Monday, 24 December 2012

Scho Weihnochten

I taste as good as I look
Christmas in Austria is celebrated in the evening of the 24th so shortly I will be off for Weihnachtskarpfen, followed by Schnapps to take away the taste of the Buttermilch that was used to take away the taste of the festive bottom feeder. Should your festivities fall tomorrow then happy holidays and herzlichen Dank for reading my scribblings during 2012.

As for Wien, Intendanten across the board don’t care if you’ve been naughty or nice and so there are a number of alternatives to the endless  Nutcrackers. I’m adding some theatre to the list as this scene is amusingly oblivious to seasonal programming and there is some seriously good Regie to be seen. Highlights for the coming week include:

25th: On the first day of Christmas the Burgtheater gave to me a difficult choice between Hofmannsthal’s Elektra and Ibsen’s Ghosts (though I’ve heard better things about the Ibsen, a David Bösch production).

26th: The Wiener Staatsoper’s new Ariadne with FWM and a möstly philharmonisch Staatsopernorchester.
26th: Matthias Hartmann’s productions are so prone to horsing around that his work can seem empty when he eases off the shtick, but Viennese theatre legend Gert Voss is worth seeing in anything and so it’s returns only for this Uncle Vanya at the Akademietheater.

27th: At the Burgtheater, David Bösch’s departure point for Romeo and Juliet is merciless cynicism grounded in a tightly argued reading of the text, or auteur’s Shakespeare at its most fascinatingly dialectical; probably no coincidence that this is immeasurably more thought-provoking than any English-language production I’ve seen and at the same time too heretical for the UK. The two young leads are superb as well.

28th: Final performances of Mathis der Maler at the Theater an der Wien and Marco Arturo Marelli’s new Figaro at the Volksoper.

29th: As the Philharmoniker and FWM decamp to the Musikverein, Ariadne with Jeffrey Tate and the dregs of the Staatsopernorchester.

30th: For his Staatsoper debut, Cornelius Meister gets put to the Kapellmeister test with an unrehearsed Christmas Zauberflöte.

30th: Neujahrskonzert dry run at the Musikverein (also in the evening on the 31st), tickets should be obtainable at the Philharmoniker’s office even though the website says sold out.

31st: Fledermaus überall but at the Burgtheater, first night for a new production of Bernhard’s Der Ignorant und der Wahnsinnige (surely no coincidence...). At the Theater an der Wien, a screening of Stroheim
’s The Merry Widow with the Wiener KammerOrchester and an abridged score by Maud Nelissen, and over at Meidling’s Palais Kabelwerk the premiere of MarieLuise, a chamber opera by Gernot Schedlberger (produced by sirene Operntheater).


  1. Let a rather experienced cook tell you this:
    Karpfen is rather good when put to lent before hitting your plate: two weeks in crystal clear water will rid the fish of muddy flavor and unnecessary fat as well. Never do it Schnitzel-style, i.e. fried in bread crumbs, but the Serbian way with paprika and garlic.
    Goose is a traditional alternative to the Karpfen, but I gather you don't like that too much either ...
    Well, cooking magazines suggest all kinds of alternatives (like a white Christmas dinner starting with celery root soup and finishing with panna cotta), but the best and most nerve-saving idea is probably a platter with all kinds of cold cuts from your favorite deli and a choice of Austrian breads.

    That said, Snapdragon doesn't always stick to her own suggestions and opted for Kalbsrollbraten roasted on root vegetables, croquettes (from the freezer because she's no pretentious idiot and knows what she can do in the company of two children waiting for Christkind) and steamed vegetables.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Considering I just had to show up and eat the carp rather than prepare it, I should probably stop complaining... Was I also grouchy about goose at some point? I actually like it a lot but over here usually get my fix in November. Kalbsrollbraten sounds good, it's been a while since I had veal as I find schnitzelizing its flavour an awful waste, though the pink variety seems in every Kühlregal nowadays and isn't at all bad. I would hope that in our Bio-obsessed Land der Viehzucht the younger stuff is ethically produced (?) but I still have qualms...