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Festival Ball: First Glimpses of the Preparations

10 MAR 2012

published in: Festival Ball

Gerhard Gössl, Helga Rabl-Stadler, Elisabeth Gürtler, Alexander Pereira
On September 1, 2012, the instruction “Alles Tanz!” (“All Dance!”) will ring out for the first time at the Salzburg Festival. “A grand gala dinner at Salzburg’s Residenz will precede the ball at the Felsenreitschule. There, great Festival stars will give a brief concert before the ceremonious opening, featuring the opening dance of the debutantes in traditional Salzburg costumes. Please mark September 1 on your calendars as a must,” said Artistic Director Alexander Pereira.

Opening the Ball
The choreography of the opening has been entrusted to the Seifert School of Dance from Salzburg. In order to give the ball a Salzburg flavor, of course Mozart will play a role. So far, 140 persons from Austria and abroad have applied for the Debutantes’ Committee. Couples from all over the world are still being recruited. An audition in mid-May will decide which couples will appear at the opening of the ball. The application deadline is May 1, 2012. Applications can be sent via email to niki@tanzschule-seifert.at. – Foreign applicants are requested to send their DVDs to: Tanzschule Niki Seifert, St.-Julien-Straße 20/5, 5020 Salzburg, Austria.

The Debutante Couple as of March 9
The Lady: Jacqueline Helminger, born on February 14, 1996, currently attends the 6th grade of the Bundes-Gymnasium Zaunergasse in Salzburg.
The Gentleman: Michael Estl, born on February 14, 1996, currently also attends the 6th grade of the Bundes-Gymnasium Zaunergasse in Salzburg.
Both live in Salzburg.

The Dirndl (Female Costume)
The top consists of linen, treated by a process called “Äschen”.
(This is a special method of dyeing, during which the linen takes on the grey-ecru color mélange typical for traditional dress.)
The skirt consists of 100% Dupioni silk.
70 cm linen and 220 cm silk are used for each dirndl.
The apron is redesigned and especially produced every year – idea and concept:
Andreas Lackner, perfectprops.
The debutantes are outfitted exclusively by the firm Gössl Salzburg.

Floral coronets for hairdos: Blumen Doll
Make-up and hairstyling: Coiffeur Sturmayr

Honorary Patronage of the Salzburg Festival Ball
Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer

Honorary Presidency
Federal Minister Dr. Claudia Schmied
LHF Mag. Gabi Burgstaller
LH-Stv. Dr. Wilfried Haslauer
Mayor Dr. Heinz Schaden

KR Heinrich Spängler, President of the Friends of the Salzburg Festival
Hans-Werner Jacob, President of the German Association of Friends of the Salzburg Festival
Dkfm. Elisabeth Gürtler

Delegation of the Patronesses’ Committee on March 9
Dr. Barbara Bagusat
Alexandra Bjerke
Angelika Diekmann
Baroness Riki von Gagern
Michaela Gössl
Claudia Pistauer
Princess Marianne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn
Gabriele Lamarche
Susi Schellhorn
Eva Spängler
Anne-Marie Steigenberger
Madeleine Usner von Oswald
Countess Sophie Walderdorff
Brigitta Weinberger
Marie Therese Willms Countess Goëss

From the History of the Felsenreitschule
In 1693, Archbishop Johann Ernst Thun had 96 arcades hewn into the walls of the former stone quarry of the Felsenreitschule, following designs by Johann B. Fischer von Erlach.
As early as 1926, Festival founder Max Reinhardt suggested transforming the summer riding school or Felsenreitschule into a theater. That same year, the new performance venue proved itself an ideal location for Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters and similar character comedies in the folk theater style. At the time, the floor still consisted of tamped-down earth and the spectators sat on wooden benches.
The Faust City which Clemens Holzmeister erected at the Felsenreitschule in 1933 is among the most impressive transformations of this space. As part of these legendary sets, a wooden grandstand was also built, mostly covered from 1934 onwards by a wooden roof which was complemented by a mobile tarpaulin against rain.
In 1948, Herbert von Karajan transformed the Felsenreitschule into an opera stage for the first time for a staging of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice.
Another renovation of the Felsenreitschule took place in 1968/70, according to plans by Clemens Holzmeister: a sub-stage, orchestra pit and a lighting ramp, a weatherproof rolling roof, an auditorium with boxes and ramps as well as a storage space for props were built. The roof consisted of a sail made of synthetic material, which was extended through a system of support cables and was able to protect the stage from light and rain. Rain falling on the roof was atomized by a grid of netting mounted above the roof. Despite these improvements, the disadvantage of having the stage exposed to the elements in winter continued.
In 2006, when the Haus für Mozart was built, the Felsenreitschule was improved further: a new grandstand optimized the sightlines, the acoustics were refined and the ventilation and air conditioning systems were renovated.