Inside the Staatsoper as terror raged in Vienna

Inside the Staatsoper as terror raged in Vienna


norman lebrecht

November 03, 2020


  • Gustavo says:

    It seems Vienna is the heart of Europe.

    • John Borstlap says:

      It has been for a very long time. Vienna = Europe idealized.

      • Harry Bad says:

        Won’t be the “heart of Europe”, if things continue as they do now.
        Rather: it will become an enclave of some caliphate.

    • For me, Wien was always the gateway to the East.

    • Garech de Brun says:

      Vienna is a delightful cultural museum, however its heyday is long gone, from mid 18th to late 19th century, it is now somewhat of a backwater, the Hapsburg empire has gone, Beethoven does not live there anymore, but you can hear his symphonies performed by an excellent orchestra founded in 1842.

      Alfred Brendel in his book Veil of Order mentions he moved to London for both personal and professional reasons (divorce, his remarriage and his record contract with Philips) in addition London is a better launch point for recital tours.

  • Kenneth Griffin says:

    What would Sir Graham Brady MP have to say about this police detention of an entire innocent opera audience?

    “If these kinds of measures were being taken in any totalitarian country around the world we would be denouncing it as a form of evil. And here the removal of people’s fundamental liberties is going almost without comment.”

    • Armin Egger says:

      What an utterly stupid remark!
      We were not detained but asked not to leave the house which was protected by the police. Unsurprisingly, everyone stayed inside…

    • PB says:

      I presume this comment is ironic……. would one argue that confining people to bomb shelters during the Blitz was a “removal of people’s fundamental liberties”….? I was in the audience at that performance and there was not only a consensus of co-operation but a warm sociable atmosphere, including the Already mentioned spontaneous playing of members of the orchestra. Our “loss of liberty” was barely longer than an hour before it was safe to leave. Although public transport was generally suspended, special metro trains were laid on so people could get away from the area and safely home…..

    • Walter Foith says:

      The people were not detained. It was for their personal security that they were asked to remain in the opera house until the critical situation on the street was resolved.

    • Hans Winkler says:

      I can only agree with Armin. This comment is so stupid, it makes me sick. Shame on you! I was there and we were told – by the opera director, not the police by the way – that we should stay inside the opera for our own safety until the situation cleared up. We had drinks and four members of the orchestra formed an impromptu quartett and played to entertain the public. The police was super friendly and after about one hour guided us to the nearest subway station.

  • Pedro says:

    My thoughts go to my Viennese friends. Some of the greatest musical experiences were there, from the BPO visit to the Musikverein with Karajan in May 1982 (Mahler 9 and Beethoven 9) to last year’s Frau onhe Schatten with a superb cast and Thielemann conducting.

  • Vienna will be always Vienna.

  • Guy says:

    A dangerous place to be Jewish?

  • Patrick says:


  • Papageno says:

    I can’t believe it. This sort of thing is more likely to happen in Vienna, Virginia than Vienna, Austria.

    • PaulD says:

      Not really true, Papageno. On the walls of the synagogue at the site of the shooting is a memorial tablet to the Jewish victims of a Palestinian attack in the 1980s. Palestinian terrorists also attacked the airport terminal later.

      I will grant you that a terrorist attack did occur in nearby Langley, Virginia, in 1993. A Pakistani terrorist killed two CIA employees as they waited in their cars to enter the CIA campus.

  • Agnes Frank says:

    Wien, Wien, nur du allein…
    can happen anywhere.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Isn’t this just why we love them? I was terribly upset to read about terror on the streets of Vienna; a usually very safe city of order and civility.

  • Marfisa says:

    “Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser” – thank you, Herr Kapellmeister Haydn, for this wonderful melody.

    • Garech de Brun says:

      Austria is no longer a feudal monarchy, it is just another republic of many. The melody is of Croatian folk origin, Haydn merely purloined and adapted it.

      • Marfisa says:

        Or the other way round. There is a reverse transmission theory, which would account better for the fact that the tune in question begins like Haydn’s, but then diverges. And of course ‘Gott erhalte’ would have been widely disseminated through the Empire, having been adopted as its anthem. (Only Wikipedia as a source, I’m afraid.)

        • Doc Martin says:

          Austria no longer uses it as its National Anthem, the Germans stole it and they now use Mozart’s Freimaurerkantate, K. 623.

          • Marfisa says:

            But I didn’t say Austria. I’m living in the past (or wishing I could) – preferably as a music-loving rich aristocrat!

          • Dander says:

            Which of course you are not.

          • Marfisa says:

            Of course not! But one can dream … “Kapellmeister Haydn, I need a new Baryton trio to entertain my guests tonight – I expect it within the hour.”

  • Garech de Brun says:

    Anthem: O Lord make they servant Elizabeth
    William Byrd

    O Lord, make they servant Elizabeth
    Our Queen to rejoice in they strength.
    Give her her heart’s desire
    And deny not the request of her lips;
    But prevent her with thine everlasting blessing
    And give her a long life
    Even for ever and ever. Amen.

    Anthem: Behold O God, our defender
    John Blow

    Behold O God, our defender
    And look upon the face of thine anointed.
    Great prosperity givest thou unto thy King
    And will shew loving kindness
    Unto thine anointed for evermore.
    The adversaries of the Lord
    Shall be broken to pieces.
    Out of heaven shall he thunder upon them.
    But he shall give strength unto his King
    And exalt the horn of his anointed.
    After Psalm 84, v 9, Psalm 18, v51 and I Samuel ii, v 10.

    • Doc Martin says:

      Garech the ignorant yahoos do not understand real music nor our homage to our beloved Sovereign, may she reign forever and ever Amen.