During my Vienna trip, evenings were reserved for special events.
On Thanksgiving night, I saw the ballet Manon at the Vienna State Opera. The dancing was tremendous, and the music divine. The ballet itself took an odd turn in Act III. I wasn’t familiar with the story and probably should have read about it before going.
Regardless, I had a lovely evening. The Vienna State Opera is gorgeous, with more rooms to explore than I imagined. Thank goodness for two intermissions!
The building opened on May 25, 1869. Things were going strong until World War II, when the Nazis took over and people were removed, stalked, or killed. The Nazis also censored what was performed. Then in 1945, the building was bombed, with only some of the front sections remaining.
A rebuilt Vienna State Opera, with a more modern auditorium, reopened on November 5, 1955. The opera house itself has a different look than rest of the building, but it’s still lovely.
On Friday evening, I met up with Christine—a friend of my friend Paul. I had not met her before, but Paul spoke highly of her. After meeting and hanging out with her, I understood why.
Christine showed me a Christmas market I would have never found. We had Glühwein and perused the market. Then it was off to Mayer am Pfarrplatz, a wine tavern where Beethoven once resided and began his Ninth Symphony.
Christine explained that wine taverns consider themselves wineries first and restaurants a far second. Vienna has a tradition of heurigen—meaning the tavern that serves the wine and the wine itself. Heurig means “this year’s” and refers to the new spring wine. Trust me, Mayer’s is excellent! Christine and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
We also enjoyed the food. Typical of any heurigen, Mayer am Pfarrplatz offered a limited a la carte menu and a buffet. We selected items from the menu. Christine ordered Mayer’s Wintersalat, a salad with prunes, walnuts, bacon, and cheese. I ordered Hausgemachte Käsespätzle, the homemade cheese spaetzle with a green salad. I have two words regarding my meal: hearty and yum! And, yes, I ate the whole thing.
On Saturday night, I attended a concert at Sala Terrena featuring a quartet: two violins, a viola, and a cello. They played two full Mozart pieces—Divertimento in F-Dur/Major KV.138 and Quartett in C-Dur/Major KV.465, “Dissonanzen Quartett”—and one by Haydn—Quartett in d-Moll/Minor op.76/2, “Quinten/Fifths Quartett.”
According to the program, Sala Terrena is “the oldest concert hall in Vienna where Mozart used to work and play for Bishop Colloredo in 1781.” Mozart lived in the house for almost two months in 1781.
I learned after purchasing the ticket (a month in advance) that going to Sala Terrena is a touristy thing to do. If so, I can live with that. The music and the entire setting were delightful. And I’ve never seen more animated string players; they clearly enjoyed playing the music and performing with each other.
Ah, those wonderful Vienna nights.