Most of us are unknowingly acquainted with Salzburg through the movie ‘The Sound of Music’ which was shot here. It is also famous as the birthplace of Mozart. The reason we want to be in Salzburg in the months of July and August is because of the Salzburg Festival of music and drama.
As you read there is a great performance in progress by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta. Placido Domingo will be another star performer. This is a benefit concert with Soprano Fiorenza Cedolins charming the audience. The works that will be performed today include those of Beethoven, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mozart, Dvorak and Lehar. July 27th to 2nd September is going to be a feast of music for everyone who is in Salzburg.
This is the 92nd year of the Salzburg Festival which was begun in 1920. The tradition of freedom of expression has continued broken only by the two World Wars. Salzburg is a picture postcard pretty city. It is nestled in the Alps at the border of Austria with Switzerland and Italy. Other countries which border Austria are Germany, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia and Slovakia.
The dominating feature of Salzburg is the Hohensalzburg Castle. It sits like a sentinel in the middle of Salzburg atop Festungsberg Mountain. The castle contains one of the biggest mechanical organs in the world with 200 pipes and it is called the Salzburg Bull. The story of The Sound of Music is based on a real incident involving the Von Trapp family.
The city is a delightful spectacle of churches and abbeys. Keeping this in mind this year’s opening was marked by an Ouverture Spirituelle. The baroque architecture has influences from its neighbors in Germany, Italy and Hungary. The city and as a consequence the festival is a fairy tale mixture of castles and courtyards. These are used admirably by the organizers as auditoriums.
Keeping in touch with the new age visitors can even try their luck at a Casino while they are here. Look for the balcony of the Karl-Bohm-Saal and try your hand at Roulette and blackjack.
The weekend of July 20 and 21 was a heady mix of international music and festival activities. The traditional opening was marked by the Jederman play. The festival is an orgy of music. It has a performance of Puccini’s La Boheme, Bizet’s Carmen, Die Soldaten, Ariadne auf Naxos by Johann Strauss and Die Zauberflote. The festival is also a favorite of Drama and Concert lovers. The theatrical performances will include Everyman, Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Peer Gynt.
The charming venues for the performances include the famous theatre Felenreitschule, Mozarteum, Great Hall of the University, Grosses Festspielhaus, Kollegienkirche and Cathedral Square (Domplatz).
Salzburg loves its visitors. Your ticket entitles you to a free ride on the public transport of the city. Thus you can avoid the maddening search for a parking place and driving through thick traffic. The organizers have made sure that every visitor will go back a happy person. This is a festival with music and hundreds of other side shows to amuse music lovers.
Remember if you are in Europe in August you are very near the most happening place on Earth besides the Olympics 2012 in London—it is the Salzburg Festival.