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Young Voices at the Salzburg Festival

24 MAY 2017

published in: Opera, Concert, General

Anna Prohaska © Harald Hoffmann, Mauro Peter © Franziska Schrödinger, Christina Gansch © Franz Neumayr
Anna Netrebko. Thomas Hampson. Krassimira Stoyanova. Rolando Villazón. Elīna Garanča. Piotr Beczala. The resounding names of great opera singers draw thousands of art lovers to the Salzburg Festival every year. However, they are not the only ones to enchant the audience with their extraordinary voices – the “young voices” are also increasingly moving into the limelight.

The Young Singers Project, a high-carat platform supporting young singers since 2008, offers many talented young vocalists the unique opportunity to work with Festival artists and deepen their education, musically and in terms of repertoire. For several participants, it has proven a veritable launch-pad: for example for the Swiss tenor Mauro Peter, whose Festival career began in 2012 with roles in Peter von Winter’s Labyrinth and Mozart’s The Magic Flute for Children as well as an appearance during a Mozart Matinee. Ever since, he has returned regularly to the Salzburg Festival, singing his first song recital with Helmut Deutsch in 2016 and taking on the role of Andres in Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck this summer. Mauro Peter is also among the soloists for the Mozart Requiem performed by musicAeterna under the baton of Teodor Currentzis.

The Austrian soprano Christina Gansch was a 2015 participant of the Young Singers Project and made her Festival debut that year as Barbarina in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, directed by Sven-Eric Bechtolf. A graduate of the Mozarteum and the Royal Academy of Music in London, she already had quite an impressive CV before her debut at the Salzburg Festival. This year, Christina Gansch – who is also a winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award – will win hearts in the role of Servilia in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito.

One singer who is not the product of the Young Singers Project is Anna Prohaska, who made her Salzburg Festival debut in Rusalka in 2008. Ever since, she has returned to Salzburg every summer, appearing in the Mozart-da Ponte cycle as Zerlina (Don Giovanni, 2010), Despina (Così fan tutte, 2011) and Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro, 2016), as well as Luigi Nono’s Al gran sole carico d’amore. In addition she performed two solo recitals and concerts with the Mozarteum Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic. Born into a musical household, the singer has a special connection with the Salzburg Festival because of her grandfather, the conductor Felix Prohaska. The latter was involved in the reopening of the Salzburg Festival in 1945, directly after the end of World War II. Anna Prohaska returns to the Festival stage in 2017 as well: in Aribert Reimann’s Lear, she sings the role of Cordelia, and – like Mauro Peter – she is one of the soloists for Mozart’s Requiem.