2006 Salzburg Festival's Cycle of Mozart Operas to Be Released on DVD

Classic Arts News   2006 Salzburg Festival's Cycle of Mozart Operas to Be Released on DVD
The Salzburg Festival this year took the unprecedented step of staging all 22 of Mozart's operas in honor of the 250th birthday of the town's favorite son. Those not lucky enough to attend the festival will at least have the (less glamorous) option of watching the operas on DVD.

Festival organizers announced that 21 of the operas are being recorded at Salzburg this summer. Only La clemenza di Tito will be from an earlier production, a 2003 staging that included singers appearing at Salzburg this year.

The audiovisual recording of the operas presented the producers and directors with significant technical challenges. Two to three operas are being produced contemporaneously on 53 days, each work being shot three times with the use of up to twelve cameras.

Many of the recordings will be shown on television in Europe and Japan alongside hour-long documentaries. The broadcast of Le nozze di Figaro at the beginning of the festival attracted 1.5 million viewers on the German television station ARD, according to a statement.

Universal Classics will release DVDs in Europe and elsewhere in October and November on its Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics labels. A boxed set of the entire cycle, titled "Mozart 22," will be available in Europe and Asia on November 20.

Universal Classics spokesman Rebecca Davis confirmed that in the United States, individual titles will be released in January and February, when the 19-DVD box set will also be available. The suggested retail price for the box set will be $659.99; individual titles will go for $29-$39 each.

Matthew Cosgrove, DG's new vice president and head of artists and repertoire, told the Associated Press, "I don't think any composer quite captures the imagination of the public, across all levels of music, of classical music, as Mozart does, whether it's due to the film Amadeus or the number of ringtones you hear with various bits of Mozart. There's something about this child prodigy, this sort of meteor that whizzed across the musical firmament and died young, that just captures peoples' imagination."

Among hot tickets at the Salzburg Festival this year are new productions of Le nozze di Figaro starring Anna Netrebko, with Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting the Vienna Philharmonic; Don Giovanni with Daniel Harding conducting Thomas Hampson, Christine Sch‹fer and Isabel Bayrakdarian; and The Magic Flute with Riccardo Muti conducting Ren_ Pape, Diana Damrau and Paul Groves.

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