Festival opening celebration 2021

On July 18, Salzburg will celebrate the traditional festival for the opening of the 2021 Festival, when the entire city will once again become a stage.

Since 1952, the beginning of the annual Salzburg Festival has been celebrated in Salzburg with a large festival. Founded in 1920, two years after World War 1 as a peace project by Max Reinhardt, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss, the Salzburg City Association organized this festival for the entire city of Salzburg for the first time in 1952 at the suggestion of Provincial Councilor Florian Groll. A large musical procession led to Residenzplatz, where a torchlight dance consisting of around 70 dancing couples from various traditional groups from the city of Salzburg and the surrounding area was performed. To the sounds of city music, the dance groups draw 13 different figures with their torches into the darkness of the night. Long-term film footage – projected onto the large screen on the cathedral façade – reveals the totality of the individual torch drawings – a fascinating image.

24 venues, 59 program points, free admission

Music, drama, readings, exhibitions and dance for free at 24 venues: for one day, Salzburgers and festival visitors can get in the mood for the festival summer at the festival opening. The extensive program offers a cross-section of Salzburg’s entire cultural life. This includes, for example, the public stage orchestra rehearsal for Don Giovanni, one of the central Festival productions this year. Concerts, well spread throughout the day, offer a wide variety of musical genres, from the Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor to Plattform K+K – Electric. A portion of house, a touch of Debussy, in Salzburg they are keen to experiment.

Readings at the Salzburg Landestheater, art exhibitions from the Museum der Moderne to a guided tour of the Ian Davenport exhibition, which then runs at the Haas&Gschwandtner Gallery. In Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse in the old town, Salzburg Street Theater is performing Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” the play with which comedia dell’arte reached its peak around 1750, to mark its 50th anniversary. The exhibition Großes Welttheater – 100 Jahre Salzburger Festspiele (Great World Theater – 100 Years of the Salzburg Festival) in the Salzburg Museum, which is well worth seeing, can also be visited without admission.

To meet the requirements of the Covid rules, you need a so-called counting card to visit individual events, which you can book easily on the website of the Salzburg Festival. Here you can find out what the rules are.

“Finally, culture for all again.”

An important aspect in the founding of the Festival for Max Reinhardt was “to (also) grant access to the less well-off audience”. And to turn the whole city into a stage. This has been successful since 1952 with the festival opening and is today an important date in Salzburg’s cultural calendar. A compact cultural festival of its own in the beautiful city on the Salzach – in one day.

Program for the festival opening 2021

Published 3. July 2021Updated 23. June 2023
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