VIENNA — A cultural--and economic--exchange was carried on in grand scale here Wednesday as the Public Broadcasting Service and the Austrian Broadcasting Corp. joined forces to produce a "gala of stars" for American and European TV audiences.
The setting was the Vienna State Opera in the center of this musical capital, with James Levine, music director of the Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna State Opera Chorus joined by a number of prominent European artists. Among those appearing Wednesday night were Leonie Rysanek, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Alfredo Kraus, Edita Gruberova, Hermann Prey, Julia Migenes-Johnson.
It was the kind of production that public television finds increasingly prohibitive economically to stage. The European locale made the show possible, public TV officials said.
"We have to form alliances if we are going to keep doing these kind of grand scale events," said John Jay Iselin, president of New York's WNET, producing station for the gala. Aired live throughout Austria Wednesday, the event is scheduled to be broadcast on U.S. public television stations March 16, as the climax of one of PBS' periodic fund-raising festivals. The version seen in the United States will include taped segments that will be inserted into the Vienna performance, plus commentary by host Beverly Sills.