The Russians are coming … and the Chinese

The Russians are coming … and the Chinese


norman lebrecht

August 27, 2009

Box-office returns from the current Salzburg festival show a 60 percent increase of ticket sales in Russia and a tripling of last year’s revenue from Chinese visitors.

The uptake is still a tiny proportion of the overall attendance which is overwhelmingly Austro-German, but the increase in new markets covered a sharp fall in the number of US visitors at Europe’s top-prestige festival, down seven percent on 2008.

Encouragingly, a ten percent drop in corporate bookings was fully covered by an increase in private uptake. Overall, the festival is running at 93 percent capacity – not bad for a recession.

Although Salzburg relies heavily on funding from the Austrian government and such long-term sponsors as Nestlé, Siemens and Credit Suisse, approximately half of its Euro 25.2 million budget comes from ticket sales – and the prices are among the highest on earth.