The Salzburg Festival

Salzburg Festival - Tickets, Programme and All Around

They are known worldwide and make Salzburg one of the most important cultural metropolises on the planet: The Salzburg Festival is the number one classical music and performing arts festival - all over the world! More than 100 years have passed since the first event in 1920, when Mozart's legacy could finally be duly honoured by a music festival after the end of the First World War, and over the years the Salzburg Festival has developed into a cultural rendezvous of great artists and groundbreaking productions.

The trademark of the Salzburg Festival is still the Jedermann (Everyman), which takes place every year on the Domplatz (in good weather), many Mozart and Strauss performances and a top-class programme of theatre, opera and concerts complement the wide range of cultural events. In the meantime, more than 200 events are staged every year during the festival summer, attracting more than 250,000 guests.

The Development of the Salzburg Festival

After a few lean decades, the city of Mozart put its namesake in the limelight for the first time when the Mozart statue was unveiled in 1942 in honour of the 50th anniversary of Mozart's death. From this idea, it was not far to the founding of a classical music festival dedicated to the genius composer. In 1920, the time had come for the first time. After the difficult and also poor war years, the festival was also intended to revive tourism and bring people to Salzburg. The first performance was staged on a provisional wooden stage in front of the cathedral. For the annual Jedermann, this was to remain the case for over 100 more years. But only five years later, the first Festspielhaus was built, and after the Second World War, at Herbert von Karajan's request, the large Festspielhaus was added. Herbert von Karajan was also the one who shaped and promoted the Salzburg Festival in the following years. As one of the best conductors of all time, he established the Easter and Whitsun Festivals and remained the face of the Salzburg Festival until his death in the 1980s.

The stages of the Salzburg Festival

The large Festspielhaus with its three concert halls is still the most important venue of the Salzburg Festival. The stage in the large Festspielhaus is 100 metres wide, making it one of the most powerful stages in the world, and is the centre in the Festival district in Salzburg's old town. Three concert halls are part of the Festspielhaus. The small and original Festspielhaus, now also called the House for Mozart, complements the large Festspielhaus. The oldest part of the small Festspielhaus is the so-called Felsenreitschule, which served as the archbishop's summer riding school from the 17th century. It is located outdoors - and the historical appearance has been preserved, but the venue has been equipped with modern technology and a mobile roof. The "outdoor stage" in front of Salzburg Cathedral is the large Everyman stage, which seats almost 3,000 spectators.

Other festival venues include the University Church, which is used as a concert hall, the Landestheater, the Mozarteum, the Marionette Theatre, the ice hockey arena and the former city cinema.

Programme and date of the Salzburg Festival

The Salzburg Festival is a summer event and takes place annually in the last two weeks of July and throughout August. This year the Salzburg Festival will take place from 20 July to 31 August. During this time Salzburg shows its most beautiful side. Everything is clean and tidy, decorated with flowers, the street cafés are beautifully decorated - and the people are festively dressed. 

The programme of the Salzburg Festival is presented every year before Christmas for the coming year. For the 2023 programme, 179 performances are planned over the 43 days that the Salzburg Festival will last - and at 15 venues. This year's opera highlights include Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro" and Verdi's "Macbeth" and "Falstaff". In terms of theatre, Lessing's "Nathan the Wise" will be included in the programme alongside the traditional "Jedermann".

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