Old Music in Innsbruck

Magnificent Francesca Aspromonte – this week in Austria as Semele. A very interesting story – read more below.

Date Sat 25.08.2018
Time 20.00
Venue Tiroler Landestheater
Duration About 2 hours
Introduction 19.00

Johann Adolf Hasse: La Semele o sia La richiesta fatale (Semele oder Der verhängnisvolle Wunsch) 
Serenata. Libretto by Francesco Ricciardi 
Premiere: Autumn 1726, Naples

Semi-staged performance. Sung in Italian.

«A gripping chamber piece.» Conductor and musicologist Claudio Osele found a copy of the serenata «La Semele o sia La richiesta fatale» («Semele or The Fatal Request») by Johann Adolf Hasse in the Musikfreunde’s archive in Vienna. The composer from North Germany wrote the work after having moved to Naples, a Mecca of opera. In the South, Hasse transformed into the epitome of an Italian opera composer. «Semele» was first performed in a Neapolitan palazzo in 1726, allegedly featuring the famous castrato Farinelli. This was 17 years before Handel created his oratorio «Semele» in operatic style in London. Serenatas like Hasse’s «Semele» are also operas in their own way and were a popular form of tribute music in the baroque period to celebrate special occasions at princely courts.

Compared to operatic dramas, serenatas were usually characterised by smaller instrumentations and concentrated plots without subplots. What is more, production costs were low as they didn’t require much stage technology. The singers perform in costumes but without a set in German director Georg Quander’s production in Innsbruck. From a musical point of view, «Semele» is like an opera: Hasse’s serenata comprises duets, large ensembles, a pastoral by the Arcadian character of Semele, a lament after her death by Giove, the father of the gods, and a vengeance aria by Giunone, Giove’s jealous wife. Source


Mozart: Austria and beyond

Mozart and Austria technically are not synonyms, but it is impossible to imagine Austria today without Mozarteum, marzipan sweets called “Mozartkugeln”, concert ticket sellers dressed in period costumes…  Whatever could be commercialized, is.

But there is a real history behind the music which keeps the world fascinated for more than two hundred years. Seeing what the composer saw when the magic sounds were born sometimes is as important, as listening to them.


Chamber Music in Innsbruck

Innsbruck is a beautiful city in the west of Austria.  Famous for skiing, it is incredibly rich in culture. Museums, exhibitions.  Beautiful old houses. Theatres and a lot of classical music. Today a few words about their series “MEISTER KAMMER konzerte” https://www.meisterkammerkonzerte.at/de

This is a rich, well-designed platform for the best in international chamber music. Their slogan is “Between tradition and innovation”.

The next season,  2018 – 2019 starts on the 17th of October, 2018.  Signum, one of the best representatives of the so-called new “Quartet Generation” will play  Haydn, Janacek and Beethoven.

Chamber music at its finest.



One of the three most popular  Chamber Music Festivals in Austria takes place every year in May around Ascension Day at the Castle of Weinzierl in Lower Austria. The castle has been chosen as the venue of the festival because of its close connection to the founder of the string quartets, Joseph Haydn. The owner of the castle, the local nobility Baron von Fürnberg, invited the 23 years old Haydn in the year 1755 to his castle and by the baron’s order, Haydn composed the first string quartets ever. The aim of the baron was to perform the pieces of music together with the manager of his estate, his confessor and Haydn.

In the good tradition of these remarkable years middle of the 18th century, the Weinzierl chamber music festival was founded in 2009 by the Altenberg Trio Vienna. The castle was thoroughly refurbished in the years before 2011 and modernized with a roofed courtyard as well as a state of the art concert hall, which offers a perfect sound quality. Since 2011 well known international musicians such as the Minetti Quartet, Lars Wouters van den Oudenweijer, Sophie Dartigalongue and others are invited by the Altenberg Trio to perform during four days music composed by Haydn but also other famous composers. More than 1200 people, among them Brits, Germans, Swiss and French visitors,  attended the 6 concerts and the so-called promenade concert in May 2018. People are indulging themselves not only by listening to fabulous concerts but also enjoy the variety of the culinary offer, not to mention the excellent Austrian wine.

The 11th Weinzierl Music Festival, which takes place  May 30th  – June 2nd, 2019 will be again a highlight of the Austrian music scene. The program will be publicly launched late autumn this year.

Peter Damisch

And some pictures from the last month:



©Balazs Böröcz

Posted by Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus on Friday, 29 January 2016

This is possibly one of the most established and the most popular chamber music festivals in Austria.

Website: http://www.kammermusikfest.at/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kammermusikfest.lockenhaus

The founder of the festival and its artistic director for more than thirty years was Gidon (Gideon in other transcriptions) Kremer.

Please read more about him here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/20/arts/music/gidon-kremer-a-violinist-on-a-mission-or-several-of-them.html

A very interesting life of a very gifted musician.