Das grosse Festspielhaus in Salzburg

The Salzburg Festival opened on Saturday with a performance of a Richard Strauss opera, Elektra. The 100th edition of the festival has been scaled-down from an initial 200 to 100 performances due to the coronavirus pandemic and is taking place under strict hygiene regulations. It is one of the few bigger music festivals in Europe that has not been cancelled and will continue until the end of August.

Visitors are only allowed to take off their masks on the seats, the rules of distance are to be respected by limiting the number of tickets. In the 100th year of the music and theatre festival’s existence, only 76,000 tickets are sold instead of around 240,000.

Art lovers everywhere have the opportunity to use disinfectants. The plays are played without a break, the bars and buffets are closed.

The artistic prelude to the extraordinary festival season was Richard Strauss’ mythical opera « Elektra » on Saturday afternoon. The visitors were strictly controlled on admission. Their tickets were personalized and non-transferable. No one entered the performance without an ID card.

In the evening, the program included the revival of Michael Sturminger’s modern production of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s mystery play Jedermann on the cathedral square in Salzburg. Here, too, the number of seats was limited so that the minimum distance to the neighbour was maintained. The first Salzburg Festival opened with this theatrical perennial on 22 August 1920, at that time in the legendary production by Festival co-founder Max Reinhardt.

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