An elegy for Vienna

Vienna Somebody once described Vienna as a top opera performed by understudies. The remark was unquestionably witty, but utterly false when it was made. It is perfectly true today, however. During the 650-year rule of the Habsburgs, Vienna reigned supreme, an opera sung by its greatest stars. It is the present-day Vienna, which has lost its empire, its imperial family and its power, that is sung by the understudies. I’ve just spent three days there, in Harry Lime time. Okay, close your eyes and imagine the Grand Canal with just a few gondolas and no behemoth floating horrors, the Bridge of Sighs without the crowds of visiting Chinese beneath it,