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Goodnight Vienna

29th October 2006 • Dave

It is almost a week since I arrived in Vienna. And in that time I have played two games of chess with my father. Won one and lost one. I have now cycled 82KM. And providing my legs do not fall off first, reaching the 100KM mark before I return to the UK tomorrow evening is not beyond the realm of possibility.

I have insufficient vocabulary to describe the performance at the Vienna State Opera which I attended last Tuesday evening. mesmerizing, emotional, breathtaking, are all words which come to mind. The sheer logistical effort required to bring together orchestral music, vocals, theatre, visual art and in some cases ballet is in itself extraordinary. This was a spectacular way to loose my opera virginity! And while the operatunity is here I will be trying to get a ticket for Carmon this evening.

As 2006 is Mozart’s 250th anniversary it was quite fitting that on Wednesday I visited the Vienna Concert House to hear selections of the classical composer’s work. The star attraction was Simon Rattle’s girlfriend (her name escapes me) who performed a couple of numbers from Figaro. Mozart does not really do it for me baby. So the highlight for me was the hugely energetic House of the Devil by Boccherini?

On Thursday we witnessed a curious interpretation of the poems of William Blake. Klettenheimers is a small café run by a couple who not only make the sandwiches and tend the bar, but also stage the performances. The poems were set to music, with each song followed by contemporary monologs from larger than life characters all performed by our hostess.

On Friday I spent several hours exploring the Vienna House of Music. As well as the expected exhibitions of artifacts commemorating the greats of classical music who spent time in Vienna, the likes of: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert, Marla etc. The House of Music features a number of interactive attractions not least of which is the virtual orchestra displayed on a large screen. Visitors are invited to take up the batten and attempt to conduct this unruly mass. The virtual orchestra have absolutely no compunction about downing their instruments and complaining loudly if they do not think you are up to the task. This happened to me half way through a Radetski march before a precocious little girl showed up to show everyone how it should be done!

Friday evening my father and I spend at Jazzland where the 17 piece Stanton Big Band had an enthusiastic audience clapping and cheering long into the night.

Saturday we visited an elderly relative in Eisenstadt which is a small Austrian town near the
Austro-Hungarian border. Apparently the Eisenstadt soccer team have lost 12 out of their first 13 games this season!

It is now Sunday afternoon and I am back in Vienna. This time tomorrow I will be about to start my journey back to Worcester and work on Tuesday morning.

Very many thanks to everyone in Austria who have made my stay an enjoyable one. Vienna has so much to offer culturally and a week is barely enough time to scratch the surface. I have appreciated the break from work, and am now ready to return home.

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