Vienna Opera House

On our last day in Vienna we took an excellent tour of the Opera House. This elegant building was built in 1869, and re-opened in 1955 following restoration after devastation caused during World War II. It is one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world.exterior Vienna Opera House main staircase, Vienna Opera House column top, Vienna Opera House ceiling in Vienna Opera House cherub detail, Vienna Opera House beautiful room, Vienna Opera HouseThe back stage area of the opera house is HUGE, with all the most up-to-date equipment. I really love seeing behind the scenes areas of buildings and this was interesting. Every year there is an Opera Ball, and the opera house is transformed, including the back stage area. In a promotional photo of the event you can see how the space looks. All the seats on the main floor are removed for the evening. What a production! People come from around the world to attend this ball, deemed the epitome of ball culture. Ticket prices start at 230 Euros, and I think these ticket holders are only allowed to watch. Tickets for the 186 couples who dance are much, much more expensive, and sell out years in advance.backstage, Vienna Opera Houseopera ball photo, Vienna Opera HouseDuring our tour the stage was set for a performance and people seemed to be working on prop placement. There was a room with some lovely stone inlay mosaic pieces and gorgeous woven tapestries. So much to see! There were many tours running concurrently in various languages but our guide was able to give a lot of information and answer questions. Tours only run on specific days, so you need to check the schedule when you visit. I would recommend this tour as part of your Vienna visit.rehearsal on stage, Vienna Opera House seating, Vienna Opera House tapestry panel, Vienna Opera House stone mosaic, Vienna Opera House central area of Vienna Opera House central area, Vienna Opera House portico ceiling, Vienna Opera HouseAs a side note: A recent episode of the t.v. series “Covert Affairs” was filmed in Vienna, with scenes in the Opera House!

Kunsthistorisches Museum

This enormous magnificent art history museum is too wonderful for words. So take a look a few of my favorite views.exterior, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria entry til floor, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria museum entry space, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria dome ceiling, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria stairwell ceiling, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria entry stairway, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria exhibit rooms, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria exhibit space ceiling, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria exhibit room, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria exhibit room, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria exhibit room ceiling, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria exhibit space, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria central space, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria beautiful ceiling,  Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria exhibit space, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria restaurant, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria under the dome, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria exhibit room, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria Egyptian room, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Austria Egyptian room, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, AustriaI did look at the artwork – honestly – and there were some amazing items on display. But with a space like this, I didn’t really need anything special. It was. After several hours I was unable to take in another thing. Across the park space in front of the museum sits another identical looking building – the Museum of Natural History. Next time I’m in Vienna, that’s where I’m going. Want to come along?

More Fabulous Vienna Museums

Here’s a smattering of some of the extraordinary museums I saw in Vienna. All of these deserved more time and there are lots more museums to visit. They will have to wait for another visit to Austria.

The Vienna Secession building was small but absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately the limited exhibit space was closed because they were setting up an exhibition. I missed seeing the Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt. Most disappointing, but this can happen when you have limited time to visit a city. I love the large mosaic planter bowls next to the stairs.Secession building, Vienna, Austriamosaic planter, Secession building, Vienna, Austria detail of Secession building, Vienna, AustriaNext up was the Leopold Museum – in the museums quartier. There were too many galleries to see, but we enjoyed work by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt (what self-respecting Austrian museum doesn’t have a Klimt?), Andy Warhol and many others. The exterior was somewhat industrial looking, but the interior was elegant and modern. Here’s a taste of the museum:

photo courtesy of Leopold Museum website

photo courtesy of Leopold Museum website

Leopold entry hall Egon SchieleOne of my favorite exhibits was Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds. The dark-colored room had 4 huge fans mounted near the ceiling, and large silver mylar pillows bounced and floated around the room. I sat and enjoyed the kinetic energy for some time. Andy WarholAustralian artist Dietrich Wegner created this mushroom cloud-like tree house. It was quite amazing and slighty unsettling. On the wall behind is part of a series of 1,000 landscape cloud photos taken around the world by Olivier Masmonteil. I was attracted to the mosaic-like quality.

used plastic bags close up view of framed art display, Leopold Museum, ViennaAlmost next door to the Leopold is MUMOK, the Museum of Modern Art. This museum wasn’t on our list for the day, but we were right next door and the building looked intriguing. I was not disappointed with the building or the art.MUMOK, Vienna, Austria gift shop and restaurant, MUMOK, Vienna, Austria art exhibit, MUMOK, Vienna, Austria interior, MUMOK, Vienna, Austria interior view, MUMOK, Vienna, Austria Scarecrow by Paul Klee, MUMOK, Vienna, Austriaart at MUMOK, Vienna, Austria art at MUMOK, Vienna, Austria

That is all for this post. My last museum is so big and so fantastic that I need another post. I’m actually exhausted from going through photos and reliving the museum visits. At least this time my feet aren’t sore!

PS See more of Paul Klee’s work at this site.

Vienna museums – oh my!

Vienna – a city of culture with museums galore. Fabulous museums. Too many to see in just a week. But I think we did a good job with the days we spent, and I have the photos to prove it.  The first museum we visited was the Belvedere. The Belvedere Museum is located in the Belvedere Palaces which – renowned Baroque landmarks, with exhibitions in the orangery and stables as well.  I enjoyed seeing work by Gustav Klimt, including his famous painting “The Kiss”. This photo from Wikipedia, since you really couldn’t take photos in the galleries.

The Kiss by Gustav KlimtThe art was amazing, and the buildings were breath-taking. My favorite exhibit was a temporary one which featured the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, an artist I have admired for many years. The palace grounds were beautiful and they enhanced the excellent museum experience. Unfortunately there was a “no photos” policy inside, so my photos were VERY limited. Belvedere - upper palace sculpture entry hall Belvedere interior - Belvedereview from Belvedere PalaceHunterwasser Belvedere - lower palace

The next day we set out to see more museums – an easy task in Vienna. First up was the Albertina, partially situated in a Hapsburg Residential Palace. As usual in Europe, the building is stunning. The artwork is incredible. The Albertina houses the largest and most valuable graphical collections in the world, as well as significant collections of Impressionist and early 20th century art . You can read all about it online, I can show you a few photos but you really should see it for yourself if possible.Albertina sign Albertina exterior Albertina entry palace room 2 palace room 3 palace room palace room palace room detail palace roomThere was an exceptional show of large prints by Gunter Damisch. I took a few photos before I realized there were no photos allowed in this particular exhibit. I hope it’s alright to share a peak. Each print was about 4′ x 6′. Very impressive. I purchased a book on Gunter’s work, with photos of the actual printing process. Since I prefer working in something smaller, like 4″ x 6″, it is interesting to see how very large prints are done.Gunter Damisch exhibit work by Gunter DamischHere are a few other gems from the museum – two by Claude Monet and two by Paul Signac.

Claude Monet - House Among the Roses Claude Monet - The Water Lily Pond Paul Signat - Venice the Pink Cloiud Paul Signat - detail of Venice, the Pink Cloud Paul Signat - Antibes the TowersI must save the rest of the museums for another post. This blogging is very time-consuming, and I need to get some sleep. Hope you enjoyed what you’ve seen so far.