Saturday was the opening night of the Salzburg Festival. They performed an opera I had never heard, not even heard of before – Handel’s Theodora. The rather repetitive music is quite beautiful and pacifying to listen to. But, the music often does not convey the drama of the opera’s storyline. It was beautifully performed with splendid soloists and a wonderful choir.
I am not a music critic and the reason I am posting this story is a Salzburg phenomenon that has always amused me. Whenever one goes to opening nights or premieres at the Salzburg Festival, the narrow road in front of the Festival hall is full of local onlookers who stand to await the so called VIPs and admire them. This time, the most important guest was the President of Portugal. His car, accordingly, was marked “VIP 1”.
Most of the popular applause, however, is not directed at the foreign dignitary but at B list media celebrities. An aging German talk show host named Gottschalk traipses up and down together with his wife to the joy of dozens of press photographers and the street shouts in jubilation. Not seen last night was Bianca Jagger, the Salzburg regular, famed divorcee of the aging rock star Mick Jagger. The likes of her or of Gloria von Thurn and Taxis regularly bring out the Salzburg hordes.