Whether it is opera, concert, concert or theater: countless recordings and internal recordings are stored in the Archives of the Salzburg Festival, which are now available through a collaboration with the Austrian media library of the Technisches Museum Wien. “You can watch and listen day and night for two months if you want to see it all,” festival president Helga Rabel Stadler said Wednesday when presenting digital treasures from the archive.
Ancient sound vectors have been copied and saved for the future
“We can use it to wrest important things from oblivion,” the president said of the collaboration between the two institutions. The festival archive not only stores professional recordings of major performances, but also records made from rehearsals that were not intended for the public. The problem with this is that many of these audio vectors don’t last forever, but must be transcribed onto new vectors in order to preserve them in the future.
Hard to get hardware for old audio carriers
Peter Overiter, General Director of the Technisches Museum Wien, explained that the mission of the media library is to preserve Austria’s audiovisual cultural heritage. It is primarily about technical possibilities of play and long-term backup.
To make old tapes audible again, the specialists in the media library use a dryer to dry the tapes so they can be played again. Even with hardware to play old carriers of audio and video tapes, Overter said, it’s often not easy to get the right equipment or spare parts.
Festival recordings from the 1930s
To date, 25 TB of data on the history of the festival has been digitized, archived and backed up by the Austrian Media Library: there are currently about 330 magnetic tapes and 850 video recordings. One of the first recordings was a recording from a 1937 festival of a performance of “Falstaff” under the direction of Arturo Toscanini.
There is also a recording of “Meistersinger von Nürnberg” from the same year. Rabl-Stadler is particularly pleased that thanks to the project, many products created in the Gerard Mortier era are now secured and accessible.
As of Wednesday, 453 audio and video documents of the festival are on the website www.mediathek.at retrieve it. It is not only available to the interested public, but also opens up many opportunities for scientific research.
Salzburg Digital Festival Archive
The Salzburg Festival gives access to 1,000 historical treasures for everyone. From now on, videos and audios can be viewed in the Austrian Media Library. This also includes recordings of rehearsals or performances that have never been published.
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