|Johann Strauss II in the Stadtpark|
With my own writing projects in mind, I visited as many Johann Strauss and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart destinations as possible, and I was lucky enough to catch a tour of the famous Vienna State Opera House. This enormous building opened in 1869 with a performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni which Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth ("Sisi") attended.
|The Opera at night|
|The Opera's fountain|
|Inside the opera house|
And then there's Johann Strauss II. Standing in below for JS is André Rieu at Schönbrunn Palace.
|Johann Strauss II, "The Waltz King"|
I had a Dickens of a time finding Johann Strauss's place. It's not well-marked and it's on the first floor which in Austria means up the first flight of steps. His apartment overlooks the Praterstrasse, a fashionable boulevard in the late 1800s when he lived there. I checked out his view and he could keep an eye on a good stretch of the Praterstrasse from his front room. The high-ceilinged rooms of the apartment are decked-out with memorabilia from his exciting life as Vienna's Waltz King. I saw newspaper articles about him, sheet music covers, a lock of his first wife's curly brown hair, his piano, and his violin in a fancy gold showcase. Listening stations are set up to provide the visitor with an audio experience, and all of the items are labeled...in German. The item that made the biggest impression on me was the death mask. That was Johann Strauss's exact face in that glass case! I was surprised to see his teeth under that big mustache of his--do teeth usually show in death masks? Creepy: his right eye was slightly open. Creepy. (Photographs inside were verboten, sorry. You'll have to imagine the creepy death mask.)
|The Stadtpark featuring the famous Johann Strauss II statue|
|The Kursalon in the Stadtpark|
Nearby is the Italian Renaissance Kursalon finished in 1867, where many Johann Strauss concerts were held. If you're looking for a venue for a big celebration, this could be your place.
I had time for one more visit on my last day in Vienna, so I chose the Mozarthaus, also known as the Figarohaus or MozartWohnung. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart figures prominently in one (or maybe two?) of my essays for the program and a course I'm putting together, so this visit was an efficient use of my time. This museum was much easier to find than the Strauss house, mainly because St. Stephen's Cathedral (its own subway stop) points right to it.
|St. Stephan's Cathedral at the upper left, and Mozarthaus at Domgasse 5 at center right (Thanks, Google Maps!)|
|Looking out Mozart's front door at the Blutgasse|