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.
She 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.