Jedermann

After more than 700 performances in a century, Jedermann is a central component of the Salzburg Festival’s DNA and keeps on prolonging its own history, a unique occurrence in German-language theatre.
The drama was conceived as a renewal of the medieval morality play, modelled on the English Everyman and further enriched by Hans Sachs’s Hecastus and other sources. Its creator, Hofmannsthal, worked on his own rendering over a number of years in a Europe marked by escalating conflicts. He always had in mind a realization by Max Reinhardt. ‘Having persistently carried within me the essence of this dramatic structure over the passing years, at least in my subconscious, there gradually awoke the desire and the freedom to treat the material at my own discretion. Its actual core kept revealing itself ever more clearly as a human absolute, not affiliated with any particular time, not even indissolubly connected to Christian dogma; it is more that man’s unconditional yearning towards something higher, towards the very highest, must play a vitally facilitating part when all earthly bonds of loyalty and ownership prove illusory and transitory, and that is portrayed here in allegorical-dramatic form: and what is there that could be more important for us?’
The risk of treating the material freely and of resituating its theme to its quintessence with neither temporal nor doctrinal ties — as Hofmannsthal here explicitly describes his process — constitutes the ideological energy centre of Jedermann.


‘At its core, Jedermann poses this question: what happens when death enters our lives? In our culture, death is repressed more fully than ever before in human history. We try ever harder to barricade our selves from our mortality and to confront it as little as possible, but it’s clear to everyone nonetheless that one requirement for living life purposefully is to find a reflective approach to dealing with death. That is a basic element of living. At some point, all people must come to terms with death; no one can avoid this confrontation. The mystery that surrounds the enigma of any human’s death and of humanity’s encounter with death in general exists in every religion and culture. And humankind has been concerned with this topic ever since we began singing and writing and producing art and pictures.


‘Our production aims at a contemporary reading. We transport men and women into the present and attempt to move them with a story that has great relevance in all times. Aside from the style of the language, there are few hints as to time in Jedermann. Hofmannsthal’s language, which comes from the turn of the 20th century, constructs an artificial medieval setting — something classical, a recreation of a different style — which of course says a lot about its own time. With the character of Jedermann, which Hofmannsthal adapted to fit the rich man, he makes it specific to this individual. This is how his Jedermann becomes the “Play of the Rich Man’s Death”. And yet despite this distinction, Jedermann stands for everyone because everyone has to die, although Hofmannsthal’s Jedermann finds it especially difficult to let go of the world. This is underscored as the crux of the story. ‘Although Hofmannsthal writes in a medieval style, he remains anchored to a very different point in literary history. With Max Reinhardt he also had an extremely strong theatre practitioner at his side, who, like Stanislavsky at the same time in Russia, shaped the development of a new profession, that of the modern director.


‘When the play is performed on the Cathedral Square, a major element behind the success of Jedermann in Salzburg has to do with the direct juxtaposition of the theatre with the Church — an institution which also seeks to deal with the final realities of life — namely the confrontation between the spiritual and the profane. With his use of the Cathedral Square, Reinhardt found a place where he could stage a clash between these two poles and develop a striking display of theatricality.’

Program and cast

Creative Team


Michael Sturminger - Director
Renate Martin, Andreas Donhauser - Sets and Costumes
Wolfgang Mitterer - Composition
Jaime Wolfson - Conductor
Stefan Ebelsberger, Hubert Schwaiger - Lighting
Andreas Heise - Choreography
Angela Obst - Dramaturgy


Cast


Peter Lohmeyer - Voice of the Lord / Death / Narrator
Tobias Moretti - Everyman
Edith Clever - Everyman's Mother
Gregor Bloéb - Everyman’s Good Companion / Devil
Markus Kofler - The Cook
Helmut Mooshammer - A Poor Neighbour
Michael Masula - A Debtor
Martina Stilp - The Debtor’s Wife
Caroline Peters - Paramour
Björn Meyer - Fat Cousin
Tino Hillebrand - Thin Cousin
Christoph Franken - Mammon
Mavie Hörbiger - Deeds
Falk Rockstroh - Faith


Ensemble


Ensemble 013

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Domplatz Salzburg Cathedral Square

SALZBURG FESTIVAL QUARTER 
 

The Grosses Festspielhaus, the House for Mozart and the Felsenreitschule form the Festival District, together with Cathedral Square and the Kollegienkirche, located 200 meters from them. In 1606/07, Archbishop Wolf Dietrich had stables built here, to which a winter riding academy was added in 1662. During the 19th century, the complex was used as cavalry barracks before gradually being opened to the Salzburg Festival from 1925 onwards.

 

When Hugo von Hofmannsthal warned Max Reinhardt to bear in mind what performances would cost on the cathedral square, Reinhardt apparently said, “I can see [Alexander] Moissi [the first actor to play Jedermann] kneeling in front of the cathedral.” And Reinhardt remained confident, “The money will be found somehow, that is of secondary importance. I am thinking now especially of the treasures we already have: a magnificent play, a location unmatched throughout the world.”
 

The cathedral in Salzburg was built between 1614 and 1628 according to plans by Santino Solari; it is the largest early Baroque church north of the Alps and also the oldest bishopric in present-day Austria. It provides an impressive theatrical backdrop for the morality play based on a mediaeval model: no stage set can match the overwhelming effect of the magnificent façade with its twin towers of white marble and with Christ as the ruler of the world on the gable between the towers. The closed square between the archiepiscopal Residenz and St. Peter’s Abbey has passageways to the left and right of the façade which can be used for entries and exits. The flat roof over the cathedral arches is an ideal position for the men who shout Jedermann and for the brass fanfares. Opposite the doors of the cathedral rises up the Gothic steeple of the Franciscan church, on which, besides other church towers in the old town centre as well as on the Mönchsberg and Kapuzinerberg, the men stand who call Jedermann to his death. Max Reinhardt left the lighting design to the sun: the play began at 5 p.m. or 5.30 p.m. when most of the square is still bathed in dazzling light. At the entrance of death the shadows grew longer and when the devil came, sunlight had disappeared.
 

The square seats 2,544 people. Within the temporary stage, there are several trap doors and pits for the actors. In bad weather Jedermann is performed at the Großes Festspielhaus.

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