Salzberg Festival

Salzburg Festival 2016 (Salzburger Festspiele) events occur each year over a five week period beginning in the last week of July. It is one of Europe's most important summer festivals featuring classical music. The beautiful city of Salzburg is set just on the northern border of the Austrian Alps, and is a city truly full of "The Sound of Music." The city and surrounding countryside comprise the real life setting for the 1965 film that won five Academy Awards, and there are Austria vacation packages that include Sound of Music tours. True fans of the movie will recognize several of the shooting locations (there are city tours that specialize in this), including the beautiful Mirabell Palace and Gardens where Maria and the children sang "Do Re Mi."

Salzburg Festival Venues

In spite of the fame of the movie and the von Trapp family, the city's most famous native son is the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who was born here in 1756. It is the music of this young genius that the Salzburg Festival 2016 most prominently celebrates. Coincidentally, Werner von Trapp (one of the famous children of the real-life Trapp Family Singers) studied cello in the Mozarteum University in the 1930s, and the Trapp Family Singers performed at the festival in 1936. This memorable performance was in the Felsenreitschule Theater, which is still one of the festival venues. In the film, this is where Captain von Trapp sang "Edelweiss." Other venues include the square around the beautiful Salzburg Dom, the city's main cathedral where Mozart was baptized. As a side trip, you can visit the Mozart Geburtshaus, where the great composer was born and lived most of his childhood. It is an excellent museum where you can learn more about the composer, his music and the festival dedicated to both.

Salzburg Festival History and Facts

The seeds of the Salzburg Festival were sown by famed conductor Hans Richter in 1887, the 100th anniversary of Mozart's opera "Don Giovanni." However, those seeds did not really see fruit until after World War I. The first Salzburger Festspiele was held in 1920 with a performance of the play "Jedermann" ("Everyman") on the steps of the Salzburg Dom. This performance has opened every festival since. In 1926, the Felrenreitschule Theater (formerly a stable and riding school) was converted into a performance theater. There was a two-year hiatus during World War II between 1943 and 1945. Since the war, it has become one of the most prestigious international music festivals. Today, there are nearly 200 performances enjoyed by more than 200,000 people from around the world. Music featured is operatic and symphonic, with numerous chamber concerts and dramatic offerings in addition to the major productions.

Lodging Near Salzburg Festival and Tickets

The Salzburg Festival 2016 occurs at the end of July for five weeks. If you plan to attend any of the events or visit the city during that time, you need to purchase your tickets and make hotel arrangements as far in advance as possible. Tickets are available for individual performances, and there are a number of different combination tickets that include a selection of several performances. These can be requested up until the second week in January only from the official Salzburg Festival. Those tickets that are left go on public sale around the first week of April. It is possible for events to be sold out during January, so you need to plan accordingly.

This is true as well for Salzburg hotels. There is a wide variety to choose from, including everything from the five star Goldener Hirsch to budget Austria hostels.

Other Festivals and Nearby Attractions

In addition to the Salzburg Festival there are many other Austria events and festivals throughout the year. If you like skiing competitions and hot air balloon festivals, come in January when the World Cup Ski Jump competition and International Hot Air Balloon Week are held. For harvest festivals, there is the Salzburger Bauernherbst (Farmer's Autumn). The Salzburg Christmas Market is one of the best in the country.

Image: Tourismus Salzburg

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