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Mozart Week: from 21 to 31 January in Salzburg

I'm a spirit of Mozartian optimism: together with Rolando Villazón, the world’s leading Mozart Festival is celebrating Mozart’s 265th birthday with a series of events which despite alterations retains its full eleven-day programme
• Fifty-six events featuring the world’s finest Mozartians
• An exceptional discovery: a previously unknown piece by Mozart
• Very special performances: Mozart 1805, a Mozartiade and the legendary duo of Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim
• Enjoy Mozart – safely

Musico dramatico! What an apt and almost prophetic motto in these dramatic times,” the Mozart Week Festival’s intendant, Rolando Villazón, sums up the Festival’s maxim, adding: “Art, culture and music are all elixirs, especially at the time of a coronavirus pandemic. Despite dynamic developments and current lockdowns I remain convinced that at the end of January it will be possible for lovers of Mozart’s music and performers from the whole world to meet in Salzburg for an exceptional Mozart Week Festival and once again bring the light of Mozart’s music into all our lives for the first festival of the new year.”

To enjoy Mozart safely is the overriding principle of the 2021 Mozart Week Festival. The Mozarteum Foundation has a prevention plan in place that has been approved by the authorities and has already proved effective at many other events. As a result of the safety regulations currently in force, a number of changes have had to be made to the programme that the Festival had originally planned to give and a handful of projects have had to be postponed for organizational reasons. These include the fully staged performances of Don Giovanni, L’oca del Cairo and Sacred Mozart. Numerous artists and orchestras have been engaged for these performances and will be giving each of their concerts twice in order to allow festivalgoers to enjoy as much Mozart as possible in spite of the limited seating. The 2021 Mozart Week Festival will take place over a period of eleven days as the first festival of the new year, covering its usual range of events and lasting as long as normal.

The 2021 Mozart Week Festival has adopted as its motto the phrase musico drammatico and is intended to showcase the composer as a music dramatist working within the multifarious world that he inhabited: The Festival is focusing on those of his works in minor keys in which the immediacy of their dramatic impact is particularly palpable. As Villazón points out, “Mozart was able to read the human soul and had a unique gift for translating what he found in this abstract world of light and shade into his compositions, in that way revealing himself as the most consummate musico drammatico. In all of his works Mozart was a master of drama and of human stories – this is equally true of his operas, his symphonies and his concertos. Mozart is alive – and how!”

Ninety-Four Seconds of New Mozart

The 2021 Mozart Week Festival will begin – exceptionally – with a unique afternoon event when a previously unknown piece by Mozart will be presented to audiences for the first time in the Great Hall of the Mozarteum. At the heart of “Ninety-Four Seconds of New Mozart” is the Allegro in D major K626b/16, a three-part, dancelike keyboard piece that will be introduced by Ulrich Leisinger, the Mozarteum Foundation’s director of research, and performed by the United States pianist Robert Levin. The Mozarteum Foundation acquired Mozart’s autograph from a private collector before the current coronavirus pandemic. A detailed examination of the score has revealed that it is indeed a hitherto unknown keyboard piece notated by Wolfgang Amadé Mozart in his own hand and believed to date from early 1773, when Mozart was seventeen and either nearing the end of his third visit to Italy or already back in Salzburg.

Mozart Moves
Under the intendancy of Rolando Villazón, the Mozart Week Festival represents the interaction of universal forms of expression such as music, dance, text, pantomime and puppetry that Mozart himself loved so much. As such it reflects his dramatic variety on the stage. This remains the case even if a number of modifications have had to be made to the 2021 Mozart Week Festival’s programme. The project Mozart Moves! – “Eternally thy loving thee...“ at the Salzburg Landestheater features a world premiere with Magdalena Ko┼żená at its heart: concert arias, songs, dances and little-known fragments from Mozart’s pen will be brought together to create a musical narrative which, with its choreographic interpretation, will result in a form of music theatre that explores the different facets of love. The production of Pùnkitititi! at the 2020 Mozart Week Festival captured the hearts of its audiences and will be returning in a reduced format for five performances at the Salzburg Marionette Theatre, although social-distancing rules mean that it will be impossible to have live musical accompaniment. The pianist Jory Vinikour will be combining Mozart with Charlie Chaplin and performing Mozart Meets Chaplin and a Cat in the Villa Vicina that opened in the autumn of 2020. At the SZENE venue, Cécile Roussat and Julien Lubek will be performing Magic Mozart, a magical and moving total artwork that brings together dance, pantomime, acrobatics, object theatre and music. At the OVAL in the EUROPAPARK The little Mozart invites the whole family to go on a musical journey. Cara sorella mia is part of the series Letters and Music and features Eldbjørg Hemsing on Mozart’s “Costa” violin, Marie Sophie Hauzel on the fortepiano and the actress Adele Neuhauser, who provides the linking narrative and throws light on Wolfgang Amadé’s relationship with his sister Maria Anna (Nannerl).

The Finest Mozart Performances
The Festival is framed by two gala concerts that provide both a retrospective and a foretaste of things to come. At the opening concert Keri-Lynn Wilson will be conducting the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra with Xavier de Maistre (harp) and Mathilde Calderini (flute), while the closing concert will be performed by Collegium 1704 under Václav Luks, with Mojca Erdmann as the soprano soloist. The concert ends with Mozart’s G minor Symphony K550, bringing the Mozart Week Festival to a close with a minor-key work in keeping with its motto. Thomas Hengelbrock and his Balthasar Neumann Ensemble will give two performance of a pasticcio, Scenes from a Marriage, that has been conceived specifically for the occasion and that is scored for tenor and soprano. The performances will take place in the Great Hall of the Mozarteum.

The Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Robin Ticciati will likewise give two performances in the Great Hall. Their programme includes Mozart’s Masonic Funeral Music K477 and the motet Exsultate jubilate K165 with Regula Mühlemann as the soloist. The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra will also be heard twice with Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano) and Daniel Behle (tenor) in a programme that includes movements from the Haffner Symphony K385. Christina Pluhar’s ensemble L’Arpeggiata will be performing two sacred works in D minor, the early Missa brevis and the late Requiem, while the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra under Riccardo Minasi will be joining forces with the Salzburg Bach Choir and Robert Levin to reconstruct a historic concert originally mounted by Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart in 1805. Mozart’s declaration of his love for his wife Constanze, the Mass in C minor, will be performed by the Vienna Philharmonic, the Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus and a hand- picked team of soloists under the direction of Alain Altinoglu. Daniel Barenboim in continuing his cycle of late symphonies and keyboard concertos with the Vienna Philharmonic. In this he will be joined by the mezzo-soprano Marianne Crebassa. Barenboim and Martha Argerich have been friends for more than seventy years. For many years they have also formed an acclaimed piano duo. At the 2021 Salzburg Mozart Week Festival these two giants of the piano world will be performing a selection of works by Mozart written for piano four hands. And Mitsuko Uchida will be continuing her Mozart series with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

There can be no Mozart Week Festival without Sir András Schiff. In 2021 the conductor and pianist is giving two concerts with his Capella Andrea Barca, performing two works that are a reflection of two particularly dramatic periods in Mozart’s life: the final concerto that Mozart wrote in Salzburg, the Keyboard Concerto K271 from 1777, and the Keyboard Concerto K595, which Mozart himself premiered in 1791 in what was to prove his final public performance. At his Mozartiade Schiff also sheds light on Mozart’s lieder output, when all of the composer’s songs will be performed by singers of the eminence of Luca Pisaroni, Sylvia Schwarz, Erna Nikolovska and Mauro Peter.


Biography of Rolando Villazón
Rolando Villazón has made a name for himself as one of today’s most popular artists, a status that he owes not only to his thrilling appearances on the world’s most prestigious stages but also to his unique versatility. In addition to his stage career, he is also active as a director, writer, radio and television personality and artistic director of the Salzburg Mozart Week Festival. He was born in Mexico City in 1972 and initially studied music at his country’s National Conservatory before joining the young artists’ programmes at the opera houses in Pittsburgh and San Francisco. Internationally, he first came to prominence in 1999 when he won multiple prizes at that year’s Operalia Competition and within months had made several successful debuts at some of the world’s leading opera houses, performances that cemented his status as an extraordinarily talented artist. Since then he has appeared in every major opera house. Rolando Villazón made his directorial debut in Lyons in 2011 and since then has directed productions at the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf and the Vienna Volksoper. Since 2007 he has recorded exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon, selling more than two million records and winning numerous awards. France – the country where he has chosen to live – has appointed him a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He is also an ambassador for Red Noses Clowndoctors International and a member of the Collège de Pataphysique in Paris. To date he has published three novels: Malabares (2013, also available in French as Jongleries) and Lebenskünstler (2017); his third novel “Amadeus auf dem Fahrrad” was published in June 2020 and spent several weeks on the bestseller list of Der Spiegel magazine. In 2017 he was named Mozart Ambassador of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation. He has been artistic director of the Mozart Week Festival since 2019 and will continue to run the world’s most important Mozart Festival until 2023.

The Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation

For more than two and a half centuries Wolfgang Amadé Mozart has fascinated people all over the world through his music and his personality. The Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation is the world’s leading institution aimed at preserving and disseminating this priceless cultural legacy. It also seeks to make the world aware of Mozart’s manifold facets by opening up access to his music and to introduce his life and personality to everyone, regardless of their age.

A non-profit-making organization, the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation engages with the figure of Mozart as both man and artist and to this end has established initiatives in three key areas, organizing concerts, running Mozart museums and pursuing research, in that way building a bridge between the preservation of a tradition and the promotion of contemporary culture. Its aim is to open up different perspectives and encourage new ideas in our engagement with the composer. The Mozart Week Festival was established in 1956 with the goal of celebrating Mozart’s birthday each January.

The Society of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation was established as the International Mozarteum Foundation in 1880 by the townspeople of Salzburg, although its origins date back to the Cathedral Music Society and Mozarteum that was set up in 1841. Mozart’s widow Constanze and their two sons Carl Thomas and Franz Xaver Wolfgang donated much of their estate to the Society. As a result, the Mozarteum Foundation owns the world’s largest collection of original letters, portraits and instruments once in the possession of the Mozart family.

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