Classical Music, Vienna
After being baroque-d out and having your fill of Gothic churches, you will probably start to notice that a certain type of music has found a home in Wien (or Vienna if your prefer). Apart from the Wagnerian kiosk and the gilded statues of Strauss and Mozart you might choose to go to the toilet.
Fondest memory: May I indulge and quote you from my Emails: "I don't think anything will top the toilet in Vienna, painted in Mozart and Strauss themes with their music playing softly from the speakers and then the attendant flinging the doors of two cubicles open (while I was doing god's work at the urinal) shouting "Raus, raus" as he ushered the bleary eyed drug addicts out after having their hit, one of them female who'd been sharing a cubicle with her boyfriend. Though somewhat startled to say the least, I maintained my decorum throughout the whole incident, even managing to do my fly up correctly."
The Vienna social season revolves around various balls. I attended my first (and only) one on 28 February 2003 - the Flüchtlings Ball. This was held at the Vienna Rathaus, a huge building, and was quite informal. The thousands of people attending were dressed in everything from jeans to ball gowns.
Opernball, probably the most famous of the balls attended by Vienna's high society, had been held the previous day. There was lots on TV and in the papers about the presence of ex-Baywatch star Pamela Anderson. She had been invited as the guest of Dickie Lugner, an Austrian playboy who made his fortune through construction.
More information about Vienna's ball at:
Favorite thing: The Burggarten, in the past, was not open to the public like its relative, the Volksgarten. The two gardens are separated by the Neue Burg, the youngest and biggest building in the Hofburg complex. The Burggarten has a memorial statue for Mozart - "Mozart Denkmal".
In Austria there is a nationalistic pride that I have not seen anywhere else in the world.
The people here are are so proud to be Austrain, of their culture, of their art and song.
Experience the way of life for the locals and walk a mile or two in their shoes.
Eat their food, drink their drinks and live their lives.
Some say that Vienna is one of those places everyone should see once in their life. I disagree - it's hard to visit once and not want to come back again and again... There is so much more to Vienna than the Blue Danube waltz...
Picture: Johann Strauss Monument (City park)
Fondest memory: This has to be visiting so many of the houses that the composer Beethoven lived in during his life. We love his music and by visiting the houses you really learn more of his life. Music and its history just seem to fill the air in Vienna and it is what takes us back time and time again.
Fondest memory: Enjoying the music festival at the town hall. The screen showed the perfomance and the music (opera or classic) filled the air. Delicious aroma permeated from nearby food stalls. It is a magnificent way to spend a summer evening in Vienna.
Fondest memory: Concert at the Musikverein, Vienna´s largest and most famous concert halls, performed by the Vienna Mozart Orchestra in historical costumes and wigs. The Musikverein is the seat of The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's and the New Year's Concert, broadcast worldwide every year, is also performed in the famous Golden Hall.
There are two guidebooks published by an Austrian publisher that are phenomenal for anyone who wants to get to know Vienna a bit further; they're not on Amazon but at brandstaetter-verlag.at
a) Only in Vienna
b) Vienna for the Music Lover
The second book in particular is highly informative about various composers and their lives.
Several ways to purchase tickets:
1) Call the ticket offices of the venues (Staatoper, Musikverein, etc) ahead of time. The Viennese speak excellent English.
2) Attempt to reserve on the venues' website (I speak passable German but did not successfully manage to complete any online transactions).
3) Visit the ticket office upon your arrival to Vienna, or visit a ticket vendor on or off Kaertnerstrasse (I used the ticket office above EMI, a music store on Kaertnerstrasse).
Several events were sold out before I arrived to Vienna, but upon my arrival I was able to purchase tickets, even the day before, of a highly anticipated musical performance.
With just over 2000 places available, New Year Concert is bound to be one of the hardest classical music concerts to get tickets for.
The official procedure is as follows: you make a request a year in advance (from January 2 till January 23) at the orchestra's web site, indicating your price band (from 170 to 550 Euros). Then a draw is performed, and typically you have 1 in 12 chances of being selected.
Of course, you can buy the tickets afterwards. From what I've seen, the cheapest (reputable) prices were 370 Euros, and the most expensive surpassed 5000 Euros.
Mozart was always my favourite composer, I remember when I was younger to ask to my dad some opera CD so I could hear the Magic Flute, La Clemenza di Tito and so on... So when I finally went to Wien I couldn't be there without visit some of the places where Mozart lived.
I also bought some postcards, that I put in a travelogue.
Favorite thing: drop by Beethoven's Apartment... Can you see his apartment located on the 4th level? Yes, THAT one with the window opened.