2019 Opera Camps Review
Organised by the Vienna Philharmonic and the Salzburg Festival, the 2019 Opera Camps were attended by 170 children and young people from 23 nations. Held in Arenberg Palace, the Camps are supported by the Salzburg Stiftung der American Austrian Foundation (AAF). Numerous members of the Vienna Philharmonic, the stage orchestra of the Vienna State Opera and the Angelika Prokopp Summer Academy participated as ensembles in the four final performances at the SZENE Salzburg and Mozarteum University and supported the participants' camp orchestra. The young opera fans were also able to attend dress rehearsals, experience guided tours of the Festival Hall and talk to directors and stage managers.
Due to great demand, the Medea Camp for 12- to 15-year-olds, with the opera Médée by Luigi Cherubini as its focus, was held twice in two consecutive weeks. We invited the sopranos Claudia Goebl and then Simone Krampe to sing arias from the opera in the role of "Medea". Around the adult Medea figure, Anna Bernreitner turned the youngsters' production into a family drama, which they movingly staged in their various native languages, culminating in a decisive final sequence with the specially composed camp song. Inspired by Greek vase painting, the youngsters created their own costumes and stage sets, providing them with an insight into the world of Greek classical antiquity.
For the Oedipus Camp for 15- to 17-year-olds, Harald Volker Sommer conceived the textual-musical version "Oedipe / Blindes Erinnern" (Blind Remembering) based on George Enescu's opera Œdipe. In changing roles, with terse text passages and strong body language, the young people worked on the figures of Oedipus, Tirésias and Jocasta and studied demanding choral parts, which, as the "people of Thebes", they brought to the stage with simple but effective choreographic means. Under the direction of Andreas Fellner, the young people brilliantly mastered the challenging arrangements for the camp orchestra. For a whole day, the participants were able to use the huge paint shop of the Salzburg Festival to create their own oversized stage set for the final performance in the Mozarteum – just like the professionals.
The Orpheus Camp for 9- to 12-year-olds had the opera Orphée aux enfers by Jacques Offenbach as its main topic. Director Wolfgang Nägele moved the plot to a classroom that transformed into the underworld in the pupils' dream. The original musical arrangements by Tristan Schulze provided plenty of scope for a varied, imaginative production. As in the festival production of Orphée aux enfers, numerous dance scenes were colourfully and vividly choreographed for the final performance of the Orpheus Camp in the SZENE Salzburg venue.