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Thomas Adès, The Exterminating Angel, Haus für Mozart, Salzburg


The Salzburg Festival publicity office knew that it had a major musical event on its hands. Before the premiere of Thomas Adès's The Exterminating Angel on 28 July 2016, they held a reception for the world's press on a rooftop balcony overlooking the old town (which, in the name of investigative journalism, your intrepid TEMPO correspondent attended). The procession from such genteel surroundings and through the bustling Hofstallgasse into the auditorium, in which bells were already chiming in the orchestral pit and sheep were standing patiently on stage, enacted one of the central themes of the opera: that of the passage from bourgeois respectability (and, let's be frank, privilege) into a world that is less predictable, less explicable.

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1 Fiona Maddocks, ‘A Turning Point for Adès, and Opera’, The Observer, 31 July 2016.

2 Judith Belfkih, ‘Gefangene der Freiheit’, Wiener Zeitung, 29 July 2016.

3 See Adès's numerous comments on opera in Adès Thomas and Service Tom, Thomas Adès: Full of Noises (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012).

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