Half the publicity the Salzburg Festival receives is based around the talented and indecently photogenic Anna Netrebko and Erwin Schrott. Not to mention the glowing critical reviews and through-the-roof ticket sales for anything they're in.
So it's surprising to read an interview with the pair in today's Austrian News magazine that confirms next year's La bohème is the last Salzburg Festival booking in Anna Netrebko's calendar. Worse, Erwin Schrott says there's no place for him whatsoever in new Intendant Alexander Pereira's plans (which are noticeably stuffed with job opps for his old Zurich cronies).
"Doesn't that hurt?" asks the interviewer. "Yes it does" they both confirm.
When you bear in mind that they're not clapped-out old singers trading on past glories, but young (in classical music years) artists whose talents grow year on year, the exclusion seems even odder. Bad for music, bad for business.
But it's not goodbye to Austria. They remain based in Vienna, and performances there will feature in their future, even though there are no immediate plans. Netrebko says she's waiting for the right time and the right production. They both dodged questions about specific commitments, with Netrebko refusing to confirm that she'll make her Wagner debut as Elsa with Thielemann in Dresden - though she does say she can't wait to sing the role. And she wants to clarify that although she's retiring some roles, Violetta is not one of them, as has been reported elsewhere.
They also talk about their widely-reported plans to open a restaurant (location: Vienna, cuisine: undecided).
Read an extract from the interview online, or see the whole thing below (click to enlarge):