The Salzburg Festival 2016 Unveiled


The Salzburg Festival 2016 Unveiled

Details of the 2016 Salzburg Festival have been announced. There are to be no less than 192 performances across opera, drama and concerts/recitals.


Forty operatic performances are to be given, including these highlights:

The 2016 Festival opens with a world premiere by the British composer Thomas Adès. The Exterminating Angel is the title of an opera in two acts which will also be shown in London, Copenhagen and in New York in 2018, after its Salzburg premiere. Adès was inspired by Luis Buñuel’s surrealist film El ángel exterminador, which deals with the social rituals of an elite upper class. The composer himself will conduct the world premiere; librettist Tom Cairns directs. The cast includes Anne Sofie von Otter, Charles Workman, Frédéric Antoun, Thomas Allen and John Tomlinson.

 Die Liebe der Danae by Richard Strauss is part of the Festival’s history – since the world premiere in Salzburg in 1944 was cancelled, only a public dress rehearsal took place under the baton of Clemens Krauss. Subsequently, Die Liebe der Danae saw only two productions at the Salzburg Festival – in 1952 and 2002. The 2016 season features a new production by Alvis Hermanis. Franz Welser-Möst conducts the Vienna Philharmonic and Krassimira Stoyanova sings the role of Danae. Tomasz Konieczny takes on the role of Jupiter and Gerhard Siegel that of Midas.

Charles Gounod’s Faust has never been performed at the Salzburg Festival. Reinhard von der Thannen directs and designs the sets and costumes for this Salzburg Festival premiere. Alejo Pérez conducts the Vienna Philharmonic at the Großes Festspielhaus. Piotr Beczala sings the role of Faust, Ildar Abdrazakov appears as Méphistophélès, and Maria Agresta is Marguerite.

The Mozart/Da Ponte cycle was completed in 2015 by director Sven-Eric Bechtolf with Le nozze di Figaro – 2016 will see the revival of all three productions

Cecilia Bartoli celebrates a premiere at the 2016 Salzburg Whitsun Festival: Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. In the summer programme, this production directed by Philip Wm. McKinley will be revived. Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. Next to Cecilia Bartoli in the role of Maria, Norman Reinhardt sings that of Tony.

An opera rarity is Il templario by Otto Nicolai, the founder of the Vienna Philharmonic, which will also be performed in concert. Andrés Orozco Estrada conducts the Vienna Philharmonic. Vilfredo d’Ivanhoe will be sung by Juan Diego Flórez; Joyce diDonato performs the role of Rebecca.

Plácido Domingo also returns to the Großes Festspielhaus: in a concert performance of Jules Massenet’s Thaïs he sings the role of Athanaël while Sonya Yoncheva performs that of Thaïs. Patrick Fournillier conducts the Munich Radio Orchestra


The drama element of the Festival includes 45 performances.

The drama season opens at Salzburg’s Landestheater with Samuel Beckett’s Endgame.  Dieter Dorn directs; Nicholas Ofczarek plays the role of Hamm and Michael Maertens that of Clov.

William Shakespeare’s The Tempest is set on a far-away island, where the sorcerer Prospero – played by Hans-Michael Rehberg – conjures up the storm that gave the play its title. Deborah Warner, who successfully directed Coriolanus in Salzburg in 1993 and Richard II in 1996, now presents Shakespeare’s late work at the Perner-Insel.

With Der Ignorant und der Wahnsinnige, Thomas Bernhard wrote a play in which he settled old scores with the theatre, the opera business, critics, the audience and even the artists themselves in a sardonic manner, but celebrated the miracle of music and the human voice at the same time, on a level beyond explanation. Gerd Heinz directs; the cast includes Johanna Wokalek in the role of the Queen of the Night, Sven-Eric Bechtolf as Doctor, Christian Grashof as the Father, Michael Rotschopf as the waiter Winter and Barbara de Koy as Mrs. Vargo.

Concerts and recitals

81 concerts and recitals will be presented during the Festival.

Four world religions – Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism – were illuminated musically by the Ouverture spirituelle during the past four years. This year, attention turns to sacred music of the churches of Eastern Christianity, which have developed a rich diversity of forms. The conviction that no instrument is better able than the human voice to adequately express the effect of the Holy Spirit manifests itself in sumptuous choral works, which are still performed from Africa to Asia. In Salzburg, they will be introduced by ensembles from Russia, Armenia, Greece, Lebanon, Egypt and Ethiopia.

The works of the Eastern Christian tradition are juxtaposed with music of the Western church. While in 2015, the great mass settings of the Christian tradition were the centrepiece, this year’s programme showcases three oratorios: Joseph Haydn’s Die Schöpfung – conducted this year by Yannick Nézet-Séguin – stands next to Handel’s musical drama Belshazzar and Peter Eötvös’ Halleluja – Oratorium balbulum, commissioned by the Salzburg Festival.

The Ouverture spirituelle will also have another focus: on the occasion of the 200-year affiliation of Salzburg with Austria (Salzburg 2016), the Salzburg Festival features sacred works by composers of particular importance for the city. The high point of this focus is a performance of the Missa Salisburgensis by Heinrich Iganz Franz Biber at the Cathedral.

The series The Vienna Philharmonic and Its Composers continues this summer. In concerts with Daniel Harding, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti and Mariss Jansons, the Vienna Philharmonic performs works it premiered during its almost 175 years of history, or which are closely related to that history. The concert performance of the opera Il templario composed by the orchestra’s founder, Otto Nicolai, also forms part of this series, alongside the opera Die Liebe der Danae by Richard Strauss and a chamber concert at the Mozarteum with works by Schoenberg and Bruckner.

Orchestras from five European metropolises, one from the USA and three international orchestras present themselves as part of the series of Guest Orchestras. The Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam and the Filarmonica della Scala perform under their new chief conductors, Daniele Gatti and Riccardo Chailly. There are also two concerts with the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, one led by Lorenzo Viotti, winner of the 2015 Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award, and the other by Cornelius Meister, the orchestra’s chief conductor. Furthermore, the Cleveland Orchestra returns under Franz Welser-Möst. The Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig under Herbert Blomstedt with András Schiff as soloist closes the 2016 Festival.

Three focuses of the series Salzburg contemporary spotlight four composers. One is a musical double portrait: Friedrich Cerha and György Kurtág celebrate their 90th birthdays in 2016. Works from various creative periods of these two musical comrades-in-arms make this concert series distinctive, alongside compositions which inspired the two. Kurtág influenced many composers and musicians, including Thomas Adès. In addition to the world premiere of his opera The Exterminating Angel, two concerts present his works, and Thomas Adès will also perform as a conductor and pianist. Three concerts including works by Peter Eötvös make him the fourth composer featured by Salzburg contemporary.

Song recitals will be given by Christian Gerhaher, Bejun Mehta, Matthias Goerne, Thomas Hampson, Anu Komsi, Mauro Peter and Rolando Villazón. Dennis Russell Davies and Maki Namekawa, Isabelle Faust, Rudolf Buchbinder, András Schiff, Grigory Sokolov, Arcadi Volodos and Maurizio Pollini all give solo recitals. And of course chamber music concerts form part of the concert programme as well, featuring the Jerusalem Quartet & András Schiff, the Calder Quartet & Thomas Adès, Martin Grubinger & Friends, members of the Vienna Philharmonic, Mark Simpson – Antoine Tamestit – Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Anu Komsi – Isabelle Faust, the Quatuor Ébène as well as Anna Prohaska – Veronika Eberle & Friends.

Although it will only be presented for the seventh time, the Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award has already attained international renown. The Award Concert Weekend with the three finalists takes place from August 5 to 7 – with the Camerata Salzburg and one participant of the Young Singers Project each. The young artists of the Young Singers Project present the results of their work as part of a public final concert on August 25. Public master classes will be given by great artists such as Christa Ludwig, Ann Murray, Thomas Hampson and Malcolm Martineau.

The detailed programme and further information is available at

All ticket orders for purchase submitted by January 7, 2016 will be treated equally. Tickets can be purchased directly via the website starting on March 21, 2016.



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