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1 – 31 August

The new regime ordered Anton Faistauer’s frescoes to be removed from the entrance foyer, arguing that they were gloomy and out of date. The redecoration of the rooms was entrusted to “Reich Set Designer” Benno von Arent. Nazi celebrities arrived punctually for the opening ceremonies: Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels attended the performance of Der Rosenkavalier, and a few days later Adolf Hitler himself, flanked by Martin Bormann and Albert Speer, made an appearance at two Mozart operas: Don Giovanni on 9 August and Die Entführung aus dem Serail on 14 August. Shortly thereafter the general management made a surprise announcement that the Festival would terminate on 31 August, a week ahead of the scheduled finale on 8 September. The reason was, supposedly, that the Vienna Philharmonic were required to perform Die Meistersinger at the Nuremberg Party Convention. The true reason became apparent on 1 September when the German army invaded Poland and unleashed the Second World War.

1939: Auditorium and stage of the Festspielhaus after remodelling by Benno von Arent.

New production
William Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing
D: Heinz Hilpert
Ds: Ernst Schütte

New production
Le Bourgeois gentilhomme
D: Heinz Hilpert
Ds: Otto Niedermoser

New production
Carl Maria von Weber
Der Freischütz
C: Hans Knappertsbusch
D: Heinrich Karl Strohm
Ds/Cs: Benno von Arent

New production
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Die Entführung aus dem Serail
C: Karl Böhm
D: Wolf Völker
Ds: Robert Kautsky
Cs: Ulrich Roller

New production
Gioacchino Rossini
Il barbiere di Siviglia
C: Tullio Serafin
D: Guido Salvini
Ds/Cs: Guido Salvini and Aldo Calvo

Revivals: Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Der Rosenkavalier, Falstaff
4 orchestral concerts, 1 symphony concert, 1 chamber concert, 1 choral concert, 6 serenades, 2 concerts of sacred music

Details of the several years:

1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944,