The Salzburg Festival: Almost 100 years of cultural excellence
This year, the 99th Salzburg Festival is already taking place, and in 2019 visitors will again be captivated by the world's broadest artistic programme. Opera, drama and concerts are presented here by the most renowned artists in the world. In addition to a top-class cultural programme, the special flair of the city and, in particular, the use of Salzburg's Hofstallgasse and the entire baroque Old Town as the backdrop for the festival create an extraordinary atmosphere. Apart from the festivals at Easter and Pentecost, the summer festivals in July and August offer evenings to dream about in wonderful summer weather.
Festival full of highlights: A world class programme
This year, the Salzburg Festival takes place from 20 July to 31 August and offers breath-taking performances with an extraordinary opera programme of nine operas – five of them new productions. The festival's acting programme also includes a total of eight pieces, half of which will also be newly staged. In addition, twelve concerts characterise this year's festival and ensure a great variety in the programme. Thanks to the great selection of productions, there is sure to be something for every opera lover, theatre fan and music enthusiast. Romantik presents some of the highlights of the 99th Salzburg Festival.
Highlights of the opera programme
In 2019 the opera programme will shine with a total of seven operas and two concert performances. Mozart's opera Idomeneo, Salome by Richard Strauss and Alcina by Georg Friedrich Händel are among the real crowd-pullers, along with other highlights.
The opera Idomeneo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, already sold out, will be staged in his hometown from 27 July to 19 August in a new production of seven performances. Under the musical direction of Teodor Currentzis and directed by Peter Sellars, Idomeneo will celebrate the opening premiere of this year's festival. Sellars transforms arias into ensemble scenes, strokes some arias and integrates the heart-breaking Rondo KV 505, an orchestral duet for fortepiano and soprano. The director also translates Mozart's religiously afflicted opera, which alludes to Abraham's attempted sacrifice of Isaac, into modern times. Idomeneo is portrayed as a representative of the ruling politicians who would sacrifice their own children for their own good lives. With this production, Sellars alludes to the current climate protection issue and the associated Fridays for Future movement.
The opera Alcina by Georg Friedrich Händel will be presented in six performances at the festival from August 5 to 18. Under the musical direction of Gianluca Capuano and directed by Damiano Michieletto, the resumed opera tells the dark story of Alcina. As a magician, Alcina lures men to her magic island to transform them into plants, rocks or animals after a short love affair. When she finally falls in love with one of her "victims" and he wants to return to his fiancée, Alcina's world breaks up. The impressive opera is presented in Italian with German and English surtitles.
The re-recorded opera Salome by Richard Strauss will be performed in three performances at the Salzburg Festival from 25 to 31 August. Under the musical direction of Franz Welser-Möst and directed by Romeo Castellucci, the secrets of this "tragedy of the gaze" will be explored. Castellucci succeeds in approaching Salome via the setting of the theatrical event and produces images in which the knowledge of the unconscious pulsates. He places Princess Salmone in front of a mixture of wailing wall and execution site, which contrasts effectively with the innocent white of her dress.
Highlights of the drama programme
In 2019, Bettina Herig, as director of the play, sets strong impulses and presents four new productions, the resumed Jedermann, as well as research into plays and readings.
With almost 700 performances in almost a century, Jedermann is a classic at the annual Salzburg Festival. This year Hugo von Hofmannsthal's play will thrill audiences 14 times from 20 July to 28 August. 2019 director Michael Sturminger once again relies on the leading actor Tobias Moretti, who has already been celebrated in 2017 and 2018, and yet brings a breath of fresh air into the play with several new cast members. The play with the timeless theme of death, which can meet anyone and everyone at any time, is traditionally performed on Salzburg Cathedral Square.
YOUTH WITHOUT GOD
Ödön von Horváth's Youth without God can be seen at the Salzburg Festival from 28 July to 11 August. Eight performances of the piece will be directed by Thomas Ostermeier, who will re-stage a very dense adaptation of the work. The director leaves the work set in its time of creation in order to give the audience the opportunity to draw parallels to the present day. Published in 1937, the anti-war novel focuses on the life of a young history teacher who, as a nameless first-person narrator, describes his everyday life in the Third Reich.
Theresia Walser's dark comedy will be premiered at the Salzburg Festival this year. From 18 to 29 August the play will be performed seven times under the direction of Burkhard C. Kosminski. The play tells the story of an unequal pair of siblings who hide the body of their brother together, who died of suicide, in order to preserve appearances. The successful contemporary dramatist Theresia Walser has already received numerous prizes and awards for her works.
Highlights of the concert programme
The twelve concerts in the programme of the Salzburg Festival round off the varied festival programme.
This year the Ouverture sprituelle is dedicated to the theme Lacrimae. Eleven concerts will be played from 20 to 28 July. It will be opened in the Kollegien church with Lagrime di San Pietro, a total of 20 seven-part madrigals, which form the climax of sacred vocal polyphony. Concerts by the Bavarian Broadcasting Choir, the SWR Symphony Orchestra and the “Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin” will also be performed this year.
VIENNA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Within the framework of five concert cycles, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra will offer spectacular concerts from 28 July to 31 August. Under the direction of Herbert Blomstedt, Franz Welser-Möst, Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim and Bernard Haitink, the Vienna Philharmonic will once again be performing in their summer home this year, since 1925.
The perfect accommodation for the Salzburg Festival
At the Salzburg Festival it is advisable to profit from the unique atmosphere of the city and to stay overnight close to the city centre as well as according to the occasion. The Romantik Hotel Gmachl is Austria's oldest family-run hotel and invites you to a relaxing stay on the green outskirts of Salzburg, only 5 kilometres from the city centre of Salzburg. Thanks to the hotel's spacious wellness area, guests are offered a relaxing stay before and after the concerts. In the lovingly furnished rooms and romantic garden of the Romantik Hotel Gmachl, guests experience a village idyll while benefiting from the proximity to the festival.
The Romantik Hotel Die Gersberg Alm is also ideal for an overnight stay during the Salzburg Festival. Only about 7 kilometres from the city centre, the hosts warmly welcome their guests in elegant rooms. In addition, guests are pampered with excellent regional and international cuisine. The well sorted wine list with largely Austrian quality wines rounds off the offer.