A scandal of Wagnerian proportions has engulfed Salzburg’s music festival, just weeks before Sir Simon Rattle conducts the German composer’s opera Götterdämmerung, a tale of corruption and downfall that now seems particularly apt.
The week-long Easter festival has been shaken to the core after an apparent suicide attempt by its technical chief and the disappearance of the director amid allegations of a massive fraud totalling over €2m (£1.7m).
Austrian state prosecutors announced at the weekend that they were investigating eight people connected with the event on suspicion of deception and embezzlement. “We expect our inquiries to take months,” a spokesman said. “It involves non-existent companies and offshore bank accounts.”