Cecilia Bartoli Extends Contract As Artistic Director Of The Salzburg Whitsun Festival

By Nicole Kuchta

Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli has extended her contract as Artistic Director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival until 2026.

“On May 21, the Board of Trustees extended the contract of our highly successful Artistic Director, Markus Hinterhäuser. His first official act was to ask the wonderful Cecilia Bartoli to extend her own contract as Artistic Director until 2026, giving the Whitsun Festival her very special programmatic focus. And Cecilia joyfully said yes,” Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler announces in the press release.

Bartoli has held the position since 2012, and has maintained a focus on female figures in her programming. Her first-year theme was Cleopatra – she performed the role in a production of Handel’s “Giulio Cesare in Eggito.” This year’s Festival was dedicated to Voci celesti – Heavenly Voices. Handel’s opera “Alcina” was the focus of attention, celebrating “the great castrato voices of the past.” Over 11,400 people spanning nearly fifty nations flocked to Salzburg for this year’s event.

“The Salzburg Whitsun Festival has always seemed to me the best of all festival worlds! I find it deeply moving that I have already been sharing my programming ideas with all my wonderful colleagues and, most importantly, with our faithful audience, for eight years,” she responds. Despite having “at least another 100” programming ideas, she plans to include new projects supporting young artists, “so that we will hopefully be spared the vision of the aging artistic director being carried offstage.”

The 2020 Salzburg Whitsun Festival will take place from May 29 – Jun. 21, 2020, and will explore the life of Pauline Viardot-Garcia – “singer, European ambassador of music, outstanding pianist and composer.”