The coronation opera

Mozart for all occasions

14.05.2024 16:37

This year, the Salzburg Whitsun Festival is staying true to itself: Artistic Director Cecilia Bartoli presents Mozart in many variations. His last opera "La clemenza di Tito" opens on Friday.

Like Charlie Chaplin, in tailcoat, with cane and top hat, Cecilia Bartoli lies in her program book as an illustration, cast on a Mozart score - and casually juggles a Mozart ball the size of a globe. "Tutto Mozart" is written on it, and "everything Mozart" is also inside, in "her" current Salzburg Whitsun Festival, which she has been artistically responsible for since 2012.

Of course, she is also her own main attraction this time. With Sesto, she takes on what is probably the most rewarding role in Mozart's "La clemenza di Tito". Mozart's last opera is the focus of the festival as a staged production. Robert Carsen will stage it in the Haus für Mozart. He will also be directing the new "Jedermann" in the summer, which was born in the midst of a media superhype.

Cecilia Bartoli becomes the assassin as Sesto. (Bild: SF / © Marco Borrelli)
Cecilia Bartoli becomes the assassin as Sesto.

For Carsen, his interpretation reflects the modern side of the homage opera commissioned for Leopold II's coronation as King of Bohemia: "It is a very political and topical piece." The noble Roman Sesto blindly betrays his friend, Emperor Titus, out of love for the power-hungry Vitellia. However, in his great clemency, he forgives his friend.

"A great day" with Rolando and Cecilia
Tenor Daniel Behle sings Titus, conducted by Gianluca Capuano. The two then meet up with Bartoli and others, including Rolando Villazón, for "Une folle journée" ("A great day"). This is the name of a staged opera pastiche, put together from "Le nozze di Figaro", "Don Giovanni" and "Così fan tutte".

Of course, there is even more Mozart in the concerts, when pianist Sir András Schiff performs solo and his colleague Daniil Trifonov with the Kammerphilharmonie Bremen under Paavo Järvi. Finally, the C minor Mass in the Felsenreitschule provides a moment of reflection.

Plácido Domingo celebrates his 50th birthday in Salzburg! (Bild: SF / © Fiorenzo Niccoli)
Plácido Domingo celebrates his 50th birthday in Salzburg!

In the finale, however, Mozart has to give way to another great: Plácido Domingo is sung to for 50 years in Salzburg. The nice idea: Winners of the "Operalia" competition initiated by him, a veritable forge of top singers, are congratulated. The proud parade includes Aida Garifullina, Sonya Yoncheva, Rolando Villazón and Erwin Schrott. You can hear Rossini, Bizet, Massenet, Verdi and Zarzuelas - with Domingo, of course.

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