The World Celebrates Mozart on the 250th Anniversary of His Birth

Classic Arts News   The World Celebrates Mozart on the 250th Anniversary of His Birth
Around the world today, musicians and music lovers are celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The epicenter of today's celebrations is Salzburg, Austria, Mozart's birthplace. At 6 p.m. local time, capping a week of events, Riccardo Muti will lead the Vienna Philharmonic in a concert at the Grosses Festspielhaus featuring baritone Thomas Hampson, pianist Mitsuku Uchida, violinist Gidon Kremer, violist Yuri Bashmet, and mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, a last-minute substitute for soprano Ren_e Fleming. The program includes Piano Concerto No. 25, the Symphony in D major ("Haffner"), concert arias, and excerpts from The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni.

At intermission, approximately 7:45 p.m. local time, bells will ring throughout Salzburg to mark the moment of Mozart's birth. The concert can be heard in the United States on New York's WQXR, the WFMT network, and XM Satellite Radio starting at 12 p.m. ET. Check local listings.

In Vienna, where Mozart spent much of his adult life, the Vienna State Opera stages Die Zauberfl‹te in the afternoon and premieres a new production of Idomeneo at night. Meanwhile, an apartment where the composer lived in the 1780s will be opened to the public, and "Calling Mozart" booths will allow tourists to hear the composer's music and get information about his life.

At London's Barbican, the BBC Symphony performs the Mass in C minor and the Symphony No. 41 ("Jupiter"); David Robertson is the conductor. The Paris Opera debuts an anticipated new production of Don Giovanni directed by film director Michael Haneke.

New York's Carnegie Hall will mark the anniversary with a performance by the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Simon Rattle. The program includes the Serenade in B-flat Major for 13 Winds, Piano Concerto No. 27, and Symphony No. 38 ("Prague"). The concert, which starts at 8 p.m. ET, will be carried live by NPR (check local listings).

The Houston Symphony marks the anniversary by pairing new music with Mozart works; the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents the Piano Concerto No. 14, the Sonata in D major for Two Pianos, and Piano Quartet in G minor. The Toronto Symphony performs "A Life in Letters," a music-theater event exploring Mozart's life created by tenor Michael Schade. This afternoon, the Seattle Symphony performs the Requiem and other works under Itzhak Perlman's baton.

Today's events are only a small portion of performances throughout the "Mozart Year" of 2006. Nearly every major American orchestra has planned a blizzard of Mozart, either throughout the year, compressed into a festival, or both. The Salzburg Festival will present all 22 of Mozart's stage works this summer; in total, Salzburg's Mozart Year calendar lists some 500 events. The Mostly Mozart Festival in New York celebrates the anniversary, and its own 40th birthday, with a new work by choreographer Mark Morris and a computerized exploration of the Jupiter Symphony. In Vienna this fall, Peter Sellars' New Crowned Hope festival will eschew Mozart's own works and salute the composer with a series of commissioned new works.

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