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25 July – 30 August

‘Spiel der Mächtigen’ (‘Game of the Mighty’) was the motto of the 2009 Salzburg Festival programme, which was also overshadowed by a leadership debate. Handel, Rossini, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn were the main features of the opera season – and Luigi Nono, whose superlative work Al gran sole carico d’amore was shown in the Felsenreitschule/Summer Riding School.

The production was exceedingly complex, with video live performance and overwhelming stage pictures conceived by Katie Mitchell; it was acclaimed by audience and media, as was the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in a huge ensemble with fourfold brass section, eleven kettle drums and plenty of percussion – and the singer ensemble under Ingo Metzmacher.

Likewise acclaimed was the opening production, Handel’s oratorio Theodora directed by Christof Loy with Christine Schäfer and Bejun Mehta, conducted by Ivor Bolton. Claus Guth completed his Mozart/Da Ponte cycle with Così fan tutte.

At the end of August, Peter Simonischek was to be seen for the last time on Domplatz/Cathedral Square; having appeared more times in the role of Jedermann/Everyman than anyone else, with 91 performances.