Grosses Festspielhaus

Wed, Jun 15, 2016

 The Festival's high society encounters onlookers and a flock of international photographers outside its doors each year as luxury cars line up on the "golden" pavement in Hofstallgasse.

Work on the Large Festival Hall commenced in 1956 when approx. 55,000 cubic meters of conglomerate rock were cut out of the Mönchsberg to make room for the huge backstage area. The building, specially designed as a festival hall, incorporated the original façade of the former royal stables, which were transformed into a break room. The floor is decorated with mosaic horse heads, reminiscent of the building's former use. With a width of 100 meters, the Large Festival Hall is one of the largest opera houses in the world. It opened July 26, 1960 with a performance of Richard Strauss' "Rosenkavalier" conducted by Herbert von Karajan. Countless works of art can be found inside the building, including two sculptures made of Carrara marble by Wander Bertoni called "Theater" and "Music", four large crosses on the theme "Dreams with the Wrong Solutions" by Robert Longo (blue: "Pressure on Heaven," red: "Prayers on Fire," gold: "Crying in Oublic" and black: "Songs of Surrender"), ceramic sculptures by Arno Lehmann, the "12-tone relief" as a tribute to Anton von Webern by Rudolf Hoflehner and mural paintings by Wolfgang Hutter and Rudolf Plattner.