60 Years Ago Today

Saturday, 2 August 1952:

Another delicious breakfast with whipped cream in our chocolate. We gathered up the crew and went into Salzburg. It was a free period for shopping and foraging for lunches. Most of group left for some quiet spot in the mountains about 11a.m., Wolfgang Lake near St. Gilgen.

I decided to stay. My first task was to find a place to get the shoulder strap on my carry all bag fixed. I also wanted to see the inside of the Festival House whether or not I get to see the opera. I found a shopping market in College Church Square that was typical Austrian picturesque.
We ate lunch at the Winkler Café in Monschberg, an Austrian independent municipality. The views of Salzburg were spectacular and I took several pictures.

Then I was off to the Festival House. I saw a theatrical set of the Magic Flute, Mozart’s opera. Afterwards, I met K.K. and Carmela trying to get tickets for the opera. In my attempt, I met an American who graciously helped me do some further sightseeing in Salzburg. We ventured to the monastery, puppets, and Mirabel Gardens.

Again I met Carmela, Kay, and Kay at EES Snack Bar trying to find food. They had bought tickets to Marriage of Figaro on the black market and gave us a clue about getting some too. I went back to the Opera House to buy tickets. Success! I bought tickets for two dollars from a lady who had bought better seats.

I had one hour to go to get to the castle. I made a quick trip and was back at the opera at 7 p.m. just as Margaret Truman, the only child of President Truman, and her bodyguards were making a grand entrance. I followed with my Librettos program and tried to get her to autograph it at intermission. Unfortunately, a plainclothes man interceded.

After I met up with the rest of the gang at the bus. They had skipped the opera and been up to the big castle on the hill to see some native dancing. Those darling people at the Drachenloch Hotel had dinner waiting for us.

Students Attend World-Famous Music Festival at Salzburg

(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of letters from Mrs. Afton Hansen of Provo on her impressions of a trip through Europe she is making with a group of Utah college students.)

Dear Friends,
Salzburg in Austria has found itself in the genius of the past. From all over the world come music lovers to be at the Summer Music Festival, or Zutgust, during the month of August. Here in Mozart’s home town, in the harmony of music, we listen to a universal language.

Tickets being apparently unavailable did not stop Carmela, Kay and Kathleen for scouting for some. They were well paid for their efforts—and that evening they saw The Marriage of Figaro, along with Margaret Truman, Anna Roseberg, and others. It was a sweet sample and of course they wanted to stay in Salzburg for another day. The main group was scheduled to give a program in Vienna, so the bus load went on leaving the three girls and Afton in Salzburg with cautions, scares, and warning of—”Remember what happened to Voegler.” You see we had to pass through Russian territory, and Russian soldiers had to examine our passports and grey cards.

After saying good-bye to the group we went to the U.S.Service Club to read the play we expected to see—Everyman. At near 11 a.m. we went to the Festispielhaus to hear the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Clemens Krauss. What a glorious Sunday experience. When the music was about to begin I looked at my watch to see how punctual they were and discovered that my watch had stopped. Of course I started winding it, but the lady next to me motioned, no! no! So almost breathlessly, yet earnestly and eagerly, we listened for two-short hours to compositions of Hayden, Maurice Bavel and Ludwig Von Beethoven.

Today with an age of idealism and romanticism behind us we listen for new spiritual values ever present in the music of genius; and to the self-supporting, independent harmonics in thought and emotion stimulated by tone color.

The elegant simplicity, in gold and white, of the buildings interior, was an appropriate setting along with a capacity crowd of better dressed people.

In the lobby on our way out, five other people gravitated to our group, making nine in all. Two were soldiers, a Frenchman who was an architect student, a young Jewess concert pianist, and a blond young chap who was a Jewish soloist — all delightful company. We had two meals together that day, (one was in the famous Peterskeller) as well as the pleasure of the concert, a play and a tramp in the rain under half enough rain coats.

At 7 o’clock, the play Yederman was the main attraction, but standing in line one hour for tickets was a different kind of experience. The evening was rather warm and sultry, and the line was long. Soon we could see the black market dealers at their common and expected, though secret, game. Tickets and money were changing hands. I discovered that sometimes it pays to look weary—for a nice man came and offered me a ticket, saying that he didn’t like to see me standing in line so long. You see there are very fine people in Austria too.

The comfortable wooden benches to sit on afforded plenty of sitting and knee room.
Yederman (Everyman) on the open air stage, was clothed in a rich costume of gold, rust and black and had a voice deep resonant and clear. Behind him was the 250 year old Cathedral, with statues of St. Peter and St. Paul near the entrance. From the balconies above, to left and to right, came the voices of couriers, costumed to represent statues. The vice of the devil from below was effective, and the voice of God coming from the high church steeple sounded indeed as if it were coming from heaven. Costumes, voices and staging were all effective to the story with a theme of repentance. Toward the end of the play, thunder and rain hastened our exit, and we found shelter in another cathedral filled with singing worshipers.

At 9 o’clock we were nothing but lucky to get tickets to the Hayden concert—with choir, orchestra and soloists participating. This eventful Sunday ended with “good-byes” to our new found friends, and the exchange of addresses, after which “the four ‘Y’ers” took the midnight train for Vienna.
This ride was also interesting with new personalities—soldiers and local people. Sitting next to us in those hard wooden seats was a young couple going to their home in Vienna. Both had Ph.D. degrees. She is teaching German and English, and he is a lawyer to the state department. A most pleasant and enlightening conversation ensued until it was time for passport inspection about 3 a.m. by the Russians.

Those Russian soldiers were young looking chaps with plenty of room to grow into their uniforms—perhaps plenty of time too. After a few winks of sleep now and then, kinked necks, we arrived at Vienna, at 6 a.m. almost ready to see the grand old city.

Afton Hansen


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s