The directorate of the Salzburg Festival: Executive Director Lukas Crepaz, Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler, Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser and the Artistic Director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival, Cecilia Bartoli. Photo: SF/ Franz Neumayr

(SF, 29 April 2021) “Opera, theatre, ballet and concerts with an audience? When will the performing arts finally be allowed to leave the infinite loop of worldwide streaming behind? When will the arts, this nourishment for our souls, finally be systemically relevant? Starting on 19 May, this will actually come true in Salzburg: at Whitsun we will finally perform for an audience again! We are all overjoyed about this decision, and I would like to express my personal gratitude to the political decisionmakers and the Salzburg Festival’s management! Long live the arts and our shared enjoyment of them, that mysterious dialectic of passionate performance and open-minded reception,” says Cecilia Bartoli, Artistic Director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival.

The strategy for the 2021 Whitsun Festival remains the same as in the past, highly successful Festival year: under the primacy of health, the goal is to implement a festival which is artistically meaningful and economically viable.

Almost all performances can take place as planned. Under the motto ROMA ÆTERNA, Artistic Director Cecilia Bartoli places Rome – the eternal city, her hometown – at the centre of the 2021 Salzburg Whitsun Festival.

However, the Austrian government’s recent decree has made several changes to the programme necessary:

One event affected is the sacred concert Dixit Dominus by the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists under Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Due to the British quarantine regulations, the artists themselves had to cancel their participation, which the Salzburg Festival sincerely regrets. Cecilia Bartoli is working on an alternate programme.

The Gala Dinner with the award-winning chef Heinz Beck cannot be held as planned and desired, due to the current Covid-19 regulations for the gastronomy sector; presumably it will be rescheduled for next year.

“The safety of our guests and all our artists as well as the safety of the Salzburg Festival’s employees are our top priorities. In order to comply with the safety regulations currently in force, last year’s tried and tested prevention plan has been revised, accommodating particularly the Ministry of Health’s new regulations on testing requirements before entry. The plan is regularly adapted to the developments of the pandemic,” says Executive Director Lukas Crepaz.

At the moment, the following prevention measures apply:


–       As last year, all tickets will be personalized in order to enable the authorities to implement rapid and effective contact tracing in cases of infection. The visitor’s name and first name will be printed on the ticket. Should the Covid-19 pandemic make it necessary, the visitor’s phone number and email address (if available) must be submitted to the authorities. Only the person specified on the ticket can attend the event. Picture IDs will be required when entering the performance venues.

–       Any ticket personalization can be altered free of charge online.

–       For all Whitsun Festival events, seating will be assigned in a chequerboard pattern, up to a maximum capacity of 50 percent.


–       According to the regulations passed by the Ministry of Health, a valid negative Covid-19 test must be shown to gain entry to the Salzburg Festival’s performance venues. Antigen test certificates may not be older than 48 hours; PCR test certificates may not be older than 72 hours.

–       If guests are vaccinated and the first vaccination took place more than 21 days before the event, test certificates are not required. Instead of a test certificate, they must submit their vaccination card or certificate.


–       FFP2 facemasks must be worn inside all the Salzburg Festival’s performance venues. This also applies when seated during the performance.

–       The legal minimum distance of 2 metres must be kept, wherever possible, between groups of visitors inside the premises.

–       Guests are required to practice hand hygiene regularly.

–       Should guests experience symptoms of illness, they are requested to refrain from attending the performance, as a courtesy to their fellow visitors.


–       All events of the Whitsun Festival will take place without intervals.

–       There will be no gastronomy or catering inside the venues of the Salzburg Festival during the Whitsun events.


As of 19 May, the current restrictions on entries from abroad, including quarantine rules, will terminate. Persons who are tested, vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 will be able to travel to Austria without quarantine (the exception being travellers entering from high-risk countries with a 7-day average infection rate of over 250 per 100,000).

Since 2012 the Festival’s partnership with Rolex has provided the financial opportunity to feature new opera productions at the Whitsun Festival every year. The Festival is very grateful to Rolex for this partnership, which was extended last year and will run through 2027.