Free spirits in Sommerfrische

Culture in the Vienna Alps: From the Semmering Festival, the “fabelhaft!” story-telling festival and Watholz Literary Salon, to theatrical performances in Thalhof and the Reichenau Festivals.

Where high society and members of the Vienna Salon met for discussions and exchanges in a bygone era, today’s culture vultures will still be able to find what they are looking for. A spirit of creative freedom blows through the Vienna Alps – around theatres and opera houses, and through concert halls and reading rooms.

From the mid-19th century, the flair of the Vienna Alps – not far from the city – magically attracted poets and thinkers, painters and other public figures: Alma Mahler, Arthur Schnitzler and Ferdinand Raimund are just some of the well-known names who demonstrably enjoyed staying in accommodation at such lofty heights – be it for inspiration and discussion, a romantic getaway, or exuberant celebrations.

This intellectual free spirit can still be felt in the region to this day, from the Schneeberg to the Viennese Alpine Arc. Dramatic readings are given in the Wartholz Castle Literary Salon. Colourful characters come to life at the fabelhaft! Festival (Story-telling Festival) in Bad Schönau.

The Semmering Festival is musically varied: Operas, operettas and concerts are all on the bill. What is now the Thalhof Theatre in Reichenau an der Rax was once a popular meeting place for artists in around 1890, when it was known as the Grand Hotel. Today, the theatre keeps the spirit of literature and drama alive with its programme of events. And at the Reichenau Festival, works by Schnitzler and Raimund are often revisited in the form of theatrical productions, readings and concerts.