Salzburg Festival seek new director
An ongoing dispute leads to the withdrawal of two directors of one of the world's most exclusive summer arts festivals.
VIENNA -- The Salzburg Festival, one of the world's most exclusive summer arts festivals, is looking for a new artistic director after the current chief Juergen Flimm said he will not renew his contract after 2011, organisers said on Wednesday.
German born director Flimm, 67, who has run the festival since Oct. 2006, told a meeting of the supervisory board on Tuesday that "he will no longer be available for further talks after 2011."
The supervisory board would therefore set about finding a replacement for him from mid-Jan., the statement said.
Flimm's decision to throw in the towel came after a bitter dispute with the festival's drama chief, Thomas Oberender, over the standing of spoken theatre within the month long festival of music, opera and theatre.
Oberender, 42, is to quit at the end of next year's festival in Sept., the organisers said.
The German director became Salzburg's youngest drama chief when he was appointed at the same time as Flimm, but has frequently complained that spoken theatre plays only a secondary role to opera and concerts in the festival.
The 2008 festival, which ran from July 26 to August 31, attracted a total 253,850 visitors and raised 25.2 million euros (32.6 million dollars) in ticket sales alone: the second-highest sum after the record Mozart year in 2006.
Although tickets to Salzburg are among the most expensive in the world, running as high as 370 euros per performance, 93 percent of all tickets were sold this year, the organisers said.
The 2009 festival, under the slogan "The Game of the Mighty", features new productions of Handel's Theodora, Luigi Nono's Al gran sole carico d'amore, Rossini's Moses in Egypt and Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. It opens on July 25 and runs until August 30.