Classical music lovers should head for the hills. From now through September 2, the “hills” around a small Swiss Alpine village in the Bernese Oberland will be filled with the sound of music thanks to the 61st edition of the Gstaad Menuhin Festival. The Alpina Gstaad is offering a two–day “Menuhin Festival in Motion” for two persons that includes two tickets to a performance, accommodations for two nights in a Deluxe Room with breakfast, transfers and a culinary credit for CHF1,750, or about US$1,818.
Some 70 concerts – with such renowned stars as mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, soprano Diana Damrau and violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, all appearing in Gstaad for the first time – will be performed in the Festival Tent and in several 13th and 14th century churches in the surrounding Sannenland.
The 2017 festival’s theme, “Pomp in Music,” highlights music for celebrations and commemorations. August 19 will mark the first concert by Jaap van Zweden, the Gstaad Festival Orchestra’s new director, who was also recently appointed musical director for 2017-2018 for the New York Philharmonic.
Some highlights include:
- Cecilia Bartoli and her new album’s world premiere with cellist Sol Gabetta – 8/31
- Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter with Lambert Orkis on piano – 8/24
- Diana Damrau and violinist Nicola Benedetti with the Orchestra dell’Academia della Santa Cecilia Roma, conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano – 8/25 & 8/26
- Violinist Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov on piano: Beethoven’s 10 violin sonatas in three concerts – 7/24, 7/25 & 7/27
- Trumpet player Tine Thing Helseth: Handel, Bartok, Weill & Copland in Saanen Church – 7/31
- Harpsichordist Jean Rondeau: a candle-lit concert of Goldberg Variations – 8/2
- Pianist Boris Berezovsky: “Heavenly Late Works” by Debussy, Turina and Faure – 8/3
- Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes with violinist Christian Tetzlaff: Violin sonatas by Mozart, Shostakovich, Ravel in Zweisimmen Church – 8/4
- Pianist Gabriela Montero with Felix Klieser on horn: Mozart, Mendelssohn, Haydn at Saanen Church – 8/5
- Pianist Piotz Anderszewski and the Kammerorchester Basel: Mozart, Satie, Pulenc in Sannen Church 8/6
- Christian Zacharias on piano: Schubert, Ravel, Schumann – 8/10
- Organist Cameron Carpenter: original works and J.S. Bach, Wagner, Tchaikovsky – 8/11
- Verdi’s opera “Aida” with the London Symphony Orchestra, Gianandrea Noseda conducting and soloists Francesco Meli and Erwin Schrott – 9/1
On September 2, the festival closes with a fireworks display and the London Symphony Orchestra with Khatia Buniatishvili performing Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto.
When the “violinist of the century” moved to Gstaad in the late 1950s, he was struck by the magnificent views of the towering Alps, the beauty of the Saanenland and by the mix of French, Italian and German cultures, just as visitors to the area are today. Gstaad’s tourism director at the time, Paul Valentin asked Yehudi Menuhin if he would enhance the summer season with some concerts. Sixty years later, the festival is attracting more music lovers than ever.
The Alpina Gstaad is offering a two–day “Menuhin Festival in Motion” that includes two tickets to a festival performance, two nights in a Deluxe Room, daily breakfast, an Alpina Culinary Credit of CHF100 (to be used in any of the hotel’s restaurants or bars), transfers to and from the concert and a Gstaad Card and starts at CHF1,750 (about US$1,818) for two persons, double occupancy. For one person, the package includes everything as noted above and one ticket to a performance and starts at CHF1,150 (about US$1,195).