Oh, Canada! Montreal will open Salzburg Festival

Oh, Canada! Montreal will open Salzburg Festival


norman lebrecht

March 23, 2018

Kent Nagano has secured his Montreal Symphony Orchestra its first appearance at the Salzburg Festival – and the opening show, to boot.

From the press release:

On July 20, 2018, at the Festival’s Felsenreitschule, OSM will perform Krzysztof Penderecki’s epic St. Luke Passion, for chorus, soloists and orchestra. As part of the composer’s 85th birthday celebrations, this concert will also be performed in the context of the Ouverture spirituelle series dedicated to sacred music and religiously inspired works. 

It will be the OSM’s festival debut.



  • MacroV says:

    Cool. And not just playing some safe program of overture-concerto-symphony.

    Will they play the Proms, too?

    • Saxon Broken says:

      The Proms programme is officially announced on the 19th April. But lets just say, there is every chance…

  • Thomasina says:

    But who will come in Montréal after Mr.Nagano? According to today’s Le Devoir, there is a hint on the list of guest conductors for next season and the name of Mr. MT Thomas was on the top. Really? (and Mr.Eschenbach)

    • MacroV says:

      I seriously doubt MTT is going to be a candidate for the OSM’s next director. Though overall the guest list looks rather unimpressive for a group of the OSM’s stature.

  • Kundry says:

    Excellent repertoire idea. Otherwise, a boring ( now) orchestra and a boring conductor. I would not go if you paid me.

  • Emil says:

    Ummm…The OSM announced this in November 2017. Breaking news it isn’t. https://www.ledevoir.com/culture/musique/512424/l-osm-ouvrira-le-festival-de-salzbourg-2018

    The program will be played in Lanaudière as well. No word about Proms yet.

    To specify: Christophe Huss suggested that Tilson Thomas/Eschenbach could cover an interim if the OSM does not have a successor ready by 2020. He does mention a number of other names possible, in addition to previously named contenders (V. Petrenko, Mena, Mälkki, etc.). At the moment, it seems that no clear shortlist is in sight; it isn’t even clear what the orchestra is looking for, apart from a francophone/francophile being very likely (an experienced maestro? A young exciting novelty? An original choice? Long tenure, short tenure?).

    • Thomasina says:

      You are right and personally I found that next season was much more interesting than this season. So happy.

  • Anthony Kershaw says:

    Fabulous! That trumps Toronto’s European visits.

    I saw MTT and Eschenbach on the guest list. Two international heavy hitters, but surely not!

    I’d move heaven and earth for Noseda.

  • Sue says:

    Has anybody ever tried getting tickets to the Salzburg Festival? You go into a ballot and it’s very uncertain as to whether you’ll get anything. From my experience there are just as exciting – if not more so – things going on in Vienna for most of the year.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      You want some history? I went several times to the Salzburg Festival between 1979 and 1986. For hot performances it was next to impossible to find tickets the official way. One could have more luck with some independent ticket agencies in the old city, as long as one was willing to pay an official commission of at least 20%. Tickets for Karajan operas were sometimes offered for prices one associated with, say, a cheap car.

      Then there was the tried and true method of dressing up and holding a “Suche Karte” card in front of the Festspielhaus, 20′ before the performance. I lucked out more often than not.

      Rumor had it that it was easier to order tickets from other countries. I had come across some anecdotal evidence to that.

      Salzburg was definitely more exciting that any block of four weeks in Vienna during the year, except, perhaps, for the Wiener Festwochen in May-June.

      • Petros Linardos says:

        I remember in the summer of 1979 spotting a ticket for a 1979 Karajan Aida at a ticket office in the old city, I believe at Getreidegasse. It was offered for a four digit figure in Austrian Schilling, I believe 4,000. I just looked it up online: 4,000 Austrian Schillings back then is about 1,000 USD in today’s value.

        • Sue says:

          Not worth it, IMO. I lived in Vienna for much longer than the Festwochen and generally the program over time – Staatsoper, Theater an der Wien, Konzerthaus and Musikverein – are better than the weeks in Salzburg. And I’m returning in 9 months. Prefer to avoid summer in Europe.

          • Petros Linardos says:

            My Vienna-Salzburg comparison was regarding the early 80s.

            Indeed, judging from occasional glimpses at current Vienna programs, I would probably agree. I see more events now than back then, generally more interesting programs, especially with regard to historically informed performances. On the other hand, I miss some of the legends that were still around – don’t get me started name dropping.

            Back then I remember some very corrupt ushers at the Musikverein. 😉