Friday, March 13, 2009

One play after another (15.12.08)

Vienna is a very musical, cultural and opera-full city, so one needs to take advanatge of it as often as possible.
We visit theatres and opera houses quite often and we dont't spend much money on that. Our secret? Well, the cheapest standing places cost even 1,5 euro.
We've been to the National Opera-House (Staatsoper) several times, in Volksoper – once only. Yesterday we went to Raimund Theater to watch a musical “Rebecca”, today we went to Burgtheater to see “Romeo and Juliet”, and on Friday we could finally see “The Magic Flute”. Wa also wanted to go to Volksoper on Saturday, but there were no tickets left.
So now I'll shortly describe the last three plays:
One word, so many emotions and meanings.
But now a little bit more precisely.
“The Magic Flute” was unfortunately played in German, which made it difficult to understand the plot fully. Thankfully, there are subtitles on a screen next to your seat, so I could read a little bit. But stil – it's better not to be destracted and watch the scene simply, because it was full of magic colours. Not only the music played a major role, but also the text, which contained many humorous remarks. The costumes can be only described as splendid and the plot as unexpected and riveting.
One of the protagonists – the Queen of the Night – was singing with a very high voice and I have never thought that one can sing so high...

„Rebecca” was also in German, but this time I understood almost everything. Because it's easier to follow a musical than a opera. Here the msot interesting thing were the special effects – burning scene that moved around or went down, so new platforms with props could appear (e.g. a bad with table). The scene was quite dynamic, the plot gripping, the decoration was a masterpiece – there was even a huge screen that presented a background to various scenes, e.g. underwater scene, fire, railway station. Well, it's impossible to describe it all, you simply have to see it. But it may be problematic, as the musical is played till the end of December only...

Oh, and I forgot to mention that also the actors were totally great. The featuring song is still in my head and I can't get out of it. The audience reacted enthusiasticly, there were even standing ovations:)

It seems that even so widely known play as “Romeo and Juliet” can surprise, amuse and amaze... All that happened in Burgtheater today was really beyond my expectations. I'll start with the decorations: fantastic. There was a real rain, waterfall with stones, moving scene, castles, a lot of blood, funny costumes of the main protagonists. It was humorous as well. Yes, h-u-m-o-r-o-u-s. And even - nudity. Romeo and Juliet suddenly appeared without clothes, although in darkness, but it was quite brave anyway. People covered with blood also came nakes on the scene at the end of the play. There was a strange woman floating around the scene all the time – as if she was a chore, death and narrator at the same time. Scream, tears and perfectly played madness was there as well, And at the end of the play the strange woman got the white huge wings, on which another scene was screened: Romeo and Juliet in 21th century. As always – it's difficult to describe it, you have to see it. It's a pity, that tha audience didn't react enthusiastically enough. The actors deserve much more, more applause, more ovation. But anyway. We're already planning to visit another theaters and we're going to a cinema tomorrow:)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Crowds everywhere (14.12.08)

Christmas is coming... Which means: there are many people everywhere. Everywhere = shops, streets, the city centre.
In Mariahilferstrasse (the main shopping street in Vienna) people took over the place of cars, as it seems the pavements are not enough for them. Thankfully, the street is closed to the traffic on all the Saturdays in December. Shopping turned into a nightmare: it's almost impossible to enter the small ones, the queues are extremely long, suddenly everyone's realised that it's time to buy some presents. Or stock some food etc. for Christmas.
Thankfully, only some days are that awful and the worse are the Saturdays.
Coming back to the crowds: less christmasy, but equally crowded was our Studenthouse last Friday. There was the biggest party of the year. The whole building turned into a disco, with different music on each floor (rock, house, the 70, 80, reggae, latino, techno...), dining rooms changed into dancing floors, kitchens into a bar and most people stayed in the corridors and staircases. On the most crowded floors (e.g. the 8th with rock music) you had to use your elbows and be a little aggressive to get through the corridor. Great number of students was constantly changing direction, moving between the floors, kitchens and dining rooms became soon very smoky and hot glasshouses, beer cans were lying about the floors. About one o'clock the music went suddenly silent. The police came, which didn't surprise me at all, because that happens quite often recently. But the most resistant ones had a (silent) party till 6 a.m. anyway. Well, why not...
And after the party... It's no use talking about it. I have never seen such a big mess before. Black sticky floors, beer cans everywhere, black kitchen... Rubbish near the entrance, in the lifts, in the porter's lodge... Yeah, students are able to do everything. Thankfully, no one waited till Monday, when the cleaners come and the big cleaning action begun in the morning. After few hours our floor was quite shiny again.

Globenmuseum (12.12.08)

The Museum of Globes is yet another strange and interesting collection. It is the part of the National Library (Nationalbiliothek) and presents various globes and many multimedia exhibitions.
How the globe looks like – everyone knows... Well, not really. It turns out that the production of globes is quite a complicated process, there are various kinds of globes and their models have been changed throughout the years.
The oldest items are dated back to 15th century and the most interesting ones present the globes of a starlit sky, globes of the Moon, Venus, Mars and Jupiter, pocket globes, umbrella-like globes, extremely old globes...
There are also some huge artistic globes, the ones presenting various illustration rather than the exact model of the Earth, there are also small metal models with a ball, mirror and a candle that present how the Earth revolves around the Sun, and there's also a similar model illustrating the movement of planets in our Solar System.
All these attractions are jammed in three rooms only, accompanied by plenty depictions, descriptions, posters. The screen in the first room presents how the globe turns into a map and a map into a globe. And opposite there are 3 screens informing about the production, history and the types of globes.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Clock Museum 12.12.08

There's plenty of small, strange museums in Vienna. One of them is the Clock Museum, which is situated near the centre in one of the oldest buildings in the city.

It boasts a collection of 21 thousand various clocks and watches presented chronologically. So, in the first floor there are items from 15th to 17th century. The oldest clocks are dated back to the end of the 15th century and were originally tower clocks. The second floor presents items form 18th and 19th century, and the third floor shows the most recent ones.
The clocks appear in various forms – standing, hanging, hidden in a painting (e.g. as a real clock on a painted church tower), pocket watches, wrist watches, sundials, artistic clocks, astronomic clocks (they show weekdays, times of year, months, the length of a day, moon phase, zodiac signs...). Some items were decorated with gold, precious wood, surprising paintings and strange elements and most of them didn't work at all. But when 12 struck, all the old standing masters started to boast and shout out at the top of their voice...
And the best thing was that the museum was almost completely empty. There might have been about six people only. And it seems it's always like that – silent and calm. You can hear the time passing by, making its soft steps, treading softly on a colourful and surprising ground...