Mrs Karajan brings Berlin Phil back to Salzburg

Mrs Karajan brings Berlin Phil back to Salzburg


norman lebrecht

March 21, 2016

The Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle walked out of the Salzburg Easter Festival at short notice in May 2011 when they got a better offer from Baden-Baden.

They were swiftly replaced by the Dresden Staatskapelle and Christian Thielemann. Ticket sales immediately improved and the Berliners were not missed.

Next year, however, Eliette von Karajan has paid to bring the defectors back for a single, conciliatory concert, marking the 50th anniversary of her husband’s festival. She has also summoned the Vienna Philharmonic for a Beethoven 9th, conducted by Thielemann.


The Salzburg Easter Festival would like to thank Eliette von Karajan for her extremely generous support of the special concerts’ – as the programme puts it.


  • Simon S. says:

    BTW: According to Austrian law, which abolished all titles of nobility in 1919, her name is Eliette Karajan. Her late husband was allowed to perform under the pseudonym “Herbert von Karajan” after he had threatened no longer to perform in Austria if there was no “von” on the announcements.

  • Anon says:

    Did they get a better offer from Baden-Baden? That’s not the story I heard. All we know is that Berlin asked for a steep raise, despite declining ticket sales, and Salzburg said “no way” and “reality check”. Berlin played Poker, never wanted to play the Baden-Baden card but only bluffing with it. Salzburg didn’t blink and Berlin had to leave the table. Not for a better option but for having bet too high. Many in the orchestra now regret the loss of Salzburg.