In my teens and twenties, you would know exactly where to find me every 1st January – in front of the TV watching the New Year’s concert from the Musikverein in Vienna. My family would always get together on the first day of the year (whatever our post-New-Year state) to toast the new year, have a roast dinner, and most certainly not do any laundry (I think it’s bad luck?) My grandad loved to watch the concert, and as the musical grandchild (one sister is a wordsmith, the other an artist), I was the one to sit and watch it with him. Although hours of Strauss waltzes isn’t the sort of thing I’d choose to listen to, it was nice to watch it with him and it became something of a tradition. Continue reading
I was lucky enough to go to the press launch of the new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum today – it’s called Opera: Passion, Power and Politics and officially opens this Saturday 30th September. The way the exhibition is structured is around 7 different operas and 7 cities, and the relationship between each – so, absolutely perfect for this blog about music and travel. I don’t think I can claim this is a review but I can share some thoughts about my visit. Continue reading
I love opera and I love Mahler. So it’s kind of inevitable that someone like me is going to be very keen to visit Vienna State Opera as soon as I have the chance. As with other Viennese places I’ve blogged about, visiting around the time of my summer birthday means no performances. But we did head inside for a tour and got to see some things we wouldn’t have done if we’d just gone to a performance. Continue reading
The problem with having a summer birthday means birthday-trips come at a time when lots of concert halls and opera houses are closed for the summer (except the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, where top classes performances carry on through the summer. And let’s not forget the BBC Proms). We had this problem last year with a double-birthday trip to Vienna – early July seems to offer only naff Mozartian-costumed orchestras and morning organ recitals. Nein, danke. Continue reading
I’m playing in Mahler 9 in a concert soon, and am fortunately sitting next to a fellow Mahler nut (the rest of our section have yet to be converted, and I’m guessing the difficulty of playing the music won’t do much to help the cause). We’ve been chatting about our love for Mahler in rehearsals, and he’s the first person I’ve met who was as excited about seeing Mahler’s hat as I was! Continue reading
So far in my life I have only been to Vienna once. It took me far too long to get around to it, and so when I finally got there I wanted to take in as many musical locations as possible.
The first place I’m going to tell you about really epitomises the idea of “walking in the composer’s footsteps”. Continue reading