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27 July – 31 August

After Herbert von Karajan’s resignation from the Board of Directors, a selection committee was set up to deal with his succession. Even before this was settled, Herbert von Karajan died on 16 July 1989 at the age of 81 in his house in Anif.

The previous day, Karajan had still attended a rehearsal of Verdi’s opera Un ballo in maschera, which was scheduled to open the Festival in 1989. Georg Solti took over the musical direction of the new production, stage director was John Schlesinger. Riccardo Muti conducted the Requiem for Karajan in Salzburg Cathedral. Herbert von Karajan had conducted almost 350 performances at the Salzburg Festival and shaped its fate for 40 years.

Shortly before the end of the 1989 season, a new leading team for the Festival was introduced. Gerard Mortier was appointed Artistic Director, Hans Landesmann became Commercial Director and, as of 1991, was in charge of the concert department, Heinrich Wiesmüller was appointed Festival President.