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Salzburg Whitsun Festival


ROMA ÆTERNA – Salzburger Whitsun Festival from 21st to 24th May 2021.

Under the title “ROMA ÆTERNA”, artistic director Cecilia Bartoli places her birthplace Rome at the centre of attention in the Salzburg Whitsun Festival. As a multifaceted metropolis, Rome has inspired numerous poets, composers, film-makers and painters. “As someone who was born in this city, I have always been exposed to these contrasts. When you leave your Rome apartment in the morning, you never know when the bus will arrive, or even if it will come at all. And it is not possible to predict what the day will bring. When I was young, I was not aware of the special fascination that Rome has on its visitors,” says Cecilia Bartoli, Artistic Director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival. Here, you will find all the information on the Salzburg Whitsun Festival.

Highlights of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival 2021

  • Oratorio Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno by Georg Friedrich Handel – new production by Robert Carsen
  • Poema sinfonico is an orchestral concert in the Large Festspielhaus, where works by Ottorino Respighi and Felix Mendelssohn will be heard
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Opera series ‘La clemenza di Tito’ can be heard in concert at the Haus für Mozart
  • Under the title of ‘Dixit dominus’, a spiritual concert with works by Arcangelo Corelli, Georg Friedrich Handel and Domenico Mazzocchi will be performed at the Felsenreitschule on Whit Sunday
  • With another concert opera, Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, the Salzburg Whitsun Festival 2021 ends on Monday at 3 p.m. in the Large Festspielhaus.

In addition to three operas and three concerts, there will also be a gala dinner with the artists from the Whitsun Festival.

The Whitsun Festival and its changing artistic direction

The Festival has been shaped by great personalities ever since it was founded. It was clear from the onset that it should be an independent institution with a programme very different to the festivals in Summer and at Easter:

  • Karajan‘s era: At first, the Festival was intended to be an extension of the Easter Festival. Founded six years previously, it drew large crowds and Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra created a first-class programme.
  • From 1982: Subsequently, more and more orchestras and conductors from around the world were invited. The focus had been on works by Anton Bruckner until Karajan died in 1989. After this devastating experience, the Salzburg Whitsun Festival started to lack direction.
  • New start in 1997: After Baden-Baden played host to the Whitsun concerts in 1997, it prompted a new start in Salzburg in the following year. Completely different to the other two, it was now dedicated to the Baroque composers.
  • Riccardo Muti: The Festival reinvented itself in 2007. Muti, from Naples, wanted to put the spotlight on the composers of his home country. So, until 2011 the programme included Italian composers of the 18th
Cecilia Bartoli as Artistic Director

Cecilia Bartoli has not only been the artistic director since 2012, but has also taken on the lead in the opera production. Alexander Pereira also became the Festival director in 2012 and saw to it that the opera productions could also be used for future summer festivals:

  • 2012: Friedrich Händel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto
  • 2013: Vincenzo Bellini: Norma
  • 2014: Gioachino Rossini: La Cenerentola as well as Otello
  • 2015: Iphigénie en Tauride
  • 2016: Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story
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