One of the toughest tickets in town is to see the Vienna Philharmonic (Wiener Philharmoniker) – and in typical Viennese style, obtaining tickets is a mysterious process known only to locals, or it involves paying exhorbitant sums of money to third party providers – at least, this has been my experience so far. Unlike most other shows, who by now have at least some form of online purchasing (though inevitably not for the best seats or at the best times), for the Philharmonic it completely depends. Sometimes you have to call, sometimes you have to write, sometimes you have to send a fax (to which no one will reply). Usually, to get tickets, you pretty much have to be a subsciber and the wait is currently averaging about 13 years. And you can forget the New Year’s Day concert – best to stream it in from NPR.
All of that to say that I was overjoyed when the Vienna City Marathon made seats available for the Philharmonic’s performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony – which I’ve always wanted to see live….the sweeping vocals, the timpani clashes, the grandess of the ensemble bring back a mixed bag of visuals including my wedding recessional and a Clockwork Orange.
The catch for these tickets is that they were to a rehearsal (which, incidentally, was never specified by the Marathon organizers) so it was a bit strange to walk in, all dressed up for the show, to see the full orchestra and choir in jeans and sweat shirts, but it ended up being a delightful experience, full of starting and stopping and the Conductor’s encouragement and frustrations. Currently Christian Thielemaan is recording all 9 cycles of Beethoven’s symponies for CD and DVD – and now we can say we were part of it. Bravo!
Photos of the beautiful Konzerthaus Wien – and an indication of what the Philharmonic would have been wearing if we had procured real tickets!
All photos from the Vienna City Marathon