Results 1-9of 9 Reviews
May 26, 2004
When the opera house was completed in 1869, however, many criticized the exterior, which was likened to a ‘sunken box.’ One of its architects, E. van der Nüll, even committed suicide in the wake of the controversy. In truth, the building does appear inertly massive in comparison with the surrounding architecture, but with an opera house, it’s what’s inside that counts, and what's inside is very splendid indeed.
Hoping to orient myself in the vast structure before attending a performance as well as wanting to learn a little of its history, I took one of the regularly scheduled tours. I was surprised at how many people had come. There are actually two tours, one in German and the other in English. I struck up a conversation with a couple from England. They weren’t opera fans, but, like many of the others taking the tour, had been told the opera house was a ‘must see’ and so had come.
Perhaps in keeping with this general audience, the tour was a fairly broad overview of the history of the opera house and its day-to-day running. The Staatsoper stages an astonishing number of productions a year – about 55 different operas with as many as five different productions held each week. Not surprisingly, the sets and costumes are stored in warehouses elsewhere and brought each day to the Staatsoper in vast shipping vans.
The tour goes through a series of famous rooms, such as the Mahler Room, with its Gobelin tapestries depicting scenes from die Zauberflöte (it was previously called the "Mozart room"), and the Mable Hall, with its stylized modern murals. We took turns crowding before the narrow doorway to the Emperor’s Tea Room to view the sumptuous interior. It can be rented, we were informed for a mere 1,000 euros per hour!
The tour concludes in the house itself, where stagehands were preparing for that evening’s performance. The Staatsoper has one of the largest stages in the world, and one of the most sophisticated as well. Different musical effects can be produced by raising or lowering the orchestra pit, for example. Rather than surtitles, small electronic screens at each seat provide translations of the libretto in English or German.
What is perhaps most impressive, however, is that with over 500 inexpensive stehplatz (standing room places), virtually anyone can afford a night at the opera in Vienna. In Austria, such cultural institutions are not just for the wealthy; they are woven into the fabric of everyday life. It’s that sense of shared cultural traditions that makes Vienna truly special.
From journal Waltzing Off to Vienna
July 20, 2006
From journal A Few Days in Vienna
July 18, 2005
The Vienna State Opera House was opened in 1869 with a gala performance of Mozart’s "Don Giovanni." Since that time, it has been one of world’s leading and most famous opera houses. Great musicians have held the post of director, among them Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Herbert von Karajan, Karl Böhm, Lorin Maazel, and many others.
The Opera House was almost totally destroyed in the World War II, but soon after was reconstructed following the original plans (it was reopened in 1955).
We had seats in one of the many well-appointed boxes for an excellent performance of "Der Rosenkavalier" by Strauss. Our box even had a dressing area with a mirror to fix your lipstick at intermission! Each concert-goer is provided with a real-time digital translator in multiple languages.
If you enjoy classical music of any kind, a night at the State Opera is one of the most impressive events any visitor to Vienna can experience.
If you can't get tickets for a performance (all but standing room sells out months in advance), by all means, book an afternoon tour of the Opera House. The architecture and artwork are well worth the time and price. I suggest purchasing your tickets through a reseller rather than directly from the Staatsoper website. I ordered mine 6 months in advance, gave them all of my credit-card information, and received a confirmation. I thought things were set until a week before the performance, when they sent an email telling me that they had no tickets available. Interestingly enough, I was able to buy them at a reseller at a much higher premium, although the seats were not nearly as good as the ones I had reserved.
The Vienna State Opera House is equipped with air-conditioning.
From journal Waltzing through Vienna
Los Angeles, California
May 10, 2002
There were people in all manner of dress, even jeans. No one really seemed to care how people were dressed. The restrooms were the same as in any opera house I've ever been to--too few stalls for the women and a long line snaking out the door. Give a 20-50 cents to the lady who opens the door to your stall.
The retrieving of the coats at the Garderobe went smoothly and we walked across the street to the Hotel Sacher, where we had made dinner reservations. The Staatsoper has a great website, which can be viewed at:
From journal Catching a cold in Vienna
November 3, 2000
From journal Wien, Wien nur du allein........
November 26, 2000
From journal Austria: Vienna
April 1, 2006
From journal Vienna - City of Music and Culture
Cinnaminson, New Jersey
December 19, 2004
From journal Travels in Austria - Vienna
July 4, 2002
From journal Wonderful Wien