From its Summer Festival to the 50th Anniversary of The Sound of Music, Salzburg’s Musical Heritage Comes to the Fore.
This weekend sees the start of the annual Salzburg Festival, a six-week-long extravaganza of opera, drama and concerts for festival-goers of every age. Highlights of the festival include several performances of William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, whilst on an operatic theme, The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart, Beethoven’s Fidelio and Verdi’s Il Trovatore (the Troubadour) headline the bill. There are also performances by the Vienna Philharmonic as well as a “unique experimental version in a musical adaptation” of Mack the Knife, a play based on the German edition of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera. Domplatz meanwhile plays host to a run of Everyman whilst for children, there’s an introduction to opera, specifically Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.
The festival gets underway on Saturday, 18th July and runs all the way through until Sunday, 30th August. For the full programme and ticket purchases, visit the festival website here.
Whilst the festival itself attracts visitors to Salzburg in their droves, the city itself has countless attractions and reasons to visit. Indeed, Salzburg is reputed to receive as many visitors as Florence or Venice, thus cementing its reputation as one of Europe’s most popular city break destinations. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Salzburg is a charming and captivating city offering stunning panoramas thanks to its lofty position amidst the Austrian Alps, beautiful Baroque architecture, a rich musical heritage and a wealth of sightseeing attractions to tempt any visitor.
Birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg’s many associations with this legendary composer are proudly displayed throughout the city, from his birthplace – the mustard-coloured Gerburtshaus – to Mozartplatz where Mozart’s bronze statue is to be found. Perhaps its second claim to fame is as the backdrop for the hugely popular cult film The Sound of Music and fans will delight in exploring the many locations in which filming took place. One such location and a definite must-see has to be the beautiful Mirabell Gardens, dominated by the palatial Schloss Mirabell and offering a year-round riot of colour with its flower beds, fountains and Statue of Pegasus around which Maria and the children sing Do-Re-Mi in the film. And given that the city celebrates the 50th anniversary of the film this year (October 17th to be precise), 2015 really will be a special year to visit Salzburg.
Musical landmarks and links aside, dominating the Salzburg skyline is the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the biggest and most fully-preserved fortification in Europe, from which magnificent views over the city’s skyline, the River Salzach and as far as the Alps can be seen from its imposing hilltop location. Below, you’ll find the delightful Old Town (Altstadt), containing a maze of narrow streets and beautiful baroque buildings for which the city is so famous. Wander the shops of the Getreidegasse with their ornate wrought-iron shops signs. Visit the 17th-century Salzburger Dom (cathedral) and the magnificent rococo Peterskirche, and the Residenz Neugebäude with its photogenic 18th-century musical clock. And don’t forget the Residenz State Rooms, former official apartments of Salzburg’s prince-archbishops, or indeed the 400-year-old Hellbrun Palace, built at the foot of the Hellbrunn Mountain in the early 1600s and world famous for its trick fountains.
Take away the city’s rich musical heritage, little wonder that Salzburg has earned itself the nickname ‘Rome of the North’.