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Mozart rules from Salzburg to Santiago

Orchestras and opera houses worldwide are going through final rehearsals to celebrate Mozart's 250th birthday.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2006 16:34 IST

Some bad news for those who think this year of mostly Mozart is too much Mozart: Today, you can run, but you can't hide.

Certainly not in Salzburg, the cobble-stoned and turreted city of his birth as it pulls out all stops to celebrate its favourite son's 250th birthday today. Or in Vienna, where dozens of events musical and other are planned.

But it isn't only Austria that is seized with Mozart madness.

Banners promoting Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 250th birthday celebrations are pictured on a bridge in Salzburg on January 26, 2006.

Symphony orchestras and opera houses worldwide are going through final rehearsals while radio programme directors line up their Mozart CDs. Piano students are polishing pieces for Mozart marathons and puppeteers are preparing for jubilee performances as hundreds of cities across five continents prepare to pay their respects to the musical genius.

For many, Mozart central today will be Salzburg, the city of his birth and first musical successes. Among them will be European leaders and foreign ministers gathering for The Sound of Europe - a debate about the future of the European Union - under Austria's EU presidency.

Always a trove for Mozart souvenirs, Salzburg has outdone itself this year. Store shelves are stocked with Mozart beer and wine, Mozart baby bottles, Mozart milkshakes, Mozart knickers and Mozart jigsaw puzzles - along with the usual T-shirts, calendars, coffee mugs and marzipan-and-nougat filled Mozart Balls.

But today, the music's the thing. Among the most interesting Salzburg offerings: Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Vienna Philharmonic play Mozart's Piano Concert No. 18, before Riccardo Muti takes to the podium and leads the orchestra - and renowned signers - through their paces in a collage of his works.

First Published: Jan 27, 2006 13:38 IST