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23 January 2010

Staatsoper and Schonbrunn


On Wednesday I went to the Staatsoper again, this time to see opera and not ballet. It was called Le Nozze di Figaro, which means the marriage of Figaro. It was composed by Mozart and is an opera buffa, which is comic opera.

The story is basically of the marriage day of a servant, Figaro, whose lord wants to seduce his wife-to-be. It is sort of like the comedies by shakespeare in which a group of characters are introduced, usually in pairs, and they are all plotting against each other, and in the end all the plots are foiled and everybody ends up happy.

In this case the womanising count learns his lesson and decides that he loves his own wife after all, the other people helping him to plot against Figaro turn out to be Figaro's long lost parents and decide to marry each other, Figaro gets to marry his wife and the womanising page-boy also gets to be with the serving girl that he has been after.

The staatsoper building in the photo above was the first building to be built on what is called the Ringstrasse and it has it's name because the state helps to fund the productions, so that the tickets can be cheap enough for the public. When it was built it was criticised that it was not big enough and first one of the architects committed suicide, then the other died of a heart-attack. Some of the inside was burnt down during one of the wars, but they rebuilt it. All the really nice stuff like the front and the foyer with its stone staircases and frescoes survived.


Today I went to Schonbrunn, which was the summer palace of the Hapsburgs. Every building associated with Schonbrunn is painted in these yellow colours, so it is really easy to know what you are looking at. It has about 1500 rooms! Only about 40 of them are open for the tour.


This is the side of the building (the main building that is) and you can see that on the top there is a row of statues, plus a large statue in the middle (the close-up is the photo below). These statues continue around the whole building and you also see similar statues on top of all the old buildings in the city.


Inside the palace there was a huge variety of decor. Some of it was quite simple and plain and some ridiculously sumptuous. You were not allowed to take photos, but I did anyway. Of course most of them are not great as I had to do it quickly and sneakily. This was one of the rooms that I liked the best, the ball room. The ceilings are covered in frescoes and the walls are white and gold.


Here is a close up of a part of the wall:


I also liked this room in the following picture. It is full of drawings which were actually done by members of the imperial family. It was all blue and white.


And here is another, this one was one of the chinese salons. We were given audio guides to tell us what to look at and all about the history which was nice, but sometimes made it a bit slow.


After going through the palace you walk up behind it to the Gloriette, which is at the top of the hill above the gardens. It is mostly just a monument. On the way there is a large fountain featuring Neptune, which in the winter is not turned on but is till very nice:


Here is the Gloriette. There is usually a pond in the large empty space in front of it, but once again - it is winter.


Here is one of the four identical statues that stand at each corner:


From the Gloriette you get a very nice view of Schonbrunn in front of the city:


This is the statue at the centre of the back of the Palace. The eagle that you see everywhere is a part of the Vienna coat-of-arms. The double-headed eagle is the do with the Hapsburgs was taken from the Holy Roman Empire.


And to end, here are some cows:

- Strawberry Cow (for strawberry milk of course).


-Beer Cow


-And a sea-cow.

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