"Viennese Opera Ball in Magdeburg" Top 5 Page for this destination Magdeburg by Nemorino
Magdeburg Travel Guide: 112 reviews and 374 photos
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.
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