The Salzburg Festival’s directorate – President Helga Rabl-Stadler, Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser and Executive Director Lukas Crepaz – comments on initial announcements by Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler and Federal Minister Rudolf Anschober, according to which regulations for cultural events are to be gradually loosened in significant ways from June onwards. According to their statements, in August events with up to 1,000 audience members may be possible if the presenter in question presents an adequate security concept. The Salzburg Festival is pleased that after long weeks without live events, this means that artists can once again invite their audiences to experience art together.
Updated 25.5.2020 – The 2020 Salzburg Festival (website click here) will take place from 1 to 30 August, but in a modified and shortened form, due to coronavirus containment measures.
This decision was made by the Salzburg Festival’s Supervisory Board in its special meeting on Monday afternoon.
The Festival directorate of Helga Rabl-Stadler, Markus Hinterhäuser and Lukas Crepaz as well as Bettina Hering, director of drama, and Florian Wiegand, director of concerts, presented a draft programme covering 30 days as well as the outline of a security concept for all performance venues.
Half an hour before the meeting of the Supervisory Board, Minister of Health Rudolf Anschober and Undersecretary of State for Culture Andrea Mayer presented the decree determining important parameters for all presenters in Austria. This gives the Salzburg Festival concrete indications of how to proceed.
Landeshauptmann Wilfried Haslauer commented: ‘It is a great relief that this decree has provided greater clarity for all presenters of cultural events. This enables us to present the Festival, which is the artistic and economic motor of our region, after all. Fortunately, it also gives the many smaller initiatives which constitute the cultural diversity of our State a chance.’
The decree and the decision of the Supervisory Board have enabled the Festival directorate to announce the decision on the presentation of the Festival, originally scheduled for 30 May, at this earlier point in time.
The summer of 2020 will not see the implementation of the centenary programme announced with such joy and received with such empathy by the audience throughout the world this past autumn. However, it will be possible to implement a programme which is artistically meaningful and economically justifiable. Instead of 200 events over 44 days at 16 performance venues, there will be approximately 90 performances over 30 days at a maximum of 6 venues.
All the productions of the anniversary programme which cannot be shown in 2020 will be postponed to 2021. The centenary programme is to begin with the opening of the State Exhibition at the end of July 2020 and end with the closing of the Festival on 31 August 2021.
Of course, the centenary of the founding play Jedermann will be celebrated on 22 August 2020. The details of the modified programme will be presented by Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser at the beginning of June.
After the cancellation of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival and the refunding this necessitated, the Ticket Office of the Festival now faces an even greater challenge. At the beginning of this year, the Festival was proud to celebrate a new record in ticket sales. 180,000 tickets with a total value of 24.5 million Euros have already been sold.
The modified programme will feature completely different dates and a significantly reduced number of performances, which now forces the Festival to reverse and refund its entire ticket sales. When assigning new tickets, those in possession of tickets for the original programme will have priority. All customers will be informed personally and in detail on the procedure during the coming days.
Markus Hinterhäuser: ‘It pains me to be forced to cancel so many artists’ appearances for this year, as we had developed special programme constellations with many of them. Still, I am glad to have the opportunity to send a vibrant and powerful signal for the arts with this new Festival programme.’