The Grosses Festspielhaus is one of the main venues of the world-famous Salzburg Festival which takes place each summer in July and August. From September to June the Grosses Festspielhaus is also used for opera and concerts of the Salzburg Easter Festival, the Mozartwoche as well as of the Salzburger Kulturvereinigung and the Mozarteumorchester Salzburg.
The Grosses Festspielhaus on Hofstallgasse was built between 1956 and 1960 according to the plans of architect Clemens Holzmeister, now providing one of the most impressive performance venues for the Salzburg Festival.
100 m in width, the Grosses Festspielhaus is one of the biggest concert halls in the world. It was officially opened on July 26, 1960 with a performance of Richard Strauss’s Rosenkavalier under the direction of Herbert von Karajan. Before its doors, every year during the Salzburg Festival high society rubs shoulders with curious visitors and an international gaggle of photographers.
Work on the Grosses Festspielhaus began in 1956 with the removal of around 55,000 m³ of conglomerate rock from the side of the Mönchsberg. The former royal stables were remodelled into a breakroom. Floor mosaics depicting horses’ heads recall the original purpose of this place. As the architect, no lesser figure than Clemens Holzmeister came into consideration. He had already gained fame back in the 1920s as the builder of the Kleines Festspielhaus.
Located within the interior of the Grosses Festspielhaus are numerous artworks, including sculptures entitled “Theater” und “Music” made by Wander Bertoni from Carrara marble, four large crosses on the theme of “Dreams with the Wrong Solutions” by Robert Longo, ceramic sculptures by Arno Lehmann, the “12-Tone Frieze” by Rudolf Hoflehner in honor of Anton von Webern, along with murals by Wolfgang Hutter and Rudolf Plattner.