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27 July – 31 August

The Festival’s Board of Directors had already resolved as early as December 1954 to fill the gap left by Furtwängler’s death and engage Herbert von Karajan. However, he cancelled his engagement in 1955.

In May of the same year, Karajan became Artistic Director and chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, in September 1956 he took over as director of the Vienna State Opera.

During the 1956 Mozart Week, Karajan met Festival President Puthon for a talk about his association with the Salzburg Festival and submitted his suggestions for programme planning and his demands. The contract dated 17 March was delivered to Karajan on 19 March. A press release followed on 21 March 1956 stating that Karajan would take over the artistic direction of the Salzburg Festival from 1957 to 1959. ­Beethoven’s Fidelio at the 1957 Festival saw Karajan for the first time in his dual function – required as condition – as conductor and stage director in an opera at the Salzburg Festival.