100 years later, the Salzburg festival continues to triumph

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© Salzburg Festival / Marco Borrelli

When Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Max Reinhardt, and Richard Strauss founded the Salzburg Festival in 1920, they envisioned the entire city as one live stage, where everyday life and staging become one. 100 years later, the pandemic has proven to be an extreme challenge. An updated program was presented in August 2020, setting a bold example of the power of the arts and paying homage to the founding idea.

This summer, when many theaters and opera houses around the world remain closed, the Salzburg Festival pioneered a return to the pre-pandemic scale defying all challenges. While taking precautions – attendees must be vaccinated, tested or recently recovered from coronavirus infection and wear masks during performances – the stages of the 2021 Festival have come to life with sold-out performances until September 2.


The Musicians of Prince-Monaco · Capuano 2021: Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo-Soprano), Gianluca Capuano (Conductor) © Festival de Salzburg / Marco Borrelli

This summer’s opera program features a new production of Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In 1922, it was the first opera performed at the Festival; this year it will be directed by Romeo Castellucci and directed by Teodor Currentzis. Cosí fan tutte will be performed as last year’s scaled-down but widely acclaimed version, as will Richard Strauss’s Elektra. The orchestra of both operas is the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The program also includes three other staged operas and two semi-scenic operas.

Concert offerings include the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Mozarteum Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Christian Thielemann, Franz Welser-Möst, Elīna Garanča and Daniel Barenboim, among others. The legendary conductor Riccardo Muti will celebrate his 80th birthday and his 50th appearance at the Festival. The 2021 program also features lieder recitals, chamber and church concerts, the Spiritual Overture and Mozart Matinees.


© SF / Anne Zeuner

On stage there will be 14 performances of Jedermann by Hugo von Hofmannsthal with Lars Eidinger and Verena Altenberger. Friedrich Schiller, William Shakespeare and readings of works by Charles Baudelaire and Stefan Zweig are other highlights of the dramatic program.

The youth program of the Salzburg Festival organized under the title jung & jede * r [open to all young people] offers opera camps, the Young Singers Project, special concerts and the Siemens> Kinder> Festival, a truly commendable validation of the Festival’s goal of inspiring enthusiasm for classical music among young people. And, with the support of Siemens, a main sponsor of the Festival since 1999, the Festival offers free access to performances with broadcasts of some free performances on Kapitelplatz in Salzburg.


Elektra 2021: Tanja Ariane Baumgartner (Klytämnestra), Ausrine Stundyte (Elektra) © SF / Bernd Uhlig

“Art can be a bright beacon, a buoy in this sea of ​​uncertainty. We live in a time when everyone wants thoughtless answers. Immediately. This is why people are so depressed by the pandemic, ”explains Festival president Helga Rabl-Stadler, who recently received the French cultural medal. Commander of Arts and Letters.


Bach Sonaten & Partiten – Zehetmair 2021: Thomas Zehetmair (Violin) © SF / Marco Borrelli

“Art is very good at asking questions. One of our founders, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, said he prefers to ask questions through mythological operas, because this distance from today allows for a more precise vision. Take Elektra: love and hate, war and peace, forgiveness and revenge. I always notice how people react to such themes and then discuss them more in the restaurant after the performance, ”she added.

On the occasion of its centenary, the iconic Salzburg Festival stands as a beacon of hope in these uncertain times, guiding the audience on a musical journey in a magical setting.

The 2021 Salzburg Festival takes place from July 17 to August 31, 2021, more info here.


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