When Vienna State Opera House was built, many Austrians disliked the building. The Emperor, Franz Joseph I, even commented that the architects had no taste when designing it. I disagree with Franz Joseph, and personally thought that any building containing my own elaborately decorated private room would be just fine.
The emperor’s room, shown in the picture on the left, was my favourite place in the opera house because upon seeing it I realized that I was physically seeing the actual room that the actual emperor had actually been in (most of the opera house was destroyed due to World War II, and this was one of the few original rooms that remained).
One thing I never realized before visiting Vienna was how massive the opera industry was. For example, the Vienna State Opera literally have thousands upon thousands of costumes stored in private warehouses because it won’t fit into the building. And that’s only the costumes, not to mention the countless singers, directors, accountants, make-up artists, technicians, advertising staff, maintenance crew, and musicians.
After seeing the opera house I went to the museum complex. This is where I met a variety of other tourists who shared in my enthusiasm of climbing this puppy-sized elephant statue in front of the natural history museum. I named the puppy-sized elephant Frederich von Wilhelm, although in retrospect I’m not sure how it feels about having a name based on Prussian monarchs.
Naturally being in the museum complex I went to see a museum. There was a museum that collected medieval weaponry as well as musical instruments, and being a massive nerd and a former band geek I went in. Walking around made me think about this strange juxtaposition, where hundreds of years worth of human progress devoted to the fine arts was placed right beside hundreds of years worth of objects designed for war and battles. Ok, I’ll be honest; I spent far more time looking at the collection of swords and jousting equipment than the musical instruments, because…well…swords and jousting equipment.
As I left the museum complex I saw these street performers. Interestingly the two never met prior to this day. The person tossing the toy was just taking a walk with his wife and child at the time, and the two of them improvised the performance together. We talked for a bit, and I asked them a few questions such as what life in the Austrian countryside was like for them and how they felt about being new parents.
That evening my family and I went to see a performance. It was a combination of a concert featuring Mozart, as well as a few ballet and opera pieces. At the risk of losing my “man card,” I have to admit that I enjoyed the performance that evening, even the ballet section of it.
All the while, during the concert, I kept thinking about music. How it is passed along in a variety of forms; from concerts, to iPods, to radios, to street performers, to vain attempts of relieving people from those annoying “please hold” messages. It is something that is often so ignored yet also so engrained within our lives.