Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Mozart's Musical Cities-Salzburg, Vienna, Prague-October 2006

Salzburg-Pedestrian Square

Dom Zu Salzburg

St. Peter Stiftskeller

Mozart's Musical Cities: Salzburg, Vienna and Prague­­­---October 2006

I flew on Lufthansa non-stop to Munich in Germany, where our very affable and competent tour director met us, and we went by coach to Salzburg, Austria.


We attended 2 Mozart concerts and an organ recital.... 5 magnificent organs in Dom Zu Salzburg (The Cathedral of Salzburg). The 5th organ was the largest and the most beautiful that I have seen. Another concert was a candlelight dinner concert at the centuries-old St. Peter Stiftskeller, the oldest restaurant in Central Europe. We were entertained with Mozart opera skits performed by 5 musicians and 2 singers. Another concert was at the majestic Mozarteum, one of the world’s most beautiful concert halls. Another evening we had dinner in the most unusual restaurant that I have ever dined at, called Carpe Diem, which means Seize the Day. It was truly an experience. I am having too much difficulty with this European keyboard to describe it further at this time.


A local guide provided a city tour featuring the Old Town and the baroque Main Square, one of Europe’s largest open squares. We viewed the Mozarthaus, where Mozart composed his Linz Symphony, and the new cathedral, Austria’s largest. We visited St. Martin’s Church, founded in 799.


Sunday night we dined at a theme restaurant, the truly unique Marchfelderhof, obviously designed for tourists; however, there was continuous music with a pianist alternating playing with 2 strolling violinists, and to my delight I had the opportunity to waltz with a professional entertainer. Last evening we attended the ballet Eugene Onegin at the Vienna State Opera House. Both the performance and the venue were absolutely magnificent. The following day on a walking tour we visited St. Stephen’s Cathedral, location of Mozart’s wedding and funeral, the Mozart Memorial, and the Graben, where Mozart lived the last ten years of his life. Then we visited the Mozarthaus where he composed the famous Marriage of Figaro. That night we dined at a local restaurant followed by a special concert in the Orangerie Concert Hall of the Schoenbrunn Palace, the opulent summer home of the Habsburg family, the very hall where Mozart entertained at the royal court. This was also the site of the “musical contest” between Mozart and the composer Salieri. Our tour director gave each of us a CD of music performed by the Schloss Schönbrunn Orchester, concluding with the Radetzky Marsch (March).


En route to Prague we visited Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, a charming, medieval town. Prague has more than 500 towers and steeples. We visited the 1,000-year old Hradcany Castle, the former Royal Palace, and walked down the 100 steps. We visited the imposing St. Vitus Cathedral. We walked over the 14th century Charles Bridge, one of Prague’s most characteristic sights with its 16 arches and 30 statues. We enjoyed a backstage tour and private concert at the Estates Theatre, beautifully restored, where Mozart first performed his masterpiece Don Giovanni. We explored the Old Town Square; we viewed Tyn Church and its magnificent towers, the unique Astronomical Clock, St. Nicholas Cathedral and the Town Hall. We visited Prague’s Jewish Museum. It was extremely moving to view the drawings of the children who were sequestered in Terezina and the names of those who perished painted on the walls. We visited the historic cemetery. Founded in 1478, it is Europe’s oldest surviving Jewish cemetery. One evening we attended a performance of Verdi’s Nabucco in the magnificent Prague State Opera House.  

Prague-contemporary places of interest

This was certainly a trip for music lovers. Throughout my séjour the weather was ideal: rather chilly mornings, warming up by noontime with lots of sunshine, not a drop of rain the entire time.

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