Our first night on the town, Mac and I went to see Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” at the Staatsoper. A wonderful modern but not overly minimalist production. I forgot how incredibly sexist and racist this libretto was/is, but we can still rejoice that Pamina is initiated in the end. The Masonic ritual was poignant to me, thinking of my father’s receiving his 33rd degree in Masonry just a few months before his death. There were also some hilarious bits of stage business and Inszenierung. And the singing was glorious, especially the Queen of the Night, Olga Pudova! High F’s like bell tones. Best of all, we got to see this production conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, who was amazing. For photos of the production see http://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/Content.Node/home/spielplan/Spielplandetail.en.php?eventid=1465602&month=&year=#. A very nice patron next to us took it upon herself to give us a little tour of the opera house, including the newer sections completed in 1955 after the building was damaged by (our) bombs in WWII, and this photo shows part of the original building from the 1880’s. The two styles are distinctly different, both opulent, but the older portion in the more ornate historische style and the new portion an elegant 1950’s streamlined version of the same features.