Austria Social Diary: A San Franciscan in Salzburg, Part I

View of Mirabell Garden from Ropac Gallery.


The spectacular Amadeus Weekend 2006 celebrated Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 250th birthday in Salzburg, Austria, the charming Baroque city that was the composer’s birthplace.

Founded four years ago by patron Donald Kahn and co-chair Eva Maria O’Neill, the festival used the entire city as its stage. The old world glam music festival drew a coterie of more than 100 international music aficionados. “Salzburg’s flair with its Baroque style town centre is matchless … together with Mozart’s story and music, it’s a unique gem,” Eva remarked.

Philanthropist Donald Kahn is the nephew of the late Walter Annenberg, and his mother was Janet Annenberg Hooker. Donald and Jeanne, his wife, fell in love with Salzburg at first sight and now split their time between there and London. As longtime patrons of the city, they helped rebuild the Grosse Aula (Great Auditorium) and the new Haus Für Mozart (House of Mozart).

This year, New Yorker Audrey Gruss joined the committee as co-chair because “I fell in love with Salzburg … 25 years ago. Each time I return with my husband, Marty, I find it to be the most magical musical experience.”

Old Town, ‘Altstadt,’ with Hohensalzburg Fortress.

House where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756.

Thaddaeus Ropac, painting by George Baselitz.

Mozart Statue in Mozartplatz.

Everyone remembers The Sound of Music, the popular 1964 film about the von Trapp family that starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. It sparked such interest in the area that tours are still organized around many of the film’s locations.

The international committee list included Eliette von Karajan, widow of the late Conductor Herbert von Karajan, Archduke Karl and Archduchess Francesca of Austria, Princess Marianne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, Princess Gloria von Thurn and Taxis, Prince Amyn Aga Khan, and Prince and Princess D’Arenberg.

The Friday night festivities began with a new production of Le Nozze di Figaro, with Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

The performers included Bo Skovhus, Dorothea Roschmann, Anna Netrebko, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, Christine Schafer, Marie McLaughlin, Franz-Josef Selig, Patrick Henckens, Oliver Ringelhahn, Florian Boesch, and Eva Liebau.

A gala black-tie dinner followed on the terrace of the Haus Für Mozart where guests sipped champagne while enjoying the magical view of Hohensalzburg Fortress.

Friday Night Performance at Salzburg Festival Hall.

Dinner Hosts Jeanne and Donald Kahn.

Glamorous Chair Eva Maria O’Neill.

The impeccable Audrey Gruss, Co-Chair, in Badgley Mischka.

Orchids grace the black-tie post-performance dinner.

Madame Eliette von Karajan, widow of Conductor Herbert von Karajan.

Jeanne Lawrence, Prince Pierre d’Arenberg, and Baronin Esther Salis.

Jeffrey Marcus and Nicola Zahn.

Dr. Conrad and Vimla Schlosser of Frankfurt.

Alexander Sixt and Diana Quasha.

Zurich Based Raul Saurez.

Karin Luter, Bjorne Rieber of Norway, and Susan Gutfreund.

Montblanc Special Edition to be auctioned.

Yvonne Rieber, Linda Silverman, and Joan Penn.

Baronin Esther Salis.

Baron Phillip de Rothschild Flew in.

Next morning, city stroll.

Famous Getreidegasse, gilt and wrought-iron guild.

Saturday lunch in the country.

Going Native – London’s Pedro Girao and Audrey Gruss.

Ropac’s Villa, Emslieb.

Fabulous Views from the Villa.

Iconic Andy Warhol’s Flowers and Jeanne Lawrence.

Eva’s family attended too.

Eva’s daughter and grandson.

Austrian hospitality.

Children’s table.

Rothchild Banker Hayo Willms at Hellbrunn Castle.

Night view of the Old City.

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