Trouble in the Salzburg teacup

Der Standard reports that Christian Thielemann is refusing to cooperate with incoming Easter Festival director, Nikolaus Bachler.

Austrian media are quite excited about this, having endured too long a period of Salzburg calm.



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  • It’s not because of the calm in Salzburg, but because in Austria classical music is still a concern of wider society. It is part of national cultural identity.

  • It is quite a simple conflict:
    Thielemann (contract till 2022, but wants to continue, since his job in Dresden and a lot of prestige depend on this) fears that Bachler (full contract as intendant starts in 2022) will replace him and SK Dresden with Petrenko and Berlin Phil (which would be a logical thing to do for Bachler, having been incredibly successful in Munich).
    So, naturally Thielemann will do anything to prevent Bachler from being installed.

    • “Incredibly successful in Munich”? He creeps around like a sicko. The few senior staff he recruited are toadies and liars. Half the toilets are broken. The excellent caterer of 55 years got dumped for a lousy one. At least 30 stage productions are abject failures. Not a single French opera is properly mounted. All the top singers were in place before Bachler arrived. Ditto the fat budget, the administrative systems and the excellent orchestra. Yes, he promptly got rid of Nagano and brought Petrenko: we can grant him this. Nothing else positive.

      One thing you left out, Max, is Bachler’s frequent public bad-mouthing of Bayreuth and the management there. That cannot sit well with Thielemann — and those who nominated Bachler will of course have been aware if this.

      • Bayreuth has become a disaster and everyone agrees on that – Domingo conducting Walkuere was the last joke

      • Bachler engaged the best singers and stage directors. Many of them were not there at the time of Peter Jonas. There were/ are many French operas on the program, one of the most impressing was La Juive……. It was high time, that Nagano left BSO. Petrenko and Bachler work togehter incredibly well. Why should they not continue in Salzburg. The last years Osterfestspiele were big flops (Otello, Tosca, even the ols Walküre was not really interesting). The only good productions during Thielemanns time were Arabella and Cav/Pag, but those were fixed before he came to Salzburg……………

  • Yet another example of the virtually criminal incompetence of Salzburg politicians and their henchmen and women who have zero understanding of the artistic Psyche.

    • what do you know? the audience stays away I was told, CT is unliked outside Austria and Germany and Salzburg at Easter had attracted a very international audience that pays enormous prices – if you look what CT has offered since his arrivals was definitely a very mixed bag – I very much understand they finally want a change and Bachler made Munich (of course in alliance with Petrenko) to the best house in the world next to Royal Opera thanks to Pappano

    • To change the leaders of the Osterfestspiele ist the beginning of a better time in Sazburg at all. Sommerfestspiele too need a new management.

      • I think the festivals at Salzburg are over-rated. Vienna mostly has more interesting offerings, and not nearly as expensive. Salzburg was regarded altogether as a theme park by quite a few Viennese I knew when I lived in the Austrian capital.

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