On KW’s last night in Vienna, we attended the opulent Wiener Staatsoper, or the Vienna State Opera, to see Puccini’s La Bohéme.
I’m not sure which was more exciting: seeing the interior of the remarkable building or hearing the spectacular music of the opera itself. Without question, doing both with my dear friend was the best part.
The building itself was finished in the mid 19th century. Believe it or not, it was not popular at the time for reasons that are still unclear to me. Unfortunately neither of its architects saw the building completed: August Sicard von Sicardsburg died of tuberculosis, and Eduard van der Nüll committed suicide before the 1869 opening. The building was extensively damaged during an American bombing raid during World War II, but private funds were raised in Vienna to repair the damage.
The performance of La Bohéme was excellent. When we sat down and saw the modern art covering the stage curtains, we weren’t sure if it was going to be a modern setting for the play. I admit to being intrigued to see Vienna’s version of Rent. But the production was the traditional setting, in mid 19th century Paris. Unsurprisingly, Musette was my favorite.
Title quote: Italian for “To be alone in the winter is a deathly thing!” from Puccini’s La Bohéme Act III.