Der Fluch [The Curse] (1925) + Gabriela Montero

Der Fluch
Director: Robert Land
Writer: Walter ReischErnst Weizmann
Cast: Oscar Beregi Sr.Lilian Harvey, Ferdinand BonnAlbert HeineAnny HornikReinhold HäussermannRia JászonyiAnton Pointner
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Gabriela Montero
Seen on: 10.10.2017
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Plot:
Jehuda (Oscar Beregi Sr.) impresses the young Lea (Anny Hornik) and Lea’s devout father Esra (Albert Heine) agrees to their engagement. But before they can actually get married, Jehuda falls for Rahel (Ria Jászonyi) and not caring much for Lea, leaves her. Heartbroken Lea commits suicide. Esra confronts Jehuda and curses him, but Jehuda is unwilling to contemplate his part in the tragedy for many years.

Der Fluch didn’t really work for me. While it was interesting to get an authentic look at a Jewish settlement from a pre-World War 2 time, nothing else about the film really managed to convince me.

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Portugal. The Man (Support: Steaming Satellites)

Portugal. The Man gave a concert in the Gasometer in Vienna. Their supporting band was Steaming Satellites.
Seen on: 17.9.2017

I was hesitant about going to this concert, mostly because I thought it would be incredibly decadent to go to two concerts on one weekend. But finally I caved because not only had I been obsessively listening to Portugal. The Man’s new album, Steaming Satellites are also among my favorite Austrian bands – and to get them in one package was too much to pass up. And it was a good decision indeed – I really wouldn’t have wanted to meet either concert as they were both great.

Portugal. The Man

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GLOBAL 2000 Birthday Party 2017

Global 2000 is an Austrian environmental NGO. For their 35th birthday as an organization, they organized a little festival with various bands that I attended on September 16, 2017.

I learned about this concert because I heard from my sister that Jeremy Loops was great and that he would be playing in Austria. I listened to his music and liked it, then I started listening to Grossstadtgeflüster and liked them, too, and since I already knew that I liked Attwenger that decided it for me: I’d definitely go there. And it was an excellent decision as it was a great show.

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Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus
Director: Blanche McIntyre
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: David Troughton, Patrick Drury, Nia Gwynne, Martin Hutson, Marcello Walton, Hannah Morrish, Jon Tarcy, Kristin Atherton, Sean Hart, Tom Lorcan, Anthony Ofoegbu, Stefan Adegbola, Joseph Adelakun, Tom McCall, William Bliss, Amber James
Seen on: 9.8.2017

CN: rape and a whole lot of violence

Plot:
Titus (David Troughton) returns home after waging a brutal war which cost him his children. He finds that he is expected to take over as emperor, which he’s actually not interested in doing. What he wants is to exact revenge on the Goth queen Tamora (Nia Gwynne) and her three sons, all four of them his prisoners. But revenge only brings more revenge.

This production of Titus Andronicus uses a modern setting for Shakespeare’s bloodiest play and at times this falls into the category of trying too hard. Given that the play itself also isn’t really my thing, this made for mixed feelings during the performance.

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Angels in America

Angels in America – Part One: The Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika
Director: Marianne Elliott
Writer: Tony Kushner
Cast: James McArdle, Andrew Garfield, Russell Tovey, Denise Gough, Susan Brown, Nathan Lane, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett
Seen on: 20. and 27.7.2017

Plot:
It’s the 80s and the AIDS crisis is in full swing. Louis Ironson (James McArdle) just found out that his boyfriend Prior Walter (Andrew Garfield) is infected and he doesn’t know how to deal. Joe Pitt (Russell Tovey) also isn’t able to deal: as a Mormon and a Republican and married to Harper (Denise Gough), he can’t possibly be gay, can he? Joe and Louis both work for Roy Cohn (Nathan Lane), a lawyer who may enjoy fucking other man, but that doesn’t make him gay. But Roy’s health is also on the decline.

Angels in America is an affective and effective play, and this production feels monumental. It weighs heavily – as is only right for the topic matter.

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Ivan Groznyy [Ivan the Terrible] (1945 and 1958) + ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester and Wiener Singakademie / Frank Strobel

Ivan Groznyy [Ivan the Terrible, Part I] (1945) and Ivan Groznyy. Skaz vtoroy: Boyarskiy zagovor [Ivan the Terrible, Part II: The Boyars’ Plot] (1958)
Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Writer: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Cast: Nikolay Cherkasov, Lyudmila Tselikovskaya, Serafima Birman, Mikhail Nazvanov, Mikhail Zharov, Amvrosi Buchma, Mikhail Kuznetsov, Pavel Kadochnikov, Andrei Abrikosov, Aleksandr Mgebrov, Maksim Mikhaylov, Vladimir Balashov, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Semyon Timoshenko, Aleksandr Rumnyov, Pavel Massalsky, Ada Vojtsik, Erik Pyryev
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Sergey Prokofiev, played be the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester, sung by the Wiener Singakademie, conducted by Frank Strobel
Seen on: 23.6.2017
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Plot:
In the 16th century, Archduke Ivan (Nikolay Cherkasov) crowns himself Tsar of Russia and sets himself the goal to unite Russia under one rule. Not everybody is taken with his plans and Ivan always has to watch his back – also among the people of his court. There his aunt Efrosinia Staritskaya (Serafima Birman) is plotting against him, hoping to put her own son Dmitri in his place. But also his marriage to Anstasia Romanova (Lyudmila Tselikovskaya) costs him support. But Ivan will do anything to achieve his goals, no matter the cost.

Ivan Groznyy is a monumental two-parter and an absolutely affective and effective piece of propaganda. It’s worth seeing – especially on the big screen, when you got a huge orchestra and choir on stage to (under)score it. The film is too big to do anything on a small scale.

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Salomé

Salomé
Director: Yaël Farber
Writer: Yaël Farber
Cast: Isabella Nefar, Olwen Fouéré, Ramzi Choukair, Lloyd Hutchinson, Philip Arditti, Paul Chahidi, Theo TJ Lowe, Raad Rawi, Aidan Kelly, Shahar Isaac, Uriel Emil
Seen on: 22.6.2017

Plot:
In a Roman occupied Judea, Salomé (Isabella Nefar) doesn’t have much room to maneuver, despite the privileged position that comes with being the niece/step daughter of Herod (Paul Chahidi), who is a little too invested in her for comfort. When Iokanaan (Ramzi Choukair), aka John the Baptist, is arrested, Salomé is intrigued and seeks to talk to him.

The play Salomé is an attempt to retell the story of Salomé from a less misogynist perspective. It’s an attempt that I appreciated in many ways, even if not everything about it works as well as it should.

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Superheldinnen [Superheroines]

Superheldinnen
Director: Bérénice Hebenstreit
Writer: Bérénice Hebenstreit, Andrea Zaiser, Barbi Marković
Based on: Barbi Marković’s novel
Cast: Katharina Klar, Nadine Quittner, Seyneb Saleh
Seen on: 19.6.2017

Plot:
Every Saturday, three women come together in a Viennese café to pool their powers and send good vibes to the people who deserve and need them. They have strict rules for that which means that they’re able to keep working together, even though they couldn’t be any more different. In fact, the only things they seem to have in common are that none of them were born in Austria, and that they all have powers. But on this particular Saturday, all three of them have some kind of deviation from their usual procedure in mind.

I really enjoyed Superheldinnen. It’s an absolutely entertaining mix of bitterness and humor, has a great cast and is fun in a light, but smart way.

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Lady Eats Apple

Lady Eats Apple
Director: Bruce Gladwin
Writer: Mark Deans, Simon Laherty, Romany Latham, Brian Lipson, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price
Cast: Mark Deans, Simon Laherty, Romany Latham, Brian Lipson, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price
Part of: Wiener Festwochen
Seen on: 16.6.2017

Plot:
In the beginning god created the world and with the creation of life, they also created death. And everybody has to die. But there’s also something in-between life and death that is worth exploring.

Lady Eats Apple is a fresh look at an old topic that profits immensely from the fact that it was created by disabled and neurodivergent actors, as well as its sense of humor and creativity.

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Congo na Chanel

Congo na Chanel
Director: Elisabeth Bakambamba Tambwe
Writer: Elisabeth Bakambamba Tambwe
Cast: Elisabeth Bakambamba Tambwe, Pierre Emanuel Finzi, Evandro Luis Pedroni, Sebastijan Gec, Prince Zeka
Part of: Wiener Festwochen
Seen on: 15.6.2017

“Plot”:
When Elisabeth Bakambamba Tambwe was a child, her family left Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, with the rise of Mobutu and moved to France. Today, she lives in Vienna. Now, over 40 years later, she tries to take another look at the country she and her family came from in an interactive performance that mixes dance and video installation, documentary and fiction.

There was much to like about Congo na Chanel. It’s an eccentric performance piece. But it was also a little disappointing because it didn’t, in fact, show us any images of Kinshasa.

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