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Salzburg Lures Dresden, Thielemann After Berlin Quits Festival

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Berlin Philharmonic
Members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra . A unique feature of the festival is the orchestra's annual appearance in the pit to play for an opera. Photographer: Jim Rakete/Salzburg Easter Festival via Bloomberg

June 8 (Bloomberg) -- The Salzburg Easter Festival said Christian Thielemann will replace Simon Rattle as musical director, bringing his Staatskapelle Dresden as the resident orchestra after the Berlin Philharmonic quit in May.

Thielemann, 52, becomes chief conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden in 2012 and will take over the Salzburg Easter Festival from Rattle in 2013. He has also served as an adviser to the Bayreuth Festival and conducted the Vienna Philharmonic playing Beethoven symphonies.

The Berlin Philharmonic, whose former chief conductor Herbert von Karajan founded the festival as a showcase for his orchestra in 1967, announced last month it would end its cooperation with Salzburg in favor of a new event in Baden-Baden starting in 2013. Salzburg’s regional government expressed “incomprehension and disappointment” at the decision.

“The news that the artistic future of the Salzburg Easter Festival could be secured in such a short time is extraordinarily important for its international reputation,” Gabi Burgstaller, the governor of the state of Salzburg, said in a statement sent by e-mail.

Thielemann, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Semperoper Dresden will together stage Richard Wagner’s “Parsifal” in 2013, a production that was to have been performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, the festival said in a statement sent by e-mail. Michael Schulz will direct.

Other new initiatives include a “Concert for Salzburg” targeting local residents and young people with tickets available at low prices, the festival said.

Peter Alward, who was appointed last year as the new director of the Easter Festival, welcomed the new lineup. He joined after a fraud scandal that had cost Salzburg as much as $5 million. His predecessor and a second employee were charged with misappropriation of public funds.

To contact the writer on the story: Catherine Hickley at chickley@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.

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