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23 July – 31 August

In February and March 1938, things happened thick and fast. Just a few days after the meeting between Federal Chancellor Schuschnigg and Adolf Hitler and the signing of the Berchtesgaden Agreement, which assured the Nazis far-reaching political influence in Austria, Arturo Toscanini cancelled his appearances at the Salzburg Festival.

The authorities in Salzburg endeavoured to make him change his mind. On 3 March, he telegraphed from New York: ‘surprised that the finality of my decision was not ­already understood from my first cable’.

Immediately after the ‘Anschluss’ (annexation) of Austria to the German Reich, enforced conformity to the Nazi ideology began and the persecution of the Jewish population reached a peak. A new seasonal programme and a new poster – Mozart as Apollo – promoted the Festival, which was ‘cleansed’ of undesirable artists. The extended Festival Theatre opened in the presence of Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels with Wagner’s ­Meistersinger/Mastersingers conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler.