The big festival house on Hofstallgasse was constructed to the plans of architect Clemens Holzmeister between 1956 and 1960, and is one of the most impressive backdrops for the Salzburg Festival. Salzburg’s high society meets excited visitors and the international press outside its doors each year for the Salzburg Festival.
Work on the big festival house began in 1956 with the removal of around 55,000 cubic metres of conglomerate from the Mönchsberg to make room for this imposing hall. Clemens Holzmeister had made a name for himself as the creator of the small festival house in the twenties. The original facade of the court stables was retained and incorporated into the new building, especially designed as a festival hall. The former stables were made into a break room. The floor mosaic features horses’ heads as a reminder of its original function. The big festival house is 100 metres wide, making it one of the largest buildings of its kind in the world. It was opened on the 26th of July 1960 with a performance of Richard Strauss’ ‘Rosenkavalier’ led by Herbert von Karajan.
There are plenty of works of art inside the theatre, such as ‘Theatre’ and ‘Music’ made by Wander Bertoni in carrera marble, the four ‘Dreams with the Wrong Solutions’ crosses by Robert Longo (blue “Druck auf den Himmel”, red “Feuergebete”, gold “Wehklagen in der Öffentlichkeit” and black “Lieder der Ergebung”), ceramic statues by Arno Lehmann, the ‘12-Ton-Fries’ as an homage to Anton von Webern by Rudolf Hoflehner, and murals by Wolfgang Hutter and Rudolf Plattner.
Before big premieres, Hofstallgasse is full of luxury limousines carrying their precious cargo.