Myths from antiquity
Salzburger Festspiele 2019
In 2019, we hope to kindle your interest and curiosity in myths from antiquity, which the Festival co-founder Hugo von Hofmannsthal saw as a ‘magic mirror’. Mythical tales from long ago still raise ever-relevant questions about human existence, addressing themes of war, flight, sacrifice, revenge, guilt and atonement.
The opening premiere will be Mozart’s Idomeneo. Here, the ruler — torn between duty to the gods and love for his family — is forced to deliberate and take action. This contrasts with the awareness lacked by the title character of George Enescu’s opera Œdipe: he becomes guilty without fault. Family conflicts and political disputes also appear in the gripping plot of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, a work which recalls the fateful intricacies familiar to us from the great mythic tales of humanity’s ancient past.
One of the key female figures in mythology is Medea, who features twice in our programme. Luigi Cherubini’s 1797 opera Médée, which he based on Euripides’ tragedy, is an extraordinary drama of the soul, driven by disappointed love and bloody revenge. An unsettling contemporary version is then offered by the French composer Pascal Dusapin in his operatic adaptation of Heiner Müller’s Medeamaterial. Jacques Offenbach reacted in a very different way to his era’s cult of myth: his operetta Orphée aux enfers is both a parody and a social satire.
And as is now tradition every year, we will showcase the Whitsun opera with our wonderful Cecilia Bartoli once more in the summer. George Frideric Handel’s Alcina is deeply rooted in the rich traditions of oral storytelling from times gone by.