INTRODUCTION TO AUSTRIA Austria means music. The greatest composers are Austrian. The best operas and the most proficient orchestras are Austrian… Since I was a teenager, I have attended the Salzburg Music Festival, and indeed it was there that my relationship with Marina developed, as she was working there in the workshop of the illustrious Kokoshka, and we found that we shared a common passion for music. I have been a faithful and frequent visitor ever since. And so I attended a fabulous performance of Don Carlos in 2013, with Jonas Kaufmann and our compatriot, Anja Harteros. As for the libretto, it has to be said that Verdi invented the whole thing. Queen Elisabeth was never in love with her son-in-law, Don Carlos, and she was deeply attached to her husband, Philip II of Spain, whom she supported against her own mother, Catherine de’ Medici. And in fact, Don Carlos himself was not a handsome and charming hero, but a deformed, abnormal and horribly violent man subject to dangerous outbursts. He had killed one of his own valets. He proved incapable of rule, and Philip II was reduced to sending pathetic letters to the Vatican asking for advice. We return often to Salzburg. There is the opera, the omnipresent figure of Mozart, the exquisite and inspirational city itself, and the warm hospitality of our friend Thaddaeus.