July 19 – September 1, 2013

Austrian Residence, London, 26 November 2012 – Helga Rabl-Stadler (President) and Alexander Pereira (Artistic Director) launch the 2013 Salzburg Festival...


One of the most fascinating and important works of the second half of the 20th century, Harrison Birtwistle’s opera Gawain, opens the opera programme of the 2013 Salzburg Festival on July 26. It is difficult to understand why this work has never gone beyond the Royal Opera House in London, where it had its world premiere in 1991, although with it, the great English composer created a work of timeless modernity. Gawain is our contribution to contemporary opera, instead of the Kurtág world premiere, which had to be postponed due to the shortness of time. At short notice, the team of Die Soldaten, Ingo Metzmacher and Alvis Hermanis, take on this challenge of staging this two-act opera about Gawain, the seeker of the grail, and the Green Knight – a story straight from the King Arthur legend – for its first performance in Austria. The main roles will be performed by Christopher Maltman, Laura Aikin, and John Tomlinson. The ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna performs in the orchestra pit.

“The idea of the Salzburg Festival mounting a production of my opera Gawain makes me very happy. The story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight has been with me since my early school days but it took 40 years before I had the courage and opportunity to attempt to make an opera out of it. There were problems – namely how do you cut the head off a singer who then picks it up and sings an aria with it – but it happened in London. I look forward to it happening again in Salzburg.” Harrison Birtwistle

Of course, the two giants of musical theatre, Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi, both born 200 years ago, are the focus of the opera programme.

A quarter-century after the abovementioned early works which will be performed in concert, Verdi turned to Schiller once again to create Don Carlo; at the same time, Wagner was working on his Meistersinger von Nürnberg. The Vienna Philharmonic will perform in both new productions. Antonio Pappano and Peter Stein are responsible for Don Carlo; Jonas Kaufmann sings Don Carlo, Matti Salminen Filippo II, Anja Harteros Elisabetta, Thomas Hampson the Marchese di Posa, and Ekaterina Semenchuk the role of Eboli.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg will be conducted by Daniele Gatti. Stefan Herheim directs. Michael Volle is Hans Sachs, Roberto Saccà Walther von Stolzing, Markus Werba sings Beckmesser, Anna Gabler the role of Eva and Georg Zeppenfeld that of Veit Pogner.

Verdi’s late work Falstaff will be conducted by Zubin Mehta at the helm of the Vienna Philharmonic at the Haus für Mozart. Damiano Michieletto directs this commedia lirica in three acts. Ambrogio Maestri is Falstaff, Fiorenza Cedolins is Mrs Alice Ford, Massimo Cavalletti sings her husband, Eleonora Buratto the role of Nannetta, Mrs Quickley is sung by Elisabeth Kulman, Mrs Meg Page is embodied by Stephanie Houtzeel and Javier Camarena sings Fenton.


Joseph Haydn’s Schöpfung is the initial spark: with it, Nikolaus Harnoncourt opens the Festival summer and the Ouverture spirituelle on July 19. Further new discoveries under Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s baton will be the Haydn oratorios Die Jahreszeiten and Il ritorno di Tobia. This year’s Ouverture spirituelle offers a counterpoint of sacred works written by Christian composers and the rich tradition of Buddhist liturgies. This brings a fascinating juxtaposition of Gregorian chant with Shōmyō chanting and introduces out audiences not only to Gagaku, the ancient Japanese court and ceremonial music, but also to the meditative music of the Japanese bamboo flute shakuhachi, inspired by Zen Buddhism, and to epics recited with the accompaniment of the lute biwa.

Initiating the El Sistema residency, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand will be performed at the Großes Festspielhaus. Mahler’s nine completed symphonies will be performed in their entirety this year. Conductors like Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta, Mariss Jansons, Michael Gielen, Riccardo Chailly, Cornelius Meister and Gustavo Dudamel take turns at the baton for this grand undertaking.

As every summer, the concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic constitute major contributions to the various cycles: Nikolaus Harnoncourt dedicate himself to Haydn’s Die Jahreszeiten, Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 is conducted by Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel presents Act I of Wagner’s Walküre, Riccardo Muti conducts Verdi’s Messa da Requiem and Christian Thielemann leads the orchestra in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5.

The Berlin Philharmonic, which performs two concerts, just like the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leizpig and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, commemorates the scandalous world premiere of Le Sacre du printemps 100 years ago in one of its appearances. The performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, on the other hand, commemorates the composer’s 100th birthday – Antonio Pappano leads his Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia from Rome as well as Anna Netrebko, Ian Bostridge and Thomas Hampson as soloists.
Works by Wagner and Verdi form the focus of Daniel Barenboim’s concert with his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, alongside two Austrian premieres by the Israeli composer Chaya Czernowin and the Jordanian composer Saed Haddad.


220 Performances in 45 Days at 14 Venues

The programme of the 2013 Salzburg Festival offers 220 events at 14 venues in the three genres of opera, concerts and drama.

38 Opera performances (7 productions)
9 Concert performances of 4 operas
91 Concerts
66 Drama performances (10 productions)
15 Children’s programme performances (3 productions)
1 Festival Ball

For further details of a packed and exciting Festival, please click on the link below.


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