21 May 2024

17 – 20 May 2024

With an outstandingly warm audience response and a 98.5 percentage of occupied seats, the 2024 Salzburg Whitsun Festival has drawn to a close. Kammersängerin Cecilia Bartoli, the Artistic Director of the Festival, focused on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; she also celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the Salzburg debut of her long-standing artistic friend Plácido Domingo with a gala concert.

“What I particularly love about the Whitsun Festival is that for four days, I can create a little world where we can jointly dedicate ourselves fully to familiar and new works in very different contexts. I myself was surprised how many aspects of Mozart’s oeuvre we ultimately managed to incorporate this year. The lynchpin was our ‘Folle journée’, which was ‘mad’ in every way and dedicated to the ingenious works co-created by Mozart and Da Ponte. In our enthusiasm, we were gripped by a certain mischievousness, certainly appropriate for Mozart, which made us reach for the stars. Here, the ensemble spirit – which was palpable throughout the weekend and the reason I revere and love Mozart from the bottom of my heart – was felt in its best, concentrated form.

Plácido Domingo has had a relationship with the Festival for 50 years. Through his Operalia Competition, he has done amazing things to support young vocalists, and many of its winners are world-famous opera stars today. The artistic friendships that grew from this spirit of shared music-making made the gala a very special event.

And in this same spirit, I would like to thank all those involved – also the wonderful Festival teams and staff! – for their immense contributions! Thank you, of course, to the warm-hearted and interested audience, which keeps inspiring us with its enthusiasm to ever-new flights of excellence,” says the Artistic Director Cecilia Bartoli about this year’s edition of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival.

“With her customary insightful programming, Cecilia Bartoli has managed once again this year to wonderfully convey essential perspectives of Mozart’s oeuvre. For many years, her unerring feeling for musical and dramaturgical quality has made the Whitsun Festival an artistic event of the first rank,” says Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser.

“With Tutto Mozart, for the first time, Cecilia Bartoli focused on Salzburg’s resident genius for her Whitsun programme. The audience followed her with great enthusiasm. More than 13.000 visitors and 98.5% of seats occupied mean that the 2024 Whitsun Festival was a worthy successor to the great triumphs of recent years,” thus Festival President Kristina Hammer.

“In business terms, Cecilia Bartoli’s has once again proved a resounding success. The Salzburg Whitsun Festival has proven a true audience magnet, with visitors from more than 50 nations. We thank all the artists involved and the entire Festival team. Together, they made this great success happen,” says Executive Director Lukas Crepaz.

13,225 guests attended the 2024 Salzburg Whitsun Festival. Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, the USA, Italy, Great Britain, Hungary, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands were the top ten among the 52 nations represented.

The press office accredited 71 journalists writing features and reviews for 16 countries. Apart from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France and other European countries, these media are located in North and South America as well as Japan.

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The Festival began with Robert Carsen’s new production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, enthusiastically received by audience and reviewers. After the highly acclaimed 2019 production of Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, this was the second collaboration between Carsen, Cecilia Bartoli and Gianluca Capuano at the Whitsun Festival; it was his third work altogether for the Salzburg Festival. With references to current political events, he transposed the action to our present day. The fact that his staging hit a nerve was demonstrated by standing ovations from the audience. Cecilia Bartoli caused a stir in her role debut as Sesto, as did Daniel Behle in the title role. Alexandra Marcellier, Mélissa Petit, Anna Tetruashvili and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo were brilliant in additional solo roles. The orchestra Les Musiciens du Prince – Monaco and the chorus Il Canto di Orfeo under Gianluca Capuano’s baton were equally celebrated.

During the summer, the staged production of La clemenza di Tito will be revived: its premiere takes place on 1 August 2024. Further performances follow on 3, 5, 8, 10 and 13 August at the Haus für Mozart.

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Cecilia Bartoli slipped into various roles in the opera pasticcio Une folle journée, in which David Livermore staged ensembles and arias from Mozart’s three great Da Ponte operas in one ironically cheerful, honestly emotional opera gala. She was joined on this turbulent musical journey by Lea Desandre, Daniel Behle, Rolando Villazón, Mattia Olivieri, Alessandro Corbelli, Daniil Trifonov as well as Les Musiciens du Prince – Monaco under the baton of Gianluca Capuano.

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The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen made its Whitsun Festival debut, led by Paavo Järvi and Daniil Trifonov. In two of Mozart’s symphonies and his Piano Concerto No. 25 in C-major K. 503, they proved their impressive instrumental mettle. The audience thanked the musicians with extensive applause.

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The performance of the Mass in C-Minor K. 421 as part of the sacred concert on Whitsunday was also rewarded with copious applause. Regula Mühlemann, Juliette Mey, Jan Petryka and Yasushi Hirano sang the solo parts in the 2005 version completed by Robert D. Levin, arranged by Gianluca Capuano, who conducted the ensembles Les Musiciens du Prince – Monaco, Il Canto di Orfeo and the Bach Choir Salzburg.

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András Schiff focused mainly on Mozart’s pianistic oeuvre in his matinee on Whitsun Monday. Framed by his own explanations and comments, his interpretations of sonatas and piano pieces won him ardent applause from the audience, which he rewarded with two encores.

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This year’s Whitsun Festival concluded with a celebration of the 50-year anniversary of Plácido Domingo’s Salzburg Festival debut. Apart from Domingo himself, Elena Stikhina, Sonya Yoncheva, Aida Garifullina, Erwin Schrott, Rolando Villazón, René Barbera, Bekhzod Davronov and Dmitry Korchak performed arias and duets by Rossini, Verdi, Bellini, Massenet, Bizet and Tchaikovsky. They were accompanied by the Munich Radio Orchestra under the baton of Marco Armiliato.

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For more than half a century, Rolex has partnered some of the world’s most talented artists and leading cultural institutions. The Rolex Perpetual Arts Initiative is a broad portfolio of arts that extends through music, architecture, cinema and the Rolex mentoring programme. In all of these endeavours, the brand confirms its long-term commitment to global culture, celebrating excellence and empowering new generations who in turn perpetuate the world’s artistic heritage. Among its Testimonees in music are world-leading artists such as Cecilia Bartoli, Benjamin Bernheim, Gustavo Dudamel, Juan Diego Flórez, Jonas Kaufmann, Rolando Villazón and Sonya Yoncheva. In 2012, Rolex became Main Sponsor of the Salzburg Festival and Exclusive Sponsor of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival. Furthermore, since 2021 Rolex has supported the Herbert von Karajan Young Conductors Award.

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