Weird but true: Eurovision invades Vienna State Opera

Weird but true: Eurovision invades Vienna State Opera


norman lebrecht

March 17, 2015

You couldn’t make it up, episode 1,103:

As part of some ‘bridge over troubled waters’ dialogue, Mahler’s opera house is engaging leading opera singers in conversation with Conchita Wurst (pictured) and other pop ephemera. The last line of the press release (below) is irony-proof. Herbie would have been thrilled.



“Pop meets Opera” matinée at the Vienna State Opera on Sunday, May 17th on the occasion of the Eurovision Song Contest

Staying true to the motto “Building Bridges” of the 60th Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Vienna in May 2015, the Vienna State Opera is opening its doors to a matinée on Sunday, May 17th (12.00 to 1.15 pm), during which numerous artists will put different musical cultures into a dialogue, in order to build bridges on stage by bringing classical and pop music closer to one another: “Pop meets Opera”. World stars like Plácido Domingo, Juan Diego Flórez, The Philharmonics (ensemble consisting of musicians of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra / Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) and Conchita Wurst will be on stage, as well as further artists of the Vienna State Opera and ESC-candidates from various countries. Moderation: Barbara Rett.

All further details concerning the participants and the programme will be announced separately in April 2015. Tickets in the value of €7 to €60 are available as of now at the box offices of the Austrian Federal Theatres, as well as on There will be a time-shifted broadcast of “Pop meets Opera” at 8.15 on ORF III, as well as worldwide for free through the streaming-portal “Pop meets opera” is part of the “Wiener Staatsoper Live Outdoors” programme and will be streamed live outdoors at the Herbert von Karajan-Platz.


placido-domingo curtain


  • Anne says:

    Poor Plácido looks as if he’s about to be dragged away by a disapproving Fafner.

    • Milka says:

      Alas If it were only so…….it is frightening how he shows up every where .
      One has the thought that when he is officially declared dead some one will have to
      drive a stake through his heart to keep him so . Even then……..

  • Michael says:

    This is a truly inspired way to the kick off the Eurovision Song Contest programmes which take place the following week. I have never heard any serious discussion as to why many 2-3 minute arias and songs – Che gelida manina, Nessun dorma, La donna è mobile, Granada, Du bist mein ganzes Herz etc, the pop songs of their day – remain wildly popular, even among the younger generation when they get a chance to hear them. So-called “crossover” albums sell in their hundreds of millions.

    People in the pop music industry are in awe of great opera voices and objective opera fans cannot but be in awe of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Elton John etc etc.

    Until the 20th century, the fame of operas rested on these short, brilliant, emotional, dramatic, climactic pieces. The pop music industry is based on “singles”, even more so now that fans are more likely to buy one or more singles from a new album via a download than the whole album.

    An intelligent discussion of what these genres have in common would be fascinating. Is it the colour of the voice, the passion of the music, the structure of the piece, the frequent final high climatic high note, the memorability of the melody…..?

    As for Milka’s witty comment, I imagine Plácido was invited to please the Goths and Emos who it is hoped will watch the show with the fresh open minds that would contrast with the mealy-mouthed mocking of the Vienna State Opera’s initiative (presumably just because it is the VSO).

    I look forward to a report on the scandal of there being only one bearded cross-dresser performing on stage.

  • Milka says:

    I was being serious , his managing to appear everywhere is not to be taken lightly .
    The mirror test would tell us everything .

  • Barbara says:

    Thanks Michael for interesting comment. makes a stark contrast to the vicious one above yours.