The Salzburg Advent Singing 2019

"Passing on the good and throwing your heart onto the stage"

The premiere of the Salzburg Advent Singing 2019

The premiere of the 2019 Salzburg Advent Singing on November 29 is imminent: Today, on November 27, 2019, the leading team Hans Köhl, Daniela Meschtscherjakov, Klemens Vereno, Hellmut Hölzl, Dietmar Solt and Stefan Sperr as well as the main actors of this year’s play gave insights into the completely reworked work “Der Sterngucker”.

The different lighting moods will contribute to the special perception of the play. Dietmar Solt is to thank for the harmonious backdrop. He also puts a lot of energy into the production every year. “As you can see, there are two levels here, from the rural-alpine to the biblical-archaic scenery. I left out windows or doors this time, unless they are necessary for the game, like the door to the inn. The installation of ramps instead of steps allows the actors to appear and disappear smoothly.”

Klemens Vereno is taking part in the Salzburg Advent Singing as a composer for the 15th time. He took part for the first time 20 years ago and this is now his 10th year under the direction of Hans Köhl. “It is always exciting as a contemporary composer to be transported to another time. In choral music, my inspiration goes back to Heinrich Schütz and his use of language. In the instrumental field, I like to imagine the composer Brahms. On this basis, I try to do justice to the sound world of Advent singing. Art music and folk music complement each other. Without the one, the other is inconceivable. It is beautiful, but also challenging, to stage the variety of ensembles musically. This year we have the Mühlviertler Vokalensemble, the Volksliedchor, the Saitenmusik, woodwinds, brass, strings… – everyone should come into their own according to the sounds and expressive possibilities – individually and in orchestral interaction. This year, the little shepherds will also be involved in large vocal works. It is always wonderful to see the level with which all participants contribute to the performance of the Salzburg Advent Singing.”

Exceeding your own expectations

Conductor Herbert Böck cannot emphasize enough how important it is to go a little beyond one’s own expectations. “It’s important to push your limits every year. The aim should always be to master a better performance than the previous year. I try to teach the singers to sing as if this is their only and last performance. At first this may seem impossible, but the more rehearsals go by, the more improvement and development becomes apparent. We humans always talk about limits, but actually humans themselves should be limitless. Life only brings joy when you make an effort and don’t lean back.” Daniela Meschtscherjakov has been working as a director since 2008, often with children and young people, with amateurs and professionals, and is responsible for directing the Salzburg Advent Festival for the first time this year. “Of course it is a challenge to establish the play on the large stage of the Festspielhaus. But I find working with the actors, soloists and shepherd children very exciting. It’s important to give your all as an actor right up to the last second and to throw your heart onto the stage, so to speak.”

Every year, the question remains unanswered: What will Maria wear? Hellmut Hölzl is once again providing the costumes for all the performers this year. But what exactly Maria will wear remains a secret until the premiere. “Which is no secret to me, of course: I’ve known what it looks like for a long time,” Simone Vierlinger says with amusement. She and Bernhard Teufl have been playing Joseph and Mary for years. “Joseph and Mary are not an old couple. They are much more of a cheeky, lively couple, which is also reflected in the colors of the costumes. The colors this year are very strong and blue. Mary alone will be wearing the color red in her costume, that much I can already reveal,” says Hölzl.

Stefan Sperr reports positive news from advance ticket sales: “Our ticketing is up to date for online bookings, but we also offer our guests direct contact with our service team, which is very popular. Even though we have been sold out since October, there are always opportunities to get the best tickets from returns. Just take a look at,” he recommends.

“Der Sterngucker” may be a simple work, but Simone Vierlinger raves about the incredible richness that each individual brings to the table. “Rehearsals with Daniela sometimes go into great detail, in a very positive way. I’m grateful for that.” Elisabeth Eder as the angel and Martina Gmeinder in the role of the pregnant Elisabeth are taking part for the second time. Elisabeth has a short but important part in the play: Maria talks to her about her pregnancy for the first time. “I wanted to have an Elisabeth in this year’s production – Martina Gmeinder established herself fantastically as a wonderful contralto in this role last year,” explains Hans Köhl.

Jubilee for Bernhard Teufl

This year, Bernhard Teufl is celebrating his 200th appearance at the Salzburg Advent Singing. “For me, the angel stands for proclamations to us humans. In this piece, you can feel the deepest human emotions, and that’s what makes it natural. The natural is appealing to us humans. In recent years, I have also developed further in terms of the personal things in life. Advent singing has taught me one thing: you have to accept things, even if they are not beautiful. Just like Joseph has to accept that his wife is expecting a child that is not his. But he knows it is a divine child. There is something divine in each of us. And we want to pass on the good to our visitors.”

Edwin Hochmuth for the shepherd children

Tyrolean actor Edwin Hochmuth is also a great asset to the Salzburg Advent Singing and already won the hearts of the little shepherds in 2018. This year, he will be playing Jåggerl the beggar and will be accompanied by three little shepherds. “I find it fascinating to see how much the little shepherds develop during the rehearsals. They come out of their shell more and more when you compare the first rehearsals with the last ones.”

Next year, we will celebrate 60 years of Salzburg Advent Singing in the Great Festival Hall. By then, we will have given 900 performances and welcomed 1.5 million visitors. Under the title “Fear not”, we reflect on the Jewish origins of the Christmas story.

Salzburg Advent Singing 2019

Picture gallery