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Art, gardens and Mozart in Salzburg

I’m currently in Salzburg for the annual opera and theater festival (reviews here and here, with more to come). But opera and theater are generally evening activities, so I’ve had plenty of time to explore the city.

Salzburg is beautiful. There are old buildings and churches and statues and fountains all around.

Perhaps the prettiest spot is the Mirabell Gardens, full of geometrical flower beds and mythological statues. The gardens also have a great view of Hohensalzburg Castle. Continue reading Art, gardens and Mozart in Salzburg

Two days, three very different operas

A dull Don Carlo in Munich, though one worth seeing for the singing (especially goddess Anja). Note to directors: black on black is a bad color scheme. Note to translators: please actually translate the libretto rather than leaving us to guess every other line. Note to artistic directors: Asher Fisch is a much better conductor for Strauss than for Verdi.

A silly Barber of Seville for Children to kick off my Salzburg Festival experience. The young singers were not only musically solid, but also fabulous actors (especially the Figaro). Even the conductor (Duncan Ward) was wonderfully dramatic. I prefer my Rossini in Italian and complete, but this abridged version in German was interactive and fun.

The Conquest of Mexico in a VIP-filled crowd at the Salzburg Festival (including the composer Wolfgang Rihm). It had nothing to do with Mexico. It was modern and bizarre and high-tech but also primitive and abstract. Artuad, Octavio Paz, Hegel—philosophy and literature and tones and grunting and screaming. Sound coming from all sides. Brilliantly staged so that it was somehow accessible despite the chaos. A totally unique operatic experience.