At a fundraiser for the Salzburg Festival last night, guests described the allure of the Austrian city where Mozart was born.
“Great schnapps,” said the tall blonde Alexandra Skuse, standing outside the 10th-floor galleries at Sotheby’s.
“Great cakes,” added her fair husband, Max Skuse, who works at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
“It is the home and heart of music” added Heinrich Spaengler, a private banker in Salzburg and president of the Friends of the Salzburg Festival.
And who doesn’t know the Felsenreitschule, the music hall featured in “The Sound of Music”?
All agreed that a good time to visit is the summer of 2012, when Alexander Pereira presents his first season as artistic director of the festival.
“What is new is that every year, I will offer only new productions of operas,” Pereira said. “No revivals.”
For 2012, Pereira has scheduled Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” featuring period instruments. Anna Netrebko will sing Mimi in “La Boheme,” and tenor hottie Jonas Kaufmann will appear in “Carmen.”
Kaufmann was on hand last night to offer a preview of his performance.
Pereira is also adding a festival of sacred music. “Some of the most beautiful compositions are sacred, and churches don’t have the money to do it,” he said. Each year the festival will highlight music of a non-Christian tradition -- Jewish music in 2012 and Shinto and Buddhist music in 2013, he said.
The festival, which also features concerts and theater, runs from July 20 to Sept. 2. To accommodate his expansion of the program, Pereira has increased the budget to 56 million euros ($75.5 million) from 51 million euros ($68.8 million).
The event last night, hosted by the New York-based Salzburg Festival Society, raised $1 million.
At the Whitney Museum of American Art, Elmore Leonard and Julia Reyes Taubman signed copies of one of the heaviest books ever passed out at a book party.
“Detroit: 138 Square Miles,” which weighs 6 pounds, 11.5 ounces, contains 454 photographs that Reyes Taubman has taken of the city since 2005. There are collapsing buildings and grand, empty ones, abandoned machinery and shiny new art.
Leonard, who grew up in Detroit -- his father worked for General Motors Co. -- wrote the book’s foreword.
“I write everything longhand, 2 or 3 pages at a time,” he said.
Reyes Taubman moved to Detroit in 1999 when she married Robert Taubman, who runs Taubman Centers Inc., a developer and operator of shopping malls. She helped found the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, where she serves as chairman.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)