"Here, where the eye delights everywhere it looks, where every glimpse encounters exquisite harmony, where an entire city reveals beauty in its innermost being; here is the right place to celebrate a festival." So claimed theatre producer Max Reinhardt in 1917 and the Salzburger Festspiele (Salzburg Festival), the world's most famous festival of music and drama, was born. Supported by the composer Richard Strauss and the poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Reinhardt initiated an annual programme of opera, drama and music, performed in spectacular settings around the city. This year, the festival takes place between 20th July and 1st September.
Salzburg is synonymous with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Born in the city in 1756, Mozart was pushed into music at an exceptionally early age by his court-musician father, who recognised his son’s abilities at once. The boy began composing and performing while practically a toddler, and first toured Europe at the age of six. He later moved to Vienna, where he wrote such classics as The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro. Despite wide acclaim, he never knew enduring wealth and security – his gambling and philandering suggest he had little time for such bourgeois virtues. The archbishop of Salzburg would not countenance his applications for prestigious positions, and he was later hounded by unappreciative music critics. At 35 he died of fever and was buried a pauper in an unmarked grave.
In July and August every year, the International Mozarteum Foundation’s concert series forms an integral part of the Salzburg Festival.
Venues around the city
Venues include Domplatz (in front of the cathedral), the Mozarteum, the Landestheater, the Kollegienkirche, the Grosses Festspielhaus and the Kleines Festspielhaus. Particularly oustanding are the Marionettentheater’s ornate puppets, which sing opera in perfect pitch beneath the Mirabell’s fine ceilings. Huge crowds arrive in the city to see it all.
For Salzburg Festival schedules and tickets, visit the festival website at www.salzburgfestival.at.
To read more about the city, buy one of our Salzburg travel guides.