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The Salzburg Festival (German : Salzburger Festspiele) is a prominent festival of music and drama established in 1920. It is held each summer (for five weeks starting in late July) in the Austrian town of Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. One highlight is the annual performance of the play Jedermann (Everyman) by Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
Since 1967, an annual Salzburg Easter Festival has also been held, organized by a separate organization.
Music festivals had been held in Salzburg at irregular intervals since 1877 held by the International Mozarteum Foundation but were discontinued in 1910. Although a festival was planned for 1914, it was cancelled at the outbreak of World War I. In 1917, Friedrich Gehmacher and Heinrich Damisch formed an organization known as the Salzburger Festspielhaus-Gemeinde to establish an annual festival of drama and music, emphasizing especially the works of Mozart.At the close of the war in 1918, the festival's revival was championed by five men now regarded as its founders: the poet and dramatist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the composer Richard Strauss, the scenic designer Alfred Roller, the conductor Franz Schalk, and the director Max Reinhardt, then intendant of the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, who had produced the first performance of Hofmannsthal's play Jedermann at the Berlin Zirkus Schumann arena in 1911.
According to Hofmannsthal's political writings, the Salzburg Festival, as a counterpart to the Prussian-North German uncompromising worldview, should emphasize the centuries-old Habsburg principles of "live and let live" with regard to ethnic groups, peoples, minorities, religions, cultures and languages.The Salzburg Festival was officially inaugurated on 22 August 1920 with Reinhardt's performance of Hofmannsthal's Jedermann on the steps of Salzburg Cathedral, starring Alexander Moissi. The practice has become a tradition, and the play is now always performed at Cathedral Square; since 1921 it has been accompanied by several performances of chamber music and orchestral works. The first operatic production came in 1922, with Mozart's Don Giovanni conducted by Richard Strauss. The singers were mainly drawn from the Wiener Staatsoper, including Richard Tauber in the part of Don Ottavio.
The first festival hall was erected in 1925 at the former Archbishops' horse stables on the northern foot of the Mönchsberg mountain, on the basis of plans by Clemens Holzmeister; it opened with Gozzi's Turandot dramatized by Karl Vollmöller. At that time the festival had already developed a large-scale program including live broadcasts by the Austrian RAVAG radio network. The following year the adjacent former episcopal Felsenreitschule riding academy, carved into the Mönchsberg rock face, was converted into a theater, inaugurated with a performance of The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni. In the 21st century, the original festival hall, suitable only for concerts, was reconstructed as a third venue for fully staged opera and concert performances and reopened in 2006 as the Haus für Mozart (House for Mozart).
During the years from 1934 to 1937, famed conductors such as Arturo Toscanini and Bruno Walter conducted many performances. In 1936, the festival featured a performance by the Trapp Family Singers, whose story was later depicted in the musical The Sound of Music (featuring a scene of the Trapp Family singing at the Felsenreitschule , but inaccurately set in 1938). In 1937, Boyd Neel and his orchestra premiered Benjamin Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge at the festival.
The festival's popularity suffered a major blow as a consequence of the Anschluss , the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938. Toscanini resigned in protest, artists of Jewish descent like Reinhardt and Georg Solti had to emigrate, and Jedermann, last performed by Attila Hörbiger, had to be dropped. Nevertheless, the festival remained in operation until in 1944 it was cancelled by the order of Reich Minister Joseph Goebbels in reaction to the 20 July plot. At the end of World War II, the Salzburg Festival reopened in summer 1945 immediately after the Allied victory in Europe.
The post-war festival slowly regained its prominence as a summer opera festival, especially for works by Mozart, with conductor Herbert von Karajan becoming artistic director in 1956. In 1960 the Great Festival Hall (Großes Festspielhaus) opera house opened its doors. As this summer festival gained fame and stature as a venue for opera, drama, and classical concert presentation, its musical repertoire concentrated on Mozart and Strauss, but other works, such as Verdi's Falstaff and Beethoven's Fidelio , were also performed.
Upon Karajan's death in 1989, the festival was drastically modernized and expanded by director Gerard Mortier, who was succeeded by Peter Ruzicka in 2001.
In 2006, the festival was led by intendant Jürgen Flimm and concert director Markus Hinterhäuser. That year, Salzburg celebrated the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth by staging all 22 of his operatic works, including two unfinished operas.All 22 were filmed and released on DVD in November 2006. The 2006 festival also saw the opening of the Haus für Mozart.
In 2010, the opera Dionysos by Wolfgang Rihm who compiled for his own libretto texts from Nietzsche's Dionysian-Dithyrambs premiered. Alexander Pereira succeeded Flimm as intendant, who departed in 2011 to become director of the Berlin State Opera. Pereira's objective for the festival was to present only new productions.When he resigned at the end of the 2014 festival season to take over as the General Director of La Scala, Sven-Eric Bechtolf , who had served as Drama Director of the Salzburg Festival since 2012, took over as Interim General Manager. The 2015 festival marked the first one for which Bechtolf was responsible for the artistic programming. Budget cuts led to a retreat from Pereira's "new productions only" objective. The 2015 opera program presented only three new productions— Le nozze di Figaro , directed by Bechtolf; Fidelio , directed by Claus Guth; and Wolfgang Rihm's rarely performed Die Eroberung von Mexico (The Conquest of Mexico), directed by Peter Konwitschny. The remaining four opera productions— Norma , Il trovatore , Iphigénie en Tauride , and Der Rosenkavalier —were revivals. In 2018, Lydia Steier was the first woman to stage Die Zauberflöte .
The Salzburg Festival reports in 2017 ticket sales revenue of about €27 million, and directly and indirectly creates value to the sum of €183 million in Salzburg per year. The festival thereby secures employment in Salzburg (including year-round employees and full-time equivalent adjusted seasonal workers of the festival) of 2800 full-time jobs (Austria 3400). Through their effect in other sectors, directly and indirectly they provide the public sector with approximately €77 million of taxes and duties.
The Salzburg Whitsun Festival (Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele) was established at the behest of Herbert von Karajan in 1973 as a brief concert series with the name Pfingstkonzerte. Today its schedule remains, at four days, brief, but is characterized by multiple events each day; and it is managed under the umbrella of the main (summer) Salzburg Festival. (Pfingst is Whitsun in the U.K. and Pentecost in the U.S.; the British term is used by the festival's management.)
The first Whitsun Concerts centered on three symphonies by Bruckner, all conducted by Karajan and played at the Großes Festspielhaus over three days by the Berlin Philharmonic. Years later, opera became part of the activities, and "Concerts" became officially "Festival". In the 1990s there began an emphasis on works from the Baroque repertoire. In 2005, for example, the Salzburg Whitsun Festival presented Handel's Acis and Galatea and his oratorio Solomon .
In 2007, Riccardo Muti became the artistic director of the festival under a five-year contract during which he presented fully staged performances of operatic rarities from the 18th and 19th century Neapolitan School of opera in the Haus für Mozart . He has been succeeded by mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli, also for a period of five years.
Among a series of concerts and, for the first time in the history of the festival, dance performances (by the Kirov Ballet), Bartoli is to star in a full-staged opera each year, which will then be repeated at the Summer Festival in July and August. In 2012, she sang Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare , in 2013 the title role in Vincenzo Bellini's Norma , and in 2014 Rossini's La Cenerentola . In 2015 she performed the title role in Iphigénie en Tauride by Christoph Willibald Gluck, and in 2016 she sang Maria in Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story .
Max Reinhardt was an Austrian-born theatre and film director, intendant, and theatrical producer. With his innovative stage productions, he is regarded as one of the most prominent directors of German-language theatre in the early 20th century. In 1920, he established the Salzburg Festival with the performance of Hugo von Hofmannsthal's Jedermann.
Herbert von Karajan was an Austrian conductor. He was principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for 34 years. During the Nazi era, he debuted at the Salzburg Festival, with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, and during the Second World War he conducted at the Berlin State Opera. Generally regarded as one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century, he was a controversial but dominant figure in European classical music from the mid-1950s until his death. Part of the reason for this was the large number of recordings he made and their prominence during his lifetime. By one estimate, he was the top-selling classical music recording artist of all time, having sold an estimated 200 million records.
Jürgen Flimm is a German theater and opera director, and theater manager. After establishing himself as one of the exponents of Regietheater, Flimm was called to manage renowned theaters and festivals. His operatic productions in Germany led to an international career, with operas staged in the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, England, Italy, and the United States.
Gundula Janowitz is an Austrian lyric soprano singer of operas, oratorios, lieder, and concerts. She is one of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century and was pre-eminent in the 1960s and 1970s.
Gerhard Unger was a German lyric tenor. Born in Bad Salzungen, he studied in Berlin and began singing concerts and oratorios in 1945, once the war was over.
The Großes Festspielhaus, in its current form, was designed by architect Clemens Holzmeister in 1956 for the Salzburg Festival in Austria. It was inaugurated on 26 July 1960 with a performance of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier conducted by Herbert von Karajan, who also worked with Holzmeister on aspects of the building's design. The Large Festival House includes office space and tunneling into the Mönchsberg as well as a 2,179-seat performance space adaptable for both scenic and non-scenic events and acoustically scalable down for piano and song recitals. The stage is one of the widest in the world, at 100 metres (330 ft). The auditorium is square. Access from the street to the lobby is through five bronze doors, above which is inscribed a Latin motto by Thomas Michels: SACRA CAMENAE DOMUS / CONCITIS CARMINE PATET / QUO NOS ATTONITOS / NUMEN AD AURAS FERAT.
Otto Edelmann was an Austrian operatic bass.
Jedermann. Das Spiel vom Sterben des reichen Mannes is a play by the Austrian playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It is based on several medieval mystery plays, including the late 15th-century English morality play Everyman. It was first performed on 1 December 1911 in Berlin, directed by Max Reinhardt at the Circus Schumann. Since 1920, it has been performed regularly at the Salzburg Festival.
The Historic Center of the City of Salzburg, also known as the Altstadt, is a district of Salzburg, Austria, recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It corresponds with the historic city center, situated on the left and right banks of the Salzach river.
Lisa Della Casa was a Swiss soprano most admired for her interpretations of major heroines in operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Richard Strauss, and of German lieder. She was also described as “the most beautiful woman on the operatic stage”.
The Felsenreitschule is a theatre in Salzburg, Austria and a venue of the Salzburg Festival.
The Haus für Mozart, or House for Mozart, is a 1,500-seat theatre of the Salzburg Festival in the city of that name in Austria. It was established in 1925 when horse stables were converted into a venue for the mystery plays that were a main facet of the five-year-old festival, becoming the festival's first dedicated performance space, its Festspielhaus. This name it retained through three rebuildings until, in 1960, the larger Neues Festspielhaus opened next door, whereupon it took the name Altes Festspielhaus, or Old Festival-House. But three seasons later, to end confusion in the minds of visitors unaware of the history, both theatres were renamed for their sizes, and the smaller was now the Kleines Festspielhaus. For forty-two seasons, through 2004, the nomenclature was settled. Then the theater was closed for its fourth gutting and reconstruction. It gained its current name upon reopening in 2006 as the festival's principal theatre for Mozart and Rossini operas as well as Baroque stageworks.
The Salzburg State Theatre is a theatre situated in Salzburg, Austria, a venue for opera, theatre, and dance, contemporary and older works, with resident companies of actors, singers and dancers. The theatre presents approximately 400 performances each season, from September to June. The main theatre building is located next to the Mirabell Gardens and seats an audience of 707. The staff consists of 340 people originating from 35 different countries.
The Hotel Goldener Hirsch is a five-star hotel located at Getreidegasse 37 in the Altstadt of Salzburg, Austria. The hotel includes the adjacent house at Getreidegasse 35 and the nearby goldsmith house at Getreidegasse 46. The Goldener Hirsch is listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Altstadt Salzburg.
Salzburg Festival: history and repertoire, 1922-26 lists all opera productions of the Salzburg Festival in its founding years.
Isabel Karajan is an Austrian actress. She is a daughter of Herbert von Karajan and Eliette von Karajan.
Rosl Schwaiger was an Austrian operatic coloratura soprano. She was a member of the Vienna State Opera and the Bayerische Staatsoper, known for singing Mozart roles such as Blonde, Susanna and Zerlina. She appeared at European opera houses and festivals and was especially popular at the Salzburg Festival, where she appeared for decades in opera and sacred concerts.
Aenne Michalsky - who was also given 1901 as year of birth - was an Austrian operatic soprano, who was engaged at the Vienna State Opera from 1924 to 1955 and who sang at the Salzburg Festival from 1928 to 1941.
Maria Gerhart, also Marie Gerhart, married name Maria Gerhart-Gschwandtner was an Austrian operatic soprano.
Gustav Kuhn is an Austrian conductor and manager, also a composer, and a teacher and author. During his international conducting career, he founded the later "Accademia di Montegral" for young musicians and singers in 1987, held the artistic directorship of the Tiroler Festspiele Erl, which he founded, for over 20 years and was artistic director of the international singing competition "Neue Stimmen" of the Bertelsmann Foundation since the competition was founded in 1987. Due to the accusations against Kuhn, he ended the collaboration in September 2018.