On Monday, 17 April 2017, a remarkable season of the Salzburg Easter Festival came to a close. The 50th anniversary of the Festival was 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. As of 16 April, the exhibition has seen a total of 2,349 visitors, of whom 1,001 were attending the Easter Festival. The exhibition remains open today, Easter Monday, and tomorrow, Tuesday 18 April, from 9am until 5pm. 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 , 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 oenm. 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.
Christian Thielemann, Artistic Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival and Chief Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden:
»My impressions are positive all round. In the last three weeks we have experienced a highly concentrated rehearsal period that at the same time felt relaxed, and which culminated in the production of the Walküre and the ensuing concerts – none of which could have gone better. I would just like to highlight the fantastic stage debuts of Anja Kampe and Anja Harteros in the roles of Brünnhilde and Sieglinde respectively. In the last five years, Salzburg has developed for us in a way that makes us very happy. We are looking forward to the years to come«.
Jan Nast, Managing Director of the Staatskapelle Dresden:
»This year’s Easter Festival too was an extraordinary experience for us. Our time in Salzburg is of particular significance to us, not least because our concentrated rehearsal and performance schedule allows us to achieve artistic results from which we can profit the whole year through. The hospitality of the people of Salzburg and the enthusiasm of the audiences are overwhelming, and we are verygrateful for it all.«
Peter Ruzicka, Managing Director and Intendant of the Salzburg Easter Festival:
»I believe we have succeeded in celebrating this jubilee of the Salzburg Easter Festival in a fitting manner, with an artistic programme that was unique in its intensity and quality. For this, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed to this great success, both on stage and behind the scenes: to our Artistic Director Christian Thielemann and our wonderful Staatskapelle Dresden, to all those artists who have provided us with such exhilarating experiences, and to the tireless team of the Easter Festival, who have shown utter commitment in their work. I would also like to thank all our partners, the team of the Salzburg Festival, the Eliette and Herbert von Karajan Institute, the Salzburg Museum – and last but not least our audience, especially our patrons and sponsors whose support makes our Festival possible in the first place.«