Vienna's majestic state opera house was built during the 1860s. Opening night took place on May 25, 1869, when Mozart's Don Giovanni was performed in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elizabeth (Sissi). The building itself failed to impress the people of Vienna when it was completed. Its location and Neo-Renaissance style weren't deemed grandiose enough for the city that was known all over the world for its talented composers. The building was almost completely destroyed when it was hit by a bomb during World War II; although there were talks at the time of starting over in a new location instead of restoring the building, people came to see the restoration of the state opera house as a symbol of the city's recovery. Work was completed 1955, and the first post-war performance took place on November 5, featuring Beethoven's Fidelio.
I must admit that I was a bit put off by the number of people near the opera house who were trying to sell us tickets to a performance. It somehow seemed to reduce this cultural institution into a cheap showbusiness experience. For that reason, we didn't stick around too long after having walked around the building to admire its architecture (I especially enjoyed Gasser's fountains, one representing music, dance and joy, the other tragic love, grief and revenge). But for those interested, guided tours are offered at fixed hours, just check the website for more info.
One should know that In April, May, June and September, around 150 opera and ballet performances are screened live in front of the opera building on a 50 m² screen. There are seats on the Herbert-von-Karajan-Platz and it is free.
Furthermore the sound is very good and you see more from what happens on the stage than many of the spectators inside.
Each evening after dinner we had a walk to the Opera and stayed some time in front of the screen depending on the interest of the opera or ballet on show. The program is different every day and in the same way that every symphony or sonata is not a highlight of the classical music, not every opera is a summit of the lyric art (I hope Nemorino will agree!).
The disadvantage of this Opera show on the square is that all seats are occupied when it is nice weather and they are empty but wet when it rains. "On ne peut avoir le beurre et l'argent du beurre"; this is not an opera from Bizet just a French saying!
We saw a ballet "Don Quichotte" from Marius Petipa, music by Léon Minkus created at the Bolchoï Theater in 1869 (see my videos). I fancy ballet dancers (female) so that I was much pleased to be in Vienna on the day of this performance.
We saw also part of Donizetti's opera "Roberto Devereux" but that was less amusing.
The Staatsoper Wien was part of our evening walk from Stephansdom over the Kärntnerstrasse to the Ring and we keep a nice souvenir of it.
The Oper was the first building of the new Ringstrasse that was finished in 1869, and while not everybody was happy with the style of the building at that time it finally became one of the most popular buildings of Vienna in our time. In case that you intend to see one of the performances in the Opera, just make sure to reserve as long in advance, as possible, otherwise you have to get your tickets at one of the several ticket-bureaus, adding high extra-charges to the ticket-prices.
As soon as you arrive in Vienna, you may as well take a look at the side-entrance opposite of "Ringstrassen-Gallerien" - there you see a seperate entrance, where you may see, at what dates guided tours through the opera are offered. - it does NOT follow a regular schema, but the dates of the next few weeks are posted there. Be there in time, these tours are made by plenty of tourguides in various languages, rushing through thousands of tourists within a short time...
Opern-Toilette is a funny place, right under the Opera. It was constructed some years ago and recently the so-called "Toilet-Bar" was added. It is a pissoir, designed by the artist Rudolf Scheffel and includes a Jazz-piano and 4 hungry lips, waiting untill you p*ss off....
Just Imagine, you walk through the lovely centre of Vienna, and get the idea or need, you want to powder your nose or to talk to a man about a horse...
There is a place, where you may do that in the apropriate way, you certainly expect to, in the metropole of classical music and good taste !
Ladies go ahead, through the big stage' curtain !
Gents go to the right please !
There is a small entrance fee of 60 cents
to be paid into a machine at the entrance.
And believe me : It's worth every cent !
I don't know much about the ladies tones,
when they powder their noses,
but at the men's department strange tones are not unusual
while talking to a man about a horse or a dog !
...and therefore Opera-music is played there in order to
get a more cultural "touch" into any discussion about horses...
Just imagine - Luciano Pavarotti is singing TOSCA
in the real Opera high above you,
while you may talk to a man about a horse...
and you may sit in one of these well-furnished boxes
and may go to the John
and nobody could blame you for that !!!
Just try to do the same in the real Opera's boxes and you will see what happens ...
Today the Vienna State Opera is fairly considered as one of the most important opera houses in the world. In particular as the opera house with the largest repertoire. Lots of the big opera stars have played here.
Significant details of the building are the loggia with allegories in the arcades, the wall paintings, and the staircase with the statues of the seven Free arts made out of marble.
The Schwind Foyer, the Gobelin Hall and the Marble Hall among other things make the Opera House very unique. In addition, the stage area covers a gigantic 1.500 m².
Without doubt - must see in Viena!
Dress Code: YES
Location: City Center
Tickets Category 1-7: 34 - 239 EUR
Viennaconcerts.com offers you tickets for the Vienna State Opera months in advance.
The great opera house looks wonderful from outside but I was told that inside is just fascinated. There are some tour gides from time to time but the best way to be visited is going to an opera. My friend told me that it is very hard to buy tickets and yuo should so it at least one month earlier but you don't have to be pretentious for the seats you have. If you really want to see something specticular and have comforatble seats you should buy tickets at least 2 months earlier. There are tickets from 10-15 to 30-50 EUR and also some cheaper ones for standees.
There is an opera shop selling CD-s and souvenirs of the great performances that havve taken place.
Can you imagine it, I was there so close to it but took pictures just from it rear side, didn't even seen it's front facade. Fact is, I was short in time in between two flights to Kenya and besides, it started heavilly rain right when I was nearby the Opera Haus. One could say better something then nothing so I promise to come back again and make descent pictures of this very imposing building.
A visit to Vienna would not be complete without a night out at a theater or an opera house. You are spoilt by choice here, among the most famous institutions are the Burgtheater, the Volkstheater, Volksoper, Wiener Staatsoper and the Akademietheater. Tickets can usually be pre-ordered by Internet; if you just show up one hour before the start, tickets may be sold at reduced prices.
Vienna is known for classical music, gardens, parks, castles, museums aside - er- from coffee shops and domestic politics. Only the best musicians perform at the Wiener Staatsoper.
If you would like to make your visit memorable, bring a formal dress/suit with you (a simple black dress for a woman can be worn to parties, concerts). Formal attire is worn by locals they go enjoy classical music. Like in many highly respected concert halls, you will not be allowed to enter if you come late and may only do so during the break.
You can buy tickets online. In many cases, the low-priced seats are sold out. You may take wish to buy the available tickets directly at the site hours before hand or buy from shops which sell them.
Tickets can be bought from the Wien Staatsoper (in summer 2009)
starting 17 August
Monday thru Friday - between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Saturdays: between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.
closed on Sundays
Operngasse 2, 1010 Wien:
Opening hours of ticket booths from July 1 to August 15:
Monday thru Friday - between 10 am and 2 pm
Closed on Saturday, Sunday and holidays
Starting 16 August
Monday thru Friday: between 8 am and 6 pm
Saturdays and Sundays: between 9 am and 12 p.m.
Wow...I can't believe that I actually had a great time at my first opera. The setting was the Volksoper Wien and the opera was the "Magical Flute/Die Zauberflöte" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. We had great seats (and got them at a very good price) which provided awesome views of the performance. Now I’ve got to admit that jetlag started to kick in during the 1st half of the performance...but after the break and having the opportunity to stretch, we regrouped and enjoyed the show. Bottom line, if you visit Vienna, you must take in an opera (in addition to all the other things you want to do), and the price is not bad at all...$55.30 euro (approximately 67.30/USD) per ticket.
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