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Lecture | Luba Sterlikova & Erich Keel: Vienna 1900; Architecture, Music and Theater

  • Austrian Cultural Forum 3524 International Court Northwest Washington, DC, 20008 United States (map)

Lecture | Luba Sterlikova & Erich Keel: Vienna 1900; Architecture, Music and Theater
May 25, 2016 | 7:30 pm

The first half of the talk will look at a selection of theatres in different nineteenth-century styles, from Neo-Classical to Art Nouveau, with special attention to the Viennese firm of architects Fellner & Helmer. Between 1870 and 1914, they built nearly fifty spaces for the performance of operas, plays, and classical music. No atelier in Belle Époque Europe was as successful as the team of designers led by Austrian-born Ferdinand Fellner and his partner, Hermann Helmer, born near Hamburg. From Zurich to Odessa, from Hamburg to Sofia, their architectural vision responded to the taste and spirit of an increasingly prosperous and confident middle class. The talk will address the reality of architecture, and touch on the decorative programs that enriched the symbolic and illusionary appeal of Fellner’s and Helmer’s performance spaces. Major artists contributed to the success of the architectural firm. Gustav Klimt, for example, began his career as a painter of ceilings and drop curtains for auditoria and stages.

The second half of the lecture will examine the growing role of posters in popularizing the stage as a nexus for entertainment and education in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy while publicizing singers, actors, and musicians who like theatre architects forged a world of truth and magic.

Posters, as historical documents, will present the rich cultural life in Vienna circa 1900 as well as its international legacy in music and theater from Johann Strauss, Jr. to Franz Lehár and Robert Stolz.

When: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 | 7:30 pm
Where: Austrian Cultural Forum, 3524 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008.

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