Vienna State Opera is perhaps the best known of European operas, performing out of Court Opera Theater (from 1869), within the elegant Ringstrasse.
During the opera’s history, many of the greatest names in opera have been part of its legacy as directors, including…
- Gustav Mahler,
- Richard Strauss,
- Franz Schalk, and
- Clemens Krauss.
In fact, selection, who’s going to be the director of the Vienna opera is considered one of the most important decision in the country.
PHOTO: Vienna State Opera, a view from Opernring.
PHOTO: The opera house has many wonderful details, most allegorical to the performing arts. The pictured five bronze busts, by Ernst Julius Hähnel, portray themes of ‘drama‘, ‘fantasy‘, ‘heroism‘, ‘humor‘, and ‘love‘.
PHOTO: On both sides of the building, you’ll find early Renaissance water fountains, both designs by Hans Glaser.
When Gustav Mahler was the opera’s director, 1897-1907, his reforms elevated the opera house to the leading position within the art-form.
From his reforms, the Vienna opera was the first to introduce…
- dimmed lights during performances,
- intermissions as short as 15-20 minutes, and
- seating for late arrivals done only after prolog, or during the first intermission.
Throughout the opera’s history, the Viennese have been fanatical friends of the art form.
In fact, many visiting directors have complained, in Herbert von Karajan’s words, about the “1.6 million assistant directors“…
…a reference to the harsh criticism Vienna opera directors often receive for their choices from the population.
Personnel at the opera, including international stars and the State Opera Orchestra, have kept the place as one of the leading operas in Europe.
Locally, the Vienna opera becomes city’s center each February, when the new season opens with a opera ball.
Another center for local cultural life, the Musikverein, the home concert hall for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, is also located nearby.
Between these two, there is a very close working relationship, as new members for the Philharmonic are exclusively chosen from from the State Opera Orchestra.
Wiener Staatsoper is also one of the busiest operas in existence, producing around 50 – 60 operas every year, or about 200 performances.
Tickets to the performances are in high demand, so it is a good idea to get your tickets well in advance.
Vienna State Opera
Address: Opernring 2, 1010 Vienna, Austria
Official website: StaatsOper.at
In addition to seeing an opera here, you can also participate in a guided tour to the opera house building.