If you had to spend eternity in only one opera house or concert hall, which one would you choose?
Put aside comfort, cost, the quality of interval snacks (and whether you can get them gluten-free or vegan), the general attractiveness of the city, dress-code and other such irrelevancies. Assume a good standard of performance but no parade of the world’s best and haughtiest primadonnas. Assume excellent professional musicians, on stage and in the pit.
What I’m asking, in other words, is what kind of music could you listen to, day after day, to the last syllable of recorded time?
I muse on this question myself as I review the schedules of all the big opera houses in the world (most of them are in gigglemusic), and my answer would be the Volksoper in Vienna. I’m a man of catholic tastes (that might mean no taste at all), and on different days I can enjoy a musical, an operetta, a classical or romantic opera, chamber music, and even, occasionally, ballet.
And, touching just briefly on an irrelevancy, a recent survey ranks Vienna as the most ‘livable’ city in the world.
Too much of the same thing, day after day, wouldn’t suit me. That’s why I’d never choose the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Its more-or-less-Wagner-only festival runs for just two months each year, and, though brief, it might yet be too much of a good thing. And I’d probably forget how to laugh. On the other hand, if I had to choose an opera for eternity, rather than a whole repertoire, it would probably be Wagner’s Parsifal (and I might get through as many as a dozen performances before the Big Crunch ended it all).
There’s also the Royal Opera House in London, where I misspent my too-industrious twenties. But I’d miss musicals.
The Volksoper.in Vienna has it all, and it would suit me perfectly, all the way to Armageddon. Take a look at the schedule in gigglemusic (you can search for the Group and tap three dots to open a diary). You’ll find operas, musicals, operettas, ballets – even chamber music. No madrigals, as far as I can tell, but I could probably get by without them. And where else could you see The Flying Dutchman, The Sound of Music, Brahms’ Requiem and Cabaret on four successive days?
The 2022/2023 schedule includes:
Puccini: La bohème
The Magic Flute
La Cage aux Folles
Fiddler on the Roof
The Marriage of Figaro
Orpheus in the Underworld
Lady in the Dark
Hansel and Gretel
The Threepenny Opera
The Merry Widow
The Flying Dutchman
My Fair Lady
The Abduction from the Seraglio
The Sound of Music
The Merry Wives of Windsor
The Wizard of Oz
…and some smaller things besides. Most of it eternal bliss, though a few might yet be hellish (certainly not the Sound of Music,, nor the Flying Dutchman). In the end it’s just like a bag of Liquorice Allsorts – you’re bound to have your favourites.
Find more than 60,000 events of all kinds in gigglemusic – some near, some far, some serious, some slight, some ancient, some modern, some instructive, some redemptive. Most of them are My Favourite Things.
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