The Innsbruck Early Music Festival was opened on 8 August by baroque opera enthusiast and crime writer Donna Leon. She based her opening address on the festival’s motto: ‘the beauty of the unknown’, saying: ‘Music is ever new, and each performance is, for us, the first time we’ve ever heard the piece. Thus we sit there, watching and listening, perhaps to an opera we have seen dozens of times, and yet, and yet, we are there to discover the beauty of the unknown.’

Mayoress of Innsbruck, Christine Oppitz-Plörer, spoke at the opening night, describing the festival as the ‘unofficial highlight of Innsbruck’s cultural summer programmes’. The speeches were accompanied by music from Innsbruck Festival’s artistic director Alessandro De Marchi and other artists who are set to perform throughout the festival.

De Marchi’s main focus for this year’s events is to explore ‘music and cultural gems from faraway lands’. Although the four main operas being performed are all of Italian descent, other performances are set to take the audience on a world-wide trip; concerts with exotic titles such as ‘Baroque Oriental’, ‘Scottish Tunes’ and ‘Concert in the Forbidden City’ hint at the geographic diversity of the programming.

The Innsbruck Early Music Festival continues until 26 August. For more information visit www.altemusik.at/en