Often described as the greatest and most important musical festival in the world, the Salzburg Festival presents performances of opera, plays and concerts of the highest artistic calibre over a period of five to six weeks each northern summer. Against the stunning backdrop of the beautifully preserved baroque architecture of Salzburg, Austria, conductors, stage directors, orchestras, singers, actors and virtuoso instrumentalists of world renown can be seen and heard.
2010 marks the 90th anniversary of the Salzburg Festival and this year's program of operas, concerts and plays revolves around mythological themes. This year, from 17 July to 26 October the whole city will be a stage for a series of exhibitions entitled The Great World Theatre, to mark the 90th anniversary of the Festival. The exhibitions will show the history of the most important music festival in the world and will include a major multi-media show. The headline event of the Festival itself this year is a new production of Richard Strauss' opera Elektra.
The Salzburg Festival was founded in the midst of the First World War. While nation battled nation, the founding fathers, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Max Reinhardt, Richard Strauss, Alfred Roller and Franz Schalk, conceived the idea of bringing reconciliation via a festival celebrating the unifying power of music.
In keeping with this original focus on peace and enlightened thinking, in 2010 Valery Gergiev will present an important evening with the World Orchestra for Peace which was founded by the incomparable Sir Georg Solti, who was convinced that "politicians do their job [for peace], but musicians are able to be the most potent voices. Music does not have borders - it is immediate, effective and very truthful".
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