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DAILY #30 - 31 AUGUST 2007

Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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DAILY #29 - 30 AUGUST 2007

“The Incomparable Ones”

For 85 years, the Vienna Philharmonic has been an integral part of the Salzburg Festival. Today it will say its farewell for this season with a concert conducted by Daniel Barenboim. Daily spoke to the orchestra’s President, Clemens Hellsberg.

The highest association in music,” Bruckner called them – and Strauss said: “To praise the Philharmonic is like carrying violins to Vienna.” Knappertsbusch called them “the incomparable ones.” The Vienna Philharmonic Association looks back on 165 years of history. It all began with the first Philharmonic Concert in Vienna in 1842 under the orchestra’s founder Otto Nicolai. Until that time, there had been no permanent concert orchestra in Vienna. The musicians of the Imperial Court Opera wanted to change that.

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DAILY #28 - 29 AUGUST 2007

The Feeling of Being Taken Care of

The Association of Friends of the Salzburg Festival is one of the most important partners for the Festival. Daily met with its President, Heinrich Spängler.

The occasion for the founding of the Friends was the inauguration of the Großes Festspielhaus in July 1960, which meant that the Salzburg Festival suddenly had 2,000 more seats to offer to its audiences. In the following year, Bernhard Paumgartner founded an association in which he assembled local and international friends of the Festival, in order to strengthen their ties to Salzburg and to support the Festival. Today, the association numbers 2,000 donors and 2,300 regular members. Apart from its important financial support, the association is also a forum offering its members and the Festival visitors numerous events during the summer, among them introductory talks, discussions, artist conversations or exhibitions.

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DAILY #27 - 28 AUGUST 2007

Scores Instead of Comic Books

ir Simon Rattle, exceptional conductor and bundle of energy, will lead two concerts of his Berlin Philharmonic in Salzburg.

His musical taste is wide-ranging. Sir Simon Rattle, Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, will not commit to one particular style. The Briton feels at home with Schubert, especially with Beethoven, Mahler and Mozart, but equally with Ligeti, Britten and Debussy. Rattle was born in 1955 in Liverpool and showed an interest in music early on. His enthusiasm grew, and his father Denis Rattle remembered that at the age of seven, Simon would sit there and read a score – “like other children read comic books”.

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DAILY #26 - 26 AUGUST 2007

Preparing for Death

Requiem for a Metamorphosis is the latest scenic concoction by Jan Fabre, to be given its world premiere on Sunday at the Felsenreitschule. For the Salzburg Festival, dramaturge Luk Van den Dries spoke to Jan Fabre about the motivation and motifs of his work. Daily presents excerpts from their conversation.

Jan Fabre on his relationship as an artist to death:

As a human being, I have been dead for years, socially dead. This is because I live through the breath of my work, and when one retreats into the breathing of one’s work, socially one dies gradually. I see my art as a kind of preparation for death too. This topic has been present in my œuvre from the very beginning.

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DAILY #25 - 25 AUGUST 2007

The Search for the Viennese Sound

Since 1991, the Attersee Institute Orchestra has invited music students from around the world to Austria to explore the special sound of the Vienna Philharmonic through individual and group lessons as well as orchestra rehearsals – so that the students may acquire this sound for themselves.

The “Vienna sound” is not a myth. It really does exist, this unique sound of the Vienna Philharmonic, distinct from all the other orchestras in the world, and it can even be measured digitally and graphically. This is not only due to the special instruments used in Vienna, such as the Viennese oboe, the Viennese horn or the Viennese kettledrum. More than these, it is the specific traditional ideals of sound that the musicians of this orchestra have conserved and perpetuated.

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DAILY #24 - 24 AUGUST 2007

The Quiet Adventurer

Gidon Kremer celebrated his 60th birthday this year. The great violinist will be honored by his colleagues Tatjana Grindenko, Mischa Maisky and Valery Afanassiev, who will perform together with him at the Großes Festspielhaus.

Gidon Kremer tells of his incredulous amazement and sheer fright when Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein asked him whether he wanted to perform with them. Such statements are symptomatic for this great musician, who was born in Riga as the son of a Jewish violinist father from the Baltic and a violinist mother from Karlsruhe and celebrated his 60th birthday this year.

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DAILY #23 - 23 AUGUST 2007

20 Years at the Piano

Lang Lang, the Chinese pianist renowned for the breadth of his repertoire, honors Salzburg with a visit: a musician who is well-known even to the watchers of TV-quiz shows and at the same time manages to be a darling of the critics.

He is 25 years old, a former child prodigy and a superstar: the Chinese pianist Lang Lang is one of the many great young talents on the classical music scene – but one of the few who is obviously destined for a long life on stage: at the age of three, he sat down at a piano, at five he was playing in public, and as early as his ninth year, he was studying at the Central Conservatory in Beijing. In 1993 he won the first prize at the Fourth International Youth Competition in Germany and in 1995 the first prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition. He has enjoyed immense popularity in his native country from the time when he played the solo part in the 1996 season opening concert of the National Chinese Symphony Orchestra.

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DAILY #22 - 22 AUGUST 2007

Thoughts on Schumann

The young German baritone Christian Gerhaher is one of today’s leading song and opera singers. At the Salzburg Festival, he will interpret a very stringent selection of Schumann songs together with his piano partner, Gerold Huber. He spoke to Daily about his program and his coming opera plans.

It is as if luck had presented the Festival with another Schumann Scene. Christian Gerhaher and his regular piano partner Gerold Huber will perform their first song recital at the Salzburg Festival on August 22, after Patricia Petibon had to cancel her appearance.

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DAILY #21 - 21 AUGUST 2007

Intelligent Sponsors Make for a Happy Festival

Helga Rabl-Stadler, President of the Salzburg Festival, on the necessity of sponsorship and the common prejudice about sponsors’ influence on the artistic program.

Aren’t you afraid that the sponsors will try to influence your program?” is a common question in the arts sections of various newspapers, especially since we have been so successful this summer in acquiring sponsors. And I can always answer both spontaneously and honestly: “No, I am not afraid of that. Our sponsors are far too intelligent not to know that trying to influence the content of our program would have a boomerang effect. On the contrary, I hope our sponsors continue to influence us, in the sense that they make it possible to implement projects that we could not realize otherwise for lack of money.”

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DAILY #20 - 19 AUGUST 2007

All Power to the Potted Linden Trees!

Christoph Marthaler is rehearsing and developing his piece Sauser aus Italien. Eine Urheberei. On Sunday, this creation with and without and about composer Giacinto Scelsi will have its world premiere at the Perner-Insel in Hallein. Thomas Wördehoff visited the rehearsals.

This is what magic must be like. Nobody said anything audible. But suddenly, everybody was at their places again. Moments before, the group had sat at a couple of tables in the enormous exhibition hall 7C and given its solemn attention to cheese from the Tyrol, salami from Calabria, bread from Salzburg and butter from some mountain pasture. Conversation focused on grocery stores, butchers’ and cheese mongers’ shops and bakeries; the other activity was to produce wobble-photos. Here’s how: while looking into the camera, one must shake one’s head vigorously from side to side. The photographer pushes the release-button randomly. The photos will show a strangely uncontrolled, somewhat brutal facial expression. It is a look that is hard to create on purpose.

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DAILY #19 - 18 AUGUST 2007

Christian Weise (Director)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the plays that I have always wanted to direct. It is a wild mixture of mystery play, folk theater, initiation drama and comedy. However, it has a tight structure: almost like a model, it creates worlds, places them alongside each other and connects them with stories. Early on, there is a great complexity between the well-ordered world of the state of Athens and the forest, the realm of the ghosts and their powers of anarchy. The stuff that connects them all is love and desire, and the question that Shakespeare composes endless variations on: What is real? What is illusion?

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DAILY #18 - 17 AUGUST 2007

The Attempt at Showing the Unimaginable

Hotel Modern from Rotterdam is the last group to present its work in the Young Directors Project. LAGER, a “theatrical animation in real time without words,” is an unusual treatment of the topic of the Holocaust. Pauline Kalker and Herman Helle talked about the project.

Daily: In De Grote Oorlog (The Great War) from 2000/2001, you dealt with the fate of the soldiers in World War I. In LAGER from 2005, the audience sees an hour in the concentration camp Auschwitz. What inspired you for this work?

Kalker: We are very interested in the topic of war. My grandfather died in Auschwitz. My father only survived because he was able to hide. So I am affected personally, and I would like to understand the last days of my grandfather’s life: how he died, in what circumstances he had to live the last weeks of his life.

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DAILY #17 - 15 AUGUST 2007

A School of Listening as a School for Life

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra under the direction of Daniel Barenboim takes up residence this year in Salzburg. A musical dialogue as a model for peaceful cooperation which also includes Pierre Boulez, Patrice Chéreau, Thomas Hampson, Waltraud Meier and Dorothea Röschmann.

Conductor Daniel Barenboim is not content to merely speak of the “moral responsibility of our ears”, he also takes action. When Weimar was the European Capital of Culture in 1999, the Palestinian writer and philosopher Edward Said and he convened young musicians from Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, young people from countries that are hardly at peace with each other, for a workshop. The response was so great that the workshop became more than a one-time occurrence, turning into the long-term project West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.

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DAILY #16 - 14 AUGUST 2007

The Dark Side of Light

The Salzburg Festival Dialogues 2007 offer further explorations on the Festival motto The Nocturnal Side of Reason. Since 1994, Michael Fischer has been Director of the Festival Dialogues; in his essay, he writes about the “piece of night that everyone has inside them”.

Every year, the Salzburg Festival acts as a great mirror: of art itself, of society, the spirit of the age, its trends. Questions upon questions have to be answered, time and again: what is the role of the Festival in society? What kind of beauty should it really provide? Pedestrian pleasures or the beauty of irritation, destruction and provocation? Is the Festival supposed to expose or to cover up, to enlighten or to enchant, to bow to economic pressures or to take up the social challenges of its times?

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DAILY #15 - 12 AUGUST 2007

Beyond the Glass Jar

Gérard Depardieu in Salzburg: the multi-faceted actor makes an appearance as the narrator in Hector Berlioz’ Lélio ou Le retour à la vie, the rarely-performed finale of the Symphonie fantastique: a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Riccardo Muti.

From Cyrano de Bergerac to Obelix: Gérard Depardieu is one of the most busy French film actors. Whether comedy, romance, drama or historical epic, Depardieu has done it all and has made more than 170 movies. He worked with prominent proponents of the Nouvelle Vague like Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais and François Truffaut, but also with directors like Maurice Pialat, André Téchiné, Marguerite Duras, Ridley Scott, Kenneth Branagh and many others. Depardieu is one of the few French actors who appear regularly in international productions. In his private life, he is an epicure: at his own winery in the Anjou region he makes wine and sells it. With two restaurants, his own cookbook and a good dose of joie de vivre, he stages his life as a typical French hedonist.

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DAILY #14 - 11 AUGUST 2007

Of the Moral Responsibility of Our Ears

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is this year’s Orchestra in Residence at the Salzburg Festival. Daniel Barenboim is its Musical Director and one of its co-founders.

The Palestinian scholar Edward Said and the pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim initiated the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in 1999. The project brings together young musicians from Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia and Andalucía, and thus has members of enemy nations make music together.

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DAILY #13 - 10 AUGUST 2007

A Salt Cellar and Other Works of Genius

A historical artist as the hero of an opera? And why the Renaissance goldsmith and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini? Christian Arseni ruminates, given the Salzburg premiere of Hector Berlioz’ first opera.

Cellini? When one inquires about his works, one may think of the luxury “Saliera” at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, or, if one has been to Florence, the bronze Perseus on the Piazza della Signoria… but otherwise? Actually, it was not Cellini’s works of art that inspired Berlioz for his opera, but his autobiography. The young composer read the Vita in 1834 and was just as fascinated as Goethe before him (who translated it too). The plan to write an opera was the obvious next step.

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DAILY #12 - 09 AUGUST 2007

Of Love and Sorrow

Plácido Domingo and the soprano Ana María Martínez – the latter was able to substitute at short notice for Rolando Villazón, who is ill – will travel through the wide landscape of Spanish zarzuela together with the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg under the direction of Jesús López Cobos.

You turn away as I die. I am sad to know that you cannot weep.” – The pain of love, melancholy, and the passion for both are the essence of zarzuela, the Spanish music genre which combines popular culture and classical music.

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DAILY #11 - 08 AUGUST 2007

The Year of the Discoveries

Many young, serious singers, acclaimed by enthusiastic audiences, are currently enjoying great success at the Salzburg Festival. A superlative new ensemble is forming for the future. Here a feature in words and pictures presents the artists performing at this summer’s Festival.

After the many successful opera premieres that we have already witnessed this summer, patrons always ask me the same question: who is this singer? They mean many of our almost unknown and yet so wonderful artists. Annette Dasch, who is emerging triumphant as Armida, Mojca Erdmann’s Zelmira, captivating audiences in the Felsenreitschule, and Bernard Richter, singing Clotarco.

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DAILY #10 - 07 AUGUST 2007

Short and Stories – Summer in Leopoldskron

Jeffrey Eugenides, 47, and Richard Ford, 63, are the Poets in Residence this year at Schloss Leopoldskron: on their own, with each other and together with guests from the world of fine arts, the two American novelists bring new stories to Salzburg.

I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.” The opening of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel Middlesex is as mysterious as it is tantalizing: the family story of little Calliope, who discovers her sexual peculiarity as a hermaphrodite in her teens and goes on to live as a man, was the author’s second bestselling hit after its publication in 2002. Eugenides tells this tale of the development and growth of an extraordinary person with touching and fantastic elements.

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DAILY #9 - 05 AUGUST 2007

Phantom in the Circle of Zen

With Giacinto Scelsi, the Salzburg Festival is inaugurating its new Continents series. Excursions into the mystical-romantic sound world of the Italian composer will be presented at the Kollegienkirche, the University Auditorium and the Perner-Insel.

Who has seen Giacinto Scelsi? The Zen symbol of a circle, and a line underneath it – that is the picture that is used instead of a portrait in the publications about Scelsi. Photographs of him exist, but Scelsi refused to give permission for their publication.

That is not the only mysterious and strange element surrounding this composer.

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DAILY #8 - 04 AUGUST 2007

Panic and Fear in the Face of Total Darkness

Thomas Bernhard and the Salzburg Festival: Hermann Beil, witness to many Salzburg world premieres and Bernhard scandals, looks back.

Salzburg is extraterritorial” – with that succinct statement, Thomas Bernhard revoked his own verdict early in 1986. Out of anger at the unspeakable ban on his novel Holzfällen, he had decreed that none of his plays could be performed in Austria. Bernhard’s enemies were already maliciously gloating, because this also put the author in a bind, since his play Ritter, Dene, Voss, written for Claus Peymann, was to have had its first performance at the Burgtheater in Vienna, had it not been for his own dictum. Bernhard himself invented this clever detour as a solution, which on the one hand brought a legendary event to Salzburg and on the other opened the door to a phenomenal series of performances of Ritter, Dene, Voss at the Burgtheater.

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DAILY #7 - 03 AUGUST 2007

Max and the Traps of Society

Carl Maria von Weber’s Freischütz, the key element of German romantic opera, has pride of place this year at the Salzburg Festival. Falk Richter directs and drives all the romantic notions out of the dark forest.

The story is quickly told. Max, the young hunter, loves Agathe, the daughter of the hereditary forest ranger. In order to marry her, he has to succeed at a trial shot. However, faced with this definitive test, he develops a shooting problem. So he asks his colleague Kaspar for help, since Kaspar knows how to cast magic bullets that will hit any target, if one sells one’s soul to the Black Hunter Samiel. So evil takes its course, but in the very end, good triumphs. The tale is well-known, and so is the opera: difficult fare for any modern director. What is not well-known is the adaptation of the opera that the young German director Falk Richter has written for Salzburg.

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DAILY #6 - 02 AUGUST 2007

Who if not HE?

Thomas Thieme plays Molière, plays Luk Perceval, Feridun Zaimoglu and Günter Senkel: a singular actor at the center of a monstrous theater project at the Salzburg Festival.

Salzburg. Perner-Insel. Summer. 2007. It’s snowing. Incessantly. In the midst of it: Thomas Thieme. It is not the first time that Thomas Thieme has taken up quarters here in the old salt works in Hallein. He doesn’t see the city, baroque Salzburg. The rehearsal schedule doesn’t allow him to leave. With him: Luk Perceval, the Flemish director. His tamer, his master, his playfellow. And Luk Perceval is the man, and probably the only one, who can turn Thomas Thieme into the theater marathon man. Under his direction, five months of rehearsals are followed by five-hour theatrical battles, ten performances within twelve days of Molière. A Passion.

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DAILY #5 - 01 AUGUST 2007

Nocturnal Madness

Rediscovering Schumann: within the concert program of this year’s Festival, Markus Hinterhäuser has programmed the series Schumann Scenes. In an interview with Daily, he speaks about his concept and Schumann’s importance for today’s composers, and hopes that Schumann’s late works will be heard with fresh ears.

Daily: Why has the Salzburg Festival dedicated a special concert series to the romantic composer Robert Schumann?

Hinterhäuser: If you take the “Nocturnal Side of Reason” as the overarching motto of this year’s Festival, and see this as a possibility for reflection, then Robert Schumann is the paradigmatic example of this “nocturnal side”: consider all his craziness, his darkness and his inner turmoil. Schumann was a being whose madness drove him into the night. When you think about his œuvre, he is an almost perfect example of romanticism, of being truly broken. And the term “scenes” runs like a thread through Schumann’s work: Childhood Scenes, Forest Scenes, Scenes from Faust. It is almost a coincidence that the series Schumann Scenes will feature a lot of musicians from Salzburg: Angelika Kirchschlager, Thomas Zehetmair, Benjamin Schmid, Clemens Hagen and the Camerata Salzburg.

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DAILY #4 - 31 JULY 2007

The Most Beautiful Kiss

All points of the compass are represented this year at the Young Director’s Program: dance, film, marionette theater, performance and documentation, dramatic narration and drama mix in fascinating ways. The first production to be presented at “republic” is the Belgian troupe Peeping Tom’s Le Salon.

This evening features the most beautiful kiss in the history of theater: Le Salon tells a story of three generations who meet in the run-down living-room of a formerly grand-bourgeois family. On the left side of this living-room, there is a large bed, on the right a piano which is out of tune and on the walls, pictures and photographs tell of past glory. One would not be surprised if a musty smell rose from all these objects and wafted towards the audience.

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DAILY #3 - 29 JULY 2007

A Tortuos Scinning: Perceval’s Molière-Project

Molière and nothing but: with The Misanthrope, Don Juan, Tartuffe and The Miser, Flemish director Luk Perceval stages four Molière plays in one massive event at the Perner-Insel. Actor Thomas Thieme is his congenial partner in this endeavor.

When Thomas Thieme appears in Salzburg, usually mammon is not far behind. He didn’t have more than a few minutes when he appeared in Jedermann, but in those few minutes, the tall actor, quite corpulent even in reality, made an enormous impression as a giant before the Cathedral façade, inflated to a golden money-bag. That was in 2000 and 2001.

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DAILY #2 - 28 JULY 2007

Angels of Vengeance and War Traumata

In Haydn’s opera Armida, Annette Dasch and Michael Schade suffer the cruel torments of an impossible love. In our interview, they explain the characters of their roles and speak out for Joseph Haydn as an opera composer.

Daily: Haydn’s last opera for the small court theater of Prince Esterházy deals with the doomed relationship between the sorceress Armida and the crusader Rinaldo. In the end, Rinaldo leaves his lover, who then curses him. What causes this rift?

Dasch: Armida has just met the love of her life; then we see almost as if in slow motion how the lovers are cruelly parted, not by a lack of affection but by external circumstances. In the end, Armida has given up her entire self. In the beginning, she is a politician who becomes first a loving, then a lost and finally a vengeful woman.

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DAILY #1 - 27 JULY 2007

“Come, hope, do not let the last star shining for the tired grow pale”

On July 27 at 11 a.m., this year’s Festival was inaugurated with a ceremony in Salzburg’s Felsenreitschule. This event also marks the beginning of Jürgen Flimm’s first season. In his address, the Artistic Director asks what has happened to contemporary society. Following are excerpts from his speech.

To reflect the present time, to hold a mirror up to the world – the stories don’t have to be contemporary; old ones, reimagined, also serve the purpose. Hamlet, the director, used an apparently well-worn tragedy to quell his desire for vengeance, the Murder of Gonzaga. Hamlet himself was a pretty old chestnut, which Shakespeare rearranged for his company of players at the Globe. Haydn’s Armida, which has its premiere here tomorrow, uses a story by Tasso (from Gerusalemme liberata) which has also served as raw material for many other composers. But there were always lots of plays “fresh from the frying pan” (as Goethe casually remarked) as well, wild attacks from angry contemporaries, sorrowful images, such as Kabale und Liebe and Minna and Die Räuber, a line of radical contemporaries that stretches out to encompass Bernhard’s Heldenplatz and others …

 

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DAILY #0 - 18 JULY 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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