Empty sloganising at Salzburg Festival

Empty sloganising at Salzburg Festival


norman lebrecht

December 12, 2016

Press release, just in:

An Epicentre of the Extraordinary

What do we want a festival to be? This question motivated the founders of the Salzburg Festival as they set about creating a unique “Salzburg dramaturgy”. We have resolved to continue the great ideas of our founding fathers Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Max Reinhardt. As gathering-spots far from the everyday and the distractions of large cities, festivals require nothing less than stepping out of the usual into another context of existence. Festivals should create astonishing artistic constellations, promising not only distraction and spectacle, but challenging their guests to reflect.

The Salzburg Festival aims to be an epicentre of the extraordinary.

Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser and Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler

Well, that’s interesting. As distinct from a periphery of provincialism. So good to know.



  • Vienna calling says:

    What they really need is a professional translator. It’s so depressing to read such a badly written press release. How can a festival that is rolling in money not be bothered to pay somebody with proper English for copy that is going to be read all over the world?

  • L.F. says:

    To me the press release is completely understandable even in English. If it is only empty sloganizing has to be decided based on the actual contents of the Festival. Mr. Hinterhäusers contributions to the Vienna Festwochen and to the Salzburg Festival up to now were far from empty but as imaginative and innovative as such festivals can go, far surpassing the marketing-oriented star cult of other directors. Salzburg was clever to get him and is to be congratulated to have him.

  • Erich says:

    I would agree with L.F. that Hinterhäuser should be given a chance. It is true that too many arts organisations – or rather their narketing departments – have tended to disguuse the paucity of their offerings behind titles which are often ‘full of sound and fury”, but mostly signify very little.
    In Hinterhäuser’s case, he has had a great deal of experience over the years observing, in his various previous Salzburg guises, the mistakes of his predecessors. Providing he gets the financing, I would hope he can revive Salzburg as a ‘must go’ artistic venue, rather than the mish-mash of ‘usual suspect’ projects it has tended towards in the recent past.

  • Peter says:

    It’s the same old challenge all the top festivals who cater to the wealthy (ticket prices and cost of lodging are prohibitive in Salzburg) face: Do we openly address the bigotry that we want the money of the wealthy but the intellectual aspiration of the aesthetically educated (which are NOT the wealthy) as well, or do we continue as usual, providing high class entertainment for rich people with a few fig leaves for showing off our oh so ambitious artistic innovative exceptionalism. I doubt Hinterhäuser can solve that riddle, not in this provincial “Las Vegas of the classical music.”

    • Pamela Brown says:

      For new Mozart you could come and hear me play die zauberflote for free at the Mall of America next Wednesday, but you would have to come to Minnesota. In the dead of winter. :-0

  • Pamela Brown says:

    “Extraordinary” in this case may mean “comfortable Mozart” (eg not produced or performed by Mozart himself). Were Wolf alive and in charge of these productions, there would almost inevitably be tumult and controversy as well as incomprehensible loveliness…