Salzburg Easter Festival
The Salzburg Easter Festival (German: Osterfestspiele Salzburg) is an annual festival of opera and classical music held in Salzburg, Austria during Easter week. Herbert von Karajan founded this festival in 1967 as a means of expanding the traditional Salzburg Festival during the summer. The Easter Festival presents major productions of operas at its beginning and the end, along with works from the great orchestral repertoire at the Großes Festspielhaus.
For most of the festival's history, the resident orchestra of the Easter Festival has been the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, of which Karajan was music director at the time, with Karajan also serving as the Easter Festival's artistic director. The orchestra continued its involvement with the festival through the subsequent tenures of Claudio Abbado, who became artistic director in 1994, and of Simon Rattle, who took up the directorship in 2003. In 2005, the Festival began a contemporary music series and presentations by youth orchestras such as the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, directed by Franz Welser-Möst, followed by the European Union Youth Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy in 2006.
In February 2010, allegations of financial scandal and embezzling arose against the then-executive director of the Easter Festival, Michael Dewitte. The scandal widened after Klaus Kretschmer, the technical director of the Salzburg Festival, was similarly accused, and later found severely injured in Salzburg after a reported suicide attempt. Both Dewitte and Kretschmer were dismissed. Peter Alward was then named the new executive director of the Easter Festival.
In May 2011, the Festival announced the scheduled departure of the Berlin Philharmonic as its resident orchestra, and the departure of Rattle as the organisation's artistic director, in the wake of financial problems following the financial scandal, after 2012. In June 2011, the Easter Festival announced the appointment of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden as its new resident orchestra, and Christian Thielemann as its new artistic director, as of the 2013 season, for an initial period through 2017.
- Tony Paterson (2010-02-08). "Corruption, intrigue...and that's before the Wagner's even begun". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-06-11.
- Allan Hall (2010-02-08). "Salzburg music festival mired by fraud allegations". Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-06-11.
- Lizzy Davies (2010-03-26). "Salzburg Easter festival hopes harmony will be restored after £1.8m corruption scandal". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-06-11.
- "Intendanz und Geschäftsführung der Osterfestspiele Salzburg bedauern Berliner Entscheidung" (PDF) (Press release). Salzburg Easter Festival. May 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-12.
- Shirley Apthorp (2011-05-14). "Berlin Philharmonic Quits Scandal-Hit Salzburg Easter Festival". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2011-06-11.
- "Staatskapelle Dresden to become orchestra for the Salzburg Easter Festival, and Christian Thielemann the festival's Artistic Director" (Press release). Staatskapelle Dresden. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-11.