For the first time since 1971, there will be no festival performances in the Salzburg State Theater. Since the spring, the stage and auditorium have been completely renovated and brought up to date with the latest technology. The work is under enormous time pressure.
Anyone who sees the construction site today can hardly believe that everything should be finished here in six weeks. At the moment, the entire auditorium has been removed, everything has been scaffolded and restorers are working on the historic stucco. The large ceiling painting and every element of the gilding is also reworked over weeks of painstaking manual work.
“For the past three weeks we’ve been busy chemically stripping the old layers of paint and now we have the pre-1937 condition and trying to preserve and re-present it. We’re doing well there,” says chief restorer Johannes Höllriegl.
Photo series with 9 pictures
Old theater with new technology
But not only the original condition of the theater should be restored. The house is also brought up to date technically. For those responsible for the project, this is a balancing act that requires a great deal of sensitivity, says architect Michael Zopf.
The work is complicated and has to be done under great time pressure, because this year’s festival ends in two weeks and then the artists and management will probably want to be ready for the first premiere. “The restorers are still there for two weeks, then the scaffolding comes out, the parquet and carpeting in. The armchairs are already waiting in Italy to be installed. At the same time, the stage technology, machinery and media technology will be installed. The aim is for us to be able to take all the artistic equipment with us in October, have four weeks of rehearsals and then off to the premiere,” says the commercial director of the Landestheater Bernhard Utz.
Stage operation fixed from November
On November 12th, the Landestheater goes back into operation with a big opening gala, the first regular performance takes place three days later with “Sound of Music”.