Singing at the Stephansdom – Rehearsal

Our first day in Vienna was very full.  Rehearsal was at 8:45 AM, which meant, be on the bus by 7:45 AM, and off to the cathedral.  Since we had a different orchestra in each location (all arranged by the tour company), we had to have an orchestra rehearsal in every location.

Since I was singing, I didn’t carry a camera around.  All the photos in this post come from a gallery on my husband’s photo site entitled Singing Vienna.  The link will bring up a slide show.  I’ve posted a minimum of videos here but there are numerous videos in the gallery if you want to listen.

Here’s an external view of the Stephansdom, from across the front plaza.

A side view.

When we got inside, we were all relieved to see choral risers.  This meant we could actually sit during the solo movements, a great relief.  This was the only performance venue which had risers.  You can see the risers behind the orchestra.  You can also see the organ behind the risers, we did use it.

The chorus will be on those seats behind.  Tiffany is lining people up.

The organ console was very photogenic.

It's a wonderful organ console.

Here’s a general look at the inside of the cathedral, in the morning before rehearsal.  If you think, “This place is huge,” you’re perfectly right.  It is huge.  Wikipedia has a good article on the Stephansdom, which began construction before the middle of the 12th century.  It is a landmark in Vienna, and a cultural icon in Austria.  The current configuration dates to the 14th century (allowing for reconstruction after World War II).

Farther forward, it's not *quite* as visually cluttered.

We rehearsed the Mozart, The Water is Wide, and the Songs of Strength and Hope first, with the orchestra, then went over to the Curhaus, next door, and worked the Haydn a cappella pieces.  By the time we finished the orchestra rehearsal, just before 10 AM, we had accumulated a pretty fair audience, farther down the nave.

There were lots of cathedral visitors by the end of the rehearsal ... some watching us, some not.

Here’s our rehearsal room in the Curhaus, which is roughly what the English church would call the parish hall and vicarage.

After finishing with the orchestra, we moved to the adjacent Curhaus, essentially the parish hall and vicarage.  It's a modern building -- 18th century -- with an obviously very modern (and well-lit!) interior.

We worked here until about 11:30, then were free for the afternoon.  By this time the action in the plaza was heating up, the tourists were arriving, and the horse-drawn carriages were ready for business, right across from the cathedral (that’s the cathedral on the right):

Lots of energy on the plaza when we emerged from our rehearsals ... including carriage rides.

Some people stayed after rehearsal and toured the cathedral.  There was a walking tour at 2 PM.  A number of people, including Lynne, went over to the Mozarthaus, Domgasse 5, where he lived from 1784 to 1787.  Mozart lived in several other Vienna apartments in the 10 years he spent in Vienna, but only this one survives.

Jim and I didn’t get to the Mozarthaus, though; we wanted lunch.  We tried to find a “great restaurant” someone had recommended, which was much farther away than they – or we – realized.  We eventually turned back.  Jim forgot to take a water bottle to the rehearsal (if you look at his photo site – click on any of the photos above – you’ll see he spent the whole morning photographing), and he was tired and dehydrated.  I finally picked an outdoor restaurant at random and said, we’re eating here.  After lunch, and a liter and a half of apple juice and soda, we caught the bus back to the hotel and took naps.  I’ll cover the rest of the day in another post.

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