Bartoli to take the helm in Salzburg

An Italian opera star has been named the new artistic director of the Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele (Salzburg Whitsun Festival).Incoming festival manager Alexander Pereira announced today (Tues) mezzo soprano Cecilia Bartoli will be in charge of the three-day annual event from 2012. Bartoli will succeed Italian conductor Riccardo Muti.Bartoli, 44, said she will sing in some upcoming productions herself, adding: “I think you need desire, passion and experience to act as artistic director of such an important festival. I dare say I match those criteria.”The city’s Whitsun Festival is just one in a series of celebrated cultural events taking place throughout the year, with the Salzburg Festival (Salzburger Festspiele) considered as the annual highlight. Tens of thousands of music and theatre enthusiasts from all over the world attend the event year after year.Up to half a million tuned in for national broadcaster ORF’s screening of this year’s “Jedermann” premiere in July. Burgtheater actor Nicholas Ofczarek starred in the leading role of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s drama.