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Masks in front of the Festspiel houses - Salzburger Festspiele | © Luigi Caputo

100 Years of Salzburg Festival

Mozart here, “Sound of Music” there: But on the international cultural scene, Salzburg is above all the “Festival City”. 2020 the Salzburg Festival celebrates its 100 years anniversary and transforms Salzburg into one giant stage.

100 Years of Salzburg Festival – Salzburg celebrates a big anniversary!

“The entire city is a stage” – this is how the founders of the Salzburg Festival – Max Reinhardt, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss – formulated their intentions 100 years ago. Their wishes came true: In the meantime, the Salzburg Festival has become one of the most important festivals for the performing arts worldwide. For several weeks in summer, this city of 150,000 people becomes the hub of the cultural world. Salzburg owes this annual transformation to the Salzburg Festival: a festival acclaimed worldwide for its exceptional musical quality. Every year, top international stars such as Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón and Riccardo Muti draw more than 250,000 culture lovers from around the globe to enjoy opera, theatre and concerts that are second to none.

Jedermann: the Festival classic,  without which it is practically impossible to imagine the Festival, though also vice versa. It is the dream of many a theatre lover to see, at least once in their life, this play by Hugo von Hofmannsthal performed on Cathedral Square. Yet they are not the only ones enthralled by this timeless piece. From prognostications about what dress Paramour will wear this season, to photos of the traditional Bieranstich, when a beer keg is tapped at the official party accompanying the premiere: “Jedermann” has all of this Festival City waiting with bated breath for the very latest! No wonder, then, that every one of the more than 2500 seats for this audience favorite are regularly sold out.

Performance Venues during the Salzburg Festival

Aside from the open-air stage for “Jedermann” on Cathedral Square, the other event venues are spread out across the entire city. And, since the addition of the Pernerinsel in Hallein in 1992, even beyond. That said, the most famous remain the Felsenreitschule and the Grosses Festspielhaus on Hofstallgasse – where glittering stars of high society also make their own red-carpet appearance.

The entire city as one big stage

However, if you want to enjoy the Salzburg Festival you don’t necessarily need a ticket. Barely anyone can resist the hustle and bustle surrounding the Festival, while several highlights are offered to the public for free. Festival productions, old and new, are broadcast – in some cases “live” – on Kapitelplatz Square during “Siemens Fest>Spiel>Nächte”. And on opening weekend, the Festival promises a colorful program celebrating both high- and popular culture.

The History and Great Names of the Salzburg Festival

The whole city as a stage – something director Max Reinhardt was already dreaming of back in his day. Together with writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal and other cultural icons, he founded the Salzburg Festival in 1920. A series of Festival directors – including Herbert von Karajan – continued the storied history of this now classic festival.

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