Vienna’s Mozart ticket sellers face the music with new rules

VIENNA (AFP) – A change of tune is coming for one of the most ubiquitous sights in Vienna’s tourist hotspots: The groups of men clad in Mozart-inspired get-up selling tickets for classical music concerts.

After complaints in the areas where the ‘Mozarts’ congregate, Vienna’s city authorities said that in the future they would have to apply for permits for their activities, which have become more visible in recent years.

Earlier this year the dean of Vienna’s famed St Stephen’s Cathedral, Toni Faber, complained that more than 40 such ticket sellers were often in action near the entrance to the building and posed a ‘nuisance’ for visitors.

The vendors – adorned in various combinations of white Baroque wigs, velvet jackets and buckled shoes – are also a common sight in front of the city’s Opera house and former imperial palace.

Now they will have to apply for permits from the authorities, which will only be granted in specific areas.

The city council department said that the areas will be defined in consultation with the businesses and districts concerned.

Most of the vendors work for concert organisers who aren’t as well known as the illustrious venues that have made Vienna’s reputation in the world of classical music.

Complaints from some tourists about the quality of such concerts are also thought to have played a role in the decision to regulate the vendors more tightly.

A classical music concert ticket seller in a Mozart costume. PHOTO: AFP