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A Stage on Every Corner

A Stage on Every Corner

The abundance of opera in this town sometimes makes me giddy. If all the world’s a stage, in Vienna it’s a theatre in song. And I’m not only talking about the three big opera houses in town, although they are all familiar, places where I often sit – or stand – with wide-eyed enthusiasm until […]

Kammeroper: Miniature Forms of Musical Theatre

Kammeroper: Miniature Forms of Musical Theatre

In June it seemed as if the Vienna Kammeroper (Chamber Opera) had sung its final season. It seemed like such a loss: The little theatre at the rim of the opera scene in Vienna would have been celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2013. But in a new twist to the story, in the last months, […]

Opera Impressions

Opera Impressions

The recent presentation in the Volksoper of two one-act operas in very cleverly similar settings focussed attention on the subject of theatre and reality. From there, it is a short leap to musing about the role of opera as theatre. The time is particularly relevant as all three houses have now published their programmes for […]

Trouble in Tunisia

Without going into details, the domestic troubles of the two short operas currently at the Kammeroper seemed alarmingly familiar. Why do men think that true love needs testing, or believe that a wandering eye will inevitably turn up something better? Indeed, for whatever reason, I ended up at the Kammeroper next to an empty seat. […]

Staging Haydn: A Pink Horror

Legend has it that L’isola disabitata (The Uninhabited Island, 1779) was Joseph Haydn’s own favorite opera. But the current production at the Kammeroper is a juvenile debunk of what Haydn, one would hope, had taken seriously. The music is lovely. The singing was great. But the staging is a pink horror of a teenage girl’s […]

Opera Nights

Opera is reborn in Vienna each September, as we look forward to the new season in the city’s four opera houses: The Vienna State Opera, the Volksoper Wien, Theater an der Wien and small, but lively Kammeroper. For some new to the city, opera may be a discovery, both in the quality and quantity that […]

True Love, Mock Despair

True Love, Mock Despair

For most mid-century émigré composers, writing for Hollywood made them wealthy but was close to the kiss of death for their careers as “serious” musicians. Italian Nino Rota (1911 – 1979) never gave the problem too much thought. “Certain critics wrinkle their noses when they have to report about Nino Rota, the creator of symphonies […]

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