Opera + Classical Music Features

Verbier Festival 2007

Not all of us can jet off to this or that festival (apart from anything, it’s bad for the environment) but we can dream. And as dreams go, the Verbier Festival in Switzerland is a very pleasant one.

The festival, now in its 14th year, attracts an amazing line-up of artists which in 2007 will include Martha Argerich, Yuri Bashmet, Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Hlne Grimaud, Hilary Hahn, Rene Fleming, Steven Isserlis, Lang Lang, Ren Pape, Heinrich Schiff and Anne-Sofie von Otter.Set in an idyllic part of the Swiss Alps, the festival will comprise 56 concerts between 20 July and 5 August. In addition, there are masterclasses and workshops, as well as activities for children, an Amateur Chamber Music Week and the Fest’Off, a programme of free concerts in unusual places every day of the fortnight.

The opening concert features Anne-Sophie Mutter playing Brahms’ Violin Concerto, plus Thomas Quasthoff and Miah Persson singing the same composer’s Deutsche Requiem, all under the baton of Conductor Laureate James Levine.

A few highlights include Fleming, von Otter and Pape performing Schubert and Brahms lieder and the Mozart Requiem, on the same bill as Lang Lang playing a Mozart Sonata; Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting his own LA Variations; and Bach Cello Suites with Schiff.

Anouhska Shankar will team up with violinist Joshua Bell for an evening of Ragas in tribute to Ravi Shankar and Klezmerata Fiorentina will present a programme of traditional Jewish and Ukranian music.

So, with an outstanding programme of works from old favourites to modern classics and new works, the festival offers an exciting opportunity to combine an alpine holiday with a cultural feast. If your pockets are deep enough for such a trip, you can start booking online now at www.verbierfestival.com.

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