A Salzburg Palace Is a Setting for Culture, History and Intellect

SALZBURG, Austria — From central Salzburg, it’s a brief however scenic bike journey — with the Eastern Alps as a panoramic backdrop — to the 18th-century rococo palace of Schloss Leopoldskron. While it might not look very notable from the street, from the lakeside it’s a spectacular imaginative and prescient of manicured lawns, hedges and big bushes.

The palace has additionally served as a setting for well-known moments within the area. The Salzburg Festival was conceived right here nearly 100 years in the past. During World War II, the palace was taken over by the Nazis as a summer time residence.

The rowboat scene in “The Sound of Music” was filmed right here in 1964, on the adjoining Meierhof property, whereas the ornate Venetian room contained in the palace was meticulously recreated on a soundstage in London because the ballroom within the movie. In 2014, it was the setting for each Chanel’s December 2014 métier d’arts style present and Melinda Gates’ 50th celebration.

But presumably its most vital operate is as the house of the Salzburg Global Seminar, a nonprofit group that hosts applications on subjects from local weather change and well being care to the position that the humanities can play in neighborhood improvement.

This month, for instance, the seminar is holding a two-and-a-half-week program titled “The Cost of Disbelief: Fracturing Societies and the Erosion of Trust,” the place 75 journalists and media consultants via displays and workshops will study the present position of media in a world the place many now imagine reality is subjective.

Salzburg Global Seminar fellows within the Max Reinhardt Library within the Schloss Leopoldskron in April throughout this system “Privacy, Security and Ethics in an Asymmetric World.”CreditKatrin Kerschbaumer

Since its founding by two Harvard college students and an teacher in 1947 underneath the premise of being a “Marshall Plan for the thoughts,” luminaries have attended workshops and lectures and mentioned a few of society’s most tough and pervasive questions. Past members embody Kofi Annan, the previous United Nations secretary basic; Hillary Clinton; Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; and Kristalina Georgieva, the World Bank’s chief government.

The palace additionally operates as a high-end lodge that’s owned by the seminar. Though the property is non-public, it’s open to the general public a couple of occasions a yr, and it’s the location for the Salzburger Landestheater’s “Shakespeare im Park” each summer time.

Guests can keep in both the not too long ago refurbished rooms within the Schloss or on the Meierhof property proper subsequent door. They may see the horse statues that the Von Trapp youngsters ran previous on their approach to greet their father in “The Sound of Music.”

“We are a well-kept secret in some respects, whereas in others we have gotten higher identified publicly,” mentioned Stephen Salyer, the seminar’s president and chief government. “We are attempting to stroll the road between retaining this place particular, sustaining sufficient privateness for the conversations we need to have, and on the opposite, we’re a nonprofit publicly oriented establishment, so we need to welcome individuals from each stroll of life.”

Construction on the household property for Leopold Anton Freiherr von Firmian, the prince archbishop of Salzburg, began in 1736, and after his loss of life, Count Laktanz — who was one of many first sponsors of Leopold Mozart and his son Wolfgang — moved in. Over the course of the 19th century, the house was owned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and a widely known Salzburg banker, and later by two waiters who tried to run the palace as a lodge.

Max Reinhardt and Hugo von Hofmannsthal on the grounds of the Schloss Leopoldskron, circa 1920. The two males, together with Richard Strauss, created the Salzburg Festival.CreditImagno/Getty Images

By the time Max Reinhardt, the Baden-born movie and theater director, took over the Schloss in 1918, it was in a determined state. He spent the following 20 years lovingly renovating all the things from the Venetian room to the gorgeous Library and Marble Hall.

Mr. Reinhardt placed on site-specific theater productions within the Schloss, and it grew to become a spot the place writers, composers, actors and designers from Europe and overseas would converge for dialog and inspiration. It was within the Schloss the place Mr. Reinhardt, the composer Richard Strauss and the poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal got here up with the thought to create a music pageant that they hoped would deliver individuals collectively from throughout Europe who had been at battle. (Mr. Reinhardt, who was Jewish, later fled to the United States after the annexation of Austria by the Nazis in 1938.)

“When I consider our establishment, I consider cycles of energy, persecution and renewal,” mentioned Clare Shine, the seminar’s vice chairman and chief program officer. “So after the Victorian age of dilapidation of the Schloss, Max was an act of renewal on the finish of the First World War. And then got here the cycle once more of persecution and the Nazis and the Schloss. And the act of founding the seminar was an act of renewal, braveness and risk-taking.”

Over the years, the Salzburg Global Seminar (initially referred to as the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies) has grown from one-off workshops to multiyear, multicomponent tasks.

“When you’re looking at a world that’s more and more complicated, unstable, unequal, you need to have the ability to go deep into that complexity,” Ms. Shine mentioned. “We work in interdisciplinary and inter-regional approach, and by committing ourselves to say we’re going to put a stake within the floor for 5 or 10 years round this explicit space of transformation. That provides us the pliability to deliver disrupters, institution figures, several types of companions collectively on an organically-evolving foundation and that feeds proper via in how we take into consideration impression.”

After every seminar, a report is put collectively by members (who change into fellows). Fellows have produced work on all the things from making a Pan-African instructional mission on countering extremism to instructing coexistence and peace constructing via the humanities. The establishment’s archive was transferred to Harvard two years in the past.

“What was transformative in regards to the seminar was spending time attending to know different professionals within the discipline of arts and tradition coming from all all over the world, and gathering to replicate collectively,” Phloeun Prim, the chief director of Cambodian Living Arts, a cultural group based mostly in Phnom Penh, wrote in an e-mail.

“There was a lot greater than speaking — it wasn’t the standard convention the place you go and pay attention, however you needed to take part in a significant approach.”

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