1 Sep 2023

Recap: Salzburg Festival 2023

178 Performances over 43 Days at 15 Venues plus 34 Performances as part of the Youth Programme jung & jede*r

Today, the 103rd Salzburg Festival draws to a close.

After 178 performances spread over 43 days at 15 venues, the Directorate of the Salzburg Festival, Kristina Hammer, Markus Hinterhäuser and Lukas Crepaz, is delighted to report that the 2023 season was an extraordinarily successful one. The record quota of 98.5% of seats filled constitutes an outstanding, successful result. More than 241,000 visitors from 79 nations, 40 non-European nations among them, attended this year’s programme. In addition, 40,000 guests watched 49 screenings of the Siemens Festival>Nights on Salzburg’s Kapitelplatz. More than 11,000 free tickets were distributed for the two-day Festival Opening Party alone.

The opera programme included 34 performances of five staged and three concert productions, in addition to 86 concerts. 14 of these formed part of the series Ouverture spirituelle, inscribed with the motto “Lux aeterna” this year. The Salzburg Festival dedicated an extensive concert series to György Ligeti, one of the essential composers of the 20th century. In addition to the concerts, the lion’s share of the Festival’s programming, Florian Wiegand, the head of concerts, was also responsible for a broad resonance worldwide: 14 television and streaming productions, 21 radio broadcasts and 2 audio play versions of dramas ensured a comprehensive Festival echo in the media. Four new opera productions and nine concerts were recorded audiovisually for television and streaming. The partners of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) ensured that the radio broadcasts and the audiovisual broadcasts reached additional millions of listeners.

In her seventh and last season as the head of drama, Bettina Hering also delivered a strong final programme. In addition to four staged new productions and Jedermann, the readings and drama investigations conceived by her, the dance performance Into the Hairy and the film series all won acclaim from audience and reviewers alike.

One new production, one German-language premiere and one world premiere commissioned by the Salzburg Festival were featured in the youth programme jung&jede*r, which has had a fixed place in the Festival’s programming since 2020 and is headed by Education Manager Ursula Gessat. The Festival mentorship programme continued successfully; furthermore, 6,000 discounted tickets to performances in all the Festival’s three genres were sold to young people under the age of 27.

Young Singers Project
14 young vocalists from nine nations participated in the Young Singers Project this year. Stage rehearsals, language coaching, song interpretation and the participants’ work with Festival artists make the YSP a young artist programme widely considered an international model. Public master classes were given by Christiane Karg, Michele Pertusi and Malcolm Martineau. As every year, the Young Singers were also heard in the children’s opera, the new production of Maurice Ravel’s Das Kind und die Zauberdinge (L’Enfant et les sortilèges) and in the programme’s final concert. Since 2008, 196 young vocalists from 46 countries have been given this unique career opportunity.

Benefit Ticket Sales for Dress Rehearsals
The Salzburg Festival was able to open the dress rehearsals for Orfeo ed Euridice and Jedermann as well as for two Mozart Matinees to a paying audience for a good cause. The artists agreed to perform these without fees.
115,000 Euro Raised for Charitable Causes
Altogether, these ticket sales amounted to 115,000 Euro. Given the recent floods in Austria, 25,000 Euro will be donated to the initiative “Austria helps Austria”. Another 25,000 Euro will be donated to support the establishment of a walk-in clinic for persons without health insurance in the grounds of the Archiepiscopal Private School Borromäum. 15,000 Euro will be donated to the Flachgauer Tafel, a food bank offering poverty-struck people aid.
At the initiative of Cecilia Bartoli, 50,000 Euro of the revenue raised by the dress rehearsal for Orfeo ed Euridice will benefit the Italian towns of Conselice and Sant’Agata sul Santerno in the Bassa Romagna region as well as various towns in the Romagna Faentina region. Both regions continue to suffer massively from the flooding catastrophe in Italy.

Thanks to Siemens, ORF Salzburg and UNITEL, for more than 20 years the Siemens Festival>Nights, the largest public screening event of its kind, has offered broadcasts using daylight-compatible technology on an LED screen as well as a state-of-the-art sound system. Every year, culture-loving audiences enjoy historical and current Festival performances free of admission. This summer, 49 screenings – including the first European screening of the 1954 Don Giovanni, meticulously restored – attracted approximately 40,000 guests.

Every summer, the Association of Friends of the Salzburg Festival offers numerous artist conversations and accompanying events which are inspired by the Festival’s programming and elaborate on its contents. This year, the Festival Friends had approximately 70 events to choose from.
Among them was the two-part Festival Dialogue on 11 and 18 August at the Salzburg University’s main auditorium.

Taking this year’s central notion of the Festival – The time is out of joint – as its point of departure, the two-part event sought to illustrate connections with current events. The speakers from Austria and Germany were Hermann Glettler, Markus Hengstschläger, Ulrike Herrmann, Kathrin Röggla, Svenja Flaßpöhler, Wolfgang Petritsch and Jürgen Trittin. The podcast is available on the falter.at website.

Music, drama, readings, exhibitions and dance – for two days, Salzburg’s citizens and guests enjoyed the Festival Opening Party, which traditionally launches the Festival summer. It took place on 22 and 23 July, featuring 85 events and more than 11,000 free tickets to 31 performance venues.

Honours: Festival Brooch with Rubies
This summer, András Schiff was awarded the Festival Brooch with Rubies. Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser praised the recipient as “an essential artist who has made Festival history, one of the most important pianists of our time, and a true friend of the Salzburg Festival”.


Celebrating Max Reinhardt’s 150th Birthday

On the occasion of the 150th birthday of the director and Festival co-founder Max Reinhardt, the Salzburg Festival presents a multi-part exhibition focusing on Reinhardt’s last production in Salzburg, Goethe’s Faust (1933-1937) – and thus also on the historical caesuras of 1933 and 1937/38.

A Three-Part Exhibition on Max Reinhardt’s Salzburg Faust Production (1933–1937)

· Stefan Zweig and Max Reinhardt’s Faust in Context
A cooperation of the Stefan Zweig Centre and the Wienbibliothek im Rathaus (Vienna) with the Salzburg Festival
On the one hand, the exhibition illuminates Stefan Zweig’s relationship with the Festival and its co-founder Max Reinhardt; on the other, it embeds Reinhardt’s production of Goethe’s Faust in 1933 within the context of contemporaneous historical events, i.e. Nazis attempts to influence Austrian politics and the Dollfuß-Schuschnigg dictatorship’s endeavours to keep Austria culturally independent.
Stefan Zweig Centre, Edmundsburg · 19 July to 31 October 2023

· The City as a Stage
Max Reinhardt’s Faust at the Felsenreitschule

An exhibition of the Salzburg Festival in cooperation with the Austrian Theatre Museum in Vienna
The exhibition at the Karl-Böhm-Saal brings the architecture and props of the Faust production to life using the stage model, sketches, plans, photographs, newspaper articles and memorabilia. The exhibition is also part of the performative guided tour FAUST 2023.
Karl-Böhm-Saal · since 19 July; the exhibition can still be visited as part of FAUST 2023.

· “Please do not give up!”
An exhibition of the Salzburg Festival in cooperation with the Austrian Theatre Museum in Vienna, the Wienbilbliothek im Rathaus (Vienna) and the Salzburg Global Seminar
At Leopoldskron Palace, Reinhardt’s Faust could be explored through autographical documents, e.g. his annotated Faust script, rehearsal notes and letters.
Leopoldskron Palace · The exhibition was on view during the Festival period.

FAUST 2023
A Performative Guided Tour

A cooperation of the Salzburg Festival with the Ars Electronica Futurelab and the Ars Electronica Festival
A virtual recreation of the famous Faust town brings the unique stage sets by Clemens Holzmeister and Reinhardt’s staging back to life through a multi-perspective guided tour at the original location, explaining how Reinhardt discovered the Felsenreitschule for the theatre and went about implementing his last production in Salzburg. Acting students from the Mozarteum University Salzburg guide visitors through analogue, theatrical and virtual worlds. Many different media are used in this context: storytelling, photographs, film clips, exhibits, manuscripts and audio recordings, a Faust score, three-dimensional stage elements and virtual simulation. The virtual reality application was produced by the Ars Electronica Futurelab.
Karl-Böhm-Saal · Felsenreitschule · 31 August, 8, 9, 26 and 27 September

Festival Opening Party · A Feast for Max Reinhardt · 23 July
As part of the Festival Opening Party, Leopoldskron Palace opened its doors to Salzburg’s citizens and guests, hosting a celebration of Max Reinhardt. Guided tours of the premises, concerts, readings and a film screening revived the sensual atmosphere of the place and the spirit of its former owner.

Antony Gormley · NIGHTWATCH
The exhibition of sculptures by the British artist Antony Gormley at the Kollegienkirche, curated in cooperation with the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, met with broad acclaim. Gormley also provided the iconographic emblem of this year’s Festival season with his drawing entitled Sight (1987). The exhibition was open from 29 July to 13 August from 10:00 to 19:00.

Occasioned by the major project “Festival District 2030”, the Initiative Architektur cooperated with the Salzburg Festival in bringing the German Museum of Architecture’s acclaimed exhibition on European stage buildings, Grand Opera – Much Ado About Nothing?, to Salzburg. For the presentation in Salzburg, the show was expanded to encompass the project “Festival District 2030”, presenting the relevant facts. The exhibition was open from 14 May to 27 July from Tuesday to Friday and attracted numerous visitors.

The Salzburg Festival Cooperates with Apple Music Classical
The partnership includes recordings from the Salzburg Festival’s history, new productions and playlists curated by the Salzburg Festival, offering a cross-section of more than 100 years of its programming: operas, orchestral concerts, song recitals and chamber music. More than 100 recordings from the Salzburg Festival are initially available, all in the highest audio quality and using Spatial Audio technology. The Apple Music Classical app is free for all Apple Music subscribers.