Orlando. A Biography


Johanna Wokalek reads Virginia Woolf

arranged by Gerhard Ahrens

`You cannot find peace by avoiding life.` (Virginia Woolf)

Orlando, published in 1928, is probably Virginia Woolf’s most personal book. It is a veiled declaration of love, addressed to her friend Vita Sackville-West, and is above all a book that shows the great English author’s experimental, playful side.

Intoxicated by love, Virginia Woolf wrote the fictitious biography of a young aristocrat in only six months . The main character, Orlando, is young and good looking and lives for almost four centuries, from the 16th to the 20th century. He flits from lifestyle to lifestyle but does not show any perceptible signs of aging, and changes his gender from male to female yet remains eternally beautiful.

With a deft hand and a masterful command of the powerful language she uses, Virginia Woolf paints pictures of shocking poignancy. English Renaissance portraits, winter scenes from 17th century Dutch genre paintings, Hogarth’s London, Rowlandson’s and Cruikshank’s portraits of the city drawn in the 18th and 19th century and the futuristic works of art produced by the Vorticists in the early 20th century materialise as if summoned.

Johanna Wokalek, who studied at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna, made her debut at the 1996 Wiener Festwochen before joining Vienna’s Burgtheater cast from 2000 to 2015. Over the years, she has also had some major roles in films since 1998, delivering outstanding performances. In 2014, she started to perform in operas as well.

Orlando. A Biography


  • Sunday, 25.09.2016
  • 17:00
  • Great Hall

to mark the opening of the exhibition
Life’s Vices. Prints by William Hogarth

(including exhibition)
€ 15 / concessions € 11


Advance bookings

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