburg, the city of his birth and early career, and Vienna, seat of the Hapsburg empire, where he spent his most creative years—are observing his 250th birthday in grand style, producing major events all year.
It is ironic that the city Mozart disdained ("Salzburg is no place for my talent one hears nothing, there is no theatre, no opera") is renowned today for a festival that produces opera and theater of the highest caliber. This summer, the Salzburger Festspiele will mount all of Mozart's known operas and stage works, some of which have never been performed at the 86-year-old festival. The 2006 celebration will also inaugurate a new theater, the House for Mozart, expanding a complex whose construction began in 1925. Vienna makes its own claim on the prodigy with a high-profile, multimillion-dollar festival, dubbed New Crowned Hope, in November and December. It will be directed by Peter Sellars, whose acclaimed productions of Mozart operas—The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così Fan Tutte, with updated settings in a luxury apartment in Trump Tower, among drug dealers in Spanish Harlem, and in a diner on Cape Cod, respectively—helped to establish his reputation as one of classical opera's iconoclasts. Elsewhere in Vienna, the composer's anniversary has prompted the city to renovate the Mozart house museum, to mount a major cultural exhibition, and, most significantly, to rededicate a theater as an opera house—Vienna's third—devoted to new drama, dance, and music and, throughout 2006, stagings of Mozart operas.
By offering such an ambitious array of programs, the country's cultural leaders are aiming to ensure that an event like Mozart's 250th anniversary does not end up simply as a platform for Austrian nationalism. Especially since the events of 1989, which unfroze the countries of the Communist bloc, Vienna has again moved to the geographical center of Europe. The city always was a place where one heard a mixture of Central European languages on the streets and in the markets, but it used to have a certain stuffiness you either had to ignore or accept as part of its charm. These days, with the influx of new blood, Vienna has a more cosmopolitan feel, more sophisticated tastes in everything from cuisine to contemporary art—and its pulse seems to have quickened.
Similarly, the stature of Salzburg, 185 miles west of the capital, has grown both in Europe and beyond (Shanghai even chose it as its sister city in 2004). Above all, the international nature of the Salzburg Festival—of its performers, directors, and designers—has given it a singular position among the world's great festivals. In capitalizing on Mozart's birthday, both cities have a great deal at stake. As beneficiaries of cultural tourism, they have the chance to reveal an evolving Austria, one that has much more to offer than powdered wigs and Mozart chocolates.
"It is impossible to describe the rush and bustle," wrote Leopold Mozart to his daughter, Nannerl, on visiting his son in 1785. "Since my arrival your brother's piano has been taken at least a dozen times to the theater or to some other house." In old Vienna people lived on top of one another, an average of 47 to a building, according to a chronicle of 1786. Mozart's apartment was a noisy place—not, we are told, because of the children, but because Mozart would have been making noise. There were rehearsals, music lessons, house concerts, billiard games, and the laughter and conversation on which the composer thrived.
The composer's piano was coming up and down the stairs, to and from the second-floor apartment, every two or three days. Now that very apartment has been newly restored and forms part of a museum called Mozarthaus Vienna.
The museum, on Domgasse, not far from St. Stephen's Cathedral, is the only surviving Mozart home in the capital; he lived there from 1784 to 1787. It was here that he wrote The Marriage of Figaro. It was also here that he and Haydn played billiards and Haydn first heard the string quartets dedicated to him. In one small room, possibly the one where Mozart composed, an extraordinary stucco decoration from the period survives. The upper floors of the house contain displays about the operas, and there's a small performance space that's been carved out of part of the basement.
From Domgasse, the view along Blutgasse—Blood Street, probably named for slaughterhouses that once operated there, though more colorful explanations exist—is essentially unchanged since the composer's day, and one gets a sense of the scale of the city in his time. But you have to forget everything to do with the grandeur of the last Hapsburg era, the vast buildings on the Ringstrasse, the huge museums, and the wide boulevards. You have to think of a compact 18th-century city that retained its medieval foundations. Some of the houses around Domgasse would still have had tunnels linking them to the cathedral for refuge in times of danger.
The impression one has is of a Mozart at the center of a social whirl, in a city that was full of opportunities for him, even if it was also full of frustrations; a man with a natural aptitude for court life, but also a strong sense of his own merits—a figure from the dawn of the modern era, when the ideals of the Enlightenment were fighting it out with absolutism. Herbert Lachmayer, the founder and director of the Da Ponte Institute (named for Mozart's most celebrated librettist), has curated an anniversary-year exhibition on the subject at the Albertina museum. "Mozart/The Enlightenment: An Experiment" (on view through September 20) explores how the Rococo and the Enlightenment were intimately connected and part of the same world. On his computer, Lachmayer shows me a series of images, including a desk owned by the 18th-century French architect Claude-Nicholas Ledoux, who could sit down at a writing table that was all frivolity and curves to produce his celebrated visionary geometric designs. Next, he shows me a dress by Christian Lacroix and a Montgolfier balloon: the dress, he says, evokes the exuberance of the past; the balloon reminds us that Mozart lived in the experimental age of balloon travel. We walk to a nearby building to look at the designs for a Franz West carpet, with which Lachmayer is going to cover the gallery floors of the Albertina, the site of the exhibition. The motif on the carpet resembles an ear; Lachmayer is pleased.
Perhaps the most emblematic enterprise will be New Crowned Hope, the centerpiece of Vienna's international festival, which arrives in the fall. Created by Peter Sellars and named after the Masonic Lodge of which Mozart was a member, its ambitious focus is on new music, theater, dance, film, visual arts, and architecture; it will be produced at venues throughout the city. American composers John Adams and Osvaldo Golijov will premiere an opera and a large-scale choral piece, respectively. Choreographer Mark Morris will present dances set to Mozart piano concertos and other keyboard works, in collaboration with British painter Howard Hodgkin, who is designing the backdrops. Sellars will direct Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's opera about the French philosopher Simone Weil. La passion de Simone marks their third collaboration. Behind the involvement of impressive personalities in the Mozart celebrations is a hope that the events will have an impact beyond the State Opera, the Musikverein—home of the Vienna Philharmonic—and other traditional concert halls, which are all within a mile of one another.
The Theater an der Wien, the city's newest opera venue, is another outcome of the anniversary year. Built in 1801 by Mozart's collaborator on The Magic Flute, the actor and librettist Emanuel Schikaneder, it is horseshoe-shaped and intimately proportioned, accommodating an audience of only 1,000. The theater is presenting a series of new stagings of Mozart operas, including The Magic Flute this month, as well as some coproductions with other European theaters, mounted by leading directors. Concerts of contemporary classical music, ballet, and premieres, including the intriguingly titled Odio Mozart (I Hate Mozart), are also on the schedule.
It is well known that early on Mozart was impatient to escape Salzburg, his native town. Like his father, he was in the service of a prince-archbishop of the Holy Roman Empire, and although the musical culture of the prelate's court was elaborate, no operas were produced there. For Mozart—who as a teenager had written stage works for Milan and Munich—opera, the most complex of music genres, provided the greatest scope for financial as well as artistic reward.
Today, Salzburg can lay claim to one of the world's most distinguished and well-established operatic festivals. The Salzburger Festspiele began in 1920 and from the start was associated with distinguished names: Richard Strauss, the composer; Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the dramatist and librettist; Max Reinhardt, the producer and director. In the first year, Jedermann, Hofmannsthal's version of the 15th-century English morality play Everyman, was staged on the steps of the cathedral square—where it is still performed to this day. Reinhardt, one of the first modern stage directors, whose productions in Europe spurred major revivals of classical drama and Shakespeare, had an influence on the festival that has endured as long as Jedermann.
By 1926, the colonnades of the Felsenreitschule—Salzburg's open-air riding school, cut into the living rock of the great natural ridge that overhangs the city—had been adopted as permanent sets for experimental productions; not long after, the extensive old stable buildings that had belonged to the archbishop of Salzburg were taken over, to become the Festspielhaus.
The architect responsible for creating these venues was the modernist Clemens Holzmeister. As the festival increased in international fame, providing a showcase for Austrian culture and Mozart in particular, the various parts of the current theatrical complex were added on. But after the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938, Holzmeister, a devout Catholic, was forced into exile and spent much of World War II in Turkey, where he stayed until 1954.
On his return to Austria, Holzmeister rebuilt the complex, digging back 46 feet into the cliff and, from 1956 to 1960, creating an enormous stage, the Grosses Festspielhaus, to accommodate productions from the open-air Felsenreitschule when they were rained out. The auditorium, with its wide proscenium, was intended for large stagings; a Kleines Festspielhaus was also created, for smaller productions.
This theater is now being renovated and will be finished just in time for this summer's festival. Rechristened the House for Mozart, it will gain a new intimacy as well as improved acoustics and sight lines, and should be ideal for authentically scaled productions of 18th-century repertoire and for performances involving period instruments. The first program, a highly anticipated new production of The Marriage of Figaro with a cast that includes the soprano Anna Netrebko, led by the eminent conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, will debut in July.
Besides presenting Mozart's complete stage works, the festival administration is looking to the future, with commissions of new music from 15 composers. Significantly, this year's final concert, in August, has no music by Mozart; instead, it is devoted to premieres of contemporary scores. The last notes to be heard at the Salzburg Festspiel of 2006 will be exclusively from 21st century composers.
Moreover, The Magic Flute—remarkably, the festival's second new production of the opera in two years—will be staged by Pierre Audi, the current artistic director of the Netherlands Opera and former director of London's Almeida Theatre. Salzburg's 2005 production of the singspiel failed to please either the audience or the management. Like Sellars, Audi is known as a visionary and noted for his bold reimagining of standard repertoire; in spite of the cost, Salzburg clearly felt it had to make a better attempt at one of Mozart's most popular works.
Mozart wrote The Magic Flute in the last year of his life. It explores humanity's quest for love and enlightenment, and was a novel project for the composer, who conceived it for Vienna's popular-theater audience rather than for the court. In shaping his Viennese festival, Sellars took the idea of hope as a theme—finding in Mozart's life and works its exemplification. Two hundred and fifty years after the composer's birth, Salzburg and Vienna resonate with his music, and with the vibrant new work it inspires.
James Fenton is the author of The School of Genius, a history of London's Royal Academy.
WHERE TO STAY
Historic all-suite hotel with a superb restaurant.
4 Coburgbastei; 800/735-2478 or 43-1/518-180; www.palais-coburg.com; suites from $550.
Radisson SAS Style Hotel
Renovated Jugendstil building close to St. Stephen's Cathedral has 78 rooms. 12 Herrengasse; 800/333-3333 or 43-1/227-800; www.radisson.com; doubles from $300.
Across river from Old Town, next to Mirabell Garden.
4 Auerspergstrasse; 800/325-3535 or 43-662/889-999-907; www.sheraton.com; doubles from $475.
A 400-year-old inn with a legendary wine cellar.
4 Sigmund Haffner Gasse; 43-662/843-397; www.elefant.at; doubles from $156.
WHERE TO EAT
Mediterranean favorites set in the imperial box of the former winter riding school in the MuseumsQuartier, with outdoor seating.
1 Museumsplatz; 43-1/523-7001; lunch for two $72.
Zum Finsteren Stern
Housed in the Palais Collalto, where Mozart gave his first concert in Vienna—at age six. The specialty here is rustic Austrian dishes, like braised rabbit with sweet and sour lentils.
8 Schulhof & Parisergasse; 43-1/535-2100; dinner for two $76.
In the Museum of Modern Art, on the Mönchsberg, with panoramic views of the Old Town.
32 Mönchsberg; 43-662/841-000; dinner for two $72.
Historic coffeehouse, with a see-and-be-seen terrace open throughout the festival.
9 Alter Markt; 43-662/844-4880; pastries for two $16.
WHAT TO SEE
5 Domgasse; 43-1/512-1791; www.mozarthausvienna.at.
"Mozart/The Enlightenment: An Experiment"
Albertina museum, 1 Albertinaplatz; 43-1/534-830; www.albertina.at; through September 20.
WHAT TO LISTEN TO
Tracks downloadable through Apple iTunes Music store. Collection of all the major works performed by leading artists, available as individual selections or an album.
Mozart in Vienna
This year promises an unprecedented number—and variety—of performances, even for Vienna. Two festivals stand out: the Vienna Festival (Wiener Festwochen) in May and June, and New Crowned Hope (NCH), under the direction of Peter Sellars, in November and December. For complete schedules, booking information, and addresses of theaters and concert halls, call 43-1/58999 or see www.wienmozart2006.at. Here, our Don't Miss list.
May 1 The Abduction from the Seraglio Mozart's rescue opera, staged in a rare collaboration between the Vienna State Opera and the Burgtheater (the Austrian National Theater).
May 13 The Magic Flute Young British maestro Daniel Harding leads a new Vienna Festival production at the Theater an der Wien.
May 16 Not Just Mozart Modern ballet, including two Mozart treats by choreographer Jirí Kylián, at the Volksoper.
June 3 Così Fan Tutte French director Patrice Chéreau, long absent from opera, returns to stage the comic masterpiece.
June 17 Renowned mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager and baritone Simon Keenlyside give a joint recital; Theater an der Wien.
November 8 I Hate Mozart World premiere of an opera about intrigue in a theater, composed by Bernhard Lang, with a libretto by Michael Sturminger.
November 14 A Flowering Tree John Adams conducts the premiere of his fourth opera, based on an ancient Indian folktale; presented by NCH.
November 20 A new work for chorus and orchestra by Osvaldo Golijov, commissioned by NCH.
November 26 La Passion de Simone Premiere of an opera by Kaija Saariaho; directed by Peter Sellars and starring soprano Dawn Upshaw.
December 5 Requiem Conductor Christian Thielemann leads the forces of the State Opera on the 215th anniversary of Mozart's death.
December 7 Mozart Dances Choreography by Mark Morris, with piano soloist Emanuel Ax.
The Salzburg Festival
Although this year's festival (July 23 through August 31) showcases Mozart's operas, other works will be performed by an impressive roster of the world's great orchestras and chamber music ensembles, as well as superstar soloists and vocalists; a selection of theater pieces rounds out the mix. Events take place at 19 venues, including several locations where Mozart performed, such as the Stiftkirche St. Peter. For tickets, call 43-662/804-5500 or book online at www.salzburgfestival.at.
July 25 Lucio Silla An opera written by Mozart when he was 16, here coproduced with Venice's La Fenice company and staged by incoming festival director Jürgen Flimm.
July 26 The Marriage of Figaro Anna Netrebko and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo star in one of the festival's most anticipated productions.
July 28 Bastien und Bastienne The Salzburg Marionette Theater produces Mozart's innocent little comedy about romance.
July 29 The Magic Flute Riccardo Muti leads a top- notch cast in a new production by Pierre Audi.
August 11 Don Giovanni Thomas Hampson sings the title role in a revival of the staging by Martin Kušej.
August 17 Zaide/Adama Mozart's fragmentary work is paired with a world premiere from the Israeli composer Chaya Czernowin. Directed by the provocative Claus Guth.
August 28 Berlin Philharmonic music director Sir Simon Rattle conducts a program of 20th- and 21st-century composers, from Debussy to Mark Anthony Turnage; with soprano Dawn Upshaw.
August 30 C Minor Mass Conductor Helmuth Rilling leads a performance of the work in St. Peter's Church.
August 29 to 31 Festival Finale Three concerts of music that range from Mahler to the latest scores from German composers Wolfgang Rihm and Helmut Lachenmann.
—Larry L. Lash
From Iceland to Spain, our choices for the best music this summer. For tips on booking last-minute tickets, see Strategies.
Prague Spring 2006 (May 11June 3; 420-296/333-333; www.festival.cz). The venerable festival celebrates Mozart's 250th birthday with opera, chamber music, and symphonies, including Zubin Mehta leading the Vienna Philharmonic in a performance of the Prague Symphony, which premiered in the city in 1787. Maxim Shostakovich marks his father's centennial by conducting the composer's Symphony No. 5 and Cello Concerto No. 1.
Festival d'Avignon (July 627; www.festival-avignon.com). This historic city comes alive each summer with some 40 theater and dance productions. The 60th edition features Eric Lacascade directing Maxim Gorky's The Barbarians; the equestrian theater group Zingaro presenting Battuba; and several world premieres, including Hungarian choreographer Josef Nadj's Asobu, based upon the hallucinatory writings of Henri Michaux. Performances take place in the Court of Honor of the Pope's Palace.
Festival d'Aix-en-Provence (July 222; 33-4/42-17-34-34; www.festival-aix.com). From the festival's inception in 1948, Mozart's music has served as one inspiration, and this summer Aix pays tribute to the composer with a coproduction of The Magic Flute by the Vienna Festival and the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg. Also featured: Don Quixote rubbing elbows with Pierrot and figures from Russian folktales in works by de Falla, Stravinsky, and Schoenberg.
Glyndebourne Festival Opera (May 19August 27; 44-1273/813-813; www.glyndebourne.com). In the English countryside, Mozart is celebrated with director Nicholas Hytner's new production of Così Fan Tutte. The remarkable Emmanuelle Haïm conducts Handel's masterpiece Giulio Cesare, staged by David McVicar.
Edinburgh International Festival (August 13September 3; 44-131/473-2099; www.eif.co.uk). Legendary director Peter Stein brings his vision to Shakespeare's Trojan play, Troilus and Cressida; the Suzanne Farrell Ballet Company stages Balanchine's Don Quixote; and Scottish composer Stuart MacRae debuts his new opera at this festival where the unexpected is the rule.
Reykjaviák Arts Festival (May 12June 2; 354/552-8588; www.artfest.is). Springtime in Iceland finds Garrison Keillor broadcasting A Prairie Home Companion from the capital city, the Brazilian dance troupe Grupo Corpo performing, and two operas receiving their Icelandic premieres: Carl Maria von Weber's romantic masterwork Der Freischütz and Joseph-Guy-Marie Ropartz's rarely produced Le Pays, about a French sailor who is shipwrecked off the Icelandic coast and falls for a local girl.
Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (April 30June 23; 39-0424/464-191; www.maggiofiorentino.com). Music director Zubin Mehta conducts a new production of Verdi's Falstaff, while the festival's dance troupe, Maggio Danza, presents German choreographer Reinhild Hoffman's Callas, dance theater exploring the late opera star's conflict between her public success and private life. Led by Lorin Maazel, the New York Philharmonic performs a program of Berlioz , Brahms, and Kodály.
Holland Festival (June 225; 31-20/788-2100; www.hollandfestival.nl). A giant tank of water plays a dramatic role in German choreographer Sasha Waltz's version of Purcell's opera Dido & Aeneas, about the shipwrecked Trojan prince's tragic affair with the queen of Carthage. Also, Kabuki superstar Ebizo XI performs a samurai tale of love, murder, and revenge; at venues throughout Amsterdam.
Granada International Festival of Dance and Music (June 23July 9; www.granadafestival.org). Superb architectural settings—the Generalife and the Palace of Charles V in the Alhambra—lend their grace to a lively mix, including Mozart's early opera Mitridate, concerts by the English Baroque Soloists, and Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras, whose moves and fiery footwork usher the Andalusian art form into the modern era.
Lucerne Festival (August 10September 17; 41-41/226-4400; www.lucernefestival.ch). Opening night features Claudio Abbado leading the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, accompanying mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli in arias by Mozart. Subsequent offerings in the star-studded lineup include Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the San Francisco Symphony, and concerts by the Cleveland Orchestra.
Verbier Festival & Academy (July 21August 6; 41-27/771-8282; www.verbierfestival.com). A pristine Alpine village is the backdrop for musical performances, including violinist Joshua Bell's recital in Verbier Church, and James Levine leading the festival orchestra and soloists and chorus in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Vienna is a year-round destination, but perhaps it's even more appealing in the summer, when parks, gardens, and squares become venues for musical performances and film series, and the city offers a range of programs and activities of interest to children. Throughout the 2006, the widest imaginable variety of musical programs are refracted through a particularly Mozartean lensfrom Mozart and the Turks (the influence of Turkish music on Mozart's style) to Mozart Sakral (performances of the composer's religious music in city churches) to new music inspired by Mozart (the premiere of a piano concerto by jazz musician Chick Corea).
Before traveling, plan ahead at www.vienna.at, which provides access to online hotel bookings, event listings, city guides, and itineraries. In Vienna, the tourist information office (43-1/158-999), located behind the State Opera at the Albertinaplatz, provides maps, cultural and activity brochures, tour information and tickets, currency exchange, and more. For a comprehensive source of stage productions, concerts, and programs that includes useful links, see www.wienmozart2006.at
At the Movies
July 1-Sept. 3
The annual Film Festival Rathausplatz, outdoors on City Hall Square, focuses on Peter Sellars's contemporary Da Ponte cycle (Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, Così Fan Tutte). The Vienna Symphony Orchestra inaugurates the festival; a companion of concerts includes jazz programs. Free admission. (www.wien-event.at).
KlangBogen Festival Wien
July 20-August 20
KlangBogen, a prestigious festival of stage works, orchestral and chamber music, presents a trilogy of interpretations on the Don Juan legend, including director Keith Warner's staging of the Mozart opera with Gerald Finley as Don Giovanni (through August 18); Flammen, a surreal, psychoanalytic take on the subject written in 1932 by composer Erwin Schulhoff (August 7 through 17); Bertrand de Billy conducts both productions at the Theater an der Wien. The Theater an der Wien in a coproduction with Neue Oper Wien presents the world premiere of Erik Højsgaard's Don Juan kommt aus dem Krieg ("Don Juan Comes Home from the War") at the Semper-Depot (July 24 through August 3); (www.klangbogen.at).
The celebrated Vienna Boys' Choir performs weekly concerts titled "Mozart and More" on Fridays from May through October (except in July and August) at Vienna's Musikverein. (43-1/505-1363; www.wsk.at).
Held by Strings
Through October 29
Marionette puppets bring The Magic Flute, one of Mozart's most popular operas, to life every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout 2006 at the Schönbrunn Palace Marionette Theatre (43-1/817-3247; www.marionettentheater.at). The spendid Baroque palace, a residence of the Hapsburg dynasty, is itself a day's visit, no less because Mozart performed as a child before the Empress Marie Theresia and the court in 1762.
Just Another Kid
Through September 3
An exhibition about the child prodigy is scaled for children ages 6 to 12 and produced at ZOOM Kindermuseum in the MuseumsQuartier. The show "Wolfgang Amadé-A Perfectly Normal Wunderkind" contrasts growing up in the 18th with the 21st, Mozart's love of games, plus music written by the young composer (43/524-7908; www.wienmozart2006.at).
On the Couch
Through October 29
The year 2006 also marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sigmund Freud, who founded psychoanalysis while living in Vienna. In tribute, the city presents the exhibition "The Couch: Thinking in Repose" at the Sigmund Freud Museumthe site of his former apartmenton Berggasse (43-1/319-1596; www.freud-museum.at).
Although productions of Mozart's complete stage works takes take the spotlight at the Salzburg Festival (43-662/804-5500; www.salzburgfestival.at) in July and August, there are compelling programs throughout the year. In June, the festival presents the aptly named Wege zu Mozart ("Pathways to Mozart"), June 2-5, a series of concerts that considers the influence of the music of J.S. Bach, the Bach sons, and George Frederic Handel upon the Salzburg composer. Programs feature Baroque orchestral and keyboard works as well as Mozart's arrangements of Handel's music, including the Messiah.
Students and young adults ages 9 to 27 can enroll in the Jugendprogramm or Youth Programme of the Salzburg Festival, and obtain reduced-price tickets for performances of theater, opera, and concerts, plus workshops and tours. For details and booking about the Jugendprogramm or Youth Programme of the Salzburg Festival: 43-662/804-5500; www.jungefreunde.at.
Tickets may be scarce for performances at this year's festival, but through a collaborative and generous effort among Siemens Corporation, the city of Salzburg, and ORF Salzburg, the Austrian radio and television company, visitors can see for free recent Salzburg Festival opera productions as well as this summer's Mozart stagings on a large screen at the Kapitelplatz in the city's Old Town. The nightly screenings run from July 22 through August 15 and include works by Strauss and Verdi, including the celebrated 2005 production of La Traviata, with soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Rolando Villazón. For a schedule, see www.salzburgfestival.at.
Two of Salzburg's leading institutions, the Mozarteum Orchestra and the Salzburg Chamber Soloists, are presenting programs entitled "Best of Mozart" on most weekends through November in the Main Concert Hall of the Mozarteum, one of the city's most beautiful; see www.salzburg.info for details.
For online booking of hotels, a restaurant guide, and a schedule of events, concerts, with links, see www.salzburg.info or call 43-662/840-310.
What to Listen to
Mozart 250-A Celebration. A three-CD survey of landmark performances fron the Sony Classical label that features conductors Sir Colin Davis and James Levine, pianist Rudolf Serkin, and singers Margaret Price and Thomas Quasthoff. (Sony Classical 82876-75944-2/2; www.sonybmgmasterworks.com).
SIX MORE EUROPEAN FESTIVALS NOT TO MISS
BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall (July 14-September 9; 44-20/7589-8212; www.bbc.co.uk/proms). Top Mozart performers, such as the Camerata Salzburg, and conductor Valery Gergiev leading the Kirov Symphony Orchestra in a concert performance of Shostakovich's seering opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk, and appearances by the Minnesota Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Orchestra of St. Luke's, are among the highlights of the popular London concert series, which combines world-class artistry with standing-room accommodations accessible to all.
Festspiel Baden-Baden (ongoing; 49-7221/301-3101; www.festspielhaus.de). A year-round venue for opera, concert, and dance presents the return of the critically acclaimed production of Wagner's Ring cycle by the Kirov Opera, with set designs by George Tsypin and conducted by Valery Gergiev, July 13-18, plus a concert performance of Tristan and Isolde, on July 19.
Munich Opera Festival (June 24-July 31; 49-89/218-501; www.muenchner-opern-festspiele.de). Thirty opera productions in 35 days document the genre from the 17th centuryMonteverdi's The Return of Ulysses-to the present dayMedusa, by Arnaldo de Felice. The ambitious schedule honors the final season of Peter Jonas, the Munich Opera's general director, and audiences are the beneficiaries, with stagings by leading directors and many of today's foremost singers.
Settimane Musicali di Stresa e del Lago Maggiore Festival Internazionale (August 4-September 9). Even among beautiful European settings, those of this festival in Stresa and on islands along Lake Maggiore make a particularly idyllic claim. Conductor Gianandrea Noseda oversees programs that range from Bach's Suites for Cello solo performed by Pieter Wispelwey to a lute recital by Rolf Lislevand in the San Vittore Church on the Isola dei Pescatori to a semi-staged production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, led by Noseda.
Walton Festival (April 1-June 25; 39-081/986-220; www.lamortella.it) La Mortella, an extraordinary private garden on the island of Ischia, only a 45-minute hydrofoil ride away from Naples, hosts a series of weekend concerts by visiting young musicians in performances ranging from Mozart to Ginastera. The chamber music programs honor British composer Sir William Walton, who lived at La Mortella with his wife, Susana, the creative force behind the garden paradise. This September the William Walton Trust completes the building of a Greek-style amphitheater that will accommodate programs by youth orchestras next summer.
Festival Castell de Peralada (July 14-August 19; 34-93503-8646; www.festivalperalada.com). A festival of great scope takes place in a tiny, Catalonian town, where performances are given in an open-air theater and a 17th-century church. Highlights: a staging of the zarzuela Luisa Fernandez, with Carlos Álvarez and Mariola Cantarero in featured roles; a recital by the beloved Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé; and the premiere of a semi-staged production by William Christie and Les Arts Florissants of Mozart's opera Idomeneo.
PLAN AHEAD: MOZART IN NEW YORK
Mostly Mozart Festival (July 28-August 26; 212/721-6500; www.lincolncenter.org). A must for all music lovers, the festival devoted to Mozart celebrates its 40th anniversary as the world observes the composer's 250th birthday. Strains of the Ottoman Empire waft over this year's program, with Peter Sellars directing Mozart's unfinished opera, Zaide, about the clash between European slaves and Turkish sultans. Late-night concerts by the period-instrument ensemble Concerto Köln and Sarband, a world music group, explore the influence of the seraglio on 18th-century European music. Closing nights find music director Louis Langrée leading the festival orchestra in Mozart's last three symphonies, including Jupiter.
PLUS, DON'T MISS THESE U.S. FESTIVALS THIS MONTH
Made in America Festival: Part 2 (May 6-20; 206/215-4747; www.seattlesymphony.org). This celebration by the Seattle Symphony features world premieres by living composers, including Phillip Glass's Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists, Bright Sheng's Red Silk Dance, and John Harbison's arrangement Rubies after the great jazz pianist Thelonious Monk's Ruby My Dear.
St. Louis, Missouri
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (May 20-June 25; 314/961-0644; www.opera-stl.org). A welcoming, intimate setting and opera sung in English make St. Louis a favorite musical destination. This season features James Lord's staging of Street Scene, Kurt Weill's portrait of Manhattan immigrant life on a hot summer night, based on the drama by Elmer Rice, and the American premiere of British composer Michael Berkeley's Jane Eyre, directed by Colin Graham.
Charleston, South Carolina
Spoleto Festival USA (May 25-June 11; 843/579-3100; www.spoletousa.org). Star-crossed lovers and mystically inspired dancers cross paths at Spoleto, where the Cornwall-based Kneehigh Theatre unveils the U.S. premiere of its wildly popular adaptation of Tristan & Yseult, an ancient Cornish folktale, and Nrityagram's classical Indian dancers, who live and study in a utopian hamlet outside of Bangalore, debut a new work, Sacred Space.
Swan Lake by American Ballet Theater/Photo: Fabrizio Ferri
Dance in New York City, Gypsy in Chicago, Chamber Music on Maryland's Eastern Shore, The Threepenny Opera in Hawaii, and the inaugural season of a new festival in Napa, California
Lenox (June 23-September 3; 888/266-1200; www.bso.org). Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, hosts a weekend celebration July 21-23 for Mozart's 250th anniversary, and kicks off the summer season with a July 4 Americana bash featuring pop country singer LeAnn Rimes. Music director emeritus Seiji Ozawa returns to lead the BSO in a performance of Mahler's Symphony no. 2, Resurrection, on August 5. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and actor James Earl Jones join composer-conductor John Williams and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra for Film Night, featuring music from Memoirs of a Geisha and Star Wars.
Williamstown Theatre Festival (July 5-August 27, 413/597-3400; www.wtfestival.org). The 2006 season includes a main-stage production of the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes; the U.S. premiere of Double Double by Rick Elice and artistic director Roger Rees; and The Opposite of Sex, a new musical based on the movie of the same name, with songs by Douglas J. Cohen.
Becket Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (June 17-August 27; 413/243-0745; www.jacobspillow.org). Nineteen companiesincluding the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Trey McIntyre Project, the Danish Dance Theater, and Israel's Emanuel Gat Dancedraw on classical, modern, and contemporary dance traditions from around the globe, sharing a program that also features films, exhibitions, and lectures.
Lenox Shakespeare & Company (through October 29; 413/637-3353; www.shakespeare.org). All in the Family: artistic director Tina Packer plays Queen Gertrude opposite her real-life husband Dennis Krausnick and her son Jason Asprey in the main-stage production of Hamlet, July 1-August 27. Also on the boards: Martha Mitchell Calling, a new play about Richard Nixon's downfall, written by Jodi Rothe and directed by Daniela Varon.
North Adams Bang on a Can (July 11-30, 413/622-2111; www.bangonacan.org; www.massmoca.org). The New York-based contemporary music collective takes up residence at MASS MoCA for its fifth annual Summer Music Festival. Collaborating artists include innovative composer and performer Meredith Monk.
New York City
American Ballet Theatre (through July 15; 212/362-6000; www.abt.org). Recently recognized by the U.S. Congress as "America's National Ballet Company," the ABT brings full-length classics to the Metropolitan Opera stage, among them Manon, Giselle, Swan Lake, and Romeo and Juliet. June brings the company premiere of Prokofiev's Cinderella, choreographed by Canadian James Kudelka. Sylvia, Sir Frederick Ashton's tale of a chaste nymph and her lovelorn shepherd, a hit of the 2005 season, returns on July 3.
New York City Ballet (through June 25; 212/721-6500; www.nycballet.com). This month introduces works from the sixth Diamond Project, commissions of new ballets from seven international choreographers. Alexei Ratmansky, the young artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, sets his dance to music by contemporary Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov; the Boston Ballet's Jorma Elo stages Baroque scores of Biber and Vivaldi. Rounding out the season is repertoire by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.
Lincoln Center Festival (July 10-30; 212/362-6000; www.lincolncenter.org). Eclecticism rules here. Singaporean director Ong Keng Sen's Geisha features Japan's legendary Kabuki performer Gojo Masanosuke, African-American actress Karen Kandel, and a traditional shamisen musician. Modern dance choreographer Mark Morris reinvents the 19th-century balletic warhorse Sylvia. And theater director Heiner Goebbels offers the U.S. premiere of Eraritjaritjaka, a multimedia work based on the writings of Elias Canetti. Composer Elliot Goldenthal's Grendel, an opera based on John Gardner's 1971 novelistic retelling of the Beowulf legend from the eponymous beast's point of view, with a libretto by Julie Taymor and the poet J.D. McClatchy, premieres in New York in a production directed by Taymor.
Mostly Mozart Festival (July 28-August 26; www.lincolncenter.org; 212/362-6000). A must for all music lovers, this festival devoted to Mozart celebrates its 40th anniversary as the world observes the composer's 250th birthday. Strains of the Ottoman Empire waft over this year's fête, with Peter Sellars directing Mozart's unfinished opera Zaide, about the clash between European slaves and Turkish sultans. Late-night performances by the period-instrument ensemble Concerto Köln and world-music group Sarbande explore the influence of the seraglio on 18th-century European music. Closing nights find music director Louis Langrée leading the festival orchestra in Mozart's three last symphonies, including the Jupiter.
New York State
Katonah Caramoor International Music Festival (June 24-August 12; 914/232-1253; www.caramoor.org). The programming at this lush estate ranges from the sublime to the sublimely ridiculous, as the brilliant pianist Christopher Taylor performs Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jésus and parodist par excellence Peter Schickele devotes a matinee concert to that decidedly dim 18th-century musical light, P.D.Q. Bach. Caramoor's renowned program of bel canto operas continues with two prime examples of 19th-century vocal virtuosity: Rossini's Tancredi, in which contralto Ewa Podles, a noted interpreter of the title role, makes her festival debut, and Bellini's Puritani.
Annandale-on-Hudson Bard SummerScape (June 29-August 20; 845/758-7900; www.bard.edu/fishercenter). Frank Gehry's acclaimed concert hall provides a spectacular venue for innovative fare, such as a rare staging of Robert Schumann's only opera Genoveva, led by music director Leon Botstein; the Obie-winning, all-woman ensemble Troupe Lava combining acrobatics, dance, and theater in (w)HOLE History of Life on Earth; and three weekends of concerts and seminars devoted to "Franz Liszt and His World."
Bethel Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (July 1-August; 866/781-2922; www.bethelwoods.us). On July 1, the New York Philharmonic kicks off the inaugural season of the center, which is set on the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Bethel Woods will also present a two-day a two-day Jazz Festival (July 22-23) directed by Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young in a Freedom of Speech '06 concert (August 12).
Cooperstown Glimmerglass Opera (July 7-August 29; 607/547-2255; www.glimmerglass.org). Visionary, longtime artistic director Paul Kellogg's last season boasts four new productions, including the world premiere of The Greater Good, an opera with music by Stephen Hartke and libretto by Philip Littell based on Boule de Suif, Guy de Maupassant's morality tale of the Franco-Prussian war, and a staging by Renaissance man Jonathan Millerphysician, author, actor, directorof Janácek's masterpiece Jenufa.
Chautauqua Chautauqua Institution (June 24-August 27; 716/357-6250; www.ciweb.org). A lakeside setting and historic architecture make a dramatic stage for lectures and seminars on such topics such "Russia: A Post-Soviet Identity" (organized with the Brookings Institution) and "Global Climate Change: Securing the Future," with keynote speaker Al Gore. Performances by the festival orchestra and resident opera, dance, and theater companiessee Chekhov's Cherry Orchard or Mozart's Magic Flute one night and ABBA or Lyle Lovett the nextenliven the mix.
Maryland Eastern Shore Chamber Music Festival (June 4-18; 410/819-0380; www.musicontheshore.org). Maryland's Chesapeake Bay is the backdrop for six concerts of classical and contemporary music, from Bach to Barber, plus two free "Concert[s] in the Street" (June 4 and 18) by players from the U.S. Navy Saxophone Quartet.
Ravinia, Illinois Ravinia Festival (June 1-September 16; 847/266-5100; www.ravinia.org). Everything's coming up roses at Ravinia this summer, where Patti LuPone and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra present Sondheim's classic musical, Gypsy, based on the life of legendary stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, and soprano Renée Fleming performs songs from the French repertoire. If those events don't appeal, one of 120 others is sure to: there's jazz, classical music, and musical theater for every taste.
Fort Worth, Texas Mimir Chamber Music Festival (July 3-14; 817/257-7602; www.mimirfestival.org). Guest artists from around the world join members of the string and piano faculty at Texas Christian University for five concerts of chamber music, in repertoire that ranges from Beethoven to Ravel. Audiences can also observe young musicians in master classes.
Santa Fe, New Mexico The Santa Fe Opera (June 30-August 26; 800/280-4654; www.santafeopera.org). Santa Fe presents five new productions, including Mozart's Magic Flute, with French soprano Natalie Dessay as Pamina, and the American premiere of contemporary British composer Thomas Adès's large-scale work The Tempest.
Aspen, Colorado Aspen Music Festival (June 21-August 20; 970/925-9042; www.aspenmusicfestival.com). Music director David Zinman celebrates his 70th birthday by conducting Yo-Yo Ma and the festival orchestra in the world premiere of Kevin Puts's Cello Concerto. Ned Rorem's opera Our Town, based on the play by Thornton Wilder, makes its Western U.S. debut, and two programs of concerts and talks explore the musical underground in Stalinist Russia and the Cold War-era friendship between Shostakovich and Britten.
Vail, Colorado Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival (June 28-August 3; 877/812-5700; www.vailmusicfestival.org). The Rockies are alive with the sound of orchestral, chamber, and contemporary music. On July 2, the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra Chorus joins the Rochester Philharmonic, led by Christopher Seaman, in a performance of Mozart's Requiem. Marin Alsop, music director designate of the Baltimore Symphony, conducts the New York Philharmonic in three programs, including all-Beethoven and all-Russian concerts.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming Grand Teton Music Festival (July 4-August 26; 307/733-1128; www.gtmf.org). The outdoorsy program here has new music director Donald Runnicles leading mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore, two choruses, and the festival orchestra in Mahler's sprawling Symphony no. 3, considered an the composer's Ode to Nature, and Norwegian Arild Remmerit conducting music inspired by Scandinavian landscapes.
Napa Valley Festival del Sole (July 16-23; 707/944-1300; www.festivaldelsole.com). The inaugural program of this wide-ranging jamboreecovering musical, visual, literary, and culinary artsfeatures recitals by sopranos Anne Sofie von Otter and Renée Fleming and violinists Sarah Chang and Nikolaj Znaider. In another eagerly anticipated performance, Carlo Ponti Jr. leads the Russian National Orchestra, with soloists Samuel Ramey and Frederica von Stade.
San Diego La Jolla Music Society SummerFest (August 3-20; 858/459-3728; www.ljms.org). Renowned festival alumni return to join with emerging new talents in celebrating the 20th anniversary of this prestigious chamber music serieswhich offers world premieres by contemporary artists, such as Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg and American jazz pioneer Wayne Shorter, alongside classic repertoiremuch of it presented in the newly restored Fox Theater.
Waimea, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival (July 14-31; 808/256-6100; www.hawaiiperformingartsfestival.org). The second season of this Big Island festival offers a program that includes chamber and vocal music as well as stage works by guest artists, faculty, and students. Included are a recital by soprano Angelina Réaux, a tribute to Leonard Bernstein, and a production of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera.
Montreal, Canada Montreal Chamber Music Festival (June 9-30; 514/489-7444; www.festivalmontreal.org). Music, myth, and history blend together in the festival's 11th year. Among the highlights: the premiere of Orpheus on Sappho's Shore, for soprano, tenor, and chamber ensemble, by Luna Pearl Woolf, about an imagined meeting between the mythical poet and the historical one; a noon-to-midnight marathon of six Mozart programs (June 22); and a performance of Beethoven's recently discovered transcription for two pianos of his Grosse Fugue, op. 13.
Stratford, Ontario Canada Stratford Festival of Canada (through October 29; 800/567-1600; www.stratfordfestival.org). Celebrated Shakespearean actor Colm Feore takes the title role in Coriolanus, one of the Bard's most violent plays, a tale of ancient-Roman political intrigue that resonates loudly with current times. On the same stage, but striking a merrier note, Lionel Bart's musical Oliver! will bow at Stratford for the first time. An Australian import provides both mirth and mayhem: Robert Hewett's comedic murder mystery The Blonde, the Brunette, and the Vengeful Redhead, with seven characters portrayed by a single actress.
-by Leslie Camhi, Katie Holt, Stirling Kelso, Mario Mercado, and Michael Rose.