"Viennese Opera Ball in Magdeburg" Top 5 Page for this destination Magdeburg by Nemorino

Magdeburg Travel Guide: 112 reviews and 374 photos

The Magdeburg Opera House

One of the recurring television events in this part of the world is the live telecast, every year in February, of the Opera Ball from the State Opera House in Vienna, Austria.

I personally find these annual telecasts something of a bore because they consist mainly of celebrity-spotting (and they only show brief glimpses, at most, of the protest demonstrations out on the street), but I have started watching them again since the ex-Frankfurt mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca has joined the Vienna Opera Ensemble and gets to sing some arias and duets every year at the Opera Ball.

Evidently just about everyone in the audience at the Magdeburg premiere of Wiener Blut, by Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899), had seen these Opera Ball telecasts, because there was lots of laughter and applause when the curtain went up after the intermission to reveal some Magdeburg ballet dancers doing a good imitation of their Viennese counterparts in a stage set that was painted to look just like the Vienna State Opera House as seen every February on television.

Since Magdeburg is in north-eastern Germany (667 kilometers from Vienna) and used to be a Prussian garrison city, which is just about the opposite of anything Viennese, I thought this would be an unlikely place to do a Viennese operetta, but it turned out to be a fine performance, with lots of verve and even quite funny since they had pepped up the text a bit.

All you loyal readers of the Greiz tips on my Gera page (thanks again to both of you!) may recall that the town of Greiz was immortalized, so to speak, by this operetta. Two of the main (silliest) characters are the ambassador and prime minister, respectively, of the duchy of "Reuß-Schleiz-Greiz", and the plot has to do mainly with these two clods making fools of themselves in sophisticated Vienna. At the end the ambassador's wife and mistress join forces to teach him a lesson, and they all (presumably) live happily ever after.

I've been saying that this operetta was "by" Johann Strauss Jr., but that is only partly true since this is a Pasticcio-Operetta, meaning that the 73-year-old Strauss didn't feel up to writing a whole new operetta, but he did give someone else permission to compile one from some of the waltzes and other music that he had written decades before.

  • Last visit to Magdeburg: Nov 2005
  • Intro Updated Jun 5, 2013
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Reviews (8)

Comments (40)

  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo
    Dec 29, 2015 at 7:00 AM

    Hi Don, thanks for the tour of Magdeburg!

  • Oleg_D.'s Profile Photo
    Oct 23, 2014 at 4:57 AM

    Good page! Thank you!

  • ranger49's Profile Photo
    Aug 5, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    I thought you would have a page on Magdeburg!
    I was looking for it because a local company I support is in the throes of a co-production which is a co-commission and co-production between Music Theatre Wales, the Royal Opera House, and Theater Magdeburg. and Scottish Opera.
    The work is a new opera by Philip Glass, adaptation by Christopher Hampton and based on the novel The Trial by Franz Kafka .
    It will open in October with 6 performances at the Linbury Studio ROH followed by a tour of England & Wales until mid-November and the German Premier in April next year will be at -
    ( I do agree with you about those Balls!)

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Aug 5, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      Yes, I've heard about this new opera by Philip Glass.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Oct 7, 2013 at 5:09 AM

    A pity it rained and you couldn't do the historical walk. I try to do these if I can. In Telc, Cz I was unlucky with the weather, a shame, because I missed some good sights.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Oct 8, 2013 at 1:29 AM

      Dee, thanks for having a look at my Magdeburg and Krefeld pages.

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
    Jun 5, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Back when there were two germanies I remember how we passed by Magdeburg, it would be nice to be able to go back and see it and how it has changed someday again

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Jun 5, 2013 at 3:18 PM

      Thanks for your ratings and comments on my Magdeburg page. I never went to Magdeburg during GDR times, so I can’t really compare how it was then and now.

  • lmkluque's Profile Photo
    Dec 9, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Thanks for the tour of Magdeburg Don! I hope you get back for the walking tour one of these days.

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Feb 11, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    The Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen looks like a nice building to have an art museum in.

  • MD2nd's Profile Photo
    May 2, 2011 at 3:54 AM

    Hope to visit there some time. You've found an amazing emergency entrance's sign.

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    Nice to see some of Magdeburg, a town I thought about visiting back in my Thuringian days. Maybe I'll get back that way again & if I do, I'll check back for this hotel. You have a knack for finding affordable places to stay, Don.

  • Elisabcn's Profile Photo
    Mar 3, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    Again me, walking virtually through Germany. Nice little page. He heee I did not know about operette-pasticcio :-)))


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