Who else than Mozart to celebrate the legacy of famous Swiss tenor Ernst Haefliger? The magic was in the air at Ambassador Jean-François Paroz’s residence in the evening of March 29th: former Japanese students of Maestro Haefliger had decided to pay tribute to their mentor, a decade after his passing. At their initiative, a memorial concert and a reception were organized in collaboration with the Kusatsu International Summer Music Academy & Festival, shedding light on the long-lasting cultural bounds between Japan and Switzerland.
A guest professor at Kusatsu between 1983 and 2004, Ernst Haefliger trained a whole cohort of successful Japanese singers, among whom soprano Akie Amou, soprano Masako Iwami, mezzo-soprano Taeka Hino, tenor Tetsuya Mochizuki and baritone Naoki Oota. Their performance at the residence took place in the gracious presence of H.I.H. Princess Takamado, along members of the Switzerland-Japan Parliamentary Friendship League including its President Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter and other distinguished guests from governmental agencies, cultural institutions and the corporate world.
Michael Haefliger, the son of Maestro Haefliger and the Artistic and Executive Director of Lucerne Festival had traveled expressly from Switzerland to attend the event. His emotional address about his father, in addition to the introductory words of Ambassador Paroz, the kampai speech by President of the Japan Swiss Economic Council Ambassador Maeda, as well as music itself, illuminated the strength, depth and vitality of Japan and Switzerland’s friendship ties.
The Lucerne Festival Orchestra will tour Japan with its music director Riccardo Chailly early October 2017.