Hugo von Hofmannsthal gives courage. Illustration of the Salzburg Festival website

“Modified festivals seem possible”

“Where the will only awakens, there something is almost achieved.” With this quotation from Hugo von Hofmannsthal, a co-founder of the Salzburg Festival 100 years ago, the Salzburg Festival website currently (17 May) headlines the state of corona-related uncertainty, uncertainty about whether and in what form the Salzburg Festival will be able to take place this year. In the 100th year of its existence. Key message: Modified Festival seems possible.

“It shows how right the strategy of the Board of Directors was not to cancel the Festival prematurely, but to wait and see how the pandemic develops and to set itself 30 May as the target date for the decision. The Festival is confident that, despite Corona, it can send a signal for the power of art, especially in difficult times,” says the Salzburg Festival on its website.

1000 people per event

This confidence is based on the announcement of the Austrian federal government at the press conference the day before yesterday (15.05.) regarding the planning of crowds in the near future. From August onwards, up to 1000 people will be allowed. The Bregenz Festival has already been cancelled. This is probably due to the fact that there is room for 7,000 people on the lake stage in Lake Constance and that a high capacity utilisation is necessary for economic operation – well over 1,000 people per event.

In Salzburg, things are a little different. The Salzburg Festival has this to say: “It is certain that due to the new health regulations, the Festival cannot take place in the programmatic and temporal scope as planned before the outbreak of the pandemic. The Festival will therefore present an alternative for this extremely demanding year to the Board of Trustees on 25 May 2020.” And further: “Modified Festspiele seem possible.”

The Salzburg Festival will therefore publish a modified programme in June. The procedure for handling tickets that have already been purchased will also be announced shortly. So we are eagerly waiting to see how the Salzburg Festival will celebrate its 100th birthday. As Hugo von Hofmannsthal said, “Where the will only awakens, there something is almost achieved.” Let’s hope he is right!

Salzburger Festspiele

Published 17. May 2020Updated 4. June 2023