2nd Andermatt Goethe Days
26 TO 27 AUGUST 2023: “GOETHE’S TELL AND OTHER HEROES”
The 2nd edition of the Andermatt Goethe Days will take place from 26 to 27 August 2023. Organised jointly by ANDERMATT MUSIC and the Sasso San Gottardo, this two-day event will offer exceptional insights into Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s relationship with Switzerland and his impact on this country’s history and self-perception.
“Feeling great; projects” wrote Goethe in his diary during a stop at Andermatt. He went on to praise both the inspiring surroundings and the “excellent” cheese from Ursern. He was full of enthusiasm for this valley, which he claimed was the loveliest and most interesting of all the regions he knew. Oddly, he came down from the north three times to the Gotthard Pass, and each time travelled back to the north again. Goethe was a universal genius who yearned for Italy and was possessed of an urge to explore – but he never traversed the Pass itself on his way south. The “Andermatt Goethe Days” take place every year, offering audiences a unique mix of music, literature, theatre, history and stories with a connection to Goethe’s travels to the Gotthard – and all at the original locations.
FROM THEATRICAL SUCCESS TO NATIONAL SPRITUAL DEFENCE
The thematic focus of the 2nd edition of the Andermatt Goethe Days is “Goethe’s Tell and other heroes”. When Goethe discovered the myth of William Tell, he wrote as follows from Stäfa by the Lake of Zurich to his friend Friedrich Schiller: “I am firmly convinced that the fable of Tell could be treated in epic fashion. If I succeed in what I intend, it would bring about a strange instance in which a fairytale only attains its perfect truth through poetry, instead of one having to turn the story into a fable in order to make something of it”. Goethe’s plan for an artistic adaptation of the saga led him to engage intensively with its material, visiting the original sites, studying the local people, plus the customs and traditions of the region around the Gotthard. But reasons of time compelled Goethe to abandon his plans, and motivated his friend Schiller to take up the topic. The result was Schiller’s famous drama Wilhelm Tell, which Goethe directed at its first performance in Weimar.
After that first production, Wilhelm Tell went on to conquer the great stages of the world. Gioachino Rossini followed it up with his opera Guillaume Tell, which is based on Schiller’s popular play. And during the Second World War, Tell became one of the quintessential Swiss heroes: a symbol of the people’s will to self-determination and a key figure in the movement known as “national spiritual defence”, whose purpose was to combat the propaganda of Switzerland’s totalitarian neighbours by asserting its own, independent traditions.
Programme, Saturday, 26 August 2023
4.30 pm: PODIUM DISCUSSION (ANDERMATT CONCERT HALL)
The topic will be examined in a panel discussion with expert participants, and its various facets will be elucidated in a clear, informed manner. This interdisciplinary discussion – in which literary aspects will be considered along with musical issues – will be moderated by Patricia Moreno of the cultural programme of Radio SRF 2:
– Barbara Bär, chairwoman of the Altdorf Tell Festival, former State Councillor for Canton Uri
– Adolf Muschg, poet, novelist, literary scholar
– Thomas Seedorf, musicologist, 1st Chairman of the International Schubert Society.
7.30 pm: LIEDER RECITAL WITH JULIAN PRÉGARDIEN (ANDERMATT CONCERT HALL)
The myth of William Tell has also left many diverse traces in music history. This topic will thus be taken up in music on Saturday evening in a song recital especially devised for the Andermatt Goethe Days. Taking Tell as their starting point, the performers will focus on the predilection for the heroic, epic tales evinced by the members of the “Storm and Stress” movement:
– Julian Prégardien, tenor
– Daniel Heide, piano
Programme, Sunday, 27 August 2023
12 midday: A SPECIAL GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE EXHIBITION ON GOETHE IN SWITZERLAND (MAIN ENTRANCE, SASSO SAN GOTTARDO)
The joint curator Margrit Wyder, President of the Swiss Goethe Society, will introduce you to the exhibition “Goethe at the Gotthard – Highlights of his travels through Switzerland”. This guided tour through Switzerland’s only permanent exhibition on the topic will be accompanied by the actor Michael Schwyter in the roles of Goethe and his servant Ludwig Geist.
AFTERWARDS: THE HISTORIC FORTRESS SASSO SAN GOTTARDO
This guided tour of the historical fortress will trace the impact of the heroic legend of William Tell that was an element of the “national spiritual defence” movement at the time the fortress was built.
Those arriving by public transport should please note: Postbus 110 departs from Andermatt Railway Station at 11.30 am in the direction of Airolo (Stazione). It arrives at the Gotthard Pass at 11.53 am.