Saints & Sinners

One of Austria’s most prolific novelists has released the story of a clergyman’s life.

“Der Mann, der Verlorenes wiederfindet” by Michael Köhlmeier portrays Anthony of Padua struggling to make peace with his past. Unfortunately, this publication does not have the potential to fascinate as many readers his epic novel “Abendland” from 2007.

1The friar looks back on the major turning points of his life. On just about 150 pages, the author from Vorarlberg portrays Anthony as a devout Christian who just cannot find forgiveness. While the relentless focus on lessons from the bible and hot-button Christian issues may put off some readers, the tales about childhood adventures and his venerated grandfather are heart-warming.

While “Der Mann, der Verlorenes wiederfindet” is undisputed evidence of Köhlmeier’s unique talent, booklovers who dislike a strong spiritual element should keep their hands off “Der Mann, der Verlorenes wiederfindet” and opt for “Madalyn” or the marvellous “Das Mädchen mit dem Fingerhut” instead.

Der Mann, der Verlorenes wiederfindet
By Michael Köhlmeier

Brecht play excites Vienna

A Bertolt Brecht play at the Volkstheater has sparked highly favourable reviews.1

The Viennese cultural institution had a turbulent start into the new season. Overshadowed by financial difficulties, “Nur Pferden gibt man den Gnadenschuss” has been slated by critics. But “Der gute Mensch von Sezuan” found almost unanimous acclaim. Penned in the late 1930s, the play is a vital part of Brecht’s oeuvre.

Reviewers lauded the effective ideas of the play’s stage designers. Claudia Sabitzer’s performance earned praise too. Having joined the Volkstheater in 2005, Sabitzer has turned into somewhat of its figurehead. She is currently also part of the cast of “Biedermann und die Brandstifter”.

Visit for information on tickets.

Photo: © / Volkstheater

SKN up next for bruised Rapid

Red Bull Salzburg have sent a clear message to their fiercest rivals with another win against Rapid.

The Bulls’ 3-2 in front of more than 17,000 spectators on Sunday ensures a comfortable three-point lead ahead of LASK. Rapid are now in fourth, three points behind Europa League hopefuls WAC who failed to beat struggling Admira (2-2).IMG_20191020_165811.jpg

Once again, Red Bull found the net in the very final moment of the match. Former Werder Bremen star Zlatko Junuzovic’s brilliant free kick in the 94th minute was an intense encounter’s jaw-dropping moment. Only seven minutes earlier, Rapid defender Mateo Barac found the net, sparking wild celebrations in the away supporters stand.

Now Rapid are facing a significantly less dangerous opponent (Allianz Stadion, Saturday at 5pm). In their last seven Bundesliga matches, St. Pölten garnered just two points. Rapid celebrated a 3-2 win in Mattersburg before a draw against WAC and the defeat in Salzburg dampened enthusiasm in western Vienna.


Space Invaders

The pioneering achievements in aeronautics in the 1950s are still having an enormous impact on artists.IMG_20191027_144209.jpg

“Ticket to the Moon” is the title of Kunsthalle Krems’ current exhibition. Its special appeal lies in the interplay of iconic Cold War era photographs – don’t miss Leonid Brezhnev observing a mission – and 21st century conceptual art.

The range of features artists is remarkable. It consists of just a few established painters such as Graz-born Herbert Brandl. Curators have put their focus on up-and-coming creative personalities. Larissa Leverenz from Cologne is one of them. Her Kandinsky-esque paintings, on display in the final room of “Ticket to the Moon”, will find many ardent admirers.


The Miro Mystery

Ronald Reng has created marvellous reads on running, agent Lars Mrosko and late keeper Robert Enke. Now Germany’s best sports writer has taken a closer look at Miroslav Klose’s career.1

The journey Klose has undertaken has been nothing short of miraculous. Born in Poland, Klose had his breakthrough as a professional footballer relatively late compared to the most recent developments in soccer. Criticised over his alleged physical vulnerability, Klose always delivered when it mattered the most.

Klose played for Werder Bremen, Bayern and Lazio. But Reng is convinced that the national team was where he had felt most comfortable. “His Germany goal-scoring record was superior to his club stats. Joining his DFB teammates always felt like coming home to him,” Reng told

Klose scored 71 goals in 137 appearances for Germany. Finding the net 16 times at World Cup tournaments between 2002 and 2014 makes him the most successful scorer of the event of all time.

Reng spent three years on researching for the book. He interviewed youth coaches and companions of the 41-year-old who retired three years go. “Miro” cements Reng’s reputation as an outstanding author.

By Ronald Reng
Published by Piper (

Shirking Sharia

If Saudi Arabia and Germany share one characteristic, it would be their passion for bloated bureaucracy, as a new book on life in the autocratic Arabic country suggests. After having worked in several Asian states but also Dubai, Toni Riethmaier has accepted a job offer from Saudi Arabia.1

“Inside Saudi-Arabien. Mein Leben als Deutscher in einem der verschlossensten Länder der Welt” is the work of a shrewd observer of daily life and political developments in one of the most controversial nations in the world. Riethmaier does not shy away from giving an in-depth account of the way women are treated. He speaks out on what he dislikes about the way religion dominates everyday life.

Riethmaier – who had the temerity to introduce conservative Arabic guests to Italian four-course dinners – had a hard time getting in touch with natives but soon established a strong bound of friendship with other expats. The German chef and their mates not only organised private Oktoberfest beer and sausage bashes. “Inside Saudi-Arabien” also tells from astonishingly lavish parties featuring disc jockeys playing international chart hits and all sorts of booze.

In his book, Riethmaier tries to find out which prejudices concerning the character of typical Arabic citizens are true. He shares his exhausting experiences with local bureaucracy and reveals how people cope with extreme temperatures. Overall, “Inside Saudi-Arabien” is an insightful read featuring a few less exciting chapters by a blunt and self-confident author.

Inside Saudi-Arabien. Mein Leben als Deutscher in einem der verschlossensten Länder der Welt
By Toni Riethmaier
Published by Riva (

Kusej stages fantastic Faust

Martin Kusej’s “Faust” will ignite the anger of some theatregoers but the Burgtheater boss is just not known for marching in lockstep.

Kusej’s take on the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe classic could be emblematic of the Viennese cultural institution’s new direction.

Broadcasting and newspaper reviewers have acknowledged Kusej’s decision to create a very modern “Faust” which deals with urgent contemporary concerns. While a dystopian darkness dominates the set, techno music underlines the everlasting urgency of topics like love, desperation and treason.1

Performed for the first time at Munich’s Residenztheater around five years ago, this production is still a compelling adventure, according to critics. Especially the performance of Werner Wölbern and Bibiana Beglau has been praised.

Kusej has dared to leave out essential phrases of the play. Conservative theatre enthusiasts might be outraged. But controversies like these ensure that theatres remain relevant in increasingly complex times.

For information on tickets and the performance schedule, go to

Photo: © Matthias Horn /

Rapid await EL warriors WAC

Wolfsberg are determined to end Rapid’s unbeaten run.

The Green-Whites have most recently beaten Mattersburg away from home after achieving just a 3-3 draw against Hartberg thanks to captain Stefan Schwab’s last-minute equaliser.wac2

Now the league returns and WAC hope to play as well as the Austrian national team. The Carinthian side face Rapid in Vienna on Sunday (Allianz Stadion, 5pm). WAC are currently in third place in the 12-team Bundesliga, just one point behind Rapid.

But the Kühbauer side must not underestimate their upcoming opponents. WAC caused a stir in the Europa League. They snatched one point against AS Roma after having mercilessly crushed German Bundesliga leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach away from home (0-4).

Rapid beat second-division club FAC 2-1 in a friendly last Friday. Aliou Badji, Christoph Knasmüllner and former Rapid striker Philipp Prosenik found the net.


Can’t Get This Party Started

There is a sense of excitement in Vienna about the Burgtheater’s new progressive profile, but “The Party” is just a massive disappointment.

Theatregoers can expect a fresh spirit at the tradition-rich institution as new director Martin Kusej underlined the importance of peace and cooperation in a multilingual Europe. “There should be no borders onstage,” Kusej said, adding that being confronted with many languages in Vienna was “fascinating”.1.jpg

Itay Tiran’s take on “Vögel” and “Die Bakchen”, the play which kicked off the new season, earned praise by critics. Unfortunately, “The Party” is anything but a sparkling affair.

Based on a Sally Potter movie from 2017, this first-ever German stage adaption aims at offering psychological insight into the fragile relationship between a politician and her husband. While she is upbeat about getting promoted, her hubby remains totally indifferent. He could not care less what their friends think of his behaviour. Nevertheless all is going according to plan at their bash, until some confessions have to be made.

Anne Lenk’s “The Party” obviously draws inspiration from Yasmina Reza’s “God of Carnage”. But confronted with its vacuous dialogues, the play’s cast of Burgtheater icons like Regina Fritsch and Peter Simonischek appear like having given up already. This party tastes like stale champagne.


Photo: © Matthias Horn /