About This Festival
The Salzburg Festival (or the Salzburger Festspiele, as it is known in Austria) was first produced on August 22, 1920, when Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s morality play Jedermann (Everyman), directed by Max Reinhardt, premiered at the Domplatz, or Cathedral Square, in the Altstadt (Old City). Since then, the Salzburg Festival has minted itself as the most important festival for opera, drama and concerts.
Salzburg Festival - Hometown Hero
It’s only natural that a city whose biggest export is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would stage a full-scale, multiple-month festival celebrating his brilliant legacy. Classical music and traditional theater productions take over Salzburg between late-July and early-September, giving Austrians and international high art fans a chance to experience these art forms in their natural habitat.
Don’t expect Julie Andrews and the Von Trapp family singing on the hilltops (though the Von Trapp Family Singers did perform at the festival in 1936); expect women in ball gowns singing from the altar of a 17th century church. The grandeur of the Baroque architecture that dominates Salzburg’s landscape is the perfect complement to dramatic chamber music and classic theater. Elaborately detailed great halls, ethereal churches and cathedrals are as much a visual treat as they are an auditory one; the soaring frescoed ceilings also make for great acoustics.
Something for the Jugen at Salzburg Festival
While Baroque architecture, opera and chamber music may not seem like a good fit for the little ones, the Salzburg Festival produces events for children as well as adults. Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute, is a classic children’s favorite. Although it’s sung in German, the dramatizations, sets and costumes negate the need for translation, and the production is geared towards kids four-years old and up. Also on the menu for kids are age-appropriate plays like Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
If your kids would rather be on stage than in the audience, give them a truly unique experience with tickets for Opera Camp for a week. Children ages 9-17 are eligible to work with the Vienna Philharmonic, international educators and professionals from the Salzburg Festival to get a crash course in opera—everything from the music to set design and stage management.
Once the kids are at camp, adults can take advantage of tourism options outside the Altstadt. Take the funicular to Festung Hohensalzburg, the fortress that looms large over the city from its perch atop the cliffs. Explore otherworldly Eisriesenwelt, the world’s largest accessible ice caves. Or, just while away the afternoon drinking coffee and eating cake in one of Salzburg’s many charming cafés. Finally, take your opera nap before hitting the festival scene in the evening.