© Salzburger Festspiele / Forster
Jedermann - Everyman
The highlight of the Salzburg Festival
July 18 - August 31, 2014
Each summer the front of the Cathedral serves as the backdrop for the Salzburg Festival's most famous play – Hugo von Hofmannsthal's Jedermann (Everyman). The play of the rich man's death was first performed on December 1, 1911 in Berlin's Schumann Circus, directed by Max Reinhardt. Inspired by the theatricality of Cathedral Square, Max Reinhardt staged Jedermann, the medieval morality play, on the steps of the Cathedral on August 22, 1920. The open-air performances (at the Large Festival Hall in inclement weather) have been one of the highlights of the Festival season ever since.
Based on late medieval morality plays and enhanced with dramatic modern adaptations, Jedermann presents God, Death, the Devil and other abstract beings as personifications. The rich Jedermann is faced by unexpected Death, calling him to his judgment. Allowed company on his final journey, he is deserted by his loyal servant, his friends and his money; the figures of Good Works and Faith help him repent and save his soul before he is lowered into his grave.
Rumors, speculations and excitement abound year after year when the actors are announced. The actors playing Jedermann in Salzburg include Will Quadflieg, Curd Jürgens, Maximilian Schell, Klaus Maria Brandauer and Helmut Lohner. Peter Simonischek took the leading role of Jedermann from 2002 until 2009. His famous "mistresses" include Christiane Hörbiger, Senta Berger, Sunnyi Melles and Veronica Ferres. From 2010 to 2012 Nicholas Ofczarek and Birgit Minichmayr took the leading roles of Hugo von Hofmannsthal's tragic play.
Max Reinhardt was succeeded by the directors Heinz Hilpert, Helene Thimig, Ernst Lothar, William Dieterle, Gottfried Reinhardt, Leopold Lindtberg, Ernst Haeusserman, Gernot Friedel, Christian Stückl, Martin Kušej and Henning Bock. The directors generally followed Reinhardt's original concept until 2001, with Leopold Lindtberg being the only exception. Jedermann has been staged in a modern production by Christian Stückl since 2002, who also introduced evening performances with artificial lighting in 2003. The 500th performance of Jedermann took place at the Salzburg Festival on August 5, 2003. Today the grandstands have 2,544 seats. Several trapdoors are built into the mobile stage to raise and lower the actors.
In 2013, Julian Crouch, the English stage designer and director and Brian Mertes, the American theater director, will be in charge of this year's new Jedermann production. The leading role will be played by Cornelius Obonya with Brigitte Hobmeier as his mistress.