Hotel Zeitgeist in Vienna was one of the many hotels across the globe that had to shut its doors due to COVID-19. But while it will still take time for regular guests to return, the property decided to make use of the empty rooms and courtyard by turning them into an outdoor concert hall.
On Saturday, nearly 40 rooms were used as opera boxes for the evening with the hotel courtyard acting as the stage. Guests watched from their windows as two opera singers accompanied by a string ensemble performed on the makeshift stage. The unique evening had all the elements of the traditional night out at the opera, including roaring applause, a conductor donning a tuxedo, and soprano Monika Medek gracing everyone with her vocal talents.
While Austria has lifted many pandemic restrictions in April, entertainment is still largely halted as gatherings of more than 100 people are still forbidden. This has left all of the famous classical Austrian music halls empty as well as the hotels. According to the city's chamber of commerce, the occupancy rate is less than 10 percent for June.
Hotel director Andreas Purtscher told AFP that the window concert was designed to give artists the chance to perform again since "work opportunities disappeared overnight" for artists. He wanted "to help people get out, find a sense of normality in their contact with others, and "remove some of the fear associated with the period of restrictions."
Purtscher also hopes this is a way for two industries to help each other during a difficult time as he thinks it will be a tough business "for at least a year." Not surprisingly, the performance sold out in three days with people itching for some normalcy. With so much success, the hotel director plans to hold at least three more window concerts by August.