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This was the Salzburg Festival 2018

29 AUG 2018

published in: General

Bettina Hering, Florian Wiegand, Lukas Crepaz, Helga Rabl-Stadler, Markus Hinterhäuser, © SF / Anne Zeuner
The Festival summer began 40 days ago with Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion – and there are two days yet ahead of us. The 2018 programme of the Salzburg Festival included 206 performances at 18 performance venues. Now the time has come to draw a summary of this summer, which was marked by works of passion, rapture and ecstasy.

“To me, happiness means seeing productions grow, instead of being merely manufactured. It is possible to enter into a pact with the audience: by meeting it with the respect it deserves, by honestly challenging it, intellectually and emotionally. I am particularly glad that the audience also greeted the works of the 20th century with great empathy,” says Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser.

“100 years after the constitutive meeting of the association to promote the building of a festival theatre on 15 August 1918, our programme has done justice to our political mission. Naturally, art cannot offer solutions for the problems of our time. Nor do we wish to issue cheap political statements along party lines. However, using our productions to inspire questions in these times of premature answers – that we have managed quite well. The fact that our audience received these questions with enormous interest only encourages us to continue our line of programming,” says Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler.

“We proudly look back on a season that was highly successful, both in artistic and economic terms. With a 97% ratio of occupied seats and 260,875 tickets issued, the festival was able to repeat the successful results of the previous year. The ticket revenues of 30.3 million Euros even exceeded last year’s. These positive results, however, should not distract from the major financial problems the festival is facing due to the overall renovation of the Grosses Festspielhaus, which is an urgent necessity. This season’s events made this particularly obvious. We are currently preparing a master plan for the overall renovation. Thanks to its economic success, the Salzburg Festival Fund is able to shoulder part of the costs itself,” says Executive Director Lukas Crepaz.

“Applying the means of art, the drama productions threw open the labyrinth of passion and rapture, kindling an interest that can only be called passionate itself. The outstanding actresses and actors and the decisive styles of directing joined with readings and drama investigations to create a web of content and sensuousness. Taking plays ranging from antiquity to our present times, they told stories that were entirely of the here and now: whether the exemplary production of Ulrich Rasche’s The Persians, Kleist’s duel Penthesilea, stupendously staged by Johan Simons, Knut Hamsun’s Hunger in Frank Castorf’s equally literary and political adaptation, or David Grossman’s A Horse Walks into a Bar, a topical reckoning in the context of today’s Israel. The great audience reaction to the drama programme as a whole, and of course also to the reworked Jedermann, demonstrates in the most satisfying manner that theatre which has its finger on the pulse of its time can have an enormous effect,” says Drama Director Bettina Hering.

“Almost six weeks ago, we opened this year’s Ouverture spirituelle with Krzysztof Penderecki’s monumental St. Luke Passion, inviting the audience to explore the theme of passion and works ranging from the Renaissance to our own times. We left well trodden paths, juxtaposing early and new music, well-known works and those awaiting discovery in genuinely new interpretations, arriving at a different form of perception. We thank the artists whose idiosyncratic perspectives of these works challenged us and aroused our enthusiasm – and our audience, which had the trust and courage to follow us on this journey through the multifaceted cosmos of musical passions,” says Florian Wiegand, Director of Concerts and Media.

The 2018 Salzburg Festival
206 Performances on 42 Days at 18 Performance Venues

Opera: 38 Performances
5 New Productions
2 Concert Performances
1 Revival of an Opera from the Salzburg Whitsun Festival

Drama: 58 Performances
4 New Productions
1 Revival of Jedermann
3 Drama Investigations
1 Marathon Film Day
3 Readings
1 Homage to Kappacher

89 Concerts
82 Concerts 
4 Master Classes
3 Special Youth Concerts

1 Gala Soiree

20 Children's Programme Performances
8 Performances of Children's Operas
8 Introductory Workshops Fun and Games 
4 Public Final Performances of the Opera Camps

Find the detailed Final Report here.