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Sound of classical music echoes through Bernese Oberland

José Carreras' concert will be one the festival highlights

(Keystone Archive)

The Gstaad region in the Bernese Oberland is once again being serenaded this summer. The Menuhin festival is serving up a selection of some of the best classical music around.

More than 40 concerts are planned, with outgoing festival director Eleanor Hope placing a strong emphasis on vocal performances.

American Barbara Bonney, one of the foremost lieder specialists, will lend her soprano voice to an evening of "à la carte" songs on August 30. Spanish tenor José Carreras will take the stage on September 1, proposing a selection of songs from composers such as Verdi and Puccini.

The festival has come a long way from its beginnings nearly half a century ago. Created in 1956 by the late violinist Yehudi Menuhin, last year it attracted 15,000 visitors and its budget reached SFr2.8 million ($1.58 million).

A creative source of income for the Gstaad region, the festival rakes in SFr9 million in annual revenue.

Singing won't be the only vocal art on this season's programme. Poetry sessions are scheduled, and German actor Klaus Maria Brandauer will read Ramuz and Stravinsky's "A soldier's tale" on August 4, along with texts about war and peace by Rilke, Goethe and Hesse.

World-renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich will conduct Verdi's "Requiem" on August 17. A concert version of Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro" will take place on the 25th of the same month.

More contemporary works will be represented with Carl Orff's oratorio "Carmina Burana" on August 24.


swissinfo with agencies


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