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This was the Salzburg Whitsun Festival 2017

5 JUN 2017

published in: Whitsun

Markus Hinterhäuser, Cecilia Bartoli, Helga Rabl-Stadler © SF / Borrelli
“It is always fascinating to see how Cecilia Bartoli uses personal effort, her imagination and her great musicality to cast her spell on audiences,” Markus Hinterhäuser summarized a special Whitsun weekend.

This was the sixth Whitsun Festival under Cecilia Bartoli’s artistic leadership. Following the motto “Joy of Grief”, eight events took place between 02 and 05 June 2017 – including concerts, opera, ballet and a charity lunch.

Cecilia Bartoli: "The fact that my ideas for the recurring Whitsun Festival have met with such great interest once again touches me, and also acts as a spur: to present, combine and perform even more interesting themes and constellations with artist friends from all over the world during the coming years. Next year's plethora of music by Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Grieg and others is prepared, and one thing I can promise you right away: Isabella in Rossini's L’Italiana in Algeri will go in search of her lover, presumed lost, without wearing a beard!"

Approximately 12,400 visitors from 42 nations attended the 2017 Whitsun Festival in Salzburg. This represents an 8% increase compared with the previous year. After Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France, Russia has become the fifth most numerous nationality among Whitsun Festival attendees. Under the artistic directorship of Cecilia Bartoli, the interest of overseas guests in the Whitsun Festival is undiminished. This year, the Salzburg Festival was able to welcome guests from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Canada and the USA during these four days. For the first time, a Whitsun Festival was also attended by visitors from Oman. The overall percentage of seats sold was 94 percent.

The press office accredited 85 journalists from 14 countries all over the world for this year’s Salzburg Whitsun Festival.

The triumphal opening and enthusiastically applauded finale of this year’s Whitsun Festival was the opera Ariodante, featuring a fascinating cast of singers: in addition to Cecilia Bartoli, it included Kathryn Lewek, Nathan Berg, Norman Reinhardt, Christophe Dumaux, Sandrine Piau, Kristofer Lundin and the Salzburg Bach Choir. Special applause also rewarded Gianluca Capuano and Les Musiciens du Prince – Monaco, founded by Cecilia Bartoli. Christof Loy’s production juxtaposed the love story of Ariodante and Ginevra with a reflection on gender roles. In the trouser role of Ariodante, Cecilia Bartoli was transformed from a knight in armour into a woman, over the course of three acts – in the end, two women loved each other.

The 2017 Whitsun Festival had a very special atmosphere, thanks to two highly emotional events: the 40-year stage anniversary of Anne-Sophie Mutter and Cecilia Bartoli’s birthday, who, typically, spent this day working and earning standing ovations once again for her brilliant performance in the concert rendition of Gioachino Rossini’s opera La donna del lago.

Anne-Sophie Mutter performed her anniversary concert as a matinee on Whitsunday, featuring pieces by Franz Schubert and Antonio Vivaldi. At her side, a string ensemble consisting of scholarship fellows of the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation made its debut. Hwayoon Lee (viola), Maximilian Hornung (cello), Roman Patkoló (double bass) and Daniil Trifonov at the piano ensured that the concert was unforgettable, and accordingly it was rewarded with overwhelming applause and extensive standing ovations. During the ovations, Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler and Cecilia Bartoli, Artistic Director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival, entered the stage to congratulate the exceptional violinist on her 40-year stage anniversary. The Festival President thanked her for creating not merely an “event”, but a musical highlight that was going to live on in the consciousness of all those present. She called Anne-Sophie Mutter a discoverer, enabling new interpretations of supposedly familiar pieces. “On 29 May 1977, this stage witnessed a Pentecostal miracle in music. Herbert von Karajan, to whom Salzburg owes so much, including this very theatre, invited the prodigy violinist to perform even before her 14th birthday. She came, played and conquered audience and reviewers. And thus it has remained ever since,” said Helga Rabl-Stadler.

On Whitsun Saturday, the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia from Rome performed an orchestra concert under the baton of Antonio Pappano and with soloists Tatiana Serjan and Bryn Terfel, offering the audience very special musical moments. In the evening, the dancers of the Mariinsky Theater’s ballet company from St. Petersburg took to the stage at the Großes Festspielhaus, enchanting the audience with the romantic ballet La Sylphide. One of the most important countertenors of our times, Max Emanuel Cencic, gave his Festival debut in Salzburg in an aria matinee on Whitsun Monday, rewarded by the audience with lengthy applause.

Since 2012 Rolex has supported the Salzburg Festival as a Main Sponsor and the Salzburg Whitsun Festival under the directorship of Cecilia Bartoli. Without Rolex, the Salzburg Whitsun Festival could not feature a staged production. The successful cooperation has been extended until 2021.

The Summer Festival will see the revival of Ariodante: the premiere takes place on 16 August 2017; further performances will take place on 18, 22, 25 and 28 August 2017 at the Haus für Mozart.

The motto of the 2018 Salzburg Whitsun Festival is “1868 – Ruptures in Time”; it takes place from 18 to 21 May 2018.