Commentary, feedback or questions invited

Salzburg, Old Salzburg, on the banks of the Salzach River, is arguably the most dazzlingly pretty city in Northern Europe. In an area that can be traversed by foot in its entirety in a single afternoon, it has sixteen churches – eleven on the left bank and five on the right – a plethora of concert halls, ecclesiastical residences, princely palaces, venerable cloisters, and fountains, gates and monuments as would dazzle the most jaded eye. It is a Baroque city which flaunts an extravagantly gilded Catholicism, far removed from the murmurings of the private heart. Its rooftops are patina’d domes, its gardens in all seasons thoroughfares of relief and statuary, and its angels, its Madonnas with Infants, its halos and coronas and explosions of flora are so overladen with gold that even in the murkiest sanctuary and crypt it shimmers.

Derek in front of the panorama of Salzburg

Elaine in front of Mozart's wife and father's grave

And as much as it dazzles the eye, Salzburg beguiles the ear, for no city in Europe is more closely identified with classical vocal music than this one. The first opera performance north of the Alps was given in Salzburg in 1618. Mozart was born here in 1756 and Herbert von Karajan in 1908. For over two hundred years, gorgeous music has been played and sung in its glittering palaces and churches, music that purported to glorify prince or deity but was always in fact its own glory. Mozart festivals began in Salzburg in 1877 and the first of the annual summer festivals was given in 1922, the year that the Kleines Festspielhaus was built. In 1960, the Grosses Festspielhaus was added, its anterooms fashioned out of the massive stables of the Prince-Archbiship, and its stage and backstage area carved out of the mountain wall itself, as if to say that in Salzburg nature itself must sacrifice to music. The great festival hall opened in 1960 with Strauss’ Rosenkavalier.

(more later)

Jedermann being performed in front of Salzburg's Cathedral, where it is represented every year during the Salzburg Festival

For a summary (in German) of the play click here: Jedermann by Hofmannsthal

Please send any comments or questions to
© 2002 by Elaine Sutherland and Angelique Corthals. All Rights Reserved. Last Modified Sunday, January 05, 2003