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1954

25 July – 30 August

Clemens Krauss’s vaulting ambitions to become the general manager of the Vienna Staatsoper, and thus to regain his earlier influence on the Salzburg Festival, remained unfulfilled. Instead he accepted an appointment in Mexico, where he died on 16 May after falling mortally ill during the journey. A severe blow to the Festival was the death on 30 November of Wilhelm Furtwängler, who had already mounted Weber’s Freischütz that summer and had drawn up many plans for the future, none of which were destined to materialize. Once again, contemporary music was writ large at the Festival: George Szell conducted the world première of Rolf Liebermann’s Penelope and Dimitri Mitropoulos made his Festival debut in two concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic consisting mainly of 20th-century music. The favourite among audiences was, however, Karl Böhm’s reading of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, with Lisa Della Casa, Rudolf Schock, Irmgard Seefried and Hilde Güden in the main roles.

1954: A piano rehearsal for the world première of Rolf Liebermann’s Penelope with (left to right) Walter Berry, Peter Klein, Karl Dönch, the composer and Oscar Fritz Schuh (director).

New production
Carl Maria von Weber
Der Freischütz
C: Wilhelm Furtwängler
D: Günther Rennert
D/Con: Teo Otto
Festspielhaus

New production
Richard Strauss
Ariadne auf Naxos
C: Karl Böhm
D: Josef Gielen
Ds/Cs: Stefan Hlawa
Festspielhaus

World première
Rolf Liebermann
Penelope
C: George Szell
D: Oscar Fritz Schuh
Ds/Cs: Caspar Neher
Festspielhaus

Revivals: Jedermann[I/], Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni

4 ballet performances, 8 orchestral concerts, 5 chamber concerts, 6 serenades, 5 matinées, 4 solo recitals, 2 lieder recitals, 1 church concert, 4 concerts of sacred music

Details of the several years:

1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959,