By Anna Gibbs
To ensure that the enjoyment of opera is open to Viennese from all walks of life, the Vienna State Opera House is set to remove its roof for this Saturday’s matinee performance of ‘Mademoiselle Dragonfly’. Passers-by, as well as the city’s poorest school children who will be invited to climb little ladders and sit on the rim of the by-then roofless opera house – should hopefully be able to experience an art form they otherwise might not have had access to.
Our lead reporter for Uncommon and Theatrical yet Surprisingly Positive Events (due to the inclusion of the word ‘positive’, she is often out of work and therefore has a side job as an aeronautical engineer to make ends meet), Cecelia Matthews interviewed the manager of the House, Georgia Hetherington about the logistics of this attempt.
‘In order to literally open up this art form to others, I imagine that this will involve several issues in its realisation?’ Matthews put to Hetherington. Hetherington, an eccentric character who only wears midnight blue (except on Tuesdays), and is never seen without her pet lizard, Hermann, was more than enthusiastic to answer our questions.
‘Well, of course, our main issue will be the high possibility of pigeon droppings into the rather old opera theatre, not to mention the roof possibly falling on the poor children along with nosy helicopter pilots. We’ve also had to install microphones and speakers in the square outside, meaning that this may interrupt pretentious café goers who are staring across the square whilst stirring coffees which do not actually require any stirring.’
‘However,’ continues Hetherington, ‘we believe that the sharing of the extraordinary voice of the opera rising star, Florence Ivans, as well as the increased drama for those walking to work to the sound of ‘Mademoiselle Dragonfly’, will outweigh the logistical challenges and the cost. This is not even to mention the unmissable opportunity for poor children to skip lessons to drop sherbet pomegranate sweets on the heads of the wealthy sitting below whilst pretending to watch the opera. Plus, we have insurance.’
Photograph: Anna Gibbs