We went to the Hungarian State Opera twice to see La Bohème and Manon Lescaut. They were having a Puccini Festival, so now I've seen more Puccini than anything else as far as opera goes. The opera house is so gorgeous, inside and out, though I've only been on the inside of five opera houses. The Markgräfliches Opernhaus in Bayreuth is the most fancy I've seen and the Wiener Volksoper the least.
In Vienna we went to see Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio at the Volksoper, and the difference between Puccini and Mozart was marked. Mozart is just incredible, even difference between his stereotype of "oriental" music and Saint-Saëns's shows this. The romantics just don't compare, not even to me, a person who really doesn't have much musical sense one way or other. I'm visual to a fault. The set and costumes were not to my taste, the set consisted of a modern glass palace that spun around, and the costumes were retro 40's. However, the singing was marvelous and so was the acting.