From the moment I left the Karlsplatz subway station, passed the famous Opera Toilet with classical music and took the escalator up to the venerable building in Vienna’s first district, I noticed, something was off. Instead of well-heeled ladies and gentlemen in their sixties, there was a crowd of party people and music lovers from a different generation in front of the opera house. And unlike every other, this Saturday night there was no need to wear a suit or tuxedo to enter the Vienna State Opera. Despite the differences, the ticket prices weren’t that far off from a regular night at the opera. A value well worth the high-class line up. For the first time ever, the hoary building, completed in 1869, was turned into a party venue hosting some of the worlds most influential artists in the fields of electronic and contemporary classic music.
Instead of soprano superstar Anna Netrebko, it was a triumvirate consisting of DJ and producer Carl Craig, pianist Francesco Tristano and producer Moritz von Oswald (Basic Channel, Palais Schaumburg) that opened the night in Act 1 and performed an extraordinary show, circulating somewhere between Detroit techno and traditional classical music. Even though Craig speaks of himself as “not the best team player”, as he put it in an interview for Slices, it turned out to be a very harmonic, maybe even symbiotic performance of the three musicians on stage.
Another essential part of the success of the evening was made up by the innovative light concept created by visual artists of Neon Golden, even though it didn’t quite work the way they originally planned. The majestic location, where even Emperor Franz Joseph and Elisabeth listened to music in another decade, did the rest to make the concert an unforgettable experience.
In Act 2 the night turned into high-class madness with an excellent Crosstown Rebels showcase. DJ-sets by Jamie Jones and Damian Lazarus and a playful liveset by Maceo Plex got the crowd onto their feet cheering and dancing till around six o’clock when the extraordinary night at the opera came to an end. And while I’m writing this, people are probably still partying at the afterhours at Grelle Forelle. Maybe you can still join them.
all photos: Eugen Prosquill