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Salzburg Festival

Salzburg Festival - 100 years

Le Nozze di Figaro | La Bohème | Don Giovanni

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Le Nozze di Figaro: When he wrote The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart created an unforgettable work about love and desire, about the primal force of uncontrollable passion. Director Sven-Eric Bechtolf presents this storm of emotions to the Salzburg Festival in the very model of an English stately home of the 1920s, undoubtedly inspired by the setting and furnishings of the fictional Downton Abbey. In a parallel staging worthy of the cinema, the nobility and their servants live side by side in a world of their own, ensuring fast-paced action derived precisely from the libretto, a game of love that never fails to entertain.

The young conductor Dan Ettinger is fascinating for the great musical sensibility with which he directs an attractive young cast that is absolutely ready to grace the screen. And it is those very singers – “the sweet-voiced, appealing soprano Marina Janková”, “the alluring soprano Anett Fritsch” and “the charismatic bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni” (New York Times) – who capture our hearts. It all sounds so full of life and so finely judged as it plays out on stage. At the end, Luca Pisaroni’s vocally impressive Count approaches his melancholy Countess (Anett Fritsch) with a glass of champagne and a plea for pardon. “The waves of applause have already begun, for Bechtolf extends Da Ponte’s ‘corriam tutti a festeggiar’ almost as an invitation to the audience, which indeed joins in the festivities with gusto.” (Die Presse)

The concluding work of the Da Ponte trilogy succeeds as a great evening of opera in the hands of Sven-Erich Bechtolf with the Vienna Philharmonic – an evening of simply marvelous Mozart music celebrated from Mozart’s birthplace!

La Bohème: One of the operas performed most frequently all over the world, Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème will have its grand premiere in 2012 at the Salzburg Festival – its brilliance already ensured by the star cast led by conductor Daniele Gatti. “With the second opera premiere of the Vienna Philharmonic, I would like to break a spell which seems to have decreed that Giacomo Puccini is anathema to the Salzburg Festival – a fact I have never understood. Ever since this Festival was founded, there has been only one Tosca and one Turandot production, and none of his other works were ever put on the program,”Artistic Director Alexander Pereira states. Puccini and his librettists gave a musical and dramaturgical treatment to the tales of Henri Murger, who had memorialized the life of Parisian artists and Bohemians in the serialized novel Scènes de la vie de bohème in the mid-19th century. However, the work hardly has a plot in the stricter sense. As in a film, scenes, images and impressions flit past the viewer. Like snapshots, momentary images record the pact of friendship between four young individualists in the metropolis of Paris: Rodolfo writing, Colline philosophizing, Marcello painting, and Schaunard, who has turned towards music. Into this artists’ idyll, Rodolfo introduces fragile Mimì – who, however, does not seem cut out for the life of the bohemians…

The main goal of Italian stage director Damiano Michieletto is to find a contemporary form for the story and to capture the attitude towards life of young people today: those who stand up for their passions, pursue their visions and dare to seek out new paths in art – even if they fail grandly.

Don Giovanni: Viva la libertà! – In our time, comparatively devoid of taboos and free of shame, where what was once urgently advocated enlightenment has been degraded to profitable obscenity, a theatrical character such as Don Giovanni is harder to understand and to stage than ever before.

It is his apparent proximity which leads to misunderstandings that are hard to unravel. Compared to the average porn-hardened twenty first century libertine, Don Giovanni is a romantic hero of metaphysical proportions. Sören Kierkegaard regarded him as an elemental force, related to Eros or Dionysus, an ancient God who owes his reawakening to the church. If the church reinforced the notion of the spirit, it did the same to sensuality by excluding it. If pleasure already existed in vegetable or animal form, then Christianity and the formulation of its opposite redefined it.

To put it another way, the opera Don Giovanni – at least on stage – relies on a world which expresses its respect for sexuality through repression and does not devalue it by means of perverted liberalism and an economically-driven freedom from taboos.

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