The Theatre

Learn more about the history of the Salzburg Marionette Theatre and read about our auditorium.

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Chronicle of the Salzburg Marionette Theatre

27 February 1913

The sculptor Professor Anton Aicher made his début with his marionette theatre, performing Mozart's opera Bastien und Bastienne. In October 1913, he hired the gymnasium of the archiepiscopal Borromaeum seminary in the Dreifaltigkeitsgasse and installed his Salzburg Marionette Theatre, which was to remain there for 49 years.


The Salzburg marionettes expanded their repertoire. Fairy stories were put on for children, the focus of over 130 different productions up to 1950 being Hanswurst, the "Kasperl" (roughly equivalent to Mr. Punch). For the first time, the Theatre included the oldest German puppet play, Doctor Johannis Faustus, in its repertoire, which in 1914 already consisted of 14 works. The start of World War I brought considerable problems.


Despite World War I, the Marionette Theatre developed into a cultural focus in Salzburg.


In 1926, Anton Aicher's son Hermann married the young soprano Elfriede Eschenlohr. As a wedding present, Anton Aicher handed over to his son the management of the Theatre. Hermann Aicher used his technical knowledge to renovate the stage, focusing primarily on the potential of lighting technology. He concentrated increasingly on the musical repertoire, and rehearsed further operas in collaboration with teachers and students from the Mozarteum Academy.


First guest performance by the Salzburg marionettes in the Hamburg Kunsthalle.


Despite major successes in Salzburg and on tours abroad, the Theatre found itself in financial straits. Since tours required not only puppeteers and technicians but also singers, musicians and conductors, they were not cost-effective.


First grand Balkan tour — to Athens, Sofia and Istanbul. Guest performances in Holland and Belgium. Repertoire expanded with smaller Mozart operas.


Guest performances in Moscow and Leningrad, before audiences of up to 2500. A new travelling stage and marionettes almost a metre in height were made for this tour. The special attraction was the marionette of the ballerina Anna Pavlova as the "dying swan".


The Salzburg marionettes were awarded the gold medal at the World Fair in Paris.


The Salzburg marionettes gave guest performances in Sweden, as well as their first Berlin performance in the course of a major tour of Germany.


The Salzburg marionettes were sent to the front, first to Norway, later to Poland, Russia and Romania. The Theatre closed in 1944.

History of the Building and Auditorium

In 1893, the old-established Kaltenhausen brewery built "a restaurant and function-rooms" in the Schwarzstrasse, between the Lasser Villa (now the Mozarteum) and the theatre. The architect was Carl Demel, the master builder Valentin Ceconi. In 1897 these function-rooms were converted to the Mirabell Hotel. After World War II the Mirabell Casino was the principal tenant until 1968. Conversion work began in 1970, in order to give the Marionette Theatre a new playhouse. The former dining-room of the Mirabell Hotel was converted into an auditorium with a stage, and its rich decoration of stucco and frescoes is still impressive. There was similar stucco-work, though not quite so opulent, in the foyer, but unfortunately in the course of the 1970/71 conversion it was covered by a plasterboard ceiling. The stucco ceiling underneath was forgotten, to be rediscovered in 2000 when repairs were being carried out. In 2003 the foyer was restored to its original condition.


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Salzburger Marionettentheater

Schwarzstraße 24, A 5020 Salzburg

T (+43 662) 87 24 06, F (+43 662) 88 21 41, M
Abgerufen am: 25.09.2018