Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sissi did a runner

Sissi just cannot believe that we would be cruel enough to put the net back.

Early on Friday morning Sissi disappeared over the balcony and didn’t come home.

I went up onto the roof on three separate occasions and walked all around the walkways. There was no sign of her at all – but I did see that it is possible for her to get onto the roof of the apartments next door.

At about 7:00 O’clock Cate suggested that we try to go into the apartments next door and ask the people on the top floor if they had seen Sissi.

The door was locked so we went to go into Pizzeria Grado – which is in the same building – and saw a sign outside saying ‘Schwartze Katze Gefunden’.

Sissi had been found and had been sent to the Tierschutzhaus – from whence she was rescued on Friday morning after a long and tense trip.

This caused us immense consternation and Sissi has been grounded.

The net is back in place and Sissi will be chipped forthwith – and will also have a collar and tag.
Clearly she cannot be trusted to wander around on her own and henceforth will not be permitted to leave the balcony.

We went to the Staatsoper on Saturday night to see Faust. This was in fact the first time we have been there – one of the problems being of course that the ticket prices would stun a very rich Mammoth.

However Annie pawned her mother’s jewellery and bought tickets for all of us so along we went.

We were up in the balcony which was quite good. I good see the right hand side of the stage when the man in front moved to his left – (which he did not do very often) – so most of the action seem to take place out of view.

This guy was of a certain age and needs to come to grips with the fact that he is almost bald - apart from some long tufts. Just because you can grow some hair long doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if you use it to try to cover up the bald spots elsewhere. This is not a good look. He needs to face reality and get a Number 1.

I was going to mention this to him but I find that men sometimes take this kind of advice badly as they firmly believe that covering their bald patches with tufts of hair actually works and that they don't in fact look like entrants in the 'I'm bald and I won't admit it competition' - and as I was wedged tightly into my seat at the time I would not have been able to get out of the way if he had – for example – gone berserk.

The seats are those where people with long legs (all of us in fact) could not sit facing forwards (in fact there would have been no point as we were not facing the stage) but have to sit on an angle. This means that one buttock takes the brunt of the load and after the first four hours starts to create havoc.

I did however have an excellent view of the man who played the cymbals in the orchestra. (I could only see three members of the orchestra – but could hear them all quite well). He left at the beginning of Act 5 and did not return for 20 minutes – I hope they docked his pay for that.

Cymbalist would certainly be my choice of jobs in any orchestra – he only works during Crescendos and the rest of the time he stares into space or plays with his iPhone.

The Opera was in French but we had little screens in front of us so that we could watch the Libretto in English. The language was very flowery and I would have cut most of it out and retained the essential elements of the story (whatever that was - I never did come to grips with it but at some stage a guy called Méphistophélès stabbed someone or something to death at stage left - being at stage left I couldn’t see what he or she or it was).

Also – I don’t think you can really tell a story properly if you have to sing every line – who does that in real life? And there were no catchy tunes – not once was I tapping my feet during the entire performance. This guy would have be marched out of the Brill Building in two weeks.

I reckon he should have done a collaboration with, say, Cliff Richard. Cliff was around in 1859 (he was very young but was clearly a child prodigy and could have written the score).

The people in front of us were watching their screens in German so I focused on comparing the English and German translations and managed to convince myself by the end of the Opera (5 Acts – Spare me!) that I will never speak German properly and will forever speak it like a drunken half wit with a speech impediment.

At half time I bought half a bottle of champagne (€55) which kept me thinking about grim things for a while and I was starting to wriggle a bit by the end as the seats were not too comfortable and we were up so high I was suffering from oxygen deprivation. I was waiting for masks to drop down from the roof but this never happened.

We escaped after 76 curtain calls – it must have been a pretty good performance as there was lots of screaming and shouting for some of the singers (some of whom I saw for the first time when they stood in the middle of the stage at the end of the show).

And what about the conductor! He gets applause before he even starts! What sort of incentive is that for a good performance?


  1. Have you ever been to a performance where the conductor left without ever picking up his baton because nobody applauded when he appeared on stage? The Viennese probably are suffering from conductor abandonment traumata, I am sure. Doctor Freud would know. Or Karajan (wait, wasn't he the guy who left in a huff?).

    May I thank you for supporting the caterer. Paying 55 Euros for half a bottle of champagne makes it possible for me to pay only 5 Euros for a sip of mountain spring water!


  2. -

    I am truly sorry you had to go through that humiliating experience to retrieve Sissi. Please consider the bright side: The real Sissi would go abroad, to the island of Korfu (quick, hide any Sissi biography you may have around the house!).


  3. Maybe I missed something. I thought that Sissi had worked out how to climb over the net?

    Don't suppose they do any Gilbert & Sullivan in Vienna:(
    But at least you had an English translation:)

    If half a bottle of champagne cost €55, I hate to think how much it cost to liberate Sissi.

  4. i think you should put 5 nets up. better still just weld the doors shut and never go out on the balcony ever again.

  5. We have lots of Sissi biographies - but our Sissi cannot read (English anyway - she may have a smattering of German)- and she can't turn the pages - she gets distracted and eats them instead.

    Yes - but its is pure mountain spring water - we tasted some in Dachstein and it is delicious - and is worth every Euro.

    No Sissi cannot climb over the net - she can only go through gaps - of which there are now zero.

    It cost 65 Euro to spring Sissi from the Cat Slammer.

    Even if Sissi does get out now she is chipped and tagged. I have also tied a very long piece if string to her back leg....