Jedermann 2020 Photo: SF/Matthias Horn

Salzburg Festival – a peace project lives

76,500 visitors from 39 nations, 12 opera performances, 29 in the drama section, 53 concerts and 16 other events are the results in figures of this year’s Salzburg Festival, reduced due to the Corona pandemic, which ended last Sunday (Aug. 30).

“In this special festival year, we have all together created something at the Festival that hardly anyone could have expected a few weeks ago: that with a very well thought-out, clever security concept that nevertheless does not overburden anyone, music, theater, concerts, opera – all these wonderful things can once again be possible,” Festival Director Markus Hinterhäuser sums up in the final report of the Salzburg Festival on Sept. 1.

Unprecedented feat of strength

What sounds so simple was in fact an unprecedented feat of strength. To design an alternative festival program from one moment to the next is worthy of all honor in these dimensions. Just the refunding of tickets already purchased before Corona, the reallocation of personalized tickets on a much smaller scale, and a security concept that can cope with the circumstances of the pandemic – all this seemed almost impossible a few weeks ago.

At the Festival, masks were generally compulsory except at the seating area. The behavior of the visitors is praised in the final report of the Salzburg Festival as very disciplined. Probably mainly because of the mask-wearing, “of the more than 70,000 visitors, no positive case has been reported by the authorities so far,” says the Salzburg Festival with satisfaction.

“To stage festivals that make artistic sense and are economically justifiable without endangering the health of the audience, the artists and the staff, that was the maxim of the Board of Directors in its decision for modified Jubilee Festivals,” according to the Salzburg Festival on its website. Together with the final declaration, a memorandum was published in which 10 guidelines were published to which the Salzburg Festival is committed – today and in the future.

Tolerance and humanity

In these guidelines, the Salzburg Festival, among other things, “expressly acknowledges its central artistic and political function: to be a peace project that, in the spirit of tolerance and humanity, allows and promotes different points of view, interpretations and approaches, and excludes no one from the festival idea.” This was already the intention of the founding fathers of the Salzburg Festival Max Reinhardt, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss, two years after the end of World War 1. The Salzburg Festival – a peace project lives on. Also in the 100th year of its existence.

Update 5.06.2021: The exhibition “Great World Theater – 100 Years of the Salzburg Festival” in the Neue Residenz has been extended until 31.10.2021.

Update 23.07.2022: To the program of the Salzburg Festival 2022.

Published 3. September 2020Updated 4. August 2022
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