While I was in Salzburg I attended my very first opera!
The elegant theater is near Mirabell gardens a very short walk from the Altstadt. Although the current theater has only been in use since 1971 the Salzburg Marionettes have been entertaining audiences worldwide since 1913. This is truly a Salzburg & Austrian institution!
Even though this production uses marionettes don’t make the mistake thinking it is only for children. I did attend the 1 hour afternoon showing and there were children in attendance but the majority of the audience were adults. If you prefer to enjoy your opera at night, there is a performance at 8 pm which is 2 hours long.
Arrive a little early so you can enjoy the historic marionette puppets lining the walls as you enter. You will be amazed by the beautiful and detailed costumes these marionettes are wearing!
Upon entering the theater you will notice the beautiful crystal chandeliers and that the theater seems a little smaller than normal. This theater was designed so the puppets look larger than they really are.
Now it’s time for the opera to begin!
Today’s performance is the Magic Flute by none other than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This opera is actually the last opera Mozart wrote as he died a few months after its first performance. The Magic Flute is also said to be the most frequently performed opera in the world.
It really doesn’t take long before you stop seeing the strings moving the marionettes and get totally involved with the production. The prerecorded music is nice although nothing beats a live orchestra. The performance was very entertaining and I was able to follow the story thanks to the English interpretation provided on the side walls. I only wish they could have been in front of me or that we were given the story to read prior to the show beginning.
I really enjoyed my first opera!
One of the highlights (for me) was at the end. The puppeteers need to take their bows and this is accomplished via a large mirror, held at an angle, so we could all see who was holding the strings! The mirror made them look really large but it was pretty amazing to see who (only 4) actually controlled the puppets.
The theater performs other operas and also a production of The Sound of Music. I would like to see this as it would be easier to follow along but then it’s not an opera and that was what I was looking for!
All photographs are from the Salzburg Marionette Theater