The Salzburg Festival has a clearly defined plan with several levels to prepare decisions about whether the Festivals at Whitsun and in the summer can take place.
The Directorate of the Salzburg Festival: Lukas Crepaz (Executive Director), Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler and Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser. Photo: SF/Lydia Gorges
Level 1 was triggered on 16. March. Following guidance provided by the authorities, since that day all Festival theatres, offices and workshops have been closed, currently until 13. April. This means that all employees, including for example those in the ticket office, who can work from home are doing so via telecommuting, including the Directorate itself, of course.
The second level requires a decision on 15. April. At that point a decision must be made whether the Whitsun Festival, which is scheduled from 29. May to 1. June, can take place as planned. Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser is in continuous exchange about this with Cecilia Bartoli, the Whitsun Festival’s artistic leader. She is full of optimism and also already considering alternatives, should shortened rehearsal periods require programme changes.
Level 3 will become necessary on 30. May. By this point, a decision must be reached whether, and possibly in which form, the centenary edition of the Festival can take place. Of course, the Festival has already worked out various scenarios for this.
Artistically, the Salzburg Festival is well-prepared for both festivals, and able to make up for the phase of inactivity caused by present closures.
Both decisions, however, do not depend on the Festival’s leadership, but on the development of the coronavirus pandemic and the political decisions it requires. In order to eradicate the virus, we must all stand together. Therefore, health takes priority over all artistic and economic issues.
However, there is hope that the Festival will be able to celebrate its anniversary with music and theatre. (Press Release of the 2020 Salzburg Festival).