25 APRIL 2020 TO 31 OCTOBER 2020


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Mo–So 9–18


Natalie Fuchs
Head of Press & Marketing 
Salzburg Museum
+43 662 620808-777

Great World Theatre - The Salzburg Festival Centenary

Curtain Up! Discover the Salzburg Festival at the Salzburg Museum. The history of the famous festival of classical music and performing arts is displayed in its multitudinous aspects. The exhibition addresses origin, highlights and developments not only of the festival itself, but also of artists, settings, and traditions as well as the people who have shaped it. In close cooperation with artists, institutions, experts and ardent festivalgoers, the exhibition offers an encounter of the Salzburg Festival’s century-long history covering 1,800 square metres and three storeys of the Salzburg Museum. 

Chapter 1: The Salzburg Festival on Screen
On 22 August 1920, Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s Jedermann (Everyman), directed by Max Reinhardt, was performed for the very first time in Salzburg’s Cathedral Square. This day is considered the birth of the Salzburg Festival. The column hall at the Salzburg Museum invites visitors to a filmic introduction to the history of the Salzburg Festival. The documentary produced by the ORF (Austrian public service broadcaster) provides insights in the history of the founding, chronology and historic context of the festival. 

Chapter 2: The Archive – The Salzburg Festival CentenaryThe grand Max Gandolph Library will become the temporary archive accommodating one hundred years of Festival history. Besides traditional archive material such as documents, historic photographs, data and facts, three-dimensional objects as costumes, furniture and props bring the Salzburg Festival to life. 100 objects represent 100 years of festival history; special archival hours offer a closer look at those and more objects. 

Chapter 3: Encounters in DialogueVisitors tour through 11 rooms and explore different views on the Salzburg Festival. Internationally renowned artists have been invited to react to the Salzburg Festival and contribute with their expertise, artistic skills and experience to the collective narrative of the tour on the first floor. Experts hypothesise a Salzburg without the Festival and artist Werner Feiersinger shows visions of festival halls never built. The Vienna Theatermuseum explores early visions of Salzburg as a festival city and creates a maze of events leading up to the founding of the Salzburg Festival. 
The Salzburg Festival is unthinkable today without one person: Max Reinhardt. It was him who managed to bring Salzburg’s locations to new life. The Jewish Museum Vienna addresses Max Reinhardt’s breaches with Salzburg forced by National Socialism, the subsequent losses of his artistic home and property – he forged out the plans for the Salzburg Festival for twenty years living in Schloss Leopoldskron – and his emigration to the US. The Jewish Museum Vienna portrays Max Reinhardt’s fate as a surrogate for a multitude of Jewish artists who also faced such calamities. 
The venues of Salzburg inspired Swiss artist Lionel Favre to enliven historic drafts with stage figurines and landscapes in the styles of Mozart, Strauss and Goethe. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is also closely connected to the Salzburg Festival and together they have written important chapters in Austrian music history. Since 1925, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra visits Salzburg annually for the summer festivities. In the exhibition, the orchestra offers key pieces of its almost century-long history with Salzburg for visitors to relisten. 
John Bock aims to display the unseen parts of the festival: Backstage rooms, studies, depots and workshops – the silent actors of festival productions come together in an abundance fascinating intensities in his work. British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare designs an homage to Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Eva Schlegel creates an installation in cooperation with the Salzburg University’s literary archives (Literaturarchiv) discussing the influence of contemporary acting on the Salzburg Festival. 

Chapter 4: Museum on Stage
The fourth chapter of the exhibition turns the Kunsthalle (art hall) of the Salzburg Museum into a vivid real-life stage. It offers room for Festival (hi)stories of people on and behind the stage as well as the audience itself. Artists, workers and viewers talk about their experiences with birth and death in Mats Staubs video project Death and Birth in my Life. Furthermore, the art hall will host concerts, panel discussions and other performances. First and foremost, however, it is the centre of a comprehensive programme  for children, young adults and families created by the museum’s art education department. 

Salzburg Museum