»In Friendship«

Of family ties, fraternal strife and elective affinities in the world of music

9th – 25th June 2023

What’s a friendship worth nowadays? Faced with social tensions and formations of political blocs, it is time to consider the notion philosophers such as Aristotle referred to as the nucleus of a society. In 2023 the Music Festival Potsdam Sanssouci is »In Friendship«dedicated to those freely chosen, interpersonal relationships and to the influence such a strong mental bond and joint interests can have on music.

At the beginning there was and is Prussia’s first Queen Sophiey Charlotte. She used the riches – both mental and cultural ones – of her Hanoverian upbringing with vision and warm-heartedness to create relationships for her country in Europe. The family ties between her grandson Frederic II and his siblings were of an altogether more competitive nature, albeit a musically productive one.

The concerts at the 2023 Music Festival forge a bridge from a man-to-man friendship in the Old Testament via Medieval chants, musician, and composer circles around Heinrich Schütz, Dietrich Buxtehude and Johann Sebastian Bach all the way to Franz Schubert’s poet friends and the fantasy circle Robert Schumann invented for the piano. Making music in sets of two is probably the most intimate kind of chamber music and finds expressions in world premieres at the festival. How the spirit of private baroque gatherings led to what we now know as public concerts can be experienced as a journey from Berlin via London and Paris to the conductor’s stand at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. And it reaches right into the present day: the Bicycle Concert offers three routes, so the opportunity for discovering »Friendship in Potsdam« is threefold. A variety of buildings and projects exemplify how private, civic actions maintain, change, and ultimately carry the urban realm forward. The Party on the Island of Friendship invites everyone to the outdoor opening and brings Potsdam’s Partner Cities musically into the garden empire at the heart of the city: young baroque music from Versailles, a-Capella-pop in Swiss-German from Luzern and the top Marbassi Trio from Perugia.

Three operas depict all aspects of love: Dorothea Oberlinger and her Ensemble 1700 start off with Andrea Bernasconi’s »L’Huomo«, a composition for a libretto by Wilhelmina von Bayreuth – written by herself in celebration of a visit by her brother in 1754. Dancers, choir, and the Ensemble Marguerite Louise conducted by Gaétan Jarry present a lush staging of a famous biblical friendship with Marc-Antoine Charpentiers »David et Jonathas«. And in the amusing production of Bernardo Pasquini‘s Baroque Opera »Idalma« spirits of the past battle with the all too human passion that is jealousy – brilliantly accompanied by Alessandro De Marchi and the Innsbrucker Festwochenorchester.

Great names in Early Music pay a friendly visit and celebrate their longstanding relationships with the festival. These include Jordi Savall with the Capella Reial de Catalunya and Hespèrion XXI, Ottavio Dantone and the Accademia Bizantina, Giovanni Antonini and Il Giardino Armonico, Vittorio Ghielmi and Il Suonar Parlante as well as the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. The festival program also features debuts by ensembles such as Les Épopées, {oh!} Orkiestra Hystoryczna and the Quatuor Cambini-Paris, and young faces, such as Theresia Orchestra, the EU Youth Baroque Orchestra as well as the participants of the lunch concert competition.

No matter which opera or concert performance makes your heart sing: it is a pleasure to welcome you in friendship to the Music Festival Potsdam Sanssouci!