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The Salzburg Festival 2017: Extravagant Operas, Classical Concerts, Dramatic Productions

The Salzburg Festival is an epicentre of the extraordinary, showing 195 stunning performances over 41 days.

Courtesy of © Salzburg Tourism

To many people, the mention of the Austrian town Salzburg brings to mind scenes of fabulous baroque architecture, the birth house of Austrian composer Mozart and the clichéd ‘The Sound of Music' movie. Filmed around the old-world town, the movie portrayed the saga of the Von Trapp Family who performed at the Salzburg Festival back in 1936. Today, Salzburg is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and remains famous for its Festival playing host to some of the best and most illustrious opera, drama, and concerts productions in the world.

View over the Jedermann stage 2015 at Cathedral Square. Courtesy of Tourismus Salzburg GmbH, Günter Breitegger

During the Festival this idyllic Austrian town truly comes alive, with 15 stunning performance venues hosting 195 performances over 41 days from July 21 to August 30, 2017. The combination of gorgeous settings and first-rate productions still draws in the best classical talent since its founding back in 1920. The Festival remains synonymous with cultural glitz and glamour creating a unique atmosphere generated by the audiences, often attired in black tie and evening gowns, some arriving by limousine, others by bicycle. 

Panoramic view of Salsburg. Courtesy of © Salzburg Tourism

“What do we want a festival to be?” This question motivated the founders of the Salzburg Festival Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Max Reinhardt as they set about creating a unique “Salzburg dramaturgy”. Fast forward to 2017, Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser and Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler remain resolved to create outstanding artistic constellations, promising not only distraction and spectacle, but challenging their guests to reflect. An epicentre of the extraordinary.

View from the Festival Hall in the direction of the cathedral. Courtesy of © Salzburger Festspiele  Anne Zeuner

The beginning of Markus Hinterhäuser’s new tenure as Artistic Director is marked in the 2017 opera programme by five new productions, three semi-staged performances and two operas performed in concert. The Salzburg Festival opens with La clemenza di Tito, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera seria, directed by the American director Peter Sellars. The opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District will make its premiere. And, for the first time, Mariss Jansons appears as an opera conductor at the Salzburg Festival, leading the Vienna Philharmonic and the Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus. Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide. Riccardo Muti, one of the most outstanding Verdi connoisseurs of our times, conducts the Vienna Philharmonic and the Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus at the Großes Festspielhaus and the illustrious Anna Netrebko makes her role debut as Aida.

Salzburger Dommusik. Courtesy of © ohne Angabe

This year’s concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic are part of a great anniversary as the orchestra was founded in Vienna 175 years ago.  The history of this ensemble is uniquely interwoven with Salzburg and its culture. “The Vienna Philharmonic is part of the Salzburg Festival’s identity, and the Salzburg Festival is a good part of the identity of the Vienna Philharmonic. Without the Vienna Philharmonic, there would be a festival in Salzburg, but it would not be the Salzburg Festival,” says Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler on the occasion of the orchestra’s 175-year anniversary.

Jedermann 2017 - Peter Lohmeyer (Death), Tobias Moretti (Everyman). © Salzburger Festspiele  Matthias Horn

There will also be numerous concerts and plays, including the legendary Jedermann, a play that was written specifically for the very first festival back in 1920. Featuring Tobias Moretti as the new Jedermann, this morality play is performed in front of the Salzburg Cathedral and for many, who partake in the festival circuit, watching this production with the magnificent backdrop of the Baroque church is a highlight of the summer.

Jedermann 2017 - Tobias Moretti (Everyman), Stefanie Reinsperger (Paramour). © Salzburger Festspiele  Matthias Horn

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