Die Türken vor Wien (The Turks at the gates of Vienna): Music and drama for the 200th commemoration day of the Second Turkish Siege of Vienna – between patriotism and entertainment
In 1883 the 200th anniversary of the victory against the Turks was celebrated in Austria, especially in Vienna. The monuments that were built on this occcasion, however, are referring to the historical events of 1683 only to a lesser extent. They are far more referring to the political situation in 1883, when the liberal urban Viennese citizens had conflicts with the government that was dominated by Christian Conservatives. Such a tendency concerns architecture, monuments and pictures as well as literature and music that dealt with the anniversary. On this occasion compositions that are addressed to the mayor use bourgeoise symbols, while Richard Kralik in his drama Die Türken vor Wien (‘The Turks at the gates of Vienna’) tries to mediate his vision of a state dominated by Catholic and German Austrians. Some institutions try to serve bourgeoise Viennna as well as the monarchy in the choice of their programme, as is the case with the k. k. Hof-Operntheater (Court Opera). However these artistic efforts about the subject were not very successful on stage. Productions that used the anniversary to combine it with exoticism, Viennese clichees, comic effects and light music were more popular, as the light opera Die Türken vor Wien by Karl Costa and the composer Paul Mestrozi shows. The historic event of the Turkish siege and Vienna's liberation is only the platform for a successful pieve of entertainment in 1883.