12 Best Performing Arts Venues in Salzburg, Austria


Fodor's choice

The Salzburger Marionettentheater is both the world's greatest marionette theater and a surprisingly moving theatrical experience. Many critics have noted that viewers quickly forget the strings controlling the puppets, which assume lifelike dimensions and provide a very real dramatic experience. Identified above all with Mozart's operas, which seem particularly suited to the skilled puppetry, the theater is particularly renowned for its production of Così fan tutte. But the repertoire seen in this beautiful, Rococo-style performance space extends to Rossini, the younger Strauss, Offenbach, Humperdinck, and Mendelssohn (who wrote the music for the troupe's delightful show devoted to William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream). A fairy-tale version of The Sound of Music has also been performed here since 2007. For children, the one-hour afternoon performances (usually shortened versions of their headline shows) are usually the best option.

All productions are accompanied by historic recordings and are subtitled in several languages, although for theater shows the subtitles are often limited to a brief description of what's happening in each scene, rather than a line-by-line translation of the German-language dialogue. Which is probably for the best, as the screens displaying the translation are awkwardly located on the walls to either side of the stage.


Fodor's choice

Two institutions share the address in this building finished just before World War I—the International Foundation Mozarteum, set up in 1870, and the University of Music and Performing Arts, founded in 1880. The former organizes the annual Mozart Week festival in January. Many important concerts are offered from October to June in its two recital halls, the Grosser Saal (Great Hall) and the Wiener Saal (Vienna Hall). Behind the Mozarteum is the famous Zauberflötenhäuschen—the little summerhouse where Mozart composed parts of The Magic Flute, with the "encouragement" of his frantic librettist Emanuel Schikaneder, who locked the composer inside to force him to finish.

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Schlosskonzerte Mirabell

Fodor's choice

Classical soloists and chamber ensembles perform more than 230 concerts each year in the legendary Marmorsaal (Marble Hall) at Mirabell Palace, where Mozart performed.

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The heart of Salzburg's contemporary art and culture scene beats at this modern, multipurpose performance venue. Its two performance spaces host envelope-pushing experimental music concerts, modern dance and theater performances, Austrian cabaret evenings, and poetry slams. The Open Mind Festival in November is the big annual event, featuring productions created especially for the festival.


This morality play by Hugo von Hofmannsthal is famously performed annually (in German) in the front courtyard of the cathedral. A centerpiece of the Salzburger Festspiele, the play—"Everyman" in English—begins with a rousing medieval parade of performers through the streets of the Altstadt, spilling onto the stage for a colorful, intense, and moving presentation of the allegorical story of wealthy, selfish Jedermann's final journey before death. Few of the thousands packing the plaza are unmoved when, at the height of the banquet, church bells around the city ring out and the voice of Death is heard calling "Jedermann—Jedermann—Jed-er-mann" from the Franziskanerkirche tower, followed by echoes of voices from other steeples and from atop the Fortress Hohensalzburg. Despite the fact Jedermann is performed several times a week throughout the festival, the tickets go very fast (it's one of the first shows to sell out every year), so book early; prices range from €10 to €190.

Domplatz, Salzburg, A-5020, Austria


Since 1946, this agency has been selling tickets for the Salzburg Festival and other events in and around Austria.

Salzburg Ticket Shop

Book ahead for tickets to a variety of entertainment options including the Salzburg Festival, Fortress concerts, and Advent performances. You can also prearrange sightseeing tours and river cruises.

Salzburger Festspiele

The biggest event on the Salzburg social calendar—as it has been since it was first organized by composer Richard Strauss, producer Max Reinhardt, and playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal in 1920—is the world-famous Salzburg Festival, usually held late July through late August. The most star-studded events feature top opera stars and conductors and are very expensive, with keen audience members pulling out all the stops—think summer furs, Dior dresses, and white ties. However, other performances can be more relaxed and more reasonably priced, and events outside the main festival halls, the Grosses Festspielhaus (Great Festival Hall) and the Haus für Mozart (House for Mozart), located on the grand promenade of Hofstallgasse, are even cheaper. This street is especially dazzling at night, thanks to the floodlighted Fortress Hohensalzburg. There are also concerts and operas at other theaters in the city, including the the Summer Riding School (Felsenreitschule), Kollegienkirche, and the Mozarteum.  Order your tickets early, as major performances sell out several months in advance.

Salzburger Festspiele

Eyes from all corners of the world are on this city during the Salzburger Festspiele, which mounts a full calendar of magnificently produced operas every summer, and even more during the Whitsun Festival in May. These performances are held in three main venues along Hofstallgasse in the Old City: the Grosses Festspielhaus (Great Festival Hall), which opened in 1960 and seats more than 2,150; the Haus für Mozart (House for Mozart), with its massive lobby frescoes by Salzburg painter Anton Faistauer; and the Felsenreitschule (the Rocky Riding School), which was hewn out of the rock of the Mönchsberg during the 17th century and offers a setting that is itself as dramatic as anything presented on stage. There are also performances at the Landestheater (State Theater) across the river and at numerous other smaller venues, where lieder recitals and chamber works dominate. Prices range from the affordable (€15) to the eye-watering (€450-plus).

Salzburger Festungskonzerte

The concerts performed by the Salzburg Mozart Ensemble and the Mozart Chamber Orchestra are presented in the grand Golden Hall at Festung Hohensalzburg and often include works by Mozart. A special candlelight-dinner-and-concert ticket is offered.

Salzburger Kulturvereinigung

World-class guest orchestras and Salzburg's own Mozarteum Orchestra appear in the Grosses Festspielhaus and the Great Hall of the Mozarteum during the fall and winter under the auspices of the Salzburg Cultural Association. If you visit over Sylvester (New Year's Eve), you can experience the Austrian tradition of the brass-and-wind-powered New Year's Concert. It also created Salzburg Cultural Days, filling the autumn off-season with top talent and exciting performances.

Salzburger Landestheater

This neo-Baroque gem has nearly 1,000 seats and presents roughly 25 productions a year, including opera, theater, and ballet. Mozart is always in the repertoire, which is also continuing to expand into daring new works. The Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg is its regular orchestra, and the theater has its own opera, theater, and dance ensembles. For those unable to catch a show or who want to see behind the scenes, guided tours (€5) take place every second Saturday at 2 pm.