The 93rd world-famous Salzburg Festival devoted to classical music, opera and drama opened Friday, with this year Wagner and Verdi in focus as well as a sprinkling of Buddhist music.
As part of events worldwide in 2013 marking 200 years since their births, Salzburg will see performances of Wagner's "The Mastersingers of Nuremberg" and "Rienzi" and of "Don Carlo" and "Falstaff" by Verdi.
Organisers in 2012 paid particular attention to spiritual music, and this year works by Catholic and Protestant composers feature alongside traditional and recent Japanese music inspired by Buddhism.
Also performing will be singers and musicians from the renowned Venezuelan "El Sistema" project for disadvantaged children, whose founder Jose Antonio Abreu gave a speech at Friday's opening ceremony.
Others of the 500 concerts over the next five weeks include three Haydn oratorios conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Mozart operas "Lucio Silla" and "Cosi fan tutte".
Likers of more modern opera will be treated to Harrison Birtwistle's "Gawain", while theatre fans can take in new productions of Johann Nestroy's "Lumpazivagabundus" and Schiller's tragedy "Die Jungfrau von Orleans".
Organisers hope to sell 260,000 tickets, priced between five euros and 400 euros ($6.65-$531.35). Website: http://www.salzburgerfestspiele.at/summer