Grosses Festspielhaus

About the venue

Grosses Festspielhaus

The plans for a Grosses Festspielhaus (Large Festival Hall), where the former archiepiscopal princely stables were located, were drawn up primarily by the architect Clemens Holzmeister; Herbert von Karajan also made many suggestions for the building project, in particular regarding the design of the theatre hall. Every effort was made and no expense spared so as to “insert” between the three-centuries-old façade of the former court stables and the Mönchsberg a theatre with an opera stage whose structure and technical equipment would still meet highest international demands after fifty years. Between autumn 1956 and the early summer of 1960, 55,000 cubic metres of rock were blasted away to create the relevant space. The building was largely financed from the state budget and as a result the Republic of Austria is the owner of the Grosses Festspielhaus.

The Grosses Festspielhaus was opened on 26 July 1960 with a festive ceremony and the performance of Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss conducted by Herbert von Karajan. Even though the new stage was undoubtedly impressive in its dimensions, voices were raised even then expressing regret that it would hardly be suitable for staging operas by Mozart which require a more intimate setting. The ground plan of the auditorium is almost square, nearly 35 metres long and from the stalls as well as from the circle offers ideal acoustic conditions and sight-lines for 2,179 seats. The iron stage curtain weighs 34 tonnes and in the middle is one metre thick. The ground steel plates were created by Rudolf Hoflehner; the main curtain behind it was designed by Leo Wollner.

The décor for the concert hall was renewed in 1993 by Richard Peduzzi. Five bronze doors with handles designed by Toni Schneider-Manzell allow the public access from the Hofstallgasse. The façade is ornamented by a Latin inscription by the Benedictine monk Professor Thomas Michels (Order of St. Benedict): Sacra camenae domus concitis carmine patet quo nos attonitos numen ad auras ferat (The holy house of the muse is open for lovers of the arts, may divine power inspire us and raise us to the heights).

Mostly local materials were used for fitting out the Grosses Festspielhaus: the reinforced concrete columns in the entrance foyer were covered with the conglomerate rock removed from the wall of the Mönchsberg; the floor is made of Adnet marble. Low beam lighting in the sloping ceiling and panel dishes made of glass from Murano create a solid lighting design. Two sculptures created by Wander Bertoni in Carrara marble represent music and drama. The four large-scale paintings in the form of crosses on the theme Dreams with the Wrong Solutions, which were bought by the Austrian patron of the arts and collector Karlheinz Essl and made available on loan to the Salzburg Festival, are by the New York painter and sculptor Robert Longo (1993).

The interval hall adjoining the entrance foyer is largely based on the original ground plan of the archiepiscopal princely stables. The floor of green serpentine is new and contains mosaics of horses by Kurt Fischer. On the wall is a steel relief by Rudolf Hochlehner entitled Homage to Anton von Webern. Through the arch built by Fischer von Erlach one can look out onto the horse statue and fountain and the Schüttkasten which was acquired by the Salzburg Festival in 1987. A separate access on the left of the interval foyer leads via an escalator and steps to the underground car park for the old town centre of Salzburg.

The furnishings for a Patrons’ Lounge on the first floor of the Grosses Festspielhaus were financed by the American patrons of the arts Donald and Jeanne Kahn, who later became major sponsors of the Salzburg Festival. Since 1995 it has served as a reception area for patrons, sponsors as well as their guests and is also used for press conferences and various other functions in connection with the Salzburg Festival.

Specifications Grosses Festspielhaus

Stage width: 100 m Stage depth: 25 m

Proscenium width: 30 m

Proscenium height: 9 m

Five lifting podia, 18 x 3 m each; speed max. 0.25 m / sec.; loading capacity 20 tons each

Hydraulic stage machinery (double attachment of ABB)

Gridiron: 155 hoists with a loading capacity of 500 kg each, a third of them hydraulically driven and electronically controlled

Lighting: 825 adjustable electric circuits with a power of over 5000 watts each; digital light console; depot of around 2,000 individual lights

Electroacoustics: sound control board with 16 inputs, 16 main outputs and 4 auxiliary outputs; sockets for loudspeakers and microphones throughout the entire stage and auditorium

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How to get there

Adress & contact

Grosses Festspielhaus
Hofstallgasse 1, 5020 Salzburg

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The foyers are opened to Festival visitors one hour before the beginning of each performance.

Tel.: +43 662 8045 0
info@salzburgerfestspiele.at

Public transport

Trolley bus stop Herbert-v.-Karajan-Platz
Lines 1, 8, 10, A, 22, 23

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Further bus lines operate from the foot-accessible trolley bus stops Ferdinand-Hanusch-Platz and Rathaus.

Festival ticket = bus ticket
Comfortably and relaxed to the Salzburg Festival – three hours before the beginning of the performance until end of operation, your festival ticket is valid as city bus ticket in the so-called ‘core-zone’!

Parking

Underground car park Altstadtgarage A+B
Hildmannplatz 1, 5020 Salzburg

Further Information >

Opening hours: daily 0-24 h
From the underground car park Altstadtgarage B you have direct access to the Festival Halls.
At the cash desk you can show your tickets one hour before the event starts and purchase a discounted parking ticket for 6€, valid for 8 hours.

Further possibility:
Rot-Kreuz-Parkplatz
Franz-Josef-Kai, 5020 Salzburg
Opening hours: daily 0-24 h

Seating plan

Further information

Can I drive up to the front of the Festspielhaus by coach?
Coaches require a special permit to be permitted to drive into the Hofstallgasse. Please send all inquiries to busvignette@salzburgfestival.at until the beginning of July at the latest.
		
When do the doors open before a performance?
The foyers of the respective venues open one hour before the start of the performance. Doors to the performance venues themselves generally open 30 minutes before the start of the performance.    
What happens if I am late?
We recommend that you arrive at the respective venue approx. 30 minutes before the start of the performances. Despite this, should you arrive after the performance has started, please contact the staff service immediately, who will be able to assist you. We strive for the possibility of a late admittance, but there may be productions in which there is no late admittance because of excessive disturbances caused to the rest of the visitors.
Will I get a refund if there is a change in the cast of a performance?
Changes to the cast and programme as well as changes in the starting times do not entitle ticket holders to return their tickets. If there are any changes, we do our utmost to inform you in timely manner. However, it is ultimately your responsibility to inform yourself of any changes. The latest information can be found on our website.
May I take pictures and film performances?
All manners of audio and video recordings as well as the use of mobile phones are prohibited during the performances of the Salzburg Festival. In the case of official photography, TV and video recordings carried out by the Festival or third parties with the Festival's permission, visitors declare their consent to possible images of their person being recorded and used.
Are there “house rules”?
The link to the current house rules can be accessed here
Are there standing room tickets?
Standing room tickets are available in the Felsenreitschule and in the Haus für Mozart. There are also standing room places at the Jedermann performances on the Domplatz. These are available starting one hour before the performance at the box office int the Franziskanergasse, but only if the performance takes place on the Domplatz (Cathedral Square). If the performance takes place in the Große Festspielhaus, no standing room tickets are available.

Venues of the Salzburg Festival