The Salzburg Easter Festival is happy to announce a particularly diverse programme for 2025 – for the first time in the festival’s history, four conductors and three orchestras will be featured. At the center is a new production of Modest Mussorgsky’s monumental drama »Khovanshchina«, staged by British actor and director Simon McBurney. Esa-Pekka Salonen will conduct staged opera for the first time in six years and will be at the helm of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. The Finnish conductor and composer will also lead two concert programmes with music by Jean Sibelius, Gustav Mahler and himself. Three further concerts with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Mozarteum Orchestra will be conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, Maxim Emelyanychev and Tabita Berglund.

Wounds and Wonders

We live in wounded times. We barely stop to wonder how and why we keep inflicting wounds on ourselves. And it seems as if no amount of time can heal these wounds that are thus self-inflicted. Is there no way out? Or is our only option that of stagnation, standing still, persevering, and becoming hardened to it all? We nurse our wounds as if they were our identity.

When the artist Joseph Beuys declared in an artwork »Show Your Wounds«, it was a signal of sensitivity and recognisance. But we have turned it into a competition to see who can be wounded the most by anything and everything. Instead of seeking healing, we pour salt in our wounds as if we want to keep them open forever.

But why do we want these wounds? Why do we endure them? Why do we inflict them? Should we not rather cultivate hope for some redemptive miracle to lead us from wound to wonder?

There can be no miracle without us, and we should acknowledge this fact, just as we must acknowledge the wound that such a miracle can heal – above and beyond any and all Christian iconography. Ultimately, we also have a gift that allows us to experience this miracle as otherwise only love can, namely music. Because music is both the wound, the miracle and the redemption.

With this in mind, we have drawn up an unprecedentedly diverse programme for the 2025 Easter Festival, when we shall be welcoming artists from all over the world with no less than three orchestras and four conductors – one woman and three men. At the heart of the programme will be Modest Mussorgsky’s »Khovanshchina«, his »folk drama« of the late 19th century that reveals an unsettlingly topical image of Russian politics and society, characterised by violence, power struggles and class struggles. The Finnish conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen will conduct this monumental work along with what is perhaps the most moving symphony in the whole repertoire – Gustav Mahler’s Second, the so-called »Resurrection Symphony«.

Salonen will be bringing the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra with him on its firstever visit to Salzburg – an ensemble of astonishing precision and transparency. And they will naturally also be playing music by their national composer, Jean Sibelius. The young Russian conductor Maxim Emelyanychev will also be on the trail of miracles when he conducts the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s oratorio »Elijah«

I should like to offer you a warm invitation to peruse the Easter Festival programme, where there is much still to discover, such as an evening with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra and the soprano Sondra Radvanovsky. I look forward to welcoming you to the Easter Festival in 2025.

Nikolaus Bachler
Intendant und Artistic Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival