Day 23: The Hills are Alive…

Yesterday’s travel ended me in Von Trapp land. Out of curiosity, I googled it and got not only the history of the family from the Sound of Music fame, but also its website for their mountain resort in Vermont. I was just researching some places to stay for my upcoming Fall Foliage tour of New England and thought I’d check it out. The rooms start at $399, so I decided to pass this time around.

Back to the ranch in the Austrian Alps. Salzburg is jammed with tourists, not just for the festival, but for its stunning beauty. This small little town around the size and shape of Sausalito is having a hard time keeping up with demand. Nevertheless, it draws a huge crowd every year for this annual musical event. It is laden with big names for opera and classical music. All my favorites are here, and I can see Jonas Kaufmann, the new Andrea Bocelli-like opera divan (is that the male version of a diva?!?)

Today, the Vienna Philharmonic, Ricardo Muti and Anne Sophie Mutter are sold out. The program includes Tsaichovsky’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, and Brahms Symphony #2. I felt very smug to have ordered tickets before they were issued last year. It was so thrilling to see Mutter. Like others, I was sweating from holding my breath at the end. She was enrapturing and you could hear a pin drop as she reached a series of crescendos. She partnered with Muti to lead the orchestra as well as play beyond perfection.

IMG_7761She eventually earned a standing ovation, but not because the audience wasn’t sure. In true European style, the audience very deliberately withheld letting her know that they approved of her performance. And, in reply, she responded with a delayed second piece. Do you know how hard it is to get European audiences out of their seats? Unlike the Americans who are easy to please, the Europeans are very grudging with their compliments. You have to really earn your stars here.

Well, the well-healed (no typo, I mean there is alot of spa time going into this crowd) got up on their feet and gave her an ovation you would not believe. Maybe that was the reason for the delay. But that’s after they spend three minutes stamping their Bruno Maglis on the hard floor. Anne was lovely and gracious as could be. This was her kind of crowd, honed to perfection themselves. You could tell this was a huge honor to her.

Other observations of this thrilling performance…there are strictly Tattinger-sponsored champagne breaks here…no beer and pretzels. The Austrians tastefully dress to convey their age-appropriate super-wealthy reserved style. I think of myself as reasonably self-aware in my black concert dress but I felt like a slob. The 11:00am Sunday performance (ok let’s miss church today) gave the older crowd (hey, that’s me too) at least 12 hours sleep beforehand to stay awake, so everyone was frisky.


The aftermath of the concert consisted of weaving my way through the fleet of 30+ Audi S8s in front ready to whisk patrons away to an after-event. I looked for my name but they were only by number. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to retrieve the code beforehand.

6 thoughts on “Day 23: The Hills are Alive…”

  1. Beautifully written. Thank you, Vicky. My friend Isabelle Harnoncourt should be there as she is one of the organizers and related to the famous conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt . If by any chance you see her, please introduce yourself and say Hi! She is great. Cannot wait to read your next blog :):):)

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    1. I am still in SD. Working on more paperwork than I would want to !! As soon as I am done I would like to go to Turkey and come back. I saw the PDF version of Beethoven’s Op.130 for String Quartet the other day. I was impressed how he marked with an astonishing attention to detail all the subtle gradations of each notes and how he triggered kaleidoscopic changes in each movement just by mastering the details. I decided to use it as a driving force for my own never ending “paperwork” so that at least I can enjoy the experience 🙂

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      1. Funny you should mention Beethoven. After Fidelio, he’s my new Favorite composer. Even though Jonas couldnt keep up with him. I think I know what you mean by his detail. Losing one sense sharpens all of the others, so I’m sure his eyes more than made up for his ears. As for the paperwork, if you worked in Russia you would be doing 5 times the amount. Hopefully that will inspire you–it could be worse! Is there any chance we could overlap in Europe somewhere? We had talked about that. I’m here until 9/22, at least another month.

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  2. Vicky: I’m sure you were very elegant in your little black dress. And these black Audis are so dépassées…you could Trump them in one one move by showing up in a black Uber. DC

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    1. I am seriously considering overhauling my wardrobe as well as my display of wealth-Austrian style. Everyone is fit as a fiddle and have beautifully honed complexions. It must be all that saddle leather they use. Unfortunately, my location doesn’t show up on Uber. I have been trying to figure out how to get back to the hotel after one of the opera performances ends close to Midnite. It’s only a mile or so away and very safe so I guess I’ll have to strut my stuff.

      Otherwise, I’ve been taking the bus everywhere in town and it has been great. I took the bus today 20 minutes outside of town to buy a new cable for my computer. It blew up on the old adaptor and I needed it for the rest of the trip. Quite an adventure getting there and back in the rain.
      As for the Audis…what’s not to dream??? They looked evil and exquisite, just like a car ad. Oh! it was a car ad! Naughty, naughty!!

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