Friday, May 25, 2007

Under the Vienna Night Sky

Last night, I attended the Concert for Europe, an annual open-air concert at Schönbrunn, featuring the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and a special star conductor.
The past few years this great event has been cursed by bad weather.
Last year it was even postponed due to a major storm with high winds.
Not this year. The weather was absolutely perfect, which was one of the main reasons we decided to venture out, armed with a little picnic.
The atmosphere was great, with over 70,000 people listening in the Vienna sunset.

A few fireworks here and there,
and I always clicked just a split-second too late:

The evening also had a few surprises in store for us,
this one being the main one:

Do you recognize the man with the white hair and magenta tie?
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton walked out onto the balcony to survey the crowd entering Schönbrunn before the concert. We knew he would be present, but had not expected to see him in such a casual manner. Definitely very lucky timing. The gentleman standing to Clinton's left may have a less well-known face, internationally, but not here:
Austria's President Heinz Fischer.

Before the orchestra struck their first note, President Clinton was presented with a 1 million dollar check for his foundation against AIDS. The money was given by Gery Keszler, organizer of the Life Ball, which is taking place here in the Vienna City Hall tomorrow.
Sharon Stone can be seen on Clinton's far right and the Austrian Chancellor, Alfred Gusenbauer, to his far left. Unfortunately, this was only a picture of the video screen, here is what I really saw:

Can you tell who is who?

Of course, President Clinton was diligently guarded by his tall, shaded friends.
After which I was even more surprised to be standing in the crowd,
right before the concert began,
and have President Fischer and his wife casually walk right by me.
No announcement, no major security precautions, one photographer.
Just the President strolling amongst his fellow country-men.


Merisi said...

Catharina, you describe that magic evening beautifully, and in depth, I might add. Thank you for the memories,

cipriano said...

Wonderful photos.
You are living in such exciting surroundings.
All the best to you.
-- Cip

Catharina said...

Thank you very much. I love living here :)