Easter Festival in Salzburg

The Salzburg Easter Festival offers World-Class operas and concerts

The Easter Festival - one of the best classical festivals in the world - unfortunately had to be canceled for 2020 due to the corona virus pandemic.

The Salzburg Easter Festival runs over ten days (4th to 13th April 2020) and delights every time with an opera production and several concerts. Although they have more or less emerged from the Salzburg Festival, as a kind of expansion, they keep their own principles and are independent.

Herbert von Karajan – Salzburg’s greatest conductor

The Salzburg Easter Festival was above all the product of a single Salzburger – Herbert von Karajan was born on the modern-day Makartsteg, where today his life-size statue in a conducting stance stands. After studying at the Mozarteum and in Vienna, he conducted the Mozarteum Orchestra for the first time at the age of 20. From this first appearance, it was clear that his path would lead to the very top. From 1960 onwards, Karajan was an integral part of the Salzburg Festival. When, seven years later, with the founding of the Easter Festival, whose leading thereof took over his life, he created a monument not only to himself but also to the music scene in Salzburg.

New opera production “Don Carlo”

The programme of the 2020 Salzburg Easter Festival focuses on an extraordinary new opera production. Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlo is shown in a new production by Vera Nemirova under the musical direction of Christian Thielemann. Before the four-act Italian version, the world premiere of the new prologue to the opera by Manfred Trojahn, which he composed on behalf of the Salzburg Easter Festival and the Semperoper Dresden, will be heard. This instrumental prologue is entitled “View – Dream – Transition” and stands in place of the so-called “Fontainebleau Act”, which is known from the French five-act version of the opera and initiates the action of the opera.

Exceptionally high quality

Karajan express wish and requirement was to bring only the highest quality to the stage. Deliberately, the Easter Festival was to be kept considerably smaller than the Salzburg Festival. In this way, it could be guaranteed that only performances by world-class musicians were on the program and each performance would remain unique. Karajan was known and appreciated for his perfectionism, and he used the opportunity to win over only the best musicians and singers with “his” Berlin Philharmonic and his many contacts in the world.

Daniel Harding as guest conductor with Mahler’s Tenth Symphony

The guest conductor of the 2020 Easter Festival is Daniel Harding. Born in 1975, the Briton is considered one of the most successful representatives of his field from the younger generation. He has been principal conductor of the Orchestre de Paris since 2016 and has also been principal conductor for the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2007. Daniel Harding will conduct Gustav Mahler’s unfinished Tenth Symphony at the Easter Festival on the podium with the Saxon Staatskapelle Dresden, which he has conducted several times. This fragmentary work is in the version by Deryck Cooke.

Janine Jansen receives the Herbert von Karajan Prize 2020

The Herbert von Karajan Prize, donated by Eliette von Karajan and endowed with 50,000 Euros, will be presented to the exceptional violinist Janine Jansen at the 2020 Easter Festival. Since her debut at the BBC Proms in 2003, this Dutch violinist has been delighting international audiences and critics alike and is now one of the leading violinists of the younger generation. The award of the Herbert von Karajan Prize is intended to underline this artist’s exceptional status.

Programme highlight of the Salzburg Easter Festival 2020

  • Giuseppe Verdi’s Don Carlo with a new prologue by Manfred Trojahn
  • Daniel Harding as guest conductor with Mahler’s Tenth Symphony
  • World Premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina’s ‘The Wrath of God’ in the Beethoven Year 2020
  • Arnold Schönberg’s Gurre songs in the choir concert under Christian Thielemann
  • World Premiere of the chamber opera La piccola Cubana by Hans Werner Henze
  • Rudolf Buchbinder in concert for Salzburg with well-known works by Beethoven and a discovery
  • From classical to a world premiere – the chamber concerts
  • Beethoven’s String Quartets for Children – Chapel for Kids

Further information on the programme of the Salzburg Easter Festival can be found here:

The Easter Festival artistic directors
  • Herbert von Karajan: 1967 (foundation) to 1989 (Karajan’s death)
  • Sir Georg Solti: In 1992/93 he took over the management of the Easter Festival.
  • Claudio Abbado: In 1994, at his first festival as Artistic Director, Abbado added the “counterpoints” to the program
  • Sir Simon Rattle: In 2003, the curly Briton took over.
  • Christian Thielemann: The change brought the Saxon Staatskapelle Dresden to Salzburg
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