Salzburg Mozart Week

The 2021 Mozart Week has been cancelled. Mozart’s 265th birthday will be celebrated with a top-class streaming programme at the end of January.

Salzburg - Photo credit: ©Tourismus Salzburg, Foto: Breitegger Günter

The city of Salzburg is world-famous for its festivals – and it all kicks off with Mozart Week in January close to Mozart’s birthday (on the 27th). It then builds through the year to the great summer celebration of the Salzburg Festival itself. Even for Salzburg, though, 2020 was a special year.

It was, in fact, the festival’s centenary year – exactly 100 years since the first Salzburg Festival, created by Max Reinhardt, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss, took place in 1920. Its founders would be astonished at its growth.

Daniel Barenboim and Martha Argerich - Photo credit: Holger Kettner It was they who said of Salzburg, “The entire city is a stage.” And it certainly is. This is a small town – its 150,000 inhabitants would normally qualify it as a large village – but being the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has made it one of the world’s music capitals.

The Mozart Festival is the perfect Salzburg taster. A mere stripling compared to the main summer festival, Mozart Week has been running since 1956 and the week has stretched to ten days. This is undoubtedly necessary – there’s so much to fit in.

Salzburg has a lot of theatres – the Great Hall, the Vienna Hall, the Rock Riding School, the Landestheatre, the Great Festival Theatre and many more. This year there were performances of Mozart’s operas, symphonies and concertos, alongside smaller chamber pieces, films, dancers and marionettes. (Salzburg has its own historic marionette theatre.) To say the atmosphere is buzzy is putting it very mildly.

Vienna Philharmonic - Photo credit: Wolfgang Lienbacher The town itself has plenty of places to visit between concerts with great museums (I particularly recommend Mozart’s birthplace – absolutely fascinating to see his original instruments and the daily life of the Mozarts), palaces and gardens. And being such a small place, you discover by the end of the first day, you know it like the back of your hand.

I was lucky enough go be in Salzburg for this year’s Mozart Week – a few days packed with events and concerts. My particular favourite was Der Messias, Mozart’s version of Handel’s Messiah. Staged by the American director, Robert Wilson, this is oratorio turned opera, set in a box of light, with film, dance, special effects and, for good measure, a yeti and an astronaut thrown in.

Rolando Villazon - Photo credit: Andreas Hechenberger 2021 sees a programme curated by the international star tenor Rolando Villazon who took over as artistic director of Mozart Week two years ago. His focus is on Mozart’s prowess for musical drama, with particular emphasis on works in the minor keys. There will be 65 different events ranging from orchestral concerts and chamber music to – believe it or not – pantomime. There will be no open-air performances due to compliance with safety regulations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The really good news, though, is that Mozart Week is going ahead. Be warned, however, the tickets will be going like hot cakes, so for reservations, click here.

More information

Kirker Holidays offer Salzburg holidays and there is more information on those here.

Salzburg City offers a variety of packages including, the Traces of Mozart package priced from €219 per person (2 sharing B&B) including:

  • 2 nights’ shared accommodation in a 4-star city-centre hotel (with a Mozart treat in the room on arrival)
  • Substantial breakfast each day
  • Mozart City Tour (1 hour) starting and finishing at the hotel
  • Mozart Dinner Concert in the St Peter Stiftskulinarium (restaurant’s history dates back to 803 AD)

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Kirker Holidays.

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Anna Selby

Travel writer & author

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