New Salzburg Festival Program

The Salzburg Festival has unveiled its new festival program for 2020. In its three artistic areas of opera, drama and concert, the world’s leading festival for classical music and performing arts will celebrate 90 performances at 6 venues over 30 days. This is still about 50% of what was originally planned before Corona. Thus, the Salzburg Festival will be spared the fate of the Bregenz Festival. These were cancelled. In the 100th year of the Salzburg Festival’s existence, this would otherwise have been a very sad anniversary year for Salzburg.

90 performances opera, theater and concert

The Mozart opera Così fan tutte will be seen in a new production by Christoph Loy from August 2 to 18. Under the musical direction of Joana Mallwitz, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus will bring Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s love drama in two acts to the stage of the Großes Festspielhaus six times.

At the Felsenreitschule, “Elektra” by Richard Strauss will pursue her plans for revenge – also six times. The opera’s musical director is Krzysztof Warlikowski with the Vienna Philharmonic. The libretto is by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, a co-founder of the Salzburg Festival a hundred years ago, and is based on Sophocles’ tragedy of the same name.

The performance of “Jedermann” has been a central part of the Salzburg Festival since 1920. This year, the play by Hugo von Hofmannsthal will be performed 14 times on the Domplatz. Jedermann is an allegorical realization of the theme “Man and Death.” Everyman’s theme, whether poor or rich. So this meets with Hofmannsthal the rich merchant, this year played by Tobias Moretti. In the role of the Buhlschaft Caroline Peters.

Peter Handke is an Austrian and one of the best-known contemporary authors in the German-speaking world. Handke lived in Salzburg for several years and is also a much-played guest at the Salzburg Festival. This summer will see the premiere of his new play Zdeněk Adamec, which deals with 18-year-old Zdeněk Adamec. In March 2003, Zdeněk Adamec burned himself to death in front of the public in Wenceslas Square in Prague in protest against the state of the world. Friederike Heller directs eight evenings at the Salzburg Landestheater.

There will be 38 concert performances this year in 9 categories. Among them the Vienna Philharmonic with Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 in A minor. Or the Berlin Philharmonic on August 29 in the guest orchestra category with works by Arnold Schoenberg and Johannes Brahms, and on August 30 with works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Felix Mendelssohn. Detailed program descriptions of the Salzburg Festival for this summer can be found here.

The date for the state exhibition “Great World Theater – 100 Years of the Salzburg Festival” has now also been set. From July 25, 2020 to October 31, 2021, this exhibition will document a good part of 100 years of cultural history. The organizers write about this: “The state exhibition for the 100th anniversary of the Salzburg Festival is designed as a “stage play” in the museum. For six months, the Neue Residenz will become a place to encounter the multi-layered history of the Salzburg Festival and its artists: we will bring our archive to life, present artistic interventions, staged narratives, film screenings and much more – and cordially invite you to the Festival stage at the Salzburg Museum.”

This exhibition is certainly worthwhile, even if you travel to Salzburg after the festival. For example, to one of the three scene events in the fall. At the Salzburg Pride (4-6 September), at the Pride Boat on Lake Wolfgang (18-20 September) or at the Long Night of Diversity, missed Pride celebrations this year can be wonderfully made up for.

Salzburg Festival 1.-30. August 2020

Published 28. June 2021Updated 4. May 2023