"We want to make you curious to discover a Mozart you don't know," said festival president Dr. Helga Rabl-Stadler, speaking at a press conference in New York yesterday. "We want to analyze Mozart's artistic development and try to understand his genius. When and how did Mozart arrive at his unmistakable sound language?"
The program, the brainchild of artistic director Peter Ruzicka, includes works never before staged at the festival, including Apollo et Hyacinthus, written by Mozart at the age of 11, and the fragment Lo sposo deluso. By contrast, the ever-popular Le nozze di Figaro has been performed 220 times at Salzburg.
The festival opens on July 23 with a ceremony in the new House for Mozart. Three days later a new production of Le nozze di Figaro, led by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and featuring Anna Netrebko as Susana, will inaugurate the renovated 1,650-seat auditorium. Other new productions include Die Zauberfl‹te, conducted by Riccardo Muti and staged by Pierre Audi. This production, Rabl-Stadler said, will be "less geriatric" than previous stagings.
The organizers have invited musicians known for their diverse interpretations to highlight a wide range of approaches to Mozart. Conductors include Roger Norrington and Daniel Harding, while set designers range from Ursel Herrmann to Martin Kusej. Twenty-two-year-old Robin Ticciati, the youngest conductor in festival history, will appear, as will the 76-year-old Harnoncourt.
Contemporary music also features prominently. More than a dozen composers, including Britain's Brian Ferneyhough and Germany's Wolfgang Rihm, have been commissioned to write works. Unusually, no symphonies or traditional orchestral works of any composer will be presented. Sixty-seven concerts, including solo recitals by such artists as Alfred Brendel and Magdalena Kozenš, and ten theater productions complete the lineup.
The Salzburg Festival was first held in 1920, a collaboration between Richard Strauss, poet and dramatist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, and director Max Reinhardt, and has since been an annual event.