Friday evening (16.07.2021) was the public dress rehearsal of the Salzburg Festival’s Jedermann 2021. The prelude and since 1920 the central play of the Salzburg Festival about the dying of the rich man.
It was the fourth edition in a row under director Michael Sturminger, which had to take place in the Großes Festspielhaus due to the weather. Max Reinhardt had conceived the play by Hugo von Hofmannsthal in 1920 for the Domplatz. It was to be a play for the whole city, a play about church and monks, Middle Ages and Baroque, music and theatre – in the open air. On Friday evening, more than 2000 guests gathered in the Hofstallgasse. The imposing Großes Festspielhaus was almost completely filled. Expectations were high, after all, this year was a completely new production, even though the Salzburg Festival initially listed this year’s Jedermann as a revival on their website.
But there could be no question of that, as Lars Eidinger also pointed out in the podcast “Jederspiele” of the Salzburger Nachrichten. Almost all the roles were newly cast, including Jedermann with Lars Eidinger and the Buhlschaft with Verena Altenberger. But the ensemble’s overall stage setup was also markedly different from the 2020 Everyman. While last year’s wardrobe was still comparatively conventional to elegant, this year the characters are a colourful, sometimes shrill mix of every conceivable fashion of contemporary history. And nudity was also celebrated. Lars Eidinger and Verena Altenberger provide sensual moments, and Mirko Kreibich as Schuldgesell can also be described as eye candy.
The role of Death, played this year by Edith Clever, was also exciting. I wondered at Death’s first appearance, “Why is Death a woman? That can’t be somehow”. The role of God is also cast as a female. These casts challenge conventions with extremely simple means. And fuel the examination of central themes of Everyman around guilt and dependence, greed and avarice, fear and death.
When dealing with all these questions, it becomes clear that this year’s Jedermann is definitely a new production and not a mere revival. Director Michael Sturminger described his now 5-year work on Jedermann as a construction site. This year, he and the entire ensemble have probably taken the biggest step towards change on this construction site so far. A building site creates change and this year’s change has been excitingly successful. Lars Eidinger gives Jedermann a new direction.
The festival opening ceremony took place today (18 July). Opera, drama and concerts will now be performed again until 31 August. The trailer gives an atmospheric approach to the world’s leading festival for classical music and performing arts. The complete programme on the Salzburg Festival website. The exhibition “Great World Theater – 100 Years of the Salzburg Festival” has been extended until Oct. 31, 2021, because of Corona and provides an ingenious overview of 100 years of cultural history in one place – Salzburg.
Update 23.07.2022: To the program of the Salzburg Festival 2022.
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