Salzburg scores 97%

Salzburg scores 97%


norman lebrecht

August 29, 2019

With the last of 270,584 tickets sold, this summer’s Salzburg Festival clocked up 97% capacity, much the same as last season.

Revenues, at 31.2 million Euros, were up three percent.

Nice work, if you can afford the tickets.



  • erich says:

    A fudge as usual. 97% maybe, but they never state how many bums on seats actually paid for their tickets.

  • Gustavo says:

    Amazing result for such a provincial place.

    Strange though that Haitink with VPO are still not fully booked.

    The world around Salzburg has changed.

  • Alan says:

    I enjoyed my five days and 8 concerts. And I didn’t feel ripped off. The people who pay the big money can afford it. There are plenty of good value tickets for the rest of us.

    • Oedro says:

      I agree. I paid 80 euros for the Haitink concert, 35 for Blomstedt and the GMJO, and 120 for Boccanegra and Orphée.

  • Karl says:

    I find that number hard to believe also. Especially since tickets are so expensive.

  • Caranome says:

    There are many musical purists here who scoff at and can’t accept the commercialism in the business. I am willing to bet that a high % of the audience are tourists and socialites who are there for the glamour and the occasion because it’s the place to be. These people can’t tell the difference between an oboe and the flute, let alone Bruckner and Mahler. They are there to enjoy high culture, take their selfies, and brag about their experience over dinner. But they pay the bills.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      I had the privilege of attending Salzburg Festival performances several times between 1979 through 1991. Judging by my experience back then, yes it looked very much like a jet set environment. I don’t think there were that many clueless tourists, not least because tickets were very expensive and in high demand. There were obviously lots of tourists who were nuts about music, and were living their dream of attending one of the most famous festivals in the world.
      After the last note of any performance, there was was a magical silence before a thunderous applause. I estimate it must have been about 10″, which can feel delightfully long in that context. That was quite an eye opener for me as an adolescent.
      Have things changed so much since then? (Paging Pedro).

      • Pedro says:

        I have attended 35 Salzburg Summer festivals since 1978 and today we see less black ties and long dresses. I went to several performances in jeans and t-shirts. Prices can be very expensive but I always get tickets in the €30-150 range depending on the performers and if it is an opera or a concert. As it is easy to get 3-star hotels for less than €100, I think Salzburg is simultaneously one of the less expensive festivals around and the best in quality.

  • Interesting how Austria has turned classical music into a tourist trade, similar to the way Ireland promotes its literary side, London its theater, and NYC its musicals.

    In 2017 ticket sales revenue for the Festival was ca. €27 million. Through its direct and indirect effects it adds about €183 million to the Salzburg economy per year. The festival generates about 77 million in tax revenue.

    On the downside, the area is surrounded by one of the most troubling far-right political climates in all of Europe.

  • For me, the best thing about the Salzburg Summer Festival is its location and proximity to Munich and of course Tomaselli’s breakfast.

    • David Sanders says:

      Any other dining and/or pastry shop recommendations for Salzburg? I’ll be playing there in two years, if all goes as planned.

      • Gustavo says:

        “Fürst” is an alternative pastry shop (chose the main shop in the old town centre).

        “Stiegelkeller” is a typical Biergarten with nice views over Salzburg.

        “Der Fidele Affe” on the other side of the Salzach aranged a late diner after Meistersinger. They actually phoned the Festspielhaus to ask how long the performance would take.

        “‘s Herzl”, close to the Festspielhaus, is a good Austrian restaurant (linked with the prestigeous “Goldene Hirsch”) but they closed far too early when we were there after Boulez with VPO (Das Klagende Lied). And we could have done with some more wine after that.

      • Una says:

        Better ask nearer the time!

  • Bryan says:

    I was a student at the Mozarteum many years ago, but I got back this year just to hear some concerts. And I’m not even a plutocrat! I saw Igor Levit for 30 Euros, Cecilia Bartoni in Alcina for 105 Euros (mind you, it was the Generalprobe) and the Vienna Philharmonic for 80 Euros. The ticket prices do not seem unreasonable for the quality of the concerts and the venues. I didn’t find the food and drink too expensive either. Austrian wines are good and quite inexpensive. But, for god’s sake, don’t buy any clothing there! Insanely expensive. The festival put on nine different opera productions in the course of the month. That’s pretty remarkable, isn’t it?

  • Michael says:

    If you can afford the tickets? Book early (Jan) and get the reasonably priced tickets. I just saw Salome at 130 Euros, and Haitink and the Vienna Phil for 105. Just takes membership in the friends’ society (150) and committing in early Jan.
    Sure. The best seats in the opera performances lie over 400Euros. Daily top prices at the Met are about that, right?