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Meet and Greet with Zöe from Austria

Liza on Tue, 05/03/2016 - 14:27

Zöe from Austria was of course asked about following the big victory of Conchita Wurst. And she talked about how happy she is to be in the contest, because just as Conchita she has also tried before to be in the Austrian national selection. And it's all about keep trying. There was also talk about how it is to work with her father, who is both the composer of her song and also her manager. Sometimes they disagree, but it's only what can be expected.

First Rehearsal Austria

Always a pleasure to be transported to a country far far away in the presence of Austria's pop princess Zoe.

The Austrian team have remained close to the concept used in the national final, but they have decided to reduce the vibrant Barbie pink we saw before. This is much closer to the video concept, featuring the butterflies during the backdrop.

The floor also shows a cobblestoned path, which Zoe uses on the catwalk. It feels like we're being transported to the wonderful world of Oz. The treadmill from the national performance has however been ditched.

She looks stunning in her peach coloured dress, and sounds so sweet. You can tell she's absolutely loving every minute of being on that stage.

Eurovision does love a fairytale/Disney connection, and it would be so lovely to see Austria benefit from this love relationship.

Stift Klosterneuburg

Andy on Sat, 05/23/2015 - 21:11

ESCKAZ team today has visited Stift Klosterneuburg (Klosterneuburg Abbey) which was free with Vienna Pass offered to the press by ESC organizers.

Klosterneuburg Monastery is a twelfth-century Augustinian monastery of the Roman Catholic Church located in the town of Klosterneuburg in Lower Austria. It was founded in 1114 by Saint Leopold III of Babenberg, the patron saint of Austria, and his second wife Agnes of Germany.

The abbey church, dedicated the Nativity of Mary (Maria Geburt), was consecrated in 1136 and later remodeled in the Baroque style in the seventeenth century. The impressive monastery complex was mostly constructed between 1730 and 1834. Its foundations, including a castle tower and a Gothic chapel, date back to the twelfth century. Other older buildings still extant within the complex include the chapel of 1318 with Saint Leopold's tomb.

Klosterneuburg Monastery contains the Verduner Altar, made in 1181 by Nicholas of Verdun. Its three parts comprise 45 gilded copper plates modeled on Byzantine paragons, similar to the Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral. The monastery also contains a museum with a collection of Gothic and Baroque sculpture and a gallery of paintings, including fifteen panel paintings by Rueland Frueauf from 1505, four Passion paintings from the backside of the Verduner Altar from 1331, and the Babenberg genealogical tree /Wikipedia

We took a sacral tour, which lasted for about an hour and included German speaking guide and audio commentary available at different languages including Russian and English.

It included a very short visit to the Collegiate Church with one of the most important organs in Europe (which was unfortunately closed and we could just see insides from the glass walls), the Leopold chapel with the grave of St. Leopold, the world-famous Verdun Altar, the seven-branched candlestick of Agnes and art treasures of the 14th and 15th centuries.

Monastery also contains great shop (highly recommended, so many great religious and other things, souvenirs and memorabilia and Cafe (not recommended).

It was a final and very pleasant sightseeing during our stay in Austria.

You can read more on the website: http://www.stift-klosterneuburg.at/en
Guided tours: http://www.stift-klosterneuburg.at/tourismus/fuehrungsangebot/

UPD - Jury Final Dress Rehearsal

We are about to start watching Jury Final Dress Rehearsal.

The show starts with Conchita emerging form a box singing her new song. She’s dressed in a bright pink jumpsuit. The three hosts of the Eurovision are singing as well.
Conchita is literary flying from the Green room across the Arena and she finishes her trip on the stage accompanies by children’s chore. A rap singer joins the singers.

The Arena is packed with people. The hosts welcome everyone, audience is clapping. Conchita is announcing each country and they head to the stage through a corridor from the Green room. All countries from Slovenia to Italy are all together on stage.

The organizers of the Eurovision produced a nice interactice video clip of how we Build Bridges.

All singers are backstage already, Slovenia is getting ready to perform. The hosts are explaning the ways you can vote for your favorites. Now there is an option to vote via official Eurovision app.

1. Greeting card from SLOVENIA. Maraaya are horse riding in the country side.
Nice show opener, very confident on stage. But I think it’s a bit plain on stage for people to remember their performance at the end. I would say it reaches top-12.

2. FRENCH postcard. Lisa transformed to Alice in the Wonderland. Gorgeous!
Amazing voice, staging, special effects, atmosphere, everything. Every small detail has been thought over. A usual viewer needs to be prepared for such a serious song to understand it. I think some would count it as a boring one. Pay more attenction to it, please, she deserves to be in top 10.

3. ISRAEL. To my mind, it’s the only one party song this year. Without even noticing, I start dancing and singing together with Nadav although I don’t like the song. The team did a great performance, you can check his first rehearsal and you will see a great change and improvement.

4. ESTONIA is skating along a beautiful lake in their postcard. Estonian balad sounds good after a movy Israel. I like the staging a lot, the idea about the doors. The only thing, Elina has to overcome her stress and perform as confident as she did during her previous performances.

5. Electro Velvet are doing mysterious triks. Yout have to see UK postcard . I like the song a lot, it’s a distinctive one. Before the Eurovision actually started it was one of my favorites. Now, I changed my mind as soon as I saw the staging. It looks to me like a bad parody for a musical. What is more, I don’t like Bianca’s dress, it makes her look bigger on stage. They will be somewhere between 20-27...

6. ARMENIA. I like the staging and the idea about families and nations from different continents but I don’t like the overall performance. It sounds to me as if I’m listening to several songs, not a one.

7. LITHUANIA’s performance is fresh and catchy, especially because of the kiss and performing after Armenia mostly. Their emotions are natural and sincere. Although many people like it, I’m afraid it won’t get in top 10.

8. SERNBIAn Bojana is showing us a very strong performance, she’s very confident and she knows what she’s doing. Unfortunately, I think her song might be lost in bright and colourfull Lithuania and white and pure Norway.

9. NORWAY is a fairytale and each girl dreams about such a fairytale. It’s beautiful performance that deserves a high ranking. To my mind it will be in top 10.

Interval act. The hosts are standing in the fan zone reminding the audience about the importance of voting.

10. Sweden SWEDEN is an absolute favorite this year. It's a great TV performance, but you can see nothing what is going on the stage. It's empty and mostly occupied by camera men. Personally, I wouldn't vote for Mans but many will. So, top 5 for sure.

11. I’ve no idea what Cyprus is doing in the final. I heard today that somebody loves it a lot and I don’t understand how it is possible to choose Cyprus from that many very bright performances. Sorry Cyprus but you took somebody else place. But it's a good preperation for Australia.

12. Everything about AUSTRALI is very American and it stands out a lot. I like their performance and the voters will remember it but not that many will vote for Australia, right? Best of luck Guy!

13. BELGIUM. I cannot be objective when commenting on Loic’s performance. He’s been my favorite from the beginning and since then I haven’t changed my mind. I’m mostly impressed by the fact that he did everything for his performance himself. He probably won’t be the winner, but in top 3, I hope.

14. The Makemakes from AUSTRIA are very atmospheric if I can say so. It’s a nice song to sing with friends, it evokes many emotions of yours. The fire in the piano makes it more memorable but not enough to be in top 10, I think.

Interval act. Conchita is giving advice to The Makemakes - to shave!. It's a great advice :) Conchita is revieling that last yeat it wasn't her first time participating in Eurovision. She was one of the backing vocals for a 2008 enty.

15. Impressive and beautiful performance from GREECE will probable by in top 15. There is nothing very outstanding especially being right in the middle of the show.

16. MONTENEGRO sent a true professional and a great artist. The performance hardly changed from the first rehearsal. It's motives are recognizable but still not good enough to win. So, somewhere in between 12 and 20, I imagine.

17. GERMANY reminds me lot of Lena in 2010 and Switzerland this year. I prefer Melanie Rene more that Ann Sophie. Switzerland is more mysterious, to my mind. It’s captivating and involving. You want to move straight away. So, #21, may be?

18. I suspect that Monika from POLAND made it on Thursday maily because of being the last one performing. And I also think she has more potential for a better song. So, #25....

19. LATVIA. Aminata is my favorite so, I might be wrong in judging but she deserves to be in top 10. The voice, the song itself, the staging, the special effects. I want to listen to her live over and over. Goose bumps every time I hear the song.

20. ROMANIA. Well, the idea behind the song is new and interesting. I apriciate a lot that Voltaj is singign in Romanian. But it doesn't make a winner, not even my favorite. So, place 22-27?

21. I have a suspicion that SPAIN decided to use every sing possibility to use as many effects and tricks as possible. Too many things are going on the stage. But I believe she has a strong voice. Sorry, Spain, but you probably will be one of the last ones.

22. HUNGARY. Boggie has a good intention behind her song and her activity during the promo tour before the Eurovision. But it is soo boring, sorry Boggie lovers. And again we see the Universe, the whole world. How many more similar performances this year?

23. GEORGIA. At long last we can listen to something tensed and overwhelming. It’s a good position for Ninna performing after Romania, Spain and Hungary. I hope she gets in top 11 :)

24. I can’t stop watching AZERBAIJAN's show. It definitely looks and sounds much better than Sweden. Please, people of the World, don’t kill me for such a comparison, but I really feel like that!

25. RUSSIA would be perfect for the show closing, it would leave special feelings. Now, it's surrounded by 4!!! very strong songs and I think it's very difficult to make it through. Polina now won't be neither #1 nor #2. I guess she's in top 10.

26. Despite many controversies about ALBANIA I must admit that she improved a lot since the semi-final. It is now an absolutely different performance – the dress change and the performance concept even may be. It now sounds less aggressive. I won;t be surprised if she happens to be in top 15 at least.

27. ITALIAN Il Volo is an absolute winner of this year even though I don't like it as much as some other singers. Very confident and strong performance. Being the last ones to perform makes them winners. And they definitely deserve it.

Italy leaves such an impression that you don't want to listen to other songs. I came up with this idea when they started repeating all the songs to remind all of them to the voters. I think there is no doubt about this year’s winner. But I will vote for #13 as many times as possible !!!! :)

Before the fake voting we are entertained by orchestra playing different types of music for us.

Falco grave

Andy on Thu, 05/21/2015 - 23:43

One probably the most must-do task for me in Vienna was to visit grave of my idol Falco.

At 2.5 million square meters and containing 300,000 graves, Vienna Central Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in the world. Many prominent figures in music history – Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss, Schubert, Salieri as well as Falco and Udo Jürgens are buried here.

To reach it you need to take tram 71 (which stands for as a metaphor for death in Vienna) or tram 6. The closest underground stop is "Simmering". Central entrance to the cemetery is Zentral Friedhof Tor 2, it's there where you can get map, find info center (nothing in English) and also Funeral museum. But if you're interested in Falco grave only, Tor 3 is closer.

The dedicated bus line for the cemetery runs every half an hour from 9 am to 3:30 pm, and also at 4 pm and 4:30 pm on Saturdays. This saves walking long distances within the extensive cemetery grounds.

You have to prepare yourself in advance. The map you get is very basic and fully in German. But you can read the names of the most prominent figures and the sector they are buried in. There aren't many descriptions on the site, just the sector numbers and sometimes the map showing the location of numbered graves. At info center you can get a more detailed book with the descriptions of cemetery, but again it goes fully in German. Cost 10 Euros.

Most of the famous graves are in special groups known as Ehrengräber (honorary graves). There are four main sections dedicated to Ehrengräber, labelled group 32A, group 32C, group 33G and group 40. Aside from the Ehrengräber, it's also worth noting the Präsidentengruft (Presidential Crypt). This is where all the post-WWII Austrian presidents are buried.

Vienna Central Cemetery is the second largest cemetery in Europe. It covers a total area of 2.5 million square metres and is home to around 330,000 graves, approximately 1,000 of which are honorary graves. Viennese joke that the Zentralfriedhof 'half the size of Zurich and twice as much fun', as the cemetery is half as large as the city of Zurich. Zentralfriedhof has a dead population of almost twice the present living residents of Vienna. Between 20 and 25 funerals take place at Vienna Central Cemetery every day.

The complete information about:
Falco grave:

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna Building Bridges Special

Andy on Thu, 05/21/2015 - 23:06

As part of Trip For Free program offered by the host city of Vienna, today we have visited Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum)

The Kunsthistorisches Museum was built by Emperor Franz Joseph to house the splendid imperial collections, and they make it one of the world’s most important museums. Artefacts from five millennia – from ancient Egypt to classical antiquity to the late 18th century – document the patronage and connoisseurship of the art-loving members of the House of Habsburg.

Celebrated masterpieces by Rubens, Rembrandt, Raphael, Vermeer, Velázquez, Titian and Durer, as well as the world’s largest collection of works by Bruegel, make a visit to the Kunsthistorisches Museum an unforgettable experience.

Daily till May 23rd 2015 on offer is a special program of guided tours at the Kunsthistorisches Museum for all fans of the Eurovision Song Contest! Check the details at:

For example, tomorrow, on 22 of May at 16:30 fans can visit "Once I'm transformed, once I'm reborn" tour - Drama, triumph and eternal life.

Today we had a short appr. 1 hour tour that included visits to Kunstkammer Wien and Picture gallery halls of museum. The modern thing was that all tour guests were equipped by special portable set, allowing to move a bit away from the guide and go on exploring neighbouring stands on your own, at the same time still listening to guide speech right in your ear. Very helpful.

Eurovision highlights of the tour included: first recognized painting of Conchita, statue of Phoenix and painting parodied at Belgian postcard in ESC 1979.

The tour was really nice, with experienced English speaking guide and tongue-in-cheek commentary, even though probably a bit rushed. Since we have not visited Egyptian part of museum I mostly was interested in, I continued touring on my own after the end of the official tour.

It is also worth to note that the museum features huge shop where one can find numerous books and memorabilia.