Friday, October 2, 2009

Wien Oper

Tonight is the last night of Dave's and mine joint trip: he's flying back to San Francisco in the morning, and I'm going on to St. Petersburg. We finished our day in Vienna with a visit to the opera, the standing room tickets here are surprisingly cheap (we paid 4 euros each!) and easily available, vs the sit down tickets that are sold out weeks in advance. The standing room was literally a mob scene, with several hundred people trying to fit into a 10 sq meters. There was also a screen set up right outside the theatre with a few chairs in front of it, and a simulcast broadcasted the opera to the enthusiasts who couldn't or wouldn't get inside. We fortified ourself plentifully before and after the perfomance with Sacher tortes and other treats.

The opera performed tonight: Pique Dame, a Tchaikovsky classic (in an anti-classic staging). A kind of an opera where every tune is familiar since childhood, a funny thing to see here, seeing how I'm going to St. Petersburg tomorrow. Seiji Ozawa, previously of the Boston Simphony Orchestra, was conducting. Dave and I are long time fans, and so it was a pleasant surprise to see him as the conductor of the Wien Staatsoper. The orchestra was impeccable and the singers were excellent (except for maybe the two main characters who were okay). I don't have the program and time is too short to google the names of the bass and the alto, maybe I'll do it later. It would be great to see Faust on this stage one day.

I've been out of the country for 2 weeks now, and I can already feel my language disintegrating, sentence structure becoming wooden in a way not native to English, word choice collapsing to English 101 vocabulary. My Russian is worse at the moment. Four more weeks between languages -- there's creative potential here to be explored, but it requires a leap of faith. Vienna reminds me how much I love German. The sound of it, the way it looks on street signs and ads, how it immediately makes everything seem old-fashioned. It's good to know that I haven't forgotten all of it yet.

Cafe closing. Gotta go.

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