Festspielhaus / Festival Halls

With three of the finest concert halls in the world, this is the home of the Salzburg Festival. The halls are magnificent and fans of The Sound of Music will not want to miss the Felsenreitschule (Rock Riding School), instantly recognisable from the movie.

 

Fraulein Maria Says

One of the most iconic locations from The Sound of Music, the Felsenreitschule was where the von Trapps sang their farewell to the people of Salzburg in the movie. With its atmospheric arcades and open-air stage, no better location could have been found or built. Now you can tour this unique venue and get a chance to stand on the same stage as Julie Andrews and the rest of the cast.

If you want to see the great and the good, then the Salzburg Festival is the place to be during July and August. Thousands of fans arrive from all over the globe to witness concerts, opera and plays during the 5-week cultural extravaganza.

The Salzburg Festival we know today was founded in 1920 by, among others, Richard Strauss, playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal and director Max Reinhardt. The first production was Jedermann, by von Hofmannsthal, in front of the Cathedral, something which has now become an annual event. The Salzburg Festival takes place across numerous locations around the city although the primary locations remain the 3 Festival Halls at the main complex on Hofstallgasse (Court Stable Alley).

Fun Fact

In 1936, the von Trapp family did actually sing at the Festspiele, and won first place, although not with songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

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The Festival has enjoyed huge success since it’s foundation with the exception of the Nazi years. Between 1938 and 1945 many of the main artists resigned while Jewish founder Max Reinhardt was forced to emigrate. Cancelled in 1944 after the plot to kill Hitler, the festival reopened in 1945, several months after the war ended.

The Large Festival Hall was built in 1925 on the site of the old Archbishop’s stables near the Mönchsberg mountain. The stables had originally been built in the early 1600s and were still in use by the Austrian military right up until the conversion. This building was upgraded in the 1950s and reopened in 1960 with a performance of ‘Rosenkavalier’ by Richard Strauss. It is now one of the largest opera houses in the world with a stage width of 100m (approx. 300 ft) and seating for 2,179.

 

Don’t Miss

The unique Felsenreitschule with its arcades sunk into the rock.

The smaller festival hall, known since 2006 as the ‘Haus für Mozart’ was also built in 1925 – to be used for smaller operas and plays. The current building can seat 1,495 with standing room for 85.

The Felsenreitschule (Rock Riding School) is a theatre built into the Mönchsberg mountain, with arcades carved into the rock. The audience would originally sit in those arcades, but this was changed in the 1960s when a new auditorium, stage and orchestra pit were built along with a retractable roof. Anyone who has seen The Sound of Music will instantly recognise the venue as the one where the von Trapps sang their final farewell before escaping to Switzerland.

Fun Fact

The Felsenreitschule was initially constructed in the 17th century when rock was quarried to build the Cathedral. The resulting gaps and holes in the mountain were fashioned into a theatre by the architect Fischer von Erlach and opened in 1633.

Opening Hours:

Tours of the Large Festspielhaus, the Haus für Mozart and the Felsenreitschule are available daily at 2pm.

Tickets are sold 15 minutes before tour begin at the Festspiel shop (at the column with the mask).

The tour lasts approx 50 minutes and is available in German and in English.

Prices
Adults : € 7.00
Children (6 to 18 years) : € 4.00
Children under 6 are free
One entrance is included with the Salzburg Card.

Please note that while tours normally take place daily, they may be cancelled to make way for rehearsals or work on a set. Unfortunately, prior notice is not available on their website.

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