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Netrebko, Terfel to sing at ‘non-star’ Swiss festival

Those with a memory for musical fallouts will recall Gidon Kremer’s diatribe against the Verbier festival, an event founded to overthrow the dominance of star performers which became, over time, a prisoner of the music biz.

Well, for its 20th anniversary summer, announced today, Verbier is trotting out Anna Netrebko and Bryn Terfel in a Verdi-Wagner night conducted by Valery Gergiev, Helene Grimaud in a night to herself, Kissin,, Bashmet, Vengerov and the rest of the limelight brigade. Rolex are paying for it. Verbier is no different from the fat-cat face-fests at Salzburg or Lucerne.

Gidon was right. It’s a betrayal of principle.



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  1. Steve de Mena says:

    Never could understand Kremer’s diatribe last year.

    Exactly who in the audience at Verbier festival concerts are upset that star performers are performing??

    Their first concert in 1994 featured Zubin Mehts and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and I imagine international star soloists have appeared there every year since…..

  2. Abigail Clifford says:

    At a time of cuts of arts cuts everywhere else the Verbier festival leaves quite a sickly after taste in the mouth. The end result isn’t even that good as the overpaid musicians perform in a circus tent which would better suit a circus.

  3. I see it from another point of son won a place in the festival orchestra last year and for him,as young performer,it was a marvellous experience.learning from and listening to great musicians.they had tutoring and masterclasses from these “star” performers, so not all bad then .
    We should try and enjoy any opportunity to listen to good music and musicians without being so nasty.There are enough critics in the world already……

  4. Even stars can benefit from trying something new in a stimulating and supportive environment. Last year, at the ripe old age of 88-1/2, pianist Menahem Pressler performed Winterreise in the first full-length vocal recital he ever played in his life. Verbier is just that kind of a place.

  5. I suspect Mr. Kramer was being a bit disingenuous in his diatribe – “stars” are what festivals are about ,how
    else could they survive ? Mr. Kremer himself was a “star” prize winner etc . Whether Ms. Netrebko is a good
    singer or not (never mind artist ) she sells tickets as does Kissin and the rest – Festivals are an entertainment
    in this case using “music” as a draw . Of course the festivals are dressed up as a learning experience and
    all the other nonsense that goes with it , they even have master classes by “stars” some who seemingly
    know what the art is about to those one wouldn’t cross the street to hear . How many people and students
    would flock to a festival featuring “non stars ” ?

  6. BriamBrian says:

    Ok I seriously do not understand these grievances against Verbier. Shame on them for bringing in top artists to perform there!….???

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