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SALZBURG FESTIVAL BLOG

Daniel Harding to conduct Ariadne auf Naxos instead of Riccardo Chailly

13 MAR 2012

by FESTSPIELKIEBITZ  18:03 h;
published in: Opera

Daniel Harding
Daniel Harding will conduct the musical first version of the opera Ariadne auf Naxos at this year’s Salzburg Festival. Because of health problems occurring over the past months, Riccardo Chailly’s doctors have advised him to take longer breaks between individual projects. For Chailly as General Music Director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, the annual tours to various festivals like Salzburg, Edinburgh and Lucerne are obligatory dates when the orchestra must appear under the baton of its General Music Director. Since the production of Ariadne auf Naxos is scheduled until August 15, 2012 and Maestro Chailly would have had to begin rehearsing for his tour with the Gewandhaus Orchestra the very next day, it would be impossible to comply with the necessary period of rest. Therefore, under these circumstances, Riccardo Chailly has cancelled his conducting of Ariadne auf Naxos with a heavy heart. However, he will conduct the Gewandhaus Orchestra on August 30, 2012 in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 in A-Minor.

The Salzburg Festival is happy to have engaged Daniel Harding, who led both Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro at the Salzburg Festival during recent years, in Chailly’s stead as the conductor for this new production.

Daniel Harding is delighted to be working on the original version of the Strauss opera, having conducted the second version with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra previously. The first version, which had its premiere in Stuttgart in 1912, combines the play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme by Molière with Richard Strauss’ music of the same title in the first part. After the intermission, the original version of the opera is about five hundred measures longer and the tessitura of Zerbinetta’s aria is a whole tone higher. Apart from Jonas Kaufmann’s role debut as Bacchus, the cast includes Emily Magee, Elena Moșuc, Roberto Saccà, Peter Matić, Cornelius Obonya, Regina Fritsch and Stefanie Dvorak. Sven-Eric Bechtolf directs, Rolf Glittenberg and Marianne Glittenberg are responsible for sets and costumes, and Heinz Spoerli will choreograph the additional ballet scenes. The Vienna Philharmonic will be in the orchestra pit. 

Daniel Harding, born in 1975 in Oxford, began his career as Simon Rattle’s assistant and made his debut in 1994 on the podium of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In 1995-96 he was Claudio Abbado’s assistant at the Berlin Philharmonic, an orchestra he first conducted publicly in 1996. His first positions as chief conductor took him to the Symphony Orchestra of Trondheim (1997-2000) and Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie (1997-2003); subsequently, he took on the leadership of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. In the summer of 2006, Harding was also appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra; in January 2007 he began his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Daniel Harding has worked with many renowned orchestras in the Old and New World – these include the Vienna Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As an opera conductor, Daniel Harding has been responsible for several productions at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence since 1998. During the 2002-2003 season, he made his debuts at London’s Royal Opera House in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and at the Bavarian State Opera (Die Entführung aus dem Serail). Harding made his debut at La Scala Milan with Idomeneo in the theater’s opening night of 2005-2006; in 2007, this was followed by a new Salome and in 2008 by Duke Bluebeard’s Castle. At the Salzburg Festival, he has conducted Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro and at the Vienna Festwochen the new Wozzeck in 2010 took place under his baton. Harding’s recordings have won prizes such as the Choc de l’Année, the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros and the Gramophone Award. In 2002, he was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.  

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