Thursday, March 13, 2014

Everything Old...

...seems, in Vienna, to be if not exactly new again, then at least very much with us.

For example, among the divertissements available to the discerning on offer here tomorrow are such treats as Die Fledermaus at the the Volksoper, Eugene Onegin at the Staatsoper, and a performance of the new rock operetta based on the old Lunt-Fontanne chestnut The Visit of the Old Lady.  All perfectly standard evenings out in a cultured capital like this - but I can't help thinking that the most interesting audience is going to be at a very different event, which I saw announced on a handbill in the window of an antique shop not far from where I took the evocative snap above:  a memorial mass celebrating the life of Her Majesty, the Empress and Queen Zita, on the 25th anniversary of her death, to be held tomorrow in the Capuchin Church below which all that remains of that lady is interred.

Past and present (Zita, after all, ceased to be either Empress or Queen in the most technical of senses in 1918) clash constantly here.  The city's favorite star remains Zita's predecessor, the ill-fated Elisabeth, and Sissi's husband is still very much a presence in the city, infinitely more so than any rule (but one, but he's never seen) who's held sway in the 98 years since Franz Joseph also went to the Kapuzinerkirche.  We see him here in both bronze and polychrome, looking characteristically benevolent in both.

Unfortunately, I will be unable to join the celebrants at Zita's mass, as I'll be winding up my week here at work, an unfortunately proletarian necessity. I'm sure she'd understand.


  1. Franz Joseph looked very much like Weihnachtsmann in his later years, but he was a beautiful youth. *If* Albrecht Adams didn’t pretty him up…such pouty lips for a soldier!

  2. The late Emperor aside, those heroic statuettes of lissom youths at the back of the antiques on display caught my eye... Jx