Monday, August 2, 2010

Salzburg 2009 (1)

The Salzburg Festival 2010 has started, the first three operas have already been premiered and the reviews seem to be very positive -- if that means anything any more, after we realized that >80% of reviewers are tired or lazy to look deeper in any of the today's artistic creations. Try and read some reviews about the new opera by Wolfgang RihmDionysus, and you'll notice a sad fact that they expect the operatic creation to be cliché-ed and conform to what they think should be the way to design the stage for an opera.  In contrast, I suspect the stage design by Jonathan Meese --one of the most brilliant Contemporary Fine Arts creators-- is a particularly exciting element of this Dionysus...  I hope to catch the last show and then I'll be able to comment more on the show and the reviews. A suivre

Since I plan to go to Salzburg next week,  in these 2 posts I'll bring you a bit of my impressions from the Festspiele 2009. 
Salzburg is a beautiful little town not far from Munich. The city is fully vibrating with Mozart and with the world's most famous opera festival. In the above collage  you can see the house where Mozart was born [in the very center of Salzburg], and the Papageno Platz not far from Mozart house; between the two sites you may stop at Café Pamina, and watch a large monument to Mozart on the Salzburg's central place.

Surprisingly, Salzburg is not very expensive. OK, it's not cheap either, but to me it was definitely less expensive than I expected it to be. Everything is organized to make your stay as pleasant as possible, people are very friendly and kind to tourists, and if you're into opera, concerts, and theater, you'll find your nirvana. In the downtown area you have a lively pedestrian street (lower right pic below) where you can do your shopping or eat some local junk food (that's cheap!)

Since you're in Austria you cannot avoid the Mozartkugeln specialized shops -- they are all over the place, and they give that red nuance to your stay in the city.  What you should taste when you're there is their Sacher chocolate cake and the viennese coffee which they serve with a glass of water in one of several old  Furst cafés (cf. lower-left pic above) -- FYI, Furst cafés are nowadays a paragon of good taste in Austria.
The central area of Salzburg is dominated by a hill on the top of which is a medieval castle [cf. top left pic above], that you can visit -- it's a pleasant hike and visit to the castle for an opera fan is crowned by one more surprise: there is a puppet theater of Mozart operas. Theaters are simply EVERYWHERE!  Concerts, recitals, operas, plays, conferences, meet-the-artists events... you name it! 

Every day a whole bunch of cultural events are cataloged in a daily newspaper called "Daily", which is definitely helpful. It contains many interesting information that might tickle your curiosity and make you change your plans and see something unexpected during the days [normally your evening plans are locked long in advance as you have to book the Festival tickets before you came to Salzburg.] To give you one more snapshot of how the city vibrates with the Festival, I took a pic of a window in the shopping area: see "Al gran sole carico d'amore". That's the name of an opera by Luigi Nono presented at the Festival that year (2009).

The rest of the pics in the above collage are taken in the most beautiful garden in Salzburg -- Mirabellgarten which surrounds the Mirabell Palace (also impressive place to visit!)-- very relaxing and pleasant place to walk and spend some quality time reading in a shadow of one of its nicely trimmed trees... And in spite all things to see and visit, you still have a feeling that everything is organized with no rush, everyone seems laid back and cool...

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