Wien Staatsoper

Been having some sort of writer’s block lately. Lots of deep thoughts churning inside my head these days that I’d rather just be silent. And mull and chew on the stuff that’s nagging me or better yet discuss it with Hubs. Suffered a terrible migraine last weekend and yet again hubby proved how he’s the best husband there is. Because he took care of me, I decided not to cut my head off lest he be a widower, even when the pain was strongly telling me to go and cut my head off. 😀

Anyways, I digress much. Let’s battle the writer’s block, shall we?

Upon arrival in Vienna and depositing our luggage in our 4-star-but-doesn’t-seem-quite-so-4-star hotel, we immediately set off to go looking for Vienna’s State Opera House aka Wien Staatsoper. Our mobile map app (don’t you just LOVE Steve Jobs? And yes, for us, like Michael Jackson, he isn’t really quite dead yet… 😦 ) told us The Staatsoper was just a 23-minute, 2km walk from our hotel. However, being a tourist and a first-time traveller on that country, what was normally a 23-minute walk took three times longer as it was coupled with lots of picture taking and even stopping over to watch a great performance of some local (or neighboring country) band in the park – for free.

To quote Rick Steves,

Vienna is the cradle and the world capital for classical music and The Staatsoper is its throne room

. Built in 1869, it is one of the world’s premier houses of music, built in the Neo-Renaissance style. It’s the harbinger of a busy intersection in Vienna – Kärtner Strasse meeting Ringstrasse. Mighty impressive, isn’t it?

(All photos unedited save for the watermark).

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I’ve some attachment with lampposts. Probably it wells out of dreaming of Narnia. LOL.

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The Staatsoper feature a different opera per day. Our visit fell on Il Barbiere di Siviglia on stage.

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Er, we practically headed straight to Staatsoper the moment we hit town. Show was at 7, we were outside the opera at six, just in time to tour around the place before the performance hence no time for dinner anymore. Hence, we bought some snacks and cheese on a grocery store on the way to the Opera. End result, hubby was carrying a plastic bag with our purchases while almost everyone around us were dressed to the nines.

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Impressive. Lavish. Sumptuous.

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We booked a seat in a private box albeit a bit far from the stage.

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Everything that’s red is vee~~~~lvet.

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The stage!

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Almost everyone who watched made some effort to dress up. But a Japanese couple who sat right in front of the orchestra was really serious with the dress code – the woman was wearing a kimono. I figure that since it’s a bit impractical to be a tourist and cart around a kimono, they probably are working in Vienna and that the husband is probably a consul? If this is twitter, I’d add a hashtag #assumingmuch. 🙂

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Yes, the play was in Italian. But no fret. We had our Staatsoper version of “subtitle”.

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Hence, we still laughed as the plot unfolded; Il Barbiere was a comedy yes. A word of caution though. Don’t watch the opera right after traveling halfway across the world without a wink of sleep. But I must say though that the orchestra was soooo good they were lulling us to sleep sometimes. 😉

In totality, it was a GREAT experience!

It was already pretty late when we got out the opera and tired as we are, we were not up for a late night dinner and would rather just flop into the bed and try to recover our jetlag to prepare ourselves for long days of walking in the next few days. Hence, we decided to try the must-try wiener hotdog. Our first (of many) good food experience during our trip.

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Ho-hum. Time for sleep!

Experiencing mass in Vienna’s St. Augustine Church

Everything in Vienna is just beautiful and good. Beautiful place. Beautiful people (inside and out – will tell stories about it later). Good food. Really good smell. Beautiful music – even the clanging of the bells of neighboring churches (St Stephen’s Cathedral, St. Augustine Church, St. Michael Church) is like music, they were all in symphony. And every Sunday mass can be like a concert; which it really is in St. Augustine Church’s 11am Sunday mass.

We wanted to experience mass with the Vienna Boys’ Choir singing the hymns. But we need two months advance booking for it and the ticket is at ~€30 which i find weird, paying a fee to attend mass. We already had our reservation at Vienna State Opera House hence we were having second thoughts on buying another ticket for the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Thankfully though, good ol’ Rick Steves mentioned in his book that the St. Augustine Church holds concert masses, for free! Since we’ve limited time, we can only attend one mass. And albeit I wanted to hear how good the Vienna Boys’ Choir really is, we opted for the free concert mass in St. Augustine instead teehee. And indeed we weren’t disappointed. It was good time again for Atsushi to catch up with his jetlag though haha.

Located on Josefsplatz, next to the Hofburg Palace, the church is a simpler gothic version compared to Stephansdom. It’s still majestic though what with chandeliers hanging from it’s Gothic ceiling.

Will add pictures in this post later. For now, here are snippets of the concert mass. Pardon for the bad angles though. It’s not really forbidden to record the whole mass but then this is still a Holy Mass with all the proper rituals hence it was a bit embarrassing to record overtly. I had to do it covertly, hence the bad angles :p.

Rick Steves

Rick Steves has been such a big help 2 years back when Kat and I went to Italy. Now, he’s our travel companion again.

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