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Salzburg Whitsun Festival 2018 Cecilia Bartoli | © Uli Weber / Decca

Salzburg Whitsun Festival

29 May – 1 June 2020

The Salzburg Whitsun Festival has been a highlight of the Salzburg event calendar since 1973. Experience this festival in early summer as a brilliant complement to the Summer Festival!

The History of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival

Herbert von Karajan brought the original Whitsun Concerts to life back in 1973, in order to assuage the demands of potential subscribers to the Easter Festival. Until 1982, three orchestral concerts were performed on Whit Saturday, Whit Sunday and Whit Monday respectively by the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan.

After the death of Karajan, guest concerts by international orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra were added to the program. In 1998, it was taken over by the Salzburg Festival, who rechristened the Whitsun Concerts as the Salzburg Whitsun Festival. Riccardo Muti became artistic director of the Whitsun Festival in 2007, continuing to serve in that role until 2012, when Italian singer Cecilia Bartoli succeeded him. Since 2012, the main production from the Whitsun Festival is also performed during the Summer Festival.

The Festival in 2020

Entitled “Le couleur du temps – the color of time”, Cecilia Bartoli transports us to the life and work of singer Pauline Viardot-García. The Whitsun Festival gets officially underway with a performance of Gaetano Donizetti’s opera buffa Don Pasquale. The role of Norina will be performed by Cecilia Bartoli, a role with roots that go back to Viardot-García’s appearance as Norina in St. Petersburg in 1845. This particular piece also fits marvelously with the 100-year anniversary of the Salzburg Festival, since it has previously stood on the program of the Salzburg Festival six times in total. Don Pasquale also happens to be the first opera performed that did not come from the pen of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Yet another highlight of this year’s festival will be the gala concert entitled “Une affair de famille”.

Program Overview

Alcina 29.05.2020


Arienkonzert École Classique 30.05.2020


Sacred Concert 30.05.2020


Matinée Recital · Jeux d’esprit 31.05.2020


Orphée 31.05.2020


Gala Concert · Une affaire de famille 01.06.2020


Alcina 01.06.2020



Postfach 140
5020 Salzburg
Tel. +43662 8045-500

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