Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wiener Blut

Last Tuesday I was fortunate enough to have the chance to see what Brother Minert referred to as the Austrian, “operetta of all operettas”: Wiener Blut (Viennese Blood). Going into it, I thought it was going to be a show with lots of war (and therefore blood) in Vienna. After the show I came to realize that it is meant more in the sense of the Viennese spirit rather than literal blood.
After a bit of confusion (not knowing that the Volkstheater and the Volksoper were two different things and subsequently showing up in the wrong place) I was able to get to the Schottentor U-bahn stop and take the Strassenbahn to the Volksoper. For the first minute or so I thought I would have to rely on the characters portrayals of the story to find out what was going on because, of course, it was on in German. After further observance of my surroundings, however, I found a screen with English translations mercifully placed above the stage.
The storyline was that of typical musical dramas. There was a married man with a mistress (or two) who tried in vain to keep his lovers in ignorance of one another. There were more lead males than females, and of course there was that character who seems to be thrown in merely for comic relief.
While the overall themes and storyline didn’t seem new to me as an experienced dramatic performer, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the musical talent. Because their theater in Vienna is taken very seriously, I assume every show has a live orchestra of professional musicians. This show definitely fit the bill.
The vocal talent was quite amazing as well. The first female character we meet, Franziska Caliari, sings very impressive soprano notes from the get-go. I envy the way talented performers such as this can reach each note with such ease and can therefore devote all of their attention to their character development because they don’t have to worry so much about how their voice sounds. She seemed to be everything I wish I could be in a performer and I think this, along with her character’s defiance and unwillingness to back down, made her my favorite character.
All other performers did a very good job and I enjoyed the varied elements that each brought to the show.
I thought the story was well written and entertaining but I didn’t much care for the predictable “Everybody wins” ending. But this may be due to my love of shows such as, “Les Mis” or “Once on This Island,” where the ending might not seem ideal.

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