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1981

July 26 – August 31

Karl Böhm dies two weeks before his 87th birthday. Mozart’s Requiem is performed in his memory at the Salzburg Cathedral; James Levine, considered Böhm’s legitimate heir by some Festival visitors, conducts – Levine’s love for Mozart may support this view. After eight years, there is finally an opera world premiere again: Friedrich Cerha’s Baal with Theo Adam in the title role and Christoph von Dohnányi on the podium. This is also remarkable because it is a coproduction with the Vienna State Opera; while during the founding years of the Festival it was normal for the same productions to be presented in Vienna and Salzburg, this practice was given up during the post-war years. Verdi’s delightful late work Falstaff is Herbert von Karajan’s contribution to the summer program; with Giuseppe Taddei and Rolando Panerai as Falstaff and Ford, he has chosen a more mature cast – rightfully so, as the two gentlemen unleash fireworks of comedic inspiration. Claus Peymann returns to the Festival: with the world premiere of Thomas Bernhard’s Am Ziel [At the Goal], he has hit selfsame target.

1981: At a press conference for the world premiere of Friedrich Cerha's Baal. The composer (right) with Theo Adam, who is singing the title role.

World premiere
Thomas Bernhard
Am Ziel
Stage director: Claus Peymann
Sets and costumes: Karl-Ernst Herrmann
Landestheater

New production
Georg Büchner
Dantons Tod
Stage director: Rudolf Noelte
Stage sets: Walter Dörfler
Costumes: Elisabeth Urbancic
Landestheater

New production
Giuseppe Verdi
Falstaff
Conductor and stage director: Herbert von Karajan
Stage sets: Günther Schneider-Siemssen
Costumes: Georges Wakhevitch
Großes Festspielhaus

World premiere
Coproduction with the Vienna Staatsoper
Friedrich Cerha
Baal
Conductor: Christoph von Dohnányi
Stage director: Otto Schenk
Sets and costumes: Rolf Langenfass
Kleines Festspielhaus

Revivals: As You Like It, Jedermann, Die Zauberflöte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Les contes d‘Hoffmann, Ariadne auf Naxos

15 Orchestral Concerts, 5 Chamber
concerts, 7 Serenades, 10 Matinees, 5 Solo Recitals, 6 Lied Recitals, 1 Lied Matinee, 1 Church Concert, 3 Literary Recitals, Commemoration Ceremony for Karl Böhm

Opening Speach by Hans-Georg Gadamer: „Das Alte und das Neue“

Details of the several years:

1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989,