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First Impressions of a “Young Singer” at the Salzburg Festival

18 JUL 2014

by Wolfgang Resch  18:08 h;
published in: General

A total of 21 young singers from 14 nations were selected for this year’s Young Singers Project. Months before the project began the names of the participants were published online. Thus, it was all the more interesting to finally meet the colleagues in person with whom we were going to spend the summer in Salzburg. For many of us, the very first day began with rehearsals for La Cenerentola for Children, a production in which I will share the role of Dandini with my colleague Roman Hoza. We threw ourselves into the piece with abandon and the joy of music-making, and it is not revealing too much to say that this production will make children’s hearts beat faster. The costumes and sets are incredibly fairy-tale-like and playful; they even remind me a bit of Walt Disney’s Cinderella. One special feature of our version of Cenerentola is that the father, Don Magnifico, appears here as a mother, Donna Magnifica. However, the role continues to be performed by a man.
We have now been making music and rehearsing together for three weeks. That creates a strong bond! We are happy to spend our time together outside of rehearsals too, exchanging stories and views and letting the day draw to a close. Beautiful Salzburg offers more than enough locations and opportunities.
I am particularly happy about the fact that like my YSP colleague Annika Schlicht, I have been given a minor role in this year’s world premiere, Charlotte Salomon by the French composer Marc-André Dalbavie, who conducts the work himself. When I learned that I had been cast in the role of a “Nazi”, I admit that I felt a bit queasy, especially as we will be wearing original Nazi uniforms on stage. Even in the theatre, where employees and colleagues are used to quite a bit, one does – rightfully – get some shocked looks when one wears said uniform to get a coffee from the machine. However, it makes the images director Luc Bondy is creating at the Felsenreitschule all the more compelling. The opera deals with the story of the young Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon, who was murdered at the Auschwitz concentration camp. It is not easy to play a “Nazi” on stage. I see it as a special form of coming to terms with the past.
Apart from rehearsals, we YSPers have almost daily coaching, fine-tuning our repertoire and preparing for our upcoming master classes and concerts.
Next week, we enter the final rehearsals for our Children’s Cenerentola and rehearsals begin for the revival of The Abduction from the Seraglio for Children. Before, however, the entire YSP ensemble presents itself on Saturday, July 19, in two concerts as part of the Festival Opening Party at the Main Auditorium of the University.

More soon! 

Wolfgang Resch