The famed Salzburg Festival ended Sunday having marked up record ticket sales, after a month and a half of music, operas and concerts featuring top international names. In total, almost 279,000 guests attended the event, surpassing the previous record of 265,200 guests during the Mozart anniversary year in 2006. Average attendance at the 251 regular performances however sank to 90 percent, the lowest figure in 13 years, according to organisers. This was due to more tickets having been put on sale rather than simply given away, and to the greater number of performance dates, they said. In all ticket sales brought in some 28 million euros ($35 million). The 92nd edition of the prestigious Festival, which started on July 20, was the first under new artistic director Alexander Pereira, the Austrian-born former director of the Zurich Opera. Highlights included a new production of Richard Strauss\'s one-act opera \"Ariadne auf Naxos,\" 100 years after the original version flopped at its world premiere; and the premiere of a new co-production with Milan\'s La Scala of Bernd Alois Zimmermann\'s opera \"Die Soldaten,\" which garnered rave views. A novelty at this year\'s event, a highlight in the European classical music calendar, was a closing ball on Saturday evening with some 1,500 guests.