The 94th edition of the Salzburg Festival in 2014 was dedicated to the commemoration of the outbreak of World War I in 1914. After all, the founding of the Salzburg Festival with its chosen goal of (re-)connecting peoples was also a reaction to this “fundamental catastrophe” of the 20th century.
100 years after the deadly shots of Sarajevo plunged Europe into the abyss, the Australian historian Christopher M. Clark delivered a passionate plea for the European Union as “an act of transnational political will which ranks among the greatest achievements in the history of mankind”. He called the catastrophe of 1914 a reminder of the terrible consequences that can befall when politics fail, conversations fall silent and compromise is no longer possible.
With sold-out concerts, the Ouverture spirituelle dedicated itself to the musical dialogue between Christianity and Islam. Anton Bruckner’s symphonies, interpreted by outstanding conductor personalities of our times, and the cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas offered by Rudolf Buchbinder found enthusiastic audiences. The series Salzburg contemporary focused on Wolfgang Rihm, Marc-André Dalbavie and – in connection with the Ouverture spirituelle – on new music from the Islamic world. In his anniversary year, Richard Strauss was represented with his most important tone poems as well as a brilliant new production of the opera Der Rosenkavalier, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst at the Großes Festspielhaus. The new production of Il trovatore was sold out for months and then rewarded with standing ovations for the exquisite ensemble of singers, which included Francesco Meli, Anna Netrebko, Plácido Domingo and Marie-Nicole Lemieux. Further audience magnets were Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the first performance of a Schubert opera (Fierrabras) ever in Salzburg and the revival of Rossini’s La Cenerentola.
The Jedermann production by Julian Crouch and Brian Mertes continued to enchant audiences in its second year. The new productions of Karl Kraus’ Die letzten Tage der Menschheit, Ödön von Horváth‘s Don Juan kommt aus dem Krieg, the world premiere of Forbidden Zone by Duncan Macmillan and Katie Mitchell as well as the productions of the Young Directors Project and Suzanne Andrade’s Golem reflected today’s perspectives on World War I.
Statistically, the audience’s enthusiasm for staged productions and concerts is reflected by the following numbers: 271,301 guests from 74 nations, including 35 non-European nations, attended the 94th Salzburg Festival. The total of 28.5 million Euros revenue exceeded the budget by 1.2 million Euros.
The 2014 programme of the Salzburg Festival offered 229 regular events at 16 performance venues in the three genres of opera, concerts and drama:
• 37 opera performances (6 productions)
• 3 concert performances of operas (2 operas)
• 84 concerts (71 different programmes)
• 64 drama performances (9 productions)
• 2 readings
• 4 YSP master classes
• 34 performances in the children’s programme
• The Festival Ball