Friday, 8 March 2013


Chaos reigned yesterday evening following a marathon session of the Salzburg Festival’s supervisory board. When Barbara Petsch’s article for Die Presse was first posted online, it reported that ‘the board had come out on top’ and suggested that Alexander Pereira’s overspend will be treated as a negative carry forward, reducing the resources available for 2014 regardless of any further sponsorship revenue. Or as a board member phrased it when briefing Petsch, two operas would have to be cut in 2014. Now a heavily revised version of the article states that the revenue raising block has been lifted. If Pereira can come up with the money, he won’t be forced to make savings in 2014.

Der Standard reports more or less the same thing albeit with some dodgy maths and a loose end about the smaller overspend Salzburg mayor Heinz Schaden has said he will ‘tolerate’. Aside from that Pereira has been warned to bring 2014 in on budget. But while another budget battle has been won, it comes at Pyrrhic cost. When Pereira asked the board about his future, they confirmed that, well, his Salzburger Nockeln have wrinkled and collapsed as rapidly as they rose. There will be no contract extension after 2016 and the board is already in discussions with potential replacements. Candidates named by Die Presse include a caretaker (Sven-Eric Bechtolf, current head of the Festival’s drama division); the oddest of wild cards (um, Franzi); and the successor everybody wants (Markus Hinterhäuser). Hinterhäuser takes over the Wiener Festwochen next year but on a three year contract, leaving him free to succeed Pereira in 2017.

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