Eurovision 2015 – This year our Eurovision host city Vienna has pulled out all the stops to show off their fine city and its main attractions. It may be red carpet night tomorrow for the delegations, but for those of us with accreditation, we’ve already been treated like stars…
From the sewers made famous in the film ‘The Third Man’, to bungee jumping off a telecoms tower, with stops off for music, wine, beer, markets, history, art, and the fairground at the Prater, there is an extraordinary rollercoaster ride of things to do and see.
While walking around between rehearsals we’ve seen some world famous sights such as the Stephansdom cathedral in the centre of the city…
…and the luxurious summer palace at Schloss Schoenbrunn a few miles away.
One thing undoubtedly people associate with Vienna is music, and we were lucky to be offered tickets to see the opera La Bohème at the Volksoper. Volksoper translates as ‘the People’s Opera House’, a smart home to ballet, opera, operetta, and musicals.
La Bohème is an Italian opera based on a French novel about Parisian life in the 1804os. The Volksoper production is sung in German and set in Vienna of late 19th/early 20th century; the production design caught beautifully the lovely Viennese Jugendstil period.
An amusing Eurovision connection I noticed is that in scene 2 of La Bohème several characters remove their shoes or boots in a dramatic way, just as the Czech Republic’s entry this year (Bohemia is nowadays part of the Czech Republic) has some dramatic shoe removal.
The next night we were off to the ballet at the world renowned Vienna Opera House, the Staatsoper. To say we were impressed is an understatement, the opera house itself is jaw-droppingly sumptuous, and the quality of the ballet was the finest. We were treated to three short modern ballets:
Adagio Hammerklavier was first performed in 1973, choreographed by Hans Van Manen and set to a complex Beethoven Piano Sonata (Opus 106). Three pas de deux explore shifting patterns of contrasting classical flowing and modern disjointed dance.
The hugely entertaining Cacti choreographed by Alexander Edman and first performed in 2010, provided the middle course. A combination of poetry, on-stage orchestra, human percussion, shifting platforms and extreme agility tells a story of people working out … what exactly … a puzzle of how to dance together.
The final piece was Bella Figura choreographed by Jiří Kylián and first staged in 1995. In this piece there was a strong emphasis on dancing from the torso upwards. The entertainment concluded with a silent pas de deux, with 2,000 people in the room we could have heard a pin drop.
Many thanks to the Vienna Tourist Board for providing us with tickets to these unforgettable events. If you’re coming to Vienna next week for the shows, make sure you build in time to see some of Vienna’s amazing sights and shows!
Report by Jane