Saturday, 24 August 2013

High Horses

Something I read the other day on one of my very favourite blogs reminded me of the story I heard years ago about Emperor Franz Joseph and the architect of the Vienna Opera House. According to the story, Franz Joseph, trying to make conversation, asked the architect of the opera house why he'd put statues of two men on horses on the roof. Interpreting this as criticism, the architect went off and committed suicide, after the Emperor had gone home.

On hearing the news of the architect's death, the Emperor decided he would never make any attempt to question or comment on anything his subjects did ever again. Thus, he devised a standard phrase which he used on all the occasions he was expected to say something about something thereafter.

If the Vienna State Opera House site is to be believed, this story may well be apocryphal. All the same the phrase itself is a very useful one, and I've borrowed it for my review of the play I saw this afternoon at the Malthouse in Melbourne.

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