At the Salzburg Festival, Myths and Reality Meet Onstage

BERLIN — A girl who kills her personal youngsters. A person who marries his mom. A king who’s ordered to sacrifice his son.

This summer season, the Salzburg Festival (July 20-Aug. 31) in Austria invitations its viewers to discover classical mythology in stage works from Cherubini’s “Médée” to Enescu’s “Oedipe.” The opera program opens on July 27 with Mozart’s three-act drama “Idomeneo” in a manufacturing by Peter Sellars, who returns to the Felsenreitschule with the conductor Teodor Currentzis after their 2017 tackle Mozart’s late opera “La Clemenza di Tito.”

The pageant’s inventive director, Markus Hinterhäuser, now getting into his third season, discovered himself impressed by historical myths to create a story framework or “navigation system” for the sprawling pageant, he mentioned, which incorporates 5 new opera stagings, 81 live shows and 4 new spoken theater productions. In previous packages, he delved into the subjects of energy and keenness.

Markus Hinterhäuser, a pianist and the inventive director of the pageant.CreditChristian Leopold/Pressefoto Neumayr

“These nice myths create the archive for our understanding of the world,” he mentioned over espresso in Berlin. “The tales present a type of mirror for modern battle. Everything that we take into account important in tradition, music, theater and science comes from this DNA.”

The “Idomeneo” manufacturing will grapple without delay with the aftermath of battle, the consequences of worldwide warming and the eagerness of the following era to take issues into their very own palms. In Homer’s authentic story, the king of Crete, Idomeneus, is ordered by the ocean god, Neptune, to sacrifice his son, Idamante. But when Ilia, a Trojan princess and battle prisoner, affords her life as a substitute, the oracle declares that Idamante will inherit the throne and marry her.

“You sense the impatience and sheer intelligence of this 24-year-old,” Mr. Sellars mentioned of Mozart by way of Skype from London, “that a complete era doesn’t wish to wait any longer to talk. It’s very shifting to be doing this whereas younger individuals are within the streets everywhere in the world saying, ‘We can not wait.’”

The Peter Sellars manufacturing of Mozart’s late opera “La Clemenza di Tito” on the 2017 Salzburg Festival. Mr. Sellars returns to Salzburg this yr along with his manufacturing of “Idomeneo,” additionally by Mozart.CreditRuth Walz/Salzburg FestivalMr. Sellars on the Felsenreitschule in Salzburg.CreditAnne Zeuner/Salzburg Festival

Spare set parts designed by George Tsypin for “La Clemenza di Tito” will join the 2 Mozart operas thematically (Russell Thomas, who carried out the title function of the Roman emperor, additionally returns as Idomeneus). Mr. Sellars famous the “primal and deeply earthed energy” of the Felsenreitschule, a transformed 17th-century using faculty carved into the aspect of a mountain. “We don’t need to make a set for that.”

The opera’s end result in a ballet sequence, to be choreographed by the Samoan-born Lemi Ponifasio, represents for Mr. Sellars “a gesture to cease speaking, time for motion.” One of two dancers is from the island nation of Kiribati, which is threatened by rising sea ranges.

“[The people of] Pacific Island tradition have profound rituals and mythologies for understanding their relationship to the ocean,” Mr. Sellars mentioned. “These dancers will create a closing ritual that restores the balances of the universe.”

The Felsenreitschule can even be residence to a brand new manufacturing of Enescu’s “Oedipe,” staged by the veteran director Achim Freyer. The libretto follows the lifetime of Oedipus from his start and, in a twist of the unique fable, a grove the place he vanishes in a flash of flight. The rating, in the meantime, is a singular mix of neo-classical parts, Eastern European folklore and French harmonies.

The conductor Ingo Metzmacher famous Enescu’s deal with the human dimension of the title character, who declares that he has “vanquished destiny” within the closing act. “Oedipus is not only a title character within the conventional sense,” he mentioned by cellphone from Aix-en-Provence, France. “The different characters are marginal, exist round him.”

He additionally pointed to the talent with which Enescu displays each nuance of the textual content, significantly within the third act, when the reality is revealed to Oedipus that he had murdered his father and married his mom. “The composer discovered rather a lot from Sophocles,” he mentioned. “The music could be very gripping.”

In the custom of Gerard Mortier, who led the pageant from 1991 to 2001, Mr. Hinterhäuser has made it a precedence to domesticate underperformed works of the 20th century. But Mr. Hinterhäuser, who’s a pianist and founding father of the trendy music collection Zeitfluss, which ran beneath Mortier’s aegis, provides dwelling composers their due.

A collection within the Kollegienkirche (Collegiate Church) from July 25 to Aug. 6 will revisit the oeuvre of Pascal Dusapin, who has written a number of stage works primarily based on Greek fable. In the composer’s “Medeamaterial,” a setting of the Heiner Müller adaptation of the parable of Medea, the soprano’s vocal traces reveal “a state of everlasting divide, a complete schizophrenia,” he mentioned by cellphone from Paris.

Mr. Dusapin mentioned he thought of the title character, who kills her youngsters in an act of vengeance towards Jason of the Argonauts, consultant “of an historical world which Jason shatters within the curiosity of political territory.”

“That’s a beautiful and horrible metaphor for the trendy world,” he mentioned.

Alongside “Medeamaterial” and Cherubini’s 18th-century opera “Médée,” the pageant will present Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1969 “Medea” movie starring Maria Callas, which in flip had a task in shaping Mr. Dusapin’s notion of the character. “Myth is a collective consciousness,” he mentioned, “a method of telling historical past, which repeats itself.”

The director Barrie Kosky will make his Salzburg debut this yr.CreditJan Windszus

The program additionally contains some comedian reduction with Offenbach’s “Orphée aux enfers” (Orpheus within the Underworld), a biting satire of the unique fable that marks the composer’s bicentenary. The director Barrie Kosky — recognized for his flamboyant operetta productions on the Komische Oper Berlin — makes his Salzburg debut.

And the opera lineup wouldn’t be full with out the mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, who seems because the title character of Handel’s “Alcina” in a Damiano Michieletto manufacturing first seen in June at Salzburg’s Whitsun Festival (the place Ms. Bartoli is inventive director). She views the parable of the sorceress, who loses her magical powers after falling for the knight Ruggiero, as an expression about love but in addition societal pressures to keep up everlasting youth.

“She turns into bare, in a psychological and a bodily sense,” Ms. Bartoli wrote in an e mail. “At the identical time, she loses her youthful look and all of a sudden seems at her true age — as an previous lady.” She considers this a chance to mirror upon the truth that “the life expertise of older individuals has misplaced significance. Age has change into an indication of weak spot as a substitute of knowledge.”

For Mr. Hinterhäuser, opera shouldn’t be an event for escapism however to revisit timeless themes from a up to date perspective. “We don’t stay within the rococo or the Romantic [era],” he mentioned. “We stay within the right here and now. The vitality of opera lies in that it’s all the time learn anew, similar to fable is all the time learn anew.”

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