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La Scuola Napoletana – The Grand Finale with Riccardo Muti

13 JUN 2011

published in: Whitsun, General

Riccardo Muti with his Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini
“Riccardo Muti – il grande finale – the 2011 Salzburg Whitsun Festival did even more justice to this poster slogan than we had promised,“ Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler said after the touching final applause for the Cherubini Requiem on Monday.

Both in cultural and economic terms, this year’s Whitsun Festival was the most successful since 1998, the year the Salzburg Festival took over the event from the Salzburg Easter Festival. With over 7,600 tickets sold, the sales topped the average of past years.

Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser said: “The goals of the five-year project with Riccardo Muti have not only been fulfilled, but exceeded. On the one hand, we were able to tear this Neapolitan period, which is so important for the development of music throughout Europe, from the jaws of oblivion, thereby doing musicology a great favor as well. On the other hand, the Festival has proven that audiences value programs with a thematic focus.”

Tickets sold

The five events of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival were attended by more than 7,600 guests from 30 countries. Growing beyond its core markets in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, the Whitsun Festival has developed into an European attraction for cultural tourism: during the past five years, increased attendance from the following countries has been noted: from Eastern and Southeastern Europe, e.g. Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia; from Norway, Denmark and Sweden, and also from overseas and the USA.

Opera and concerts in 2011

For the last part of his musical journey, Maestro Muti had selected both operas and sacred works by composers “who emerged from the Neapolitan School, but paved the way for Donizetti, Bellini, even the early Verdi”: a melodramma buffo by Saverio Mercadante, I due Figaro (1826), and the Requiem in C-Minor (1816) by Luigi Cherubini. “Mercadante forms part of this bridge between Neapolitan tradition and the future,” Muti characterizes his importance for music history.

In addition, there was Neapolitan chamber music with the baroque ensemble Il Giardino Armonico under Giovanni Antonini. René Jacobs led the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin in a performance of Handel’s Aci, Galatea e Polifemo – a serenata written during a sojourn of the composer in Naples. Jean-Christophe Spinosi and the Ensemble Matheus interpreted rarely-performed solo concerts of the Neapolitan School, together with the young French cellist Jérôme Pernoo and flutist Alexis Kossenko.

Radio broadcasts

Ö1 broadcast Cherubini’s Requiem in C-Minor, conducted by Riccardo Muti, live from the Felsenreitschule on June 13 at 11:00 am. The Neapolitan chamber music concert Un’ Accademia Napoletana by the baroque ensemble Il Giardino Armonico under Giovanni Antonini will be broadcast on June 16 at 11:05 am on Ö1.

Exclusive Sponsor for Whitsun: A. Lange & Söhne

For the past five years, the Salzburg Whitsun Festival has been sponsored exclusively by the watch-making firm A. Lange & Söhne, which celebrated its 165th anniversary in 2010.