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Theatres and Operas in Vienna

Burgtheater – Vienna

The Burgtheater – Imperial Court Theatre, originally known as K.K. Theater an der Burg, then until 1918 as the K.K. Hofburgtheater, is the Austrian National Theatre in Vienna and one of the most important German language theatres in the world. The Burgtheater was created in 1741 and has become known as “die Burg” by the Viennese population; its theatre company of more or less regular members has created a traditional style and speech typical of Burgtheater performances.

The theatre opened on 14 March 1741, the creation of the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa of Austria who wanted a theatre next to her palace. Her son, Emperor Joseph II called it the “German National Theatre” in 1776. Three Mozart operaspremiered there: Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782), Le nozze di Figaro (1786) and Così fan tutte (1790). Beginning in 1794, the theatre was called the “K.K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg”. Beethoven’s 1st Symphony premiered there on 2 April 1800. The theatre was moved to a new building at the Ringstraße on 14 October 1888 designed by Gottfried Semper and Karl Freiherr von Hasenauer. In 1943, under Nazi rule, a notoriously extreme production of The Merchant of Venice was staged at the Burgtheater – with Werner Krauss as Shylock, one of several theatre and film roles by this actor pandering to antisemitic stereotypes. On March 12, 1945 the Burgtheater was largely destroyed in a bombing raid, and, one month later, on April 12, 1945, it was further damaged by a fire of unknown origin. After the war, the theatre was restored between 1953 and 1955. The classic Burgtheater style and the Burgtheater-German language were trend-setting for German language theatres.

Official Website

Vienna State Opera

The Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper) is an opera house – and opera company – with a history dating back to the mid-19th century. It is located in the centre of Vienna, Austria. It was originally called the Vienna Court Opera (Wiener Hofoper). In 1920, with the replacement of the Habsburg Monarchy by the First Austrian Republic, it was renamed the Vienna State Opera. The members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from its orchestra.

The building was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstraße commissioned by the controversial Viennese “city expansion fund”. Work commenced on the building in 1861 and was completed in 1869, following plans drawn up by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll.The foundation stone was laid on May 20, 1863. Eduard van der Nüll committed suicide, and barely ten weeks later Sicardsburg suffered a fatal heart attack so neither architect saw the completion of the building. The opening premiere was Don Giovanni, by Mozart, on May 25, 1869. Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) were present.

The Vienna State Opera is closely linked to the Vienna Philharmonic, which is an incorporated society of its own, but whose members are recruited from the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. The Wiener Staatsoper is one of the busiest opera houses in the world producing 50 to 60 operas per year in approximately 200 performances. It is quite common to find a different opera being produced each day of a week. As such, the Staatsoper employs over 1000 people. As of 2008, the annual operating budget of the Staatsoper was 100 million Euros with slightly more than 50% coming in the form of a state subsidy. The opera company operates a repertoire system: more than 50 productions are staged every year, and there is a performance nearly every day for ten months of the year. The Vienna State Opera is particularly open to children: under Holender’s direction (he has three children of his own), the opera house has become well-known for its children’s productions, which are performed in a tent on the roof of the Staatsoper. Recent examples include Peter Pan, Das Traumfresserchen (The Dream-Gobbler), Der 35. Mai (The 35th of May), Aladdin, Bastien and Bastienne and Wagners Nibelungenring fuer Kinder (Wagners Ring for children). In addition to this, there is a production of The Magic Flute every year for 9- and 10-year-olds, decorated like the Opernball. Immediately before each performance, cheap, standing place tickets are sold. These are popular with all age groups, and now have an almost legendary regular clientele, which allegedly is merciless in showing its displeasure with a performance loudly and unambiguously, but is even louder in voicing approval. For many decades, the opera house has been the venue of the Vienna Opera Ball. It is an internationally-renowned event, which takes place annually on the last Thursday in Fasching. Those in attendance often include visitors from around the world, especially prominent names in business and politics. The opera ball receives media coverage from a range of outlets.

Official Website

More than 210 discounts and unlimited free travel by underground, bus and tram for 72 hours. Available in hotels and at the tourist information centre on Albertinaplatz (open daily from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm) and the tourist information point at the airport (open daily from 6.00 am to 11.00 pm), at sales and information points of the Vienna Lines (e.g. Stephansplatz, Karlsplatz, Westbahnhof, Landstraße/Wien Mitte) or by credit card on tel. +43-1-798 44 00-148.

The information, and photos, on our Vienna pages has been compiled with the help of Wien Tourismus – http://www.wien.info/en– to ensure quality, up-to-date information on the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria.

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