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New Start for a Time-Honored Publication: The Salzburg Festival Almanac Published by the Festival Itself for the First Time

16 JUL 2012

published in: General

Salzburg Festival Almanac 2012
The Salzburg Festival Almanac has existed for 45 years. What began in 1967 as an initiative of the legendary publisher Wolfgang Schaffler, who wanted to establish a productive alliance between the Residenz Verlag and the Salzburg Festival by putting out an official program book, went through various incarnations throughout the history of this publishing house. In 2012, the Festival Almanac is self-published by the Festival for the first time, offering more backstage insights than ever before.

The Viennese cultural journalist and author Monika Mertl, who was already responsible for the project between 2001 and 2009 and published various printed works during the artistic directorships of Gerard Mortier, Peter Ruzicka and Jürgen Flimm, has been commissioned by the Festival’s directorate to edit the publication. “The fact that the Almanac is being published by the Festival itself means a ‘close-up’ effect, most of all,” Mertl says. “Thanks to the fruitful cooperation with the Festival’s dramaturgy department and with the production dramaturges, we can look behind the scenes more than ever before, reporting from the backstage areas. This increased liveliness and directness will surely attract new readers too. However, the Almanac continues to serve its original purpose: to observe the individual Festival productions within the larger context, to reflect inner connections and to awaken the reader’s imagination with literary and partially fictional contributions, inspiring them to reflect upon the Festival themes individually. Not least, the Almanac will retain its service function, offering an overall program of the Festival documenting all the events with detailed information; in this regard, we hope that it will retain its cult status as a collector’s object.”

The current edition focuses on artist interviews. For example, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Heinz Holliger offer extensive insights, Peter Simonischek and Nicholas Ofczarek discuss their experiences in Jedermann on the Cathedral Square, and Damiano Michieletto and Jonas Kaufmann also spoke to the Almanac’s writers. Conversations with the two roles of “Envy” and “Hatred” from Der Bauer als Millionär offer fascinating glimpses into this particular production. Visually, the Almanac is distinguished by numerous beautiful backstage photographs by Luigi Caputo.

The Almanac contains 324 pages and features not only detailed information on the productions and artist interviews, but also about 100 images. All essays are in German with English translations. The Almanac, self-published by the Festival, is available at the Festival Shop, at selected bookstores and at all performances of the Salzburg Festival, for the price of 19.90 Euros.