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by Alexia Detoisien, News Writing

 

2006 will be even more spectacular. It’s Mozart’s 250th birthday, and Tchaikovsky once said that “Mozart is the highest, the culminating point that beauty has attained in the sphere of music” (musiccelebrations.com).

In 2006, The Mozarteum Salzburg International Foundation will hold a special, year long Salzburg Festival designed to celebrate Mozart’s anniversary. For the first time in history, the composer’s 22 operas will all be performed on the same program. For this occasion, the Foundation also plans concerts, museum expositions, and special events.

One of the events is the Mozart Choral Festival 2006, which will take place June 27 to July 3. Choral groups from all over the world have been invited to perform under the co-direction of Dr. Eph Ehly, the festival director, and Janos Czifra, director of music played in the Salzburg Dom since 1989. The groups will be accompanied by a full orchestra and European soloists.

HPU’s International Vocal Ensemble is one of the groups invited to perform. They will travel next year to represent Hawai‘i at the Festival and to tour Europe with other choral groups under the auspices of Music Celebrations International.

“ The IVE will perform in both Vienna and Salzburg,” said Susan Duprey, HPU’s director of Choral Activities. “They will be able to explore and perform in Mozart’s key places, important to history,” Duprey added.

Arika Trimnell, a member of the HPU International Vocal Ensemble who will be one of the Hawai‘i singers performing in Salzburg,.expressed excitement about going to Austria. “Mozart was a musical genius,” Trimnell said. “Being invited to celebrate and sing for his 250th anniversary is really an honor!”

The Salzburg Festival began in 1920, when Max Reinhardt, a theater director in Salzburg, decided to develop a summer performance venue for actors and singers who were usually at loose ends, summer being an off season in theater and music. He planned to bring the best musicians, performers, and technicians from all over Europe to perform at a summer festival in Salzburg. They came, and Reinhardt achieved the high artistic level he had hoped for. The festival became an annual event, not only for musical elites but also for their audiences.

Many people today remember Max Reinhardt from his portrayal as the Salzburg Festival impresario so intent in persuading the Von Trapp family to perform, in the film version of the true story, the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical, The Sound of Music. Reinhardt had help. Two other masters, composer Richard Strauss and poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal. The latter set the basic philosophy for Salzburg Festival: “Operas and plays, both to be of the highest quality.” His words are quoted on the Salzburg Web site.

For 85 years, the Salzburg Festival has flourished as an international institution for drama and music. Held for about six weeks each summer, from late July to the end of August, the Festival welcomes musical elites in different categories, whose performances vary from dance theater to ballet, from opera to folk songs, from symphony concerts to sacred music. The 2005 Salzburg Festival started July 25 and continues to August 31. It will present 183 performances including opera, dance, theater, and concerts.

As of the end of spring 2005 term, the HPU International Vocal Ensemble had collected $20,000 of the $40,000 it needs to go to Austria. To collect the balance, the group will hold fund-raising events including car washes and cookie sales, as well as Moonlight Serenades and, Duprey said, both the International Choral Group and the Vocal Ensemble will be caroling for Christmas.

 

 

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