The world’s great music festivals are studded with Deutsche Grammophon stars again this summer. The remarkable Verbier Festival in Switzerland, which runs this year from 17 July to 2 August, has already presented a stellar version of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in a concert performance conducted by Manfred Honeck and starring Bryn Terfel in the title role, with René Pape as Leporello and, as the Commendatore, Thomas Quasthoff, who is also giving two lieder recitals at Verbier, featuring Schubert’s cycle Die schöne Müllerin and Brahms’s cycle Die schöne Magelone.
Martha Argerich has just played Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto with the Festival Orchestra and given a chamber music recital also featuring violist Yuri Bashmet and cellist Mischa Maisky in Schumann’s Piano Quintet. Maisky also appears in two recitals with the Dvořák Piano Quintet (with Emanuel Ax, Gautier Capuçon, Kim Kashkashian, and Leonidas Kavakos), and piano trios by Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky (with Joshua Bell and Evgeny Kissin).
Vadim Repin opened the festival playing the Brahms Violin Concerto, with Charles Dutoit conducting, and returned to play piano trios by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov with Maisky and Lang Lang. On the same extraordinary “Carte Blanche” programme, the Chinese pianist accompanied René Pape, Thomas Quasthoff, and Bryn Terfel in popular songs, duets, and trios, including selections from Broadway musicals.
Lang Lang also played Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto, and another young Yellow Label keyboard artist, Yuja Wang, is appearing on no fewer than four evenings: in Mendelssohn’s First Piano Concerto, as part of the “Night of Pianists” and in her own solo recital, featuring works by Brahms, Chopin, Scarlatti, Shchedrin, and Stravinsky. For all those not fortunate enough to attend in person, these and other Verbier Festival concerts are available online, streamed live as well as for viewing on demand, at www.medici.tv.
The venerable Salzburg Festival, running this year from 25 July to 30 August, will also feature many DG artists. Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard will present a fascinating programme of solo, chamber, and choral works by Bach, Liszt, and Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006), the reclusive Russian composer taught and championed by Shostakovich. Martha Argerich will join frequent chamber partner Nelson Freire in a two-piano recital of works by Brahms, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Schubert, and Shostakovich. Gustavo Dudamel will conduct the Wiener Philharmoniker in two concerts including Stravinsky’s Sacre du printemps.
The Emerson String Quartet will present two evenings that mix Haydn’s op. 74 set with Shostakovich’s last three quartets. Magdalena Kožená will be joined by Mitsuko Uchida for a recital of Berg, Debussy, Purcell, and Schumann. The ubiquitous Lang Lang will present a solo recital of works by Bartók, Chopin, Debussy, and Schubert. Anna Netrebko will be accompanied by Daniel Barenboim in an all-Russian programme of songs by Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky.
René Pape will be heard in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie under Paavo Järvi. Patricia Petibon will be very busy indeed, presenting a staged solo recital of songs by Bizet, Copland, Falla, Hahn, and Satie; singing in Mozart’s C minor Mass, with Ivor Bolton conducting the Mozarteum Orchestra; and appearing as Despina in Claus Guth’s production of Così fan tutte, with Adam Fischer conducting the Wiener Philharmoniker.
Maurizio Pollini will give a solo recital with works by Beethoven, Chopin, and Schumann. And Thomas Quasthoff will make two major Salzburg appearances this summer, singing in Haydn’s Seasons, with Sir Simon Rattle conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker and Rundfunkchor Berlin, and presenting a solo recital with pianist Lars Vogt, featuring cycles by Brahms, Mahler, Martin, and Reimann.