Organ Concert


Accidentally wandered into the Peterskirche today just in time for a free organ concert. An organist named Henriette Nagy performed about forty minutes worth of Bach, Galuppi, Muffat and a few other things. I would not call it the most exciting or virtuoso organ performance that I have ever witnessed – it felt a little blurry and imprecise – but it was free, and it’s fun to hear an organ being played in a big baroque church. And also I think it was ultimately a kind of high-end busking session; they are attempting to restore/repair the organ. As far as busking goes this certainly beats those dudes who hang out with saxophones at the 66th St. subway station after anything at Lincoln Center and play the first eight bars or so of one of the big tunes over and over. I’ve thought about offering one of them $20 if they promise to play the entire goddamn song from beginning to end with no stopping or loops but I’ve never quite dared.


10 thoughts on “Organ Concert

  1. I love those happenstance events. How fun! Meanwhile, I would pay some street musicians to just stop playing for five minutes!


    1. Word. The guys in the subway near the Met at least usually get the tunes right, and the tunes themselves are nice – which cannot be said for a lot of other street musicians.


  2. I drop in on those Peterskirche Orgelkonzerte from time to time and give a few euros. The organists tend to be OK or actually more than OK (I speak as one), and do their best to battle with a clapped-out instrument (workmen, blame and tools, I know – but with organs the truism doesn’t hold up). I don’t think they are paid for this at all either, which is admirable on their part and shameful on the Catholic Church’s. In Austria I don’t see the Church exactly lacking in funds to renovate beautiful instruments.

    Do I remember correctly that you mentioned trying out the Stehplätze for the Staatsoper Cenerentola? I plan to go myself on the 23rd. If that’s your planned date and you want to say hi, then by all means get in touch. No worries if otherwise, I can just offer unsolicited advice in your comments section instead, i.e. get there in good time! Be orderly! Take a scarf to mark your place on the lower black bar! etc 😉


    1. I’m not going to La Cenerentola, but I’ll be at Tristan und Isolde on the 21st and Fidelio on the 22nd. I would love to say hi if our opera-going schedules permit, but if not, unsolicited advice is always welcome 🙂

      (One question – does the opera house have a dress code? I couldn’t find anything about it on the website, but a friend of mine who was in Vienna a few years back said she was asked to change because she was wearing jeans. I’m not planning on wearing jeans, but if there are any written/unwritten rules, I don’t want to break them)


    2. I was talking to an oncologist at a seminar last Friday and she said that she and her husband regularly took a week’s vacation in Vienna and took advantage of the 3 euro tickets at the opera. Are they really only 3 euros? I thought our $12 standing room tickets were about as good as it gets.


      1. I saw Fidelio and the new Tristan in recent runs, so am skipping those. Will you be seeing Lazarus at all? I’m probably going on Friday.

        No dress code for the Staatsoper, and on a repertory night you’ll see more people in jeans than black tie. The only time I saw somebody turned away was at Lohengrin a few years ago, for boardshorts and flip-flops (right at the end of the season and during one of those humid central European heatwaves, so the dude had my sympathy). This made me wary about risking shorts for hot weather, though I gave in when Salzburg broke 40C this summer – albeit attending Gawain in Lederhosen shorts, which ironically counts for dressing up at the Salzburg Festival.

        John, yep, it’s 3Eur for Gallery and Balcony standing. Orchestra standing is 4Eur and offers a great view. Regulars can also get a voucher booklet with 50 Gallery tickets for 80Eur, making it 1.60 (!) per performance if you use them all, usually by sharing with a spouse or friend. Standing in Vienna is quite a colourful experience; it attracts, let’s say, ‘characters’. There’s one man pushing 90 who’s stood for Capriccio ever since its Viennese premiere.


        1. I’m actually off to Lazarus this evening – still a bit jetlagged, so hoping I’ll stay awake.

          That’s a relief about the dress code; I didn’t bring anything too fancy, but I can do better than flip flops and shorts!


        2. I quite like the standing experience at the FSC but I think I’ll be doing less of it as I am now getting comps for most openings. I did stand at the ballet the other night though. That booklet thing sounds like an amazing deal. Do you have any tips on ticket acquisition strategies for the Berlin houses? I’m planning a trip there next winter.


  3. I don’t really have any Berlin tips, except to say that it offers the most pain-free opera tourism of pretty much anywhere in my experience. Prices for the KOB, Staatsoper & DOB top out at around 80Eur, 84Eur & 90Eur respectively (for primas etc that upper limit is higher, but often it’s lower too). Performances don’t sell as fast as Vienna either. I book online, usually quite late, and so far that’s worked out successfully & inexpensively. The Staatsoper’s Easter Festtage are an exception, very pricey (250Eur+) and next year’s operas are all sold out already. I’m not sure what the ticket situation was like for the current Netrebko/Domingo Trovatore either, obviously it’s sold out, and I guess quickly too. But still very good availability for the DOB and Staatsoper NPs of La Damnation de Faust and Káťa, which are coming up in February already. That does seem to be the norm for anything not involving Trebs, Kaufmann or Thielemann.

    From my perspective (often in Germany for work, but usually at 2-4 weeks notice) it compares very favourably to the Bay Staats and their advance booking which has to be submitted 3 months in advance if you want the slightest chance of anything.


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