The 95th edition of the Salzburg Festival began with Haydn’s Creation – performed this year by Marc Minkowski and his Musiciens du Louvre – as part of the Ouverture spirituelle. This year, a fourth world religion, Hinduism, was the focus of the concert series. In dialogue with Western sacred music, the Kollegienkirche witnessed theatre, music and dance performances from various regions of India. The series Salzburg contemporary was dedicated entirely to Pierre Boulez, who celebrated his 90th birthday in 2015. The Vienna Philharmonic concert series featured mainly works the orchestra premiered during the course of its 173-year history. This project continues throughout the next summer.
The opening premiere was Wolfgang Rihm’s opera Die Eroberung von Mexico, in which Peter Konwitschny directed the ideal cast of Angela Denoke and Bo Skovhus. Ingo Metzmacher conducted the opera. The fact that the Festival opened with a major contemporary musical theatre work found a highly positive international echo. Beethoven’s Fidelio with Jonas Kaufmann and Adrianne Pieczonka in the main roles was sold out for months. Franz Welser-Möst conducted, Claus Guth directed, and his inclusion of sound installations and sound design in combination with his decision to cut the recitatives caused a stir. The trailblazing work met with enthusiasm from some and rejection from others, but was certainly controversially discussed. Le nozze di Figaro completed the Mozart/Da Ponte cycle begun in 2013: Dan Ettinger conducted, Sven-Eric Bechtolf directed. Bellini’s Norma saw a celebrated revival – the production had already won an Opera Award for the Best New Opera Production in 2013. Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride was already a great success at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival, and the summer saw a repeat of this reception. Cecilia Bartoli sang and played the title roles of both productions, making her one of the most distinctive singer personalities of the Festival summer. Two further revivals, Il trovatore and Der Rosenkavalier, were also highly acclaimed and successful – demonstrating that it is right to repeat artistically valuable productions. They were gratefully received by the Festival’s audience, and positive side-effects include higher ticket revenues and lower production costs.
The drama department offered three new productions and the revival of Jedermann this summer. With Mackie Messer – Eine Salzburger Dreigroschenoper, for the first time in 20 years the Felsenreitschule saw a play performed again. The production of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors directed by Henry Mason at the Perner-Insel turned out an audience favourite. Stephan Kimmig directed Clavigo, based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s play and co-produced with Deutsches Theater Berlin, at the Salzburg Landestheater. The production left nobody cold and was controversially discussed.
On the occasion of the performances of Mackie Messer – Eine Salzburger Dreigroschenoper, the Salzburg Festival cooperated with the Association of Friends, dedicating an academic framework programme to the poet of the Dreigroschenoper, illuminating Brecht’s political activism as well as his influence on literature and music.
In facts and figures, the audience’s enthusiasm for the Salzburg Festival’s staged productions and concerts led to the following results: the 95th edition of the Salzburg Festival welcomed 226,900 guests from 74 nations, 35 of them non-European. At 95% of seats sold, the previous year’s results could be improved by 2%. With revenues of 28.64 million Euros the ticket sales revenues set a new record.
The 2015 Salzburg Festival programme offered 188 regular performances, 57 special events and 16 ticketed dress and other rehearsals at 14 performance venues in the three genres of opera, concert and drama.