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SALZBURG FESTIVAL BLOG

Reopening of Muza Hall in Kawasaki in the Presence of the Directorate

7 APR 2013

by FESTSPIELKIEBITZ  17:03 h;
published in: General

The Salzburg Festival contributed the proceeds of a benefit dress rehearsal to the reconstruction of this world-famous concert hall.
The bells of Salzburg Cathedral, previously recorded, tolled for the reopening of Muza Hall, famed all over the world for its acoustics, today, Sunday, at 3:00 pm local time in Kawasaki. Under the baton of Hubert Soudant, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra performed Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 and his Te Deum, marking the frenetically applauded rebirth of the concert hall which had been destroyed by the 2011 earthquake.

Salzburg was prominently represented for two reasons: Kawasaki and Salzburg have been twin cities since 1992, and Deputy Mayor Martin Panosch conveyed the city’s best wishes. In addition, it was the Salzburg Festival that encouraged Kawasaki to rebuild rapidly in August 2011. At the time, Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler asked the artists involved in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol to open the dress rehearsal for ticket sales. Anna Netrebko, Piotr Beczala, Ivor Bolton and the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, which had performed years before at Muza Hall, agreed immediately. With a net donation of 158,065 Euros, this was the second most successful benefit event in the Festival’s history (topped only by the benefit concert for the victims of the floods in Pakistan in 2010). The City of Salzburg rounded up the amount to 200,000 Euros.

“Compared to the overall renovation costs of 15 million Euros, this is only a small amount. But what mattered was the immediate compassion and great enthusiasm which made us the first foreign institution to support Kawasaki in its reconstruction efforts,” Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler emphasized in her speech today.

“This is a great day not only for Kawasaki, but also for the world of music,” Artistic Director Alexander Pereira said, presenting an idea how to present more music from Salzburg in Kawasaki in the future. Mayor Takao Abe was delighted at the plan to enable a direct broadcast from Salzburg, similar to those featured in the Siemens Festival Nights. Negotiations will begin immediately between the Salzburg Festival and the Cultural Administration of Kawasaki.

First Press Conference on the Salzburg Festival Program in Japan

Furthermore, Alexander Pereira and Helga Rabl-Stadler presented the Festival program for the first time at a press conference in Japan. 2013 is particularly appropriate for such an event, for the Salzburg Festival program features a threefold Japan focus:

1) The Ouverture spirituelle will juxtapose Christian sacred music with the Buddhist and Shinto tradition. The concert on July 23, when the sacred vocal traditions of Shomyo and Gregorian chant can be compared at the Kollegienkirche, promises to be a special highlight.
2) In the contemporary music program, Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) and Toshio Hosokawa, b. 1950, lead the list of composers. Hosokawa has composed two works commissioned by the Salzburg Festival: Ancient voices for wind quintet as well as orchestral songs setting texts by Salzburg’s own poet Georg Trakl (1887-1914), which will have its world premiere on August 25 with the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo.
3) The NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo is the first permanent Japanese orchestra to perform at the Salzburg Festival.

The reception after the opening concert was attended by several faithful Japanese Festival visitors. Mayor Takao Abe is also planning to visit Salzburg again in August. One of the words pronounced most frequently on this afternoon by Mayor Abe – in a perfect German accent – was “wunderbar”.

Helga Rabl-Stadler and Alexander Pereira continue their tour of Japan with a presentation at the Austrian Embassy in Tokyo.

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