At the beginning of April, Salzburg is transformed into the classical music meeting place for music lovers. The Salzburg Easter Festival, one of the most attractive and best classical music festivals in the world, will take place from April 1st to 10th, 2023. Here you will find all details about the Easter Festival.
The new artistic director Nikolaus Bachler brings a breath of fresh air to Salzburg, which you can feel right at his first festival program. His signature is unmistakable. Starting in 2023, a different top orchestra and its principal conductor will be the guest each year, bringing their respective individual sound cultures to life on the Salzach.
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig at the Salzburg Easter Festival
Andris Nelsons kicks things off with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. The focus will be on Leipzig-born Richard Wagner, including a new production of Romeo Castellucci’s staging of “Tannhäuser” and the world premiere of choreographer Emanuel Gat’s creation “Träume.” “The world of Richard Wagner, the most radical innovator in the history of music, is both a starting point and a laboratory for us. We seek his extraordinary view of the world in opera, in concert, in dance and even in electronic music,” said Nikolaus Bachler. “I am extremely pleased to have secured the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, conducted by Gewandhauskapellmeister Andris Nelsons, not only the oldest civic symphony orchestra in the world, but also one of the most formative orchestras of our time, to open the 2023 festival.”
“The opportunity to showcase our individuality in a multi-faceted way at the Salzburg Easter Festival 2023 – as the first resident orchestra since the festival’s realignment – is particularly appealing to us, because as the orchestra of the Leipzig Opera, as the concert orchestra in the Gewandhaus, and as the church orchestra in St. Thomas Church, we have cultivated an extraordinary diversity of repertoire for several centuries,” explains Gewandhaus Director Andreas Schulz. “Our programs also hark back to our first appearance at the Easter Festival in 1990, when the Gewandhaus Orchestra stepped in for the opera production of ‘Fidelio.'”
Westbam meets Wagner
Speaking of a breath of fresh air, electronic music is moving in to the Easter Festival in 2023. On this evening, Westbam, one of the most important electro artists of our time, deals with the work of Richard Wagner and develops a symbiosis of beats and Wagner’s greatest works. An experiment that is to mark the starting signal for the exploration of electronic music in the context of the Salzburg Easter Festival. In “Westbam meets Wagner,” the revolutionary of electronic music will let his passion for classical and electronic music merge together with the members of the Mendelssohn Orchestra Academy of the Gewandhaus Orchestra under the direction of Oscar Jockel to present at the Felsenreitschule.
A Trio for you – the new subscription of the easter festival
There have also been innovations in ticket sales – including the new “A Trio for You”, the “subscription to go” of the 2023 Easter Festival, so to speak. The new offer includes a subscription at a special price, available exclusively at the ticket office counter at Herbert-von-Karajan-Platz. This special cycle with 30% reduced prices includes the Orchestra Concert II (April 4), “Tannhäuser” (April 5) and “Dreams” (April 6).
Herbert von Karajan – Salzburg’s great 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 stands in a conducting pose. 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.
Karajan’s explicit wish and expectations was to only have the best on stage. It had been a conscious decision to keep the Easter festival smaller than the Salzburg Festival as this was the only way they could guarantee unique performances from world-class musicians. Karajan was renowned and respected for his perfectionism. He took the opportunity to use “his” Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and his many contacts around the world to get only the best musicians and singers.
The artistic directors of the Easter Festival
The high quality of the Easter Festival continued even after Karajan was no longer there. One of the main reasons were the chief conductors of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, who were also automatically responsible for the artistic direction:
- Herbert von Karajan: 1967 (founding) until 1989 (Karajan’s death)
- Sir Georg Solti: Solti assumed the artistic direction in 1989 after Karajan died, shortly before the festival, and then worked at the Salzburg Festival. In 1992/93 he took over the artistic direction of the Easter Festival.
- Claudio Abbado: Abbado became the artistic director in 1994 and expanded his first Festival with the series “counterpoints” (“Kontrapunkte”): chamber orchestras with members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra collaborating with first-class soloists.
- Sir Simon Rattle: The curly-haired Brit took over in 2003. After ten seasons, his time and the time of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra came to an end.
- Christian Thielmann: The Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden came to Salzburg after the change.