Spotlight on Burgtheater’s Money Burdens


The plays of famous Austrian Johann Nestroy (1801-1862) in their couplets (music-hall songs) offer the actor a wide variety of scenes describing social reality through mutual consensus with the audience. And actor Johannes Krisch did exactly that in the leading role of “Der Talismann“ (talisman) at the Burgtheater.

Parliament will review Burgtheater’s deficit.

After three strophes of the original Nestroy text, Krisch—a popular ensemble member of the Bergtheater–added a fourth verse as political statement. He described Georg Springer, CEO of Bundestheater-Holding, the parent company of the Austrian capital’s federal opera and theater companies, as “deaf.” Krisch imaged the Aufsichtsrat as “blind,” and the director Matthias Hartmann as “artist who, besides his function as director, even directs plays…” Krisch’s verse led the audience to laugh and applaud, clearly enjoying the performer‘s creative addition.

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Ash Wednesday Woes

As we report to you on Ash Wednesday, we see the Burg suffering, owing about € 5 million tax and a € 8 million accumulated loss. These troubling figures will lead to debate at Parliament later in March – but of course the Burg’s plight appears nearly every day in all newspapers:

Why did the negative finances receive the auditor’s certificate the past two years? Why did Georg Springer, from his position of responsibility, never say a word? And the fired vice-director of the Burg–Mrs. Silvia Stantejsky, a member of the Burg for more than 20 years–did she do all this by herself and nobody noticed it?

Answers to these and more questions shall be given at the end of this month…and for further information go to – the report (92 pages) in German can be downloaded. It says, within its many details, that Mrs. Stantejsky received the sole power to manage wages and salaries…without the “four-eyes-principle.” She is supposed to have organized a “creative accounting,” playing the “hole-open-hole-closed” game.

Meanwhile, On to Creativity

“My strength is my eye.” That’s how an Austrian newspaper has quoted Eric Fischl, a representative painter of American Realism from New York.  “Friends, lovers and other constellations” is the title of the very informative exhibition at the Albertina, carrying Fischl’s work through May 18. Learn more about the exhibit here.

The Theater an der Wien has added a satirical aspect: Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) and his ballet-bouffon “Platée” surprised the audience with a luxurious décor and a fabulous Marcel Beekmann as Platée–an aging woman without social grace.  The opera’s role was written by Rameau for a tenor! – who is seemingly at the top of society because Jupiter pretends to marry her…a wonderful satire of overestimation.

Booking on Dürer

Bascha Mika writes “Mutprobe.”

Bascha Mika, a former editor-in-chief of a newspaper in Berlin, has written a book about aging: “men become elderly – women are made old.” This injustice over many hundred years is the point of her book “Mutprobe (test of courage). As proof she points to a painting by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) in the Kunsthistorische Museum Wien: “Alte Frau mit Geldsack” (old woman with money bag).

Where does the most famous rabbit, to be precisely European hare, of old Europe live?

Of course in Vienna – and here in the Albertina. It is one of three masterpieces of Albrecht Dürer, which belong to this museum: “Feldhase” (Young Hare) – “Das Große Rasenstück” (Great Piece of Turf) and his “Selbstportrait mit 13” (Self-portrait at 13)….

By the way, hurry and organize your trip to Vienna: on March 13, the Albertina will open a show starring the founder and the Young Hare…for a good three months. At the end of June, Young Hare will go back into the darkness of his strongroom…

And last but of course not least: Happy Birthday! to one of the most famous jazz-clubs in Europe: Porgy and Bess entertains for 20 years! With fine music and plenty of beer.