Vienna: A Scandal, a Happy Birthday, a Sad Death


Shame and scandal in the family…

This old song by Shawn Elliot was the number-one hit in Austria in 1965…and maybe will reach renewed popularity right now concerning the Burgtheater:

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The highest subsidized theatre in the German-speaking area (‚Ǩ 45,8 Mio), the Burgtheater seems to be lacking the bare necessities. The vice-director of the theatre made some advanced payments out of her private purse last year, and now refunded that sum. That was the point when Burgtheater Director Matthias Hartmann fired his vice-director “because I did not know anything about these transfers…” The fired vice-director countered in the papers, “Matthias Hartmann as well as others were well-informed about these steps…” The supervisory board has now installed a checking process for all this – deadline two weeks from now.

Domingo and Verdi

“Shame and scandal in the family”: Verdi “I due Foscari” with a brilliant Placido Domingo as the old Doge Francesco Foscari who can’t prevent the death sentence to his son…

The great tenor Placido Domingo turns 72.

The great Domingo was fêted by the audience at Theater an der Wien which hosted the opera in late January.

Domingo certainly holds a special place in the hearts of the theatre’s audiences. Built in 1801, the refurbished theater was reopened in 2006 with a gala featuring Domingo. The theater now stages performances all the year round.

On Jan. 21, Domingo celebrated his 72nd birthday. Following that night’s opera performance in Madrid, he joined a private birthday party with friends.

Born in Madrid, Domingo’s family moved to Mexico when he was eight years old. There his opera career began. At age 18, he auditioned for the Mexico National Opera as a baritone, but was asked to sight-read some arias and lines as a tenor. The National Opera then accepted him as a tenor comprimario, and the rest is operatic history. A belated Happy Birthday, maestro!

E-Book Readers Abound

Neither shame nor scandal exists in the electronic lending of the Vienna City Library: Since 2010 more than 30,000 e-books are available, and 500,000 e-book readers used this service last year. In comparison: the Bavarian State Library in January announced the use of one million e-books online, 24 hours on call. (A drop of bitterness: Amazon’s Kindle is excluded…)

Brauer Interprets Haggadah

Arik Brauer Photo: Michaela Bruckberger
Arik Brauer’s art reflects exodus of the Israelites.

The “Doyen” of the Vienna School of Phantastic Realism, Arik Brauer, has presented his second interpretation of the “Haggadahin the Vienna Jewish Museum, founded in 1895 as the first such museum worldwide.

The 24 sheets reflect on the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and the migration to the promised land; the Haggadah story portrays conduct on the evening before celebration of the Israelites’ liberation, the Passover Seder.

Brauer’s drawings are gloriously colorful and fabulous, his Haggadah a picture book of wisdom and faith in god: generous grandfathers, wise rabbis, terrifying idols, bread-baking women and people crossing the divided sea.

An Inspiring Light Darkens

All the Austrian and German press pay tribute to the late Maximilian Schell, born at Vienna in 1930, who died at Innsbruck on February 1, 2014.

Maximilian Schell died on February 1.

The member of an Austrian-Swiss actors family, his brothers and sisters Maria, Carl and Immy worked at different theaters. He started his career at the Basler Theater.

The legendary Gustaf Gründgens engaged him to the Hamburger Schauspielhaus, in those days the Grüner Hügel (green hill): the peak of drama.

In 1958 Schell starred with Marlon Brando and Dean Martin in his first Hollywood movie “The Young Lions“. And in 1962 he crowned his Hollywood career with an Academy Award in “Judgment at Nuremberg which also starred Spencer Tracy, Richard Widmark and Marlene Dietrich, of whom he created a documentary film portrait “Marlenein 1984, a movie shown around the world.

May he rest in peace.