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Salzburg Festival,annual festival of music and drama held in Salzburg, Austria, for five weeks starting in late July. The festival may be considered a descendant of the Salzburg Music Festival Weeks that the Vienna Philharmonic gave irregularly between 1877 and 1910. After World War I several leading German-speaking cultural figures—including Hermann BahrBahr, Hermann
, 1863–1934, Austrian dramatist and critic. His essay Zur Kritik der Moderne (1890) established modernism as a literary term, and his study Expressionismus (1916, tr. 1925) defined that literary trend.
..... Click the link for more information. , Richard StraussStrauss, Richard
, 1864–1949, German composer. Strauss brought to a culmination the development of the 19th-century symphonic poem, and was a leading composer of romantic opera in the early 20th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , Max ReinhardtReinhardt, Max,
1873–1943, Austrian theatrical producer and director, originally named Max Goldmann. After acting under Otto Brahm at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, he managed (1902–5) his own theater, where he produced more than 50 plays.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Hugo von HofmannsthalHofmannsthal, Hugo von
, 1874–1929, Austrian dramatist and poet. His first verses were published when he was 16 years old, and his play The Death of Titian (1892, tr. 1913) when he was 18.
..... Click the link for more information. —developed the idea of an annual summer cultural festival to be held in Salzburg.
The modern series of festivals began on Aug. 22, 1920, when Hofmannsthal's adaptation of the medieval English morality play Everyman was given in a production by Reinhardt in the cathedral square. The following year Mozart operas were added to the festival program. In 1926 the former archiepiscopal stables were converted into the Festival Hall, and concerts by the Vienna Philharmonic became a regular feature. In succeeding years, as the festival became internationally celebrated, performances of spoken drama in German declined in prominence in favor of music programs.
The festival probably achieved its greatest brilliance in the 1930s, when Arturo ToscaniniToscanini, Arturo
, 1867–1957, Italian conductor, internationally recognized as one of the world's great conductors. He studied cello at the Parma Conservatory, from which he graduated in 1885.
..... Click the link for more information. and Bruno WalterWalter, Bruno,
1876–1962, German-American conductor, b. Berlin as Bruno Walter Schlesinger. Walter studied at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin. After he had conducted in several German cities, Gustav Mahler appointed him (1901) assistant conductor of the Vienna State
..... Click the link for more information. were its leading conductors. Vienna State Opera productions of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, and Verdi directed by these maestros were especially distinguished. When the Nazis took over Austria in 1938, the festival declined in significance, as many musicians could not (e.g., Walter) or would not (e.g., Toscanini) participate. Nevertheless, the festival continued through 1943. It was revived as an international event in the summer of 1945, immediately following the Allied victory in Europe, and has been held every summer since then. From the late 1950s into the late 1980s the festival's character was largely shaped by the conductor Herbert von KarajanKarajan, Herbert von
, 1908–89, Austrian conductor. Karajan began his conducting career in 1927. After World War II his reputation spread through Europe to the United States.
..... Click the link for more information. . From 1992 the festival was led by the Belgian Gérard Mortier who, somewhat controversially, performed many contemporary works and encouraged modern interpretations of the classics. German conductors succeeded Mortier as artistic director: Peter Ruzicka, from 2002 to 2006, and Jürgen Flimm, from 2006 to 2011. The Austrian Alexander Pereira became conductor in 2011. Today's performances include opera, drama, and instrumental concerts, and the music performed represents a broad spectrum, from Mozart to contemporary works.
Performances of music and drama at the Salzburg Festival are given in the "Old" Festival Hall, the "New" Festival Hall (built 1960), and the 17th-century Riding School in the Cliff. The residential palace of the archbishop and several other venerable venues are also used for music. Performances of Everyman are still held in the elegant 17th-century square in front of the cathedral.
The festival takes place at the end of July and through most of August at different venues throughout the city. Most of the operatic and large orchestral pieces are performed in the Festspielhaus, while other performances take place in the Landestheater. Chamber music concerts are usually given in the hall of the Mozarteum, and the Residenz is the scene for serenade concerts held by candlelight. Visits to Mozart's birthplace at Getreidegasse 9 are especially popular during the festival.
Herbert von Karajan Platz 11
Salzburg, A-5010 Austria
43-662-80455-00; fax: 43-662-80455-55
GdWrldFest-1985, p. 13
IntlThFolk-1979, p. 39
MusFestEurBrit-1980, p. 25
MusFestWrld-1963, p. 79