Since we already had a one-night stopover in Vienna due to the flight connections, my colleague and I decided to stay an extra night to be able to explore the city better. And we did make the most of it. Sunday morning, we started the day with a lovely breakfast at a Viennese café that the menu referred to as “Viennese breakfast”, with coffee, soft-boiled eggs, rolls, jams, and croissants. After the breakfast, we took the metro out to the former imperial summer palace Schönbrunn where we first took a tour through the inside of the palace and then had a beautiful stroll through the park, before we sat down for lunch at the garden café in park. Despite an immense number of tourists, the place was very peaceful. The visit also triggered my interest in Empress Elisabeth, or Sisi, who with her independent and republican views seemed to have made quite an impression around Europe in the mid 19th century, and I ended up buying a biography about her to learn more.
Our next stop was the Albertina Museum where we, in addition to admiring the interior of the building, looked at a collection of Monet, Picasso, and Chagall mixed with other international and Austrian artists. I have to admit that I am not very familiar with Chagall’s work, but when I saw one of his paintings of a farm, The Kite, I immediately recognized the typical houses, fences, and carriages of the countryside of my former “home country” Moldova and the countries around. It turned out that Chagall was from Belarus and the painting pictured his childhood.
The most memorable part of the day for me was however watching my first opera at the Vienna Staatsoper. Ever since I was in high school, I wanted to some day see a performance at the opera house in Vienna. It wasn’t exactly a dream but it was something that I wanted to have done in my life. I know a lot of people that appreciate opera much more than I do. I rarely remember arias and often don’t really understand the story, and I rarely like all singers’ voices. But for some reason, I really like to go and see an opera a few times per year. The performance of the evening was Alcina by Händel. The music was fantastic and the singers amazing, and I am really glad I went! I also realized that one of the few solo recordings that I have done (Händel’s Verdi Prati) is an area from this opera, though I have to admit that the mezzo soprano singing it in Vienna took the high notes with a lot more ease than I do!
At the opera entrance
I promised my colleague (who didn’t come with me to the opera) to have someone take a picture of me as a memory