Opera Europa, the Boys’ Choir, and Vivid Art

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Opera Europa-the international service organization representing 127 opera houses and opera festivals in all Europe-gathered April 3-7 for its spring conference, the first at Vienna hosted by the city’s three (!) opera houses: Vienna State Opera, Volksoper Vienna, and Theater an der Wein.

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The Vienna State Opera House

Some 350 participants from 86 opera houses in 32 countries amassed to discuss “The European Citizen’s Entitlement to Culture,” the general theme of this conference.

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EU-Commission President José Manuel Barroso presented the keynote address on the conference’s second day, expanding on the gathering’s theme.

You can see the conference’s program here.

Vienna Boys’ Choir

Many a German-speaking opera singer have been educated at the Augartenpalais, boarding house of the Vienna Boys’ Choir whose roots date back to 1498, when Emperor Maximilian I transferred his court from Innsbruck to Vienna. This world-famous choir has opened a brand-new concert hall in the heart of Vienna, seating 400 people. The ceremony assembled the notables of Vienna music life such as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and chief conductor Franz Welser-M√∂st.

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The MuTh

In this new hotspot-called the “MuTh,” an abbreviation for music and theater-you can experience the Vienna Boys’ Choir performing live, as well as rock and jazz, drama and other cultural events. The MuTh is located next to the Augartenpalais.

By the way, did you know that the Choir is divided into four sub-groups or touring choirs? They perform on equal standards and are named after the four ‘holy’ Austrian composers who are associated with the Choir: Anton Bruckner (1824-1896), Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Franz Schubert (1797-1828) who as a boy was a chorister himself.

Apropos Holy

“Every straight line is godless” – a sentence understood immediately regarding the picture “The large way” of 1955, painted by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, born in 1928. He died aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 near New Zealand in 2000.

The Palace Belvedere (“lovely view”) built for Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736) currently offers an exposition to rediscover Hundertwasser’s early works, interpretations of Taoism and Zen-Buddhism.

This might lead a direct line to yet another painter who is celebrating his 75th birthday in August:

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Hermann Nitsch

Hermann Nitsch had great success with his bacchanal-mystery plays in the USA and Germany in the late ’60s.

He is one of the outstanding representatives of Vienna Actionism with his special approach to rituals and Christian liturgy. Nitsch intermingles cadaver and blood with Christian elements as the crucifixion to arouse disgust and abomination leading to catharsis. His work may also be understood as an alternative to Richard Wagner’s Bayreuth… with its total work of art.

About half an hour north of Vienna lies the village of Mistelbach. Nitsch lives near there. It offers a huge and demanding exhibition.

But if you’re in America, before planning your next trip to Vienna, just take a trip to Washington and the National Gallery of Art: until June 9th, you might admire Albrecht D√ºrer’ s masterpieces, “these cultural ambassadors of Austria,” before they return to the Albertina in Vienna.