Salzburg - birthplace of Mozart and annual meeting place for the world's music-lovers - was recently preparing for its famous music and drama festival, commemorating the great Austrian composer who died in 1791.
Salzburg - birthplace of Mozart and annual meeting place for the world's music-lovers - was recently preparing for its famous music and drama festival, commemorating the great Austrian composer who died in 1791. The 5-week festival was to start July 26 with the formal opening of the GBP3 million new Festival Theatre - "Festspielhaus" - by the Austrian President, Dr schaerf, with a gala performance of Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier.
Local guides were busy showing visitors the cultural and architectural beauties of the ancient city. They were to be seen admiring the impressive statue of Mozart in old Mozartplatz - where Dr Schaerf will lay a wreath on the opening day - and investigating the museum in his Getreidegasse birthplace, containing many interesting mementos of the composer.
Of great interest to tourists was the Magic Flute Cottage - "Das Zauberfloten-Hauschen" - his little garden-house retreat where already fatally ill - he began work on the Magic Flute opera in the spring of 1791.
Other items on the tourists' agenda included visits to Giacomo Manzu's well-known Sculpture Seminary and Oscar Kokoschka's painting academy as well as to many statues and famous buildings in the city.
The new Festival Theatre was the result of 3 1/2 years work and will seat 2,158 people all within 115 feet of the stage. It is decorated in subdued mauve, grey and blue, and the walls and ceilings are broken up into concave and convex panels of wood, metal, glass or cloth. The stage has a maximum opening of 96 ft by 29 ft which can be reduced by sliding pillars and walls to a width of 45 ft. It has a protective curtain weighing 38 tons, and its surface is of hammered steel.
A plan to create a universal centre of music and drama at a point where various European cultures meet resulted in the Salzburg Festival coming into being. Salzburg's tradition of music has rested primarily on the interpretation of Mozart but it also has room for contemporary operatic works and productions of great plays.