The Salzburg Festival starts its 101st season on Saturday. After an anniversary year under the strict and pioneering Corona conditions, all around 200,000 tickets for the 170 theater, opera and concert events will be sold again this year. The fact that there is no capacity restriction from the current perspective is also thanks to the current vaccination rate of 64 percent and the available test options.
The opening is made by “Jedermann”, directed by Michael Sturminger, but with a completely new cast that has also been given new outfits. The costumes are intended to unite the modern 21st century, with its fluid boundaries, with the lush but strict baroque. The multi-layered German actor Lars Eidinger (known for example from “Babylon Berlin”) will play the Jedermann of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s play of the same name. He wears trousers knitted from gold thread according to the 70s, the blue heel shoe must not be missing, or even a fat body suit in the boxing ring. At everyone’s side is the native of Salzburg Verena Altenberger (known from “Polizeiruf 110”) as a lover in red silk chiffon with a trouser suit underneath. The role of the devil is embodied for the first time by a woman, the castle actress Mavie Hörbiger. When she heard that she was the first woman to play the devil, she told the APA: “I hope that if I give up the role again, gender will no longer play a role.” While Edith Clever was seen as everyone’s mother last year, this year she embodies death.
In addition to the classic, other highlights in this year’s festival program are the staged opera premieres “Don Giovanni” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and “Intolleranza 1960” based on a libretto by Luigo Nono using texts by Berthold Brecht or Jean-Paul Sartre.
Individualism and collective
“We want to depict individualism using two essential figures in opera literature: Don Giovanni and Elektra,” said Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser to the APA, for whom it was important to choose narratives for the past anniversary year that show a world perception between unrestrained individualism and the collective enable. The resumption of “Elektra” will be heard a total of seven times. The libretto comes from Hofmannsthal and once again pays homage to the co-founder (alongside Max Reinhardt) of the Salzburg Festival and Austrian poets and dramatists. Hinterhäuser, is looking forward to the music of Morton Feldman, for whom he feels a great passion and has played all of his piano works himself.
The Vienna Philharmonic will begin their concerts in the large festival hall on July 25th under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst. Other conductors are Christian Thielemann, Andris Nelsons, Riccardo Muti and Herbert Blomstedt. These include works by Richard Strauss, Ludwig van Beethoven and Anton Bruckner as well as the Symphony No. 3 in D minor by Gustav Mahler.
While Austrian artists find it easier to get there, it is more difficult for those from Great Britain. Recasting and performing a work like Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” was a great challenge for Hinterhäuser. 200 people, consisting of orchestra and choir, had to be coordinated. The Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Wiener Singverein could ultimately be won over. “There are many aspects this year that are more exhausting than last year, when we had greatly reduced the program. This year is planned to be a festival summer as we have known it for many years. We are shooting from all cylinders,” said Hinterhäuser.
So the power of art lives on in the pandemic – but for this all safety measures for human well-being must be observed. In accordance with the current legal requirements, the tickets are personalized and the 3G rules (tested, vaccinated, recovered) apply, which means that there is no mask requirement in the theater and concert hall. There will also be breaks. The artists themselves are tested every third day with an antigen test and every other week with a PCR test, as it is not possible for them to keep a safe distance on stage or to wear mouth and nose protection at all times.