Salzburg Marionette Theatre
Salzburg Marionette Theatre was established in 1913 and is one of the oldest continuing marionette theatres in the world. It is based in the city of Salzburg, Austria . Original productions featured live actors and musicians. Today soundtracks are recorded. The Salzburg Marionette Theatre performs a large repertoire of operas, ballets and productions for both children and adults, using marionettes.
The Salzburg Marionette Theatre was founded in 1913 by Professor Anton Aicher. Its original production was Bastien and Bastienne, a marionette version of Mozart's famous opera. The company repertoire was expanded the following year to incorporate thirteen additional productions.
The Salzburg Marionette Theatre grew more adventurous and started to tour its productions abroad, starting in Hamburg. Germany in 1927. The company made further tours to the Balkan countries. In 1936, a tour was made to the Soviet Union visiting Moscow and Leningrad. As a sign of artistic excellence, the company was awarded the Gold Medal at the World Fair in Paris, France. In the fateful year of 1938, the year Austria was incorporated into Germany, the Salzburg Marionette Theatre made an extensive tour of Germany and also Sweden.
During World War II, the Salzburg Marionette Theatre was instructed to make tours to the front and performed in German occupied Norway, Poland, Russia and Romania until it was forced to cease operations in 1944.
With Hermann Aicher's return from the front, the Salzburg Marionette Theatre started up its performances again performing for the occupying American, British and French military forces. 1947 marked a special year with the first German language performances staged by the company in Paris. The 1950s were filled with touring. 1950 marked the first year sound for performances was recorded. Prior to this everything had been performed by live actors and musicians. 1952 marked the beginning of a five-year contract, touring the United States. International touring became a permanent feature of the company. Of course performances also occurred in Salzburg.
Up until 1971, the Salzburg Marionette Theatre had performed in a variety of different premises in Salzburg. In 1971, the company acquired its very own theatre in the former ballroom of the Mirabell Hotel. Its first production there was Rossini's Barber of Seville. In 1973, the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the company, a film was made about its unique work and theatre.
In 1977, the driving force behind the Salzburg Marionette Theatre, Hermann Aicher died. Artistic control passed into the hands of Gretl Aicher.
To mark the 70th birthday of Gretl Aicher and the 85th anniversary of the Salzburg Marionette Theatre, a special exhibition of marionettes was opened at the Salzburg Hohensalzburg Fortress. Since that time the company has continued to tour and perform in its own theatre with an ever increasing repertoire of productions featuring not just the works of Mozart, but also many other famous composers such as Johann Strauss and Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
2007 marked a special year in the history of the company. Bastien and Bastienne was once again performed as well as the premiere of a new production of The Sound of Music, directed by Richard Hamburger. Salzburg of course featured heavily in the film production of the same name made in the early 1960s starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer telling the story of the Von Trapp family singers.
- Billington, M, Performing Arts: A Guide To Practice And Appreciation, p.164
- Salzburg Marionetten Theater. Salzburg, Austria: Salzburg Marionette Theater. 2004.
- Billington, Michael (1988). Performing Arts: A Guide To Practice And Appreciation. London: New Burlington Books. ISBN 1-85348-115-7.
- Logan, David (2007). Puppetry. Brisbane, Queensland, Australia: Brisbane Dramatic Arts Company. ISBN 978-0-9804563-0-1.
- Salzburg Marionette Theatre homepage of the Salzburg Marionette Theatre (English and German)
- Marionette Theatre - Salzburg Guide