Salzburg, Seneca Style

So you find yourself at Salzburg Festival, but but you’re actually here for the music (and you’re also a little full of youself, and you’re ostentatiously cultivated with a capital C since your distinguishing feature is education, since it is definitely not money, but you don’t like to get called out on that)?
You’re also a philosopher, or at least a professor of philosophy (or you think you should be) and you abhor superficial crowds with bling (especially if they actually have the money you don’t own)?
You love cities with a history, and you love panoramic sights, but please without other people, or anything else that might interfere with your ideal of Petrarchian solitude on a lofty mountaintop?

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Mayhem at the Meat Plant: “L’incoronazione di Poppea” at Salzburg Festival

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[Ensemble, Curtain Shot – “L’incoronazione di Poppea”, Salzburg 2018]

If I had to come up with a single thing that stood out about the new Salzburg „Poppea“, I would need a moment to choose, which is already a thing on its own: there was so much going on on stage and in the two integrated, slightly elevated pits, that it was impossible to process in its entirety. I am undecided whether this was a wholly purposeful move or more of a side effect from a directing perspective other than stage singing, and the space and attention that can command.

So what stood out?

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Ascenseur pour l’échafaud: “Elektra” at Vienna Strauss Days (Cable Review)

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[Curtain call after Strauss’ “Elektra”, Staatsoper Vienna Dec 5, 2017, starring, among others, Elena Pankratova (Elektra) Gun-Britt Barkmin (Chrysothemis), Johan Reuter (Orest) and Waltraud Meier (Klytämnestra), conducted by Ingo Metzmacher]

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Tank Tops and High Tops: the Currentzis “Clemenza” at Musikfest Bremen

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In brief: There was some very good and dedicated music-making to be heard during this “Tito”. Currentzis makes a lot more sense when he is on a podium, working, and not not talking about it (or, God forbid, on a press photo shoot). There were some over-affectuated bits and some unnecessary theatrics (also looking at you, light crew), but it was a good and focused concert, and it offered lots of chances to reflect on the idea of authenticity, art as a space of the sacred, music-making and democracy, and the power of audience attitudes.

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