Salzburg eyes up next festival chief

Salzburg eyes up next festival chief


norman lebrecht

July 14, 2020

Although Helga Rabl-Stadler has been extended as president of the Salzburg Festival for a further year, Austrian media outlets are busy speculating about her successor.

Two names have come to the fore. One is Salzburg resident Stephan Gehmacher, currently head of the Luxembourg Philharmonic. The other is Maria Grossbauer, former chief of the Vienna Opera ball who is married to a former chairman of the Vienna Philharmonic. She is pictured here with the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Place your bets now.



  • ViennaMusic says:

    If it goes as things go in Austria, it sure will be Ms Grossbauer. No particular reason though other than you know this being Austria.

  • erich says:

    Replacing Helga with Großbauer is akin to replacing the Queen with Meghan Markle. Gehmacher comes from an old-established Salzburg Family and although with sufficient music world experience, has not made much of a mark as a ‚personality‘ and would need a major charisma transplant. Dear God, will Austria never learn.

    • Saskia Ellmer says:

      Please don’t say you will compare Helga Rabl-Stadler with the Queen! Poor Queen Elizabeth II.!

  • Noch ein Mal says:

    Povera Cecilia!

    • Tristan says:

      it’s only a job to represent the Festival but also finding sponsors so nothing to worry
      Markus Hinterhaeuser is the manager of the Festival who previously did a poor job in Vienna and halved the visitors of the their spring festival Wiener Festwochen
      Helga seemed to forget the original meaning of the Festival and the idea of its founders and lured the Russians (‘lupenreine Demokraten’) to sponsor opera in Salzburg – it’s money mostly that counts in Salzburg with absolutely ludicrous prices for many médiocre performances. Corona is now avoiding a massive humiliation. However they understand to manipulate the press and so far hardly covered in the media except some international papers have rightly written some highly critical comments.
      Isn’t Salzburg heavily funded by the state and in times like ours forced to distribute more sensible? Shouldn’t one get rid of all those opening ceremonies that are mostly a huge embarrassment I was often told.
      Waste of money and Salzburg needs to adapt and definitely rejuvenate!

    • Saskia Ellmer says:

      I don’t think that Cecilia would be interested in this job….

  • Gustavo says:

    “She is pictured here with Brahms reimagined.”

  • Saskia Ellmer says:

    I don’t understand why Maria Großbauer is named for this job. As Opernball-Lady she showed that she has no feelings and no respect for traditions. She has made worse what Desi Treichl-Stürgkh has started with her cheap spectacle instead of a noble and elegant ball. Of course from time to time it’s good to have new ideas, also for the Salzburg Festival but I’m very much afraid that Mrs. Großbauer isn’t the right person for this job – as well as I never thought that Helga Rabl-Stadler is or was the right representative for this festival.
    Maybe Stephan Gehmacher would be a good choice. It would be worth a try.