My problem is that this is about the only thing I am truly interested in in Salzburg this summer. Macbeth by Peter Stein, and with his bitterness Maestro Muti in the pit, is not exactly what would make me run to the Felsenreitschule even if I were in Salzburg right now.
As for Die Frau ohne Schatten (FroSch) it is an opera I like very much music-wise but again that alone would not make me make a trip to Salzburg in spite of its smashing cast [sadly the runs of FroSch and Makrop do not overlap, since they are both given at the big Festspielhaus]. Another thing about FroSch is that its premiere was live broadcast on German and Austrian TVs and since the video will be around soon...
|Alek Shrader in Salzburg|
Concerning the Da Ponte Trilogy, particularly interesting will be Così fan tutte that Claus Guth said he would considerably revise for 2011. Like in its previous run the cast is again brilliant, with always amazing Maria hot Bengtsson, a magnificent new mezzo Michèle Losier (great in recent Cendrillon in Paris), his greatness Christopher Maltman, and a new tenor Alek Shrader (American, of courrrrse!)
|Alek Shrader as Lindoro in Opéra National de Bordeaux in|
Alek is a new name, he is obviously a beau gosse, and if we can trust all the reviews that gushed over his beautiful timbre and his excellent musicality in Lindoro [L'Italiana in Algeri premiered in Bordeaux earlier this year], he may well be a 'winner' of this year's Festival. Arte TV usually has a nose for this kind of things and I noted that they even devoted a whole opera segment of the Salzburg Festival to talk about Alek (c.f. video below). Good luck man!
Artistically though, when compared to the Festival 2010 (and especially to 2009, not to dig further in the past), this year's festival is not as exciting, but a real turn for the worse is likely to happen in 2012. From the press we learn that Alexander Pereira announced the following new productions for 2012: (1) The Magic Flute with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and with Jens-Daniel Herzog directing; (2) La schmalzy Bohème with Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala [how is that for a festival with ambition to push boundaries of the ordinary city opera repertoire, even if the director was a very talented Damiano Michieletto?]; (3) Die Soldaten that we unfortunately missed in Amsterdam... and will probably miss in Salzburg too. Instead of Willy Decker who directed the show in Amsterdam, Salzburg decided to confide the directing job to "a fresher" Peter Stein.
Well, what can I say? It was fun while it lasted...
Ah yes, one more info is that, after the next year's Carmen, the Easter Festival in Salzburg will be run by Christian Thielemann and the Staatskapelle Dresden will be the residence orchestra there from 2013 to 2017.
To finish this entry on the positive note, here is a video filmed during the rehearsal of Vec Makropulos: