Vienna may be a first-class winter holiday destination, but one can hardly ignore the feelings of relief and even joy that come with watching the snows melt. Fortunately, what comes along with the end of winter is a slate of wonderful new performances at the Vienna State Opera and Volksoper.
This spring, we have our eye on four particular performances.
Manon, Une Comédie Parisienne
If you’re eager for the laughter and ease that comes with spring, this February’s performances of the famous French comic opera Manon should be perfect for you. This opera’s enduring appeal has been long established, with well over 2,000 performances at Paris’ Opéra-Comique alone in its first 68 years. Today, that popularity endures, with 16 cities putting on performances in 2016.
The opera begins with a permanent trip to the convent for the young lady Manon, which is interrupted by an encounter with the chivalrous Des Grieux. However, their domestic bliss is quickly met with yet another interruption, as Manon is tricked into leaving with a mysterious man who is his identity.
As the comedy and absurdity builds, the lovers are torn from each other, forced to gamble their future, and eventually meet their fate. It’s a humorous vision of love and all of the pleasantries of Paris’ Belle Époque. With five performances occurring at the Vienna State Opera, beginning on Valentine’s Day (February 14th), you’ll want to take someone special and book your tickets now.
La Traviata, The Fallen Woman
One of the most famous and acclaimed operas in history ended its first night of life with the composition of a letter by its composer, Giuseppe Verdi, “La Traviata last night a failure. Was the fault mine or the singers’? Time will tell.”
Time has told, and over a century and a half since its disaster of a premiere in Venice, La Traviata is the most popular opera in the world. The plot centers around the spirited and beautiful young courtesan Violetta and her battles both for love and against the ravages of tuberculosis. It’s a dual pair of struggles that continues to strike a chord with audiences worldwide.
La Traviata will have 11 performances at the Volksoper, beginning on February 3rd and running all the way until June 30th. Book your tickets today and don’t miss the opportunity to experience the world’s premier opera in the world’s premier opera city.
Parsifal, An Arthurian Legend by Richard Wagner
If you had the opportunity to experience Wagner’s full ring cycle this January at the Vienna State Opera but still have yet to satisfy your desire for Wagnerian grandeur, Parsifal is coming to the state opera next. Wagner’s last completed opera, the composer wrote in his autobiography that Parsifal was conceived almost miraculously on Good Friday of 1857.
The opera follows Percival, one of the Knights of the Round Table, in his quest for the mythical Holy Grail. The story revolves around religious themes and the characters’ striving for holiness. Parsifal’s history and story have given it powerful religious overtones in the times since its premier as its meaning for audiences has evolved.
Today, the Vienna State Opera’s three scheduled performances of Parsifal on March 24th, 27th, and 30th, make for a fantastic opportunity to see this, one of the less-frequently performed operas of Wagner. With so few performances, be sure to book your tickets and reserve your place.
Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot reaches far out into heretofore untouched places in the world of opera. The subject material of this opera boldly stands out, based on the story of a princess named Turan-Dokht (daughter of Turan), first mentioned in a work by a Persian poet from the 12th-century named Nizami. This new production of Turandot premiering at the Vienna State Opera is sure to stand out as well.
In many ways, Turandot was the culmination of Puccini’s career. Having been unable to complete it before his death in 1924, it was left to be completed by others. At its dramatic premier in 1926 in Milan, the conductor is said to have stopped the orchestra, laid his baton down, and turned to the audience in the middle of the third act. In this moment, he somberly said, “Here the performance finishes because at this point the maestro died.”
This drama reflected the pure boldness of the composition – Puccini’s attempt to push the boundaries of opera with his unique historical and cultural sources of inspiration. This has made Turandot controversial since its inception. However, it has also made it a perennially fascinating opera for 90 years. There will be a total of five performances from April 28th until May 12th. Be sure to book now and not miss the new production of this unique opera.
Which operas are you looking forward to seeing this spring? Let us know in the comments.