Salzburg Festival Blog 26 (20 Aug)

I attend to small affairs in Munich, have my hair cut, pay a quick visit to the terrific ‘Manufactum’ store, (I wish we had one in England) and pick up my post from the Bayerische Staatsoper. Then I drive to Salzburg. What should have been a ninety minutes drive takes the best part of seven hours because of an overturned tanker! Not only the UK has motorway gridlock. I am helped by two things, firstly Satellite Navigation and secondly Eva Maria-Wieser (Salzburg Festival Opera Director), who advises me on the best routes to programme into the Sat-nav.

I arrive a few hours before our show, at least not too hot, thanks to my excellent Mercedes (courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Austria who are the main sponsors of the Mozarteum Orchestra) take a quick shower and then come into the Felsenreitschule ready for the ‘Armida’ premiere. It is a good show and the cast if anything seem more at ease than two years ago. Mozarteum Orchestra play with verve and vim. Our cast complain about the roastingly hot temperature on stage but despite this Michael, Annette, et al throw themselves with abandon into their roles. The public is happy.

I am sad that Christof (our director) cannot be here. He had to start rehearsals in London today for the Royal Opera House’s new production of ‘Tristan’. After the show President Helga Rabl-Stadler hosts a dinner for cast and friends in the Kulisse and delivers a speech of thanks to the performers which is a ‘tour de force’. I have the pleasure to sit next to the legendary Christa Ludwig. She has a razor-sharp mind and great charm. She is also generous and constructive with the younger generation of singers.

It is already late but there is a tempting offer of fine wine at Chateau Tomasi – presented by Carlo Wolf and a leading wine-producer from the Mosel so I pay a quick visit along with the up and coming Munich-based director Martina Veh. It is well worth the trip!