The Salzburg Festival kicks off, celebrating both tradition and innovation | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 20.07.2018
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The Salzburg Festival kicks off, celebrating both tradition and innovation

With nine new productions, nearly 90 concerts and a host of theatrical performances, this year's Salzburg Festival has plenty to offer culture lovers. Performers on the roster are some of world's best.

On Friday, many of the world's finest artists from the classical music and theater world will once again gather in Salzburg for six weeks of music-making and performances. Since 1920, Mozart's birthplace has been home to the Salzburg Festival, which continues to feature the stars of the theater and classical music world. Big names in classical music at this year's festival include Italian conductor Riccardo Muti and opera diva Cecilia Bartoli, among others.

The play Everyman (Jedermann) by Hugo von Hofmannsthal kicks off the annual cultural event.

A performance of Everyman (dapd)

The play Everyman has been performed on the steps of the Salzburg cathedral since 1920

The main cathedral square remains the venue for the Hofmannsthal's play about morality, which is performed each year as an integral part of the festival. It's a seminal work in German theater, and landing a role in the annual production, however small it may be, is considered a great honor among German-speaking actors. 

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On this year's program

The 200 events spread throughout 18 venues include drama, opera and concerts performed by international artists from all over the world. With 89 performances, the concert series offers music lovers plenty of options. Throughout the summer, festival organizers expect around 250,000 visitors to descend on the small city of only 146,000 people.

This year, a total of nine new opera and drama productions will be performed: five operas and four theater pieces. Prominent new productions include operas such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute, Richard Strauss's Salome and The Queen of Spades by Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky.

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An ideal opening speaker

German author, philosopher and historian Philipp Blom will give this year's opening speech. "Philipp Blom is one of the outstanding intellectuals of our time, an incorruptible thinker committed to the ideas of the Enlightenment and humanism," festival director Markus Hinterhäuser told a German press agency on Tuesday. A relentless analyst of European history, he is the ideal speaker for this year's commemoration year, says the festival's President Helga Rabl-Stadler.

Cecilia Bartoli performs in the opera La Cenerentola (Monika Rittershaus/Oper Zürich)

Opera singer Cecilia Bartoli is one of the best in the business

Although music festivals in Salzburg have taken place since 1877, primarily organized by the International Mozarteum Foundation, the Salzburg festival began in 1920 in its present form. Author Hugo von Hofmannsthal and director Max Reinhardt inaugurated the first festival on August 22, 1920 with a performance of Everyman on the steps of the Salzburg cathedral. The first opera came two years later, when Richard Strauss conducted Mozart's Don Giovanni.

This year's festival opens July 20 and ends August 30.


am/sh/rf (Salzburg festival/dpa)


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