26 July – 31 August
In the spring of 2003 Jürgen Flimm announced his resignation as head of drama at the end of the summer season 2004; Martin Kusej was appointed his successor. The opening premiere of Mozart’s Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio) unleashed tumultuous reactions on the part of the audience. The Norwegian stage director Stefan Herheim simply dispensed with the figure of the Bassa Selim and wrote new dialogues. The team of committed advocates who defended the controversial production was headed by Peter Ruzicka, who boldly prophesied that the production would soon achieve cult status. The second Mozart premiere of the summer, La clemenza di Tito was a further triumph for the team Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Martin Kusej. The world premiere of Hans Werner Henze’s opera L’Upupa was conducted by Markus Stenz and staged by Dieter Dorn; grand maître Henze was given a standing ovation. The production of Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann starring Neil Shicoff, Waltraud Meier and Ruggiero Raimondi was enormously popular with audiences but the critics rejected David McVicar’s rather conservative staging concept. Johann Kresnik, who directed Ibsen’s Peer Gynt and Michael Thalheimer, director of Büchner’s Woyzeck, were responsible for the two major new drama productions in 2003. Alvis Hermanis from Latvia won the Young Directors Award for his production of Gogol’s Revisor; Christa Wolf was highly acclaimed as the Guest Writer. The Salzburg Passagen, a festival within a festival devoted entirely to new and very new music, took place for the first time.
Details of the several years: