Salzburg Festival Blog 34 (28 Aug)

More last-minute organisation. I have been in Salzburg for nearly eleven weeks and there are literally hundreds of scores lying around the Aigen house. Also several CD edits of our Mozarteum Orchestra’s latest recordings to be listened to. Bruckner’s 8th Symphony, and his 4th as well as all the Mozart Flute Concertos are the most urgent.

I then listen to several young members of the Bach Choir who have solo aspirations. The level is high and I am struck by the amazing male-soprano of Turkish-born Onur Abaci whose sound is reminiscent of the French virtuoso Philippe Jaroussky.

Afterwards lunch with Annette Dasch (in the always wonderful Purzelbaum). The rehearsal period for ‘Armida’ was so concentrated that we have not spent so much time together this summer, so it’s good to catch up. I have the greatest admiration for this soprano, unlike so many divas she has the strongest possible musical basis and as well as her amazing voice she has a sublime, creative musical intelligence.

In the evening it is the last performance of ‘Theodora’ and the final day of eleven weeks work. Fond farewells -or in nearly all cases ‘au revoirs’- and much emotion. It ends well with a great public once again astounded by this masterwork. I hope to work with all of this exceptional cast again (in fact in most cases, plans are already laid) and the Bach Choir is an indispensible partner for the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg. (We will perform together in Cuenca’s famed Holy Week Festival next Easter-L’Enfance du Christ) What can one say about the Freiburg Barock Orchestra, except that if there is a finer baroque orchestra in the world I have yet to hear them. The reaction of public and critics (except perhaps the gentleman from Vienna’s “Presse’!) is testimony to this. We will be together in Aix-en -Provence next summer, and in many future projects.

A brief reception in the Festival House is followed by dinner with Bernard Focroulle -Intendant of Aix-en-Provence and wife Annick.