allochthonous: (spirit)
[personal profile] allochthonous
Going to a concert in Vienna is pretty much obligatory, even if you manage to avoid being mobbed in Stefansplatz by all those students dressed as Mozart, so I grabbed a last-minute ticket for a performance of The Messiah which did at least promise to be in English. I assumed it would be a standard concert setup, but apparently this isn't weird enough for Austria, and it turned out to be an arrangement into a kind of operetta that told a story which was not the one you might expect from the libretto, and in fact I never quite worked out what it was.
After a while I found it worked better when I thought of it as a random selection of possibly improvised scenes which included the soloists crashing a funeral to sing at people,  "The People that Walked in Darkness" delivered to the accompaniment of the singer vigorously thumping a coffee vending machine, and "How Beautiful are the Feet of Them" sung at an actual pair of feet, and occasionally a lady wandered on and signed part of the libretto and wandered off again,and the final scene involved the chorus building an enormous tower of chairs in the middle of the stage. None of this particularly mattered, as the singing was gorgeous, even when it had to be done from a slightly odd position (stiff competition with last night's Hamlet in the writhing around on the floor stakes; full credit to the bass soloist for managing most of the beginning of "The Trumpet Shall Sound" in this way), and the countertenor and tenor in particular were sublime. Fantastic orchestra as well, taking it at a good pace (I like my Messiahs zippy) and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Future Messiahs without drunk funeral-crashing will be so disappointing.

That said, I think I'm going to make cake the focus of my final few days in town, as it appears to be reliably less surreal than the arts.


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April 2015


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