Tailor-made Holidays for lovers of Opera, Operetta and Classical Music
Bad Ischl and the Lehar Operetta Festival
More about Bad Ischl, the Lehar Festival and the Salzkammergut...
Bad Ischl was the favourite summer retreat of Emperor Franz Josef I. He met his beautiful wife, the future Empress Elisabeth (affectionately known as "Sisi") in Bad Ischl in 1853. Over the next 60 years the Emperor spent more than 40 summers at his splendid Summer Palace in Bad Ischl. Vienna's high society followed the Emperor to Bad Ischl and so attracted artists and musicians of the day to this most beautiful region of Austria. Franz Josef's birthday on 18th August is still celebrated every year with 3 days of festivities and special events.
Music is very much part of everyday life in Austria. Opera, Operetta and Classical Music remain hugely popular, attracting large audiences. This ensures that musical standards remain extremely high, performed on a scale that is very often no longer viable in the UK and other countries.
Bad Ischl Kur Park and Festival Theatre
The Lehar Operetta Festival was founded in 1961. Franz Lehar's greatest successes were composed in Bad Ischl and he was made an honorary citizen of the town. Each year there is one production of an operetta by Lehar and one or two productions by other composers. The productions are fully professional with top soloists and large choruses, accompanied by a superb full-scale orchestra. The Festival Theatre is set in the beautiful Kur Park where amid the fountains and flowers can be found memorials to both Lehar and Kalman. The theatre was refurbished in 1998 and boasts modern facilities, including a terrace, bar and restaurant. All levels are accessible by lift.
For Summer 2019 the main Festival Productions are:
La Vie Parisienne (Pariser Leben)
Operetta by Jacques Offenbach
The White Horse Inn
Operetta - Sing-Speil by Ralph Benatzky
Operetta by Franz Lehar
Semi-staged Concert Performance
Other Musical Events in Bad Ischl...
There are concerts of music almost every day by composers such as Strauss, Lehar, Kalman, Stolz, Zeller, Millocker and many more! Most of these are free of charge. In fine weather many concerts take place in the Kur park.
Former residents and regular visitors to Bad Ischl
Lehar Tauber Stolz Kalman Johann Strauss
The town centre of Bad Ischl is surprisingly compact. All of the main facilities, including the Festival Theatre, are easily reached by level stroll. The streets are lined with quality shops, restaurants and cafes. Whilst in Bad Ischl you should not miss the following:
- Cafe Ramsauer - established for 150 years - frequented by Strauss, Stolz and many others.
- Hotel Goldener Ochs - regularly patronised by Lehar, numerous photographs of the "Grand Master" line the walls.
- Cafe Zauner - in the same family for over 175 years, they offer the most exquisite cakes, pastries, savouries, chocolates, ice creams and delicacies you have ever tasted, all made on the premises by a huge Brigade of master chefs. You can also enjoy full meals at their Cafe on the Esplanade where there is a large terrace overlooking the River Traun.
- A trip on the cable car up the Katrin Alm to 1400m above sea level for spectacular views over the town and surrounding areas.
- The magnificent Baroque church, containing the "Bruckner" organ.
Cafe Zauner, Bad Ischl
For relaxation, recreation, health and beauty treatments, Bad Ischl offers an array of choices and opportunities from Turkish baths and saunas to massages and manicures!
Sports and leisure opportunities in the area include boat hire and water sports on several of the many lakes; fishing; golf; riding; tennis; climbing; hot air ballooning; and countless cycling, walking and hiking routes suitable for all abilities.
St Gilgen Hallstatt
The Salzkammergut region offers so much to see and do. Pretty lakeside towns and villages; majestic mountain scenery; crystal clear rushing rivers; lush green alpine meadows; dense forests and the historic splendour of Salzburg. Whether you choose to descend into the Salt Mines or ascend to the Dachstein Ice Caves you will come away with a wealth of unforgettable experiences.
Schafberg Mountain Railway View from Schafberg Dachstein Ice Caves
Top suggestions for excursions - all within easy reach of Bad Ischl:
- Journey by steam driven cog railway from St Wolfgang, ascending the Schafberg mountain for breathtaking views of the lakes and mountains of the Salzkammergut.
- A visit to St Gilgen on the shores of Lake Wolfgang.
- A visit to Hallstatt - Unesco World Heritage Site. Perhaps the most beautiful of all the lakeside villages in the Salzkammergut. A journey on the funicular railway takes you to the ancient Salt Mines.
- A visit to the dramatic and spectacular Dachstein Ice Caves at Obertraun.
- A visit to Hellbrunn Palace and Water Gardens, near Salzburg - home of the world famous trick fountains dating from the mid 17th Century.
- "The Sound of Music" Tour - visiting the locations used in the 1960 film.
It is very easy to get around by bus or train. Public transport is cheap, efficient and clean.
Salzburg Mirabell Palace St Wolfgang
Hellbrunn Palace and Water Gardens
To see some of the wonderful locations that can be visited on our holidays, please view our musical slideshow.
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