Thursday, January 17, 2013

Phillip's Phantastic Phindings: Vienna, the 3rd and final act.

17 Jan. 2013

Hallo und Grusse Gott!

It has been a complete BLAST here in Vienna! In fact, we got completely blasted by snow today- I don't think it ever stopped all day. The snow nearly engulfed some of the cars parked in the streets (I kid you not). The bright white stuff wasn't a nuisance at all today, even though we had to walk (and almost slip several times) in a whole bunch of it; it instead made the already-charming Vienna cityscape even more beautiful and appealing.

Anyway, to the performances! On Tuesday, we saw a production of Rossini's Barber of Seville at the Volksoper. I highly enjoyed this performance of Rossini's classic opera buffa, for it wasn't a typical performance as one might think of it. First, it was an Italian opera sung in German (complete with a lack of subtitles- we had no idea what they were saying, but we could still follow what was going on pretty well due to the superb acting). Another thing was the set that they used... the rotating building on stage was a marvel to behold. Also, their creative (and hilarious) interpretation of the drama keep me captivated (and chuckling) from start to finish, especially in their creative use of extras; this provided even more of a sense of comic relief. And oh yeah, the music was pretty darn good too: the orchestra provided an excellent backdrop to what was going on, and the singers on stage were a delight to listen to as well (especially the soprano who played Rossina, with her amazing range, pleasing tone, and outstanding ability overall). I immensely enjoyed this production's fun, lighthearted take on a classic opera.

Last night, we journeyed over to the Konzerthaus to see the Szymanoski String Quartet of Poland play a splendid concert. In the intimate environment of the Mozart-Saal, we heard a classic Haydn string quartet (the F minor quartet) played to perfection, explored a modern, mind-expanding musical ground with the namesake's String Quartet No. 2, witnessed the second performance ever of a piece (I cannot remember the name or its composer, but it was a thought-provoking, super-modern take on the string quartet form), and were inspired by a breath-taking, heartfelt interpretation of Dvorak's nationalistic String Quartet No. 13. We were even treated to an encore based on a delightful, heart-melting Ukrainian melody of which I couldn't catch the name of (the announcements were made in Polish-accented German, oh boy). This performance was absolutely marvelous, for this group's musical cohesion, interpretation, and emotion were things of spectacular note; it was truly a concert I did not want to end.

Whew, what an amazing tour we have had so far; we have heard so much world-class music in a short period of time, and have had a great time doing it! I certainly have enjoyed it very much, and look forward to Bratislava and Prague!

For the last time from Vienna and from Austria (and in German), "Tchuss!"

- Phillip

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