The Easter Festival 2019 in Salzburg from 13th to 22nd April
The Salzburg Easter Festival is undoubtedly one of the most renowned and well-known cultural highlights in Europe and around the world. They were founded in 1967 by none other than Maestro Herbert von Karajan, whose idea was to establish the Salzburg Easter Festival as a (musical and social) complement to the Salzburg Festival, which traditionally takes place in August. This idea of founding a new festival had different backgrounds.
On the one hand, the rush for tickets for the Salzburg Festival proves that the demand for highly cultural events was far from being met. Herbert von Karajan gave those interested in culture a further opportunity to attend high-ranking concerts at the Salzburg Easter Festival. On the other hand, Herbert von Karajan wanted to further develop the festival idea in Salzburg himself and bring classical music out of its rigid framework.
The Easter Festival was never conceived as an offshoot of the Salzburg Festival, but always had an independent profile that could unfold itself. The thematic and artistic focus is clearly on the performance of operas. The supporting program of this opera festival includes numerous concerts. In this way, it is ensured that a broad and widely interested audience gets its money’s worth.
As one is used to – and can expect – from the music capital Salzburg, only top-class directors and first-class performers get involved through the bank to make the elaborate productions a success. From the beginning of the Salzburg Easter Festival, the Berliner Philharmoniker was responsible for the musical design of the festival.
After the 2011 festival season, the Berliner Philharmoniker retired. Since then, the Saxon Staatskapelle Dresden has assumed musical responsibility for the opera productions as the new orchestra. Its artistic director in 2019 is Maestro Christian Thielemann, a pupil of Herbert von Karajan, who this year succeeds Sir Simon Rattle, who has been the conductor for many years. Despite these (artistic) changes, one thing remains the same at the Salzburg Easter Festival: as every year, the festival starts on the Saturday before Palm Sunday with an opera premiere and lasts until Easter Monday, when the second opera performance traditionally takes place.
A look “behind the scenes” at the organization of the Salzburg Easter Festival shows the close bond Herbert von Karajan wanted to establish between the cultural game and the audience. In contrast to other productions, the festival’s high self-financing ratio is worth mentioning: 92 percent of the budget is covered by membership fees from the festival’s sponsors, ticket sales and sponsoring. Only eight percent comes from the public sector as a subsidy.
Herbert von Karajan developed and set up a sponsorship and subscription system that was intended to bind an increasingly financially stable audience: to obtain fixed seats, one first had to become a sponsor of the Easter Festival and was thus entitled to buy a subscription to one opera performance and three concerts.
At short notice, unsold subscriptions were also available as remaining individual tickets (without membership of the Förderverein). At very reasonable prices and in the open sale, one could visit the chamber concerts. The times of rigorous rules have changed, the love and commitment of the audience to music remained unbroken.
Opera program: „Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg“
One of the absolute highlights of this year’s season of the Salzburg Easter Festival is the performance of Richard Wagner’s opera “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.” This grand opera was last performed in 1975 and is expected this year with great anticipation.
The musical director of this new production is Christian Thielmann, the late work of Wagner is staged by Jens-Daniel Herzog. As soloists Georg Zeppenfeld was engaged as Hans Sachs, Vitalij Kowaljow as Veit Pogner, Adrian Eröd as Beckmesser, Klaus Florian Vogt as Walther von Stolzing, Jacquelyn Wagner as Eva and Sebastian Kohlhepp as David. The opera itself will be preceded by an introductory lecture on “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” by Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz.
- Saturday, 13 April 2019, 11.00 a.m., Stiftung Mozarteum, Großer Saal
- Monday, 22 April 2019, 11.00 a.m., Stiftung Mozarteum, Großer Saal
Opera „Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg“:
- Saturday, 13 April 2019, 04.00 p.m., Großes Festspielhaus
- Monday, 22 April 2019, 04.00 p.m., Großes Festspielhaus
“Thérèse” by Philipp Maintz is a chamber opera after Émile Zola. The libretto is by Otto Katzameier. With “Thérèse” a world premiere takes place as co-producer at the Salzburg Easter Festival and the Hamburg State Opera,
- Sunday, 14 April 2019, 03.00 p.m., Große Universitätsaula
- Wednesday, 17 April 2019, 06.00 p.m., Große Universitätsaula
Orchestra concert Jansons
The first orchestral concert in 2019 will be conducted by Mariss Jansons, winner of the Herbert von Karajan Prize 2019. Haydn’s “Military Symphony” (Symphony No. 100) and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 will be performed by Regula Mühlemann (soprano).
Orchestra concert Jansons:
- Sunday, 14 April 2019, 07.00 p.m., Großes Festspielhaus
- Sunday, 21 April 2019, 07.00 p.m., Großes Festspielhaus
Orchestra concert Thielemann
The orchestra concerts with Maestro Christian Thielemann include works by Carl Maria von Weber (Jubel-Ouvertüre op. 59), Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E minor op. 64) and Franz Schubert (Symphony No. 9 in C major D 944). The violin is played by Frank Peter Zimmermann.
Orchestra concert Thielemann:
- Monday, 15 April 2019, 07.00 p.m., Großes Festspielhaus
- Saturday, 20 April 2019, 07.00 p.m., Großes Festspielhaus
The Kammerkonzerte 2019 include the works of Franz Schubert (quartet movement in C minor for two violins, viola and cello D 703), Arnold Schönberg (Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte for string quartet, piano and speaker op. 41) with text by Lord Byron and Ludwig van Beethoven (Septet for Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, Violin, Viola, Violoncello and Double Bass E flat major op. 20) with Michael Schöch at the piano and Tobias Moretti as speaker.
- Tuesday, 16 April 2019, 03.00 p.m., Stiftung Mozarteum, Großer Saal
- Saturday, 20 April 2019, 03.00 p.m., Stiftung Mozarteum, Großer Saal
The Bavarian Radio Choir with the Saxon Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Christoph Schenbach will perform Antonín Dvorák (Stabat Mater op. 58) with Venera Gimadieva (soprano), Elisabeth Kulman (mezzo-soprano), Pavol Breslik (tenor) and René Pape (bass).
- Tuesday, 16 April 2019, 07.00 p.m., Großes Festspielhaus
- Friday, 19 April 2019, 07.00 p.m., Großes Festspielhaus
Ticket orders are possible from Easter of the previous season.
Single tickets for subscription performances will not be available until 1 December, subject to availability. Tickets for all events outside the subscription period can already be ordered with immediate effect.
We wish you an extraordinary cultural experience in Salzburg!