Gloom in Salzburg as Easter festival sells just 81 percent

Gloom in Salzburg as Easter festival sells just 81 percent


norman lebrecht

April 19, 2022

The numbers are in for the Salzburg Easter Festival and they are a tad alarming.

One in five tickets went unsold.

Overall occupancy was just over 81%. Lohengrin achieved 89%. Four hundred tickets (out of 16,200) were given to young people and young adults at greatly reduced prices.

This was the first festival at Easter in three years, and it was Christian Thielemann’s last.

It is safe to assume that some of the rich Russian regulars stayed away on their yachts due to the war in Ukraine. This does not augur well for the summer fest.


  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Given the reports from many other locales, an 80 to high 80’s percentile doesn’t sound so dire to me.

    • Tristan says:

      You are absolutely right and I heard reports that it was fabulous; wasn’t Gazprom lured by the summer Festival plus a Putin visit or ist Easter under the same ruthless guidance?

  • zayin says:

    They gave away 400 tickets to young people and occupancy was still at 81%?

    There aren’t enough young Austrians even to fill seats at Salzburg, let alone replenish the aging population.

    If Austria had welcomed more Ukrainian refugees, they would’ve been in the position to do both — fill seats and replenish the dying population.

  • erich says:

    Given the fact that Easter audiences used to include many overseas patrons, the figures are not so bad, since America and Asia are only just becoming more accessible again. Far more worrying is the departure of Thielemann and the Dresdner Staatskapelle. The Festival was founded with the intention of making it a ‘family’ occasion, with a resident orchestra and conductor. The Berlin Philharmonic fulfilled that role under Karajan/Abbado/Rattle until avarice lured them to Baden-Baden. The Dresdners inherited their mantle brilliantly and it is a tragedy that they have become ‘collateral damage’ in the alpha-male spat between Thielemann and Bachler. Whatever one thinks of Thielemann’s personality, the level of music making has been exemplary. It remains very much to be seen if the future annual changing of orchestra/conductor will retain the loyalty of the long-term patrons.

    • sam says:

      Rattle and Berlin weren’t “lured” to Baden-Baden, Thielemann and Dresdner displaced them and Berlin had to put on a brave face in Baden Baden.

      • erich says:

        Absolute rubbish. They priced themselves out of Salzburg with unreasonable demands which the oligarchs in Baden-Baden were prepared to pay and Thielemann and Dresden saved the day – and the Festival.

  • Gareth Jones says:

    Wait until next year, with Leipzig and the ill-prepared Nelsons…

  • Alan says:

    Considering how hard it is to get people back into concert halls it’s not bad at all. Was at Grigory Sokolov recital in Rome last week. Lot of empty seats. A quick look at the seating chart for his Salzburg recital shows very few spare seats left.

    Indeed the website shows 54 of 172 performances already sold out and a quick look at seating charts for some other performances show very few seats available.

    And it’s still three months before it starts. Think they’ll be fine. I’m certainly looking forward to my five days there.

  • MICHAEL says:

    As a long term visitor to the Salzburg Easter Festival I am sure that I was not the only visitor this year to inform my hotel that I will not be returning to Salzburg in 2023 but will be remaining loyal to the Dresden Staatskapelle and attending their Richard Strauss Festage in Dresden during Easter with Arabella and Rosenkavalier conducted by Thielemann and a Strauss orchestral concert conducted by Jakub Hrusa. It is surely a no-brainer.

    • Tristan says:

      I was told the contrary that many want to return as they didn’t like Thielemann though I find him
      definitely matchless with a certain repertoire! Apparently they have lost 1000 loyal patrons during his term – that’s what I was told and apparently a phenomenal Festival this year
      Also, it seems Thielemann now gets on so well with Nikolaus Bachler after the poorly acting predecessor left

  • Helene Kamioner says:

    The New York Philharmonic concerts in Peenemuende on Usedom are 100% sold out….go figure

  • wiener says:

    Wenigstens ehrliche Zahlen, besser als die verlogenen Zahlen der Wiener Staatsoper

  • fflambeau says:

    Put even more emphasis on the “chocolate salesman”.

    Maybe the fault lies with the Salzburghers and much more competition.

    Remember, Mozart left too.

  • Herby Neubacher says:

    Es gibt Schlimmeres. Putins Schlachtfest in der Ukraine. Ausgebucht

  • Sotto voce says:

    I’ve been a Salzburg patron for many years but, like others it appears, I am off to Dresden next year to continue to cheer on the fabulous Staatskapelle Dresden. I suspect many halls would happily accept 80% at this stage in 2022, given the world is still gearing up after COVID (and with the high ticket prices). The orchestral standard was fabulous again this year – with Thielemann on top form. He was chatty and relaxed in rehearsal and has ‘moved on’ mentally it appears. (He said he’d miss the Salzburg cuisine …). I wish the festival well but the change in format is a risk if you want to lure the patrons back year after year. Let’s see.