Salzburg Festival aims high despite budget cuts

The Salzburg Festival, one of the world's most prestigious arts gatherings, will launch on Saturday hoping to prove that a reduced budget and fewer shows do not mean a less exciting programme.

Salzburg Festival aims high despite budget cuts
Salzburg Festival Children's Choir. Photo: Servus TV

After a six-percent budget cut down to 60 million euros ($65.2 million, £41.8 million), the 95th edition will feature only 188 performances compared with 270 last year.

The tighter schedule is a telltale sign that interim directors Helga Rabl-Stadler and Sven-Eric Bechtolf have made good on their promise to lower costs after the extravagant two-year reign of Alexander Pereira, who quit in 2014 to direct the La Scala opera house in Milan.

The latest edition, which runs until August 30, has chosen as its theme “Inequality” to highlight the complex interdependent relationships between “masters and servants, the powerful and the powerless, oppression and protest”, the pair said in a statement.

Like every year, guests attending the opening night on July 18 will be treated to Joseph Haydn's masterpiece oratorio “The Creation”.

The 2015 event will also premiere three new operas, including “Le Nozze di Figaro”, an instalment of the festival's Mozart cycle featuring Venetian opera librettist Lorenzo da Ponte and accompanied by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Returning operatic crowd-pleasers include “The Knight of the Rose” by Richard Strauss and Giuseppe Verdi's “Il Trovatore”.

Meanwhile, sparks are set to fly on the stage when acclaimed theatre director Henry Mason presents his latest adaption of William Shakespeare's “Comedy of Errors”.

The Austrian-based Brit, who will make his directorial debut at the Vienna State Opera in December, already wooed Salzburg festival spectators last year with the Shakespeare comedy “A Midsummer Night's Dream”.

Other drama highlights feature Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's tragedy “Clavigo”, as well as a specially commissioned version of “Mack The Knife” by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.

More than 200,000 visitors are expected at the cultural smorgasbord in Austria, which will finish with its famous “Everyman” play.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Second day of bodypainting festival highlights

The second day of the World Bodypainting Festival in Pörtschach saw some fabulous work by amateur artists, as well as some extraordinary face painting masterpieces.

Second day of bodypainting festival highlights
Photo: World Bodypainting Festival/Daniel Janesch

Going into its 19th year, the World Bodypainting Festival held at lake Wörthersee in southern Austria has become the melting pot and gathering of artists from 45 nations competing for the title of “World Champion” in bodypainting.

More than 300 artist teams totaling 1500 participants from all around the world take part, some with months of preparation.

This boutique festival attracts visitors from every culture and religion in the span of just one week. The experience is comprised of artistic performances, music, art and life style.

It is regarded as the largest gathering of bodypainters on the planet. As organizer Alex Barendregt of WB Production describes, “It is simply HOME”.

The massive growth of this festival has also been the platform for the development and awareness of an art form that twenty years ago was not so well-known.

It has also given birth to many projects around the globe in the name of bodypainting. It has offered inspiration, wonderful challenges and opportunities to artists from beginners to the advanced.

Simply put, the WBF is considered to be the artistic foundation of the modern bodypainting movement. 

Here's the gallery for Day 2 — WARNING, some images may be NSFW.

And if you missed it, here's the Day 1 gallery — WARNING, some images may be NSFW.