Enter, stage left

Margaret Childs
Photo: Michèle Pauty

The Irish dramatist Seán O’Casey once said, “All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.” As an expat it can feel like you’ve been rehearsing the wrong play. Someone just hands you a new script and says, “You’re on in five.”

When I moved to Vienna as a young teenager I spoke no German. My mother signed me up for dance classes and a youth orchestra. German, who needs it? Of course my language skills got better over time, but at the beginning, the connections I made were through rehearsing and performing together. Performing and the arts speak their own language.

Every month our editorial team curates Vienna for non-German speakers, looking for the best in dance, music and theater; and there is plenty of it. Part of what we do is help expats integrate before they speak German. Why wait?

I meet people who have performed on Austrian stages and don’t speak a word of German; opera singers who sing in Italian but don’t speak it are also nothing new.  People like this come from all over the world from beginnings that are often humble and unassuming, but we marvel at their capacity to move us, to make us think, laugh, cry and be inspired.

In this issue we hear an industry insider’s view in Confessions of a British Casting Agent in Vienna and speak to a Juilliard-trained Staatsoper dance instructor in our Melange. To give our readers some solid background, we’ve compiled Quotes, Stats & Numbers on Vienna’s performing arts scene and in our Cover Story we’ve looked at the birth of Modernism in Austrian theater. In Profiles, we met with four people who make their living on the stages of Vienna, an operatic soprano, a -singer-songwriter, a concert violinist and a musical actress. We even explore how you can take the stage. Many claim that the arts are the final frontier for robot technology, but scientists are now teaching computers to express emotion in music just like a human.

Since our City Life section is full of performances, here are just a few: We’ve compiled a list of the best festival stages across Austria and beyond, and we’ve prepped you to move and be moved at the workshops and performances taking place at Impulstanz. We will also introduce you to  two dancers who will be performing there as they model some flamboyant summer outfits in the Mumok’s new exhibit, Painting 2.0.

As you peruse the previews and events for this summer, try something new. Part of improvisation is saying, “Yes,” so why not say, “Yes, please!” to this summer’s -offerings. And whatever you do,

don’t be a stranger,