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Jedermann (Everyman) by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Salzburg Festival 2015, Salzburg Dom | © Tourismus Salzburg

Max Reinhardt

As one of the co-founders, until his emigration Max Reinhardt held the reins of the Salzburg Festival firmly in his hands.

From actor to father of the Festival

Max Reinhardt was born 9.9.1873 in Baden near Vienna as Maximilian Goldmann. He celebrated his Salzburg debut as an actor in 1893. However, his services to the Salzburg theater world  culminated in his efforts, along with Hugo von Hofmannsthal, to create the Salzburg Festival.

Memorandum for a Festival Hall

In Reinhardt’s vision, the Festival was a reaction to the destruction of the First World War. Furthermore, he felt that art ought to help Austria find a new identity after the demise of the Habsburg monarchy. In 1917, Reinhardt published his “Memorandum for construction of a festival hall in Hellbrunn”. Though this was never built, the first Festival did take place in 1920. On temporary stages and, of course, on Cathedral Square – in keeping with Reinhardt’s desire for an open-air festival.

Reinhardt at the Salzburg Festival

With Reinhardt’s production of Jedermann in 1920, the Salzburg Festival was officially born. Many other productions would follow. Reinhardt remained director of the Festival until 1937, before emigrating to the United States. He died in New York on 31.11.1943. He also gained fame for founding the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna as well as his contributions to the development of modern directing techniques. In the Festival District, the Max-Reinhardt-Platz is named after him.

“Lord of the Castle” in Leopoldskron

Yet another location in Salzburg reminds us of the great director: In 1918, he bought Schloss Leopoldskron and the Meierhof which belongs to it. Reinhardt turned the estate into a gathering spot for Europe’s “Bohemians”, while the castle also provided a venue for stage productions. In addition, he had a garden theater built, which sadly no longer exists. One highlight: the library which Reinhardt established.

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