Vienna State Opera

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Logo of the Vienna State Opera

The Vienna State Opera , the "First House on the Ring ", is one of the most famous opera houses in the world and is located in Vienna's 1st  district, Inner City . It opened on May 25, 1869 with a premiere of Don Juan by Mozart . Among the members of the State Opera Orchestra are among others. a. the Vienna Philharmonic . The Vienna State Opera Choir performs externally as the Vienna State Opera Choir Concert Association .

History of the previous buildings

Vienna Court Theater and Court Opera

Carl Wenzel Zajicek : The Kärntnertortheater in Vienna , around 1900

As a cultural institution, the Vienna State Opera is the successor to the Vienna Court Opera, which was founded and promoted by the Habsburgs . In addition, the Vienna State Opera Orchestra continues the tradition of the Viennese court orchestra , which has been occupied since 1498 . The Court Opera was already a leading European theater and had many premieres. Emperor Leopold I (1640–1705) was a passionate musician and, with 230 of his own works, also a gifted composer. For the first time he appointed a non-Italian as the imperial court conductor , namely Johann Heinrich Schmelzer . One of the highlights of Viennese baroque operatic history was the premiere of the tragicommedia Don Chisciotte in Sierra Morena by Francesco Bartolomeo Conti on February 6, 1719. Between 1706 and 1732 Conti premiered countless works in the Neapolitan style in Vienna. From 1716 until his death (1732), the opera composer Antonio Caldara also worked in Vienna, where he performed more than 80 operas. In 1730 the poet Metastasio also arrived in Vienna, where in the following years he wrote numerous librettos that were set to music by various composers all over Europe.

Theater ticket for the premiere of the Abduction from the Seraglio by the “Kaiserl. Royal National Court Actor ”on July 16, 1782
Theater ticket for the world premiere of Beethoven's Fidelio on May 24, 1814 in the Theater am Kärntnertor

In the 18th century there were two forerunners of the later Court and State Opera: in 1709 the Theater am Kärntnertor  - in the immediate vicinity of today's opera house - was completed and operated under imperial privilege until 1752 . After a theater fire , the new building was inaugurated in 1761 as the “Imperial and Royal Court Theater of Vienna”. The first house, however, was probably the Alte Burgtheater on Michaelerplatz, opened in 1748 , which at that time hosted both drama and opera performances and where u. a. Works by Christoph Willibald Gluck (including Orfeo ed Euridice , 1762), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven celebrated their premieres . Joseph Karl Selliers , the tenant of the Kärntnertor Theater at the time, was commissioned to convert the old ballroom into a “theater next to the castle” .

A great patron of the court opera was Emperor Joseph II (r. 1764–1790). For his wedding on January 24, 1765, Gluck composed the opera Il Parnaso confuso , which was performed with the musical participation of his siblings. In 1776 he declared the house next to the castle to be the "German National Theater". As later sole regent he gave Mozart, with whom he was a personal friend, several compositions for operas, including the German singspiel Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782) and the Italian opera Così fan tutte (1790). With Le nozze di Figaro , the enlightened absolutist also approved a work that dealt with noble privileges and feudal arbitrariness.

Since the 1810s, the court opera has been performed almost exclusively in the k. k. Hof- Theater am Kärntnertor , including the world premieres of Carl Maria von Weber's Euryanthe (1823), Gaetano Donizetti's Linda di Chamounix (1842) and Maria di Rohan (1843), Otto Nicolai's Homecoming of the Exiled (1844), Friedrich von Flotow's Martha (1847) and Jacques Offenbach's Die Rheinnixen (1864). Also in 1864, Richard Wagner finally failed to premiere Tristan und Isolde at the Court Opera. A performance of his Tannhäuser (1875) resulted in the third version of the final work.

Names of the institution of opera throughout history

Surname from to
New house May 25, 1869 September 27, 1869
K. k. Hof Opera Theater - New House September 28, 1869 March 10, 1871
K. k. Court Opera Theater March 11, 1871 November 15, 1918
Opera theater December 3, 1918 September 25, 1938
State Opera September 27, 1938 until 1945
Building on the Naschmarkt 1945 November 4th 1955
Opera House of the City of Vienna - Vienna State Opera Ensemble May 1, 1945 May 31, 1945
Volksoper - Vienna State Opera Ensemble June 1, 1945 July 10, 1945
State Opera in the Volksoper building July 11, 1945 September 1, 1946
State Opera in the Volksoper September 2, 1946 July 15, 1955
Vienna State Opera since November 5, 1955 today

The name State Opera was used as early as the 1920s, but it was not official. During the period of reconstruction, the opera played in the Theater an der Wien and the Volksoper, among others .

The Hof Opera Theater on the Ringstrasse

Opening performance in the New House with Don Giovanni , May 25, 1869
Theater bill for the opening performance of the new opera house

The new building of the Hofoper was put out to tender in 1860 as the first monumental building on Ringstrasse to be financed by the Vienna City Expansion Fund . Numerous architects took part in the architectural competition, including Alfred Messel, who was successful in Germany with cultural buildings . Construction began as early as the end of 1861 according to plans by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll in the neo-renaissance style , which lasted eight years and was realized by Josef Hlávka , one of the most prominent building contractors of the Vienna Ringstrasse era.

The Imperial and Royal Court Opera Theater, around 1870
The theater of the Imperial and
Royal Court Opera Theater, color lithograph by Johann Varrone , around 1890
The Imperial and Royal Court Opera Theater, photograph, around 1898
Vienna, kk Hofoper , Oilette postcard, 1911
Side view of the Kärntner Ring, 2016

The Ministry of the Interior obtained several reports "on the availability of suitable building materials". The result was the stones that have long been used in Vienna: the Wöllersdorfer stone was intended for plinths and free-standing, simply structured supports, the hard Kaiserstein (Leithakalk) from the Kaisersteinbruch  - its color better suited to the Kelheim stone - for more richly structured parts. In addition, the somewhat coarse-grained, medium-hard Kaiserstein should be used. Joiser stone was primarily to be used where the very expensive Kaiserstein was not chosen. The main stone of the opera house was planned to be the Kelheim stone (also Solnhofen limestone ), but it was not available in the required quantities; In addition, the Breitenbrunn stone was particularly recommended. It was decided that the entire outer skin of the monumental structure should be made of natural stone without exception . Due to the great demand, the Sóskúter stone was added, this was used a lot in Budapest , as its deposit is located southwest of the city. Three Viennese companies were responsible for the stone carving work, Eduard Hauser , Anton Wasserburger and Moritz Pranter . The foundation stone was laid on May 20, 1863, and the building was not completed until 1869. A special example: The mirror steps of the staircase are made of smoothly polished, hard Kaiserstein from the Amelin company in Kaisersteinbruch. This is remarkable in that the interiors have been furnished with various types of marble .

However, the building was not much appreciated by the public. On the one hand, it was unable to develop a truly monumental effect across from the huge Heinrichshof , a private apartment building (destroyed in World War II and replaced by the Opernringhof in 1955). On the other hand, after the level of the Ringstrasse in front of the opera was raised by one meter after the start of construction, the opera house was  heavily criticized as a "sunken box" and - in analogy to the military disaster of 1866 - "Königgrätz der Baukunst" and ultimately drove van der Nüll to suicide . Less than ten weeks later, Sicardsburg also died of a heart attack; thus neither of the two architects saw the completion.

At the end of the Second World War, the opera caught fire after American bombing. The porch with the access arcade, the entrance hall, the staircase and the loggia above, the Schwind foyer (with frescoes by Moritz von Schwind ) and the vestibule were spared from bomb hits and thus retained in the original historicist style . The court box salon used by the emperor was also preserved. The auditorium and the stage area were destroyed by flames.

For a long time there were discussions about whether the opera should be restored to its original state or whether it should be razed and rebuilt here or at another location. Finally the idea of ​​rebuilding prevailed. The then reconstruction ministers Ernst Kolb and Udo Illig were significantly involved . Leopold Figl made a political decision in 1946 with the aim of reopening the Vienna Opera in a playable manner in 1949. An architectural competition was announced, which Erich Boltenstern won. The proposals submitted ranged from a complete redesign of the auditorium to a restoration according to the original plans. Boltenstern decided to restore it while at the same time modernizing the design language in the spirit of the 1950s. In order to achieve good acoustics ,  wood was mainly used - at the suggestion of Arturo Toscanini , among others . In addition, the ground floor received fewer seats and the fourth tier, which was previously equipped with pillars, was designed to be open. Egon Seefehlner recommended Heinrich Keilholz , who significantly improved the acoustics. Several artists were involved in the competition to redesign the Iron Curtain , including Marc Chagall . But it was carried out by Rudolf Hermann Eisenmenger .

The opera until 1938

On May 25, 1869, the opening was celebrated in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth with a premiere of Don Juan von Mozart . The first director was Franz von Dingelstedt , whose magnificent stage design was very popular with the public. His successor Johann von Herbeck took over the management until 1875 and was also Kapellmeister. Under Franz von Jauner , Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen was first performed outside Bayreuth . The business failures led to his dismissal in 1880, despite his artistic merits. The longest director was Wilhelm Jahn , who ran the opera theater from 1880 to 1897. He established numerous operas as a permanent repertoire, won over the leading conductors and singers of his time, and discovered and promoted young musicians. With the exception of Parsifal , whose performance was reserved for Bayreuth, he performed all of Wagner's operas in Vienna without having to resort to guest artists. Gustav Mahler was appointed to the opera theater as his successor in 1897. During his ten years as director, the opera flourished. Although he hardly ever premiered, the opera theater developed under Mahler into one of the world's leading opera houses. Mahler stood for the highest quality standards, reformed the opera and united the conductor and opera director in his person.

Despite the war years, there were important premieres during Hans Gregor's time as director, such as Richard Strauss ' Der Rosenkavalier , Wagner's Parsifal and Franz Schmidt's Notre Dame . Franz Schalk was director from 1918 to 1929 and shared this post with Richard Strauss from 1919 to 1924, which are considered to be another heyday of the Viennese opera theater. The world premiere of Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten was one of the highlights of this period. Ernst Krenek composed his twelve-tone opera Karl V for the court theater from 1930 to 1933 , but its premiere in 1934 was prohibited for political reasons. This work was first performed at the State Opera in 1984. In contrast, Franz Lehár's "musical comedy" Giuditta was premiered here.

The opera from 1938 to 1945

After the “Anschluss” of Austria , Adolf Hitler visited the State Opera on June 19 and October 27, 1938. During the National Socialist era, artists and employees were left, persecuted and murdered. There was a performance ban for a number of works. Director Erwin Kerber campaigned for Jewish artists in isolated cases until the end of 1940, but cooperated with the new rulers.

The last performance before the summer break took place on June 30, 1944; it was to be the very last performance in the old building of the Vienna State Opera. Hans Knappertsbusch, who had already conducted the first performance after the annexation of Austria in 1938, was at the podium again this time. Wagner's Götterdämmerung was on the program . The final stage direction of this opera is: “Bright flames seem to strike in the hall of the gods. When the gods are completely covered by the flames, the curtain falls. "

On September 1, 1944, Joseph Goebbels ordered the closure of all theaters in the German Reich in the course of the total war effort by cultural workers. On March 12, 1945, the house was destroyed in a bomb attack.

The opera after 1945

The stage of the State Opera with orchestra pit
Interior view, proscenium and tiers
The famous staircase of the opera house, meeting point during the opera ball

After the end of the Second World War, the opera ensemble, which initially moved to the Vienna Volksoper , carried out the rehearsals and performances in the Theater an der Wien , which had been closed for a long time , where on May 1, 1945 - as after the liberation from National Socialist rule the Republic of Austria existed again - the first performances were given. In 1947 the ensemble made an international tour to London .

After 1945 the Vienna Mozart Ensemble was formed, which made guest appearances around the world and was famous for its special singing and playing culture. Its founder and mentor was the Austrian conductor Josef Krips , who, due to his Jewish origins, had only survived the Nazi era through luck and the help of colleagues. Immediately after 1945, Krips began rebuilding the State Opera and was able to enforce his aesthetic principles. This included turning away from the romantic Mozart ideal with voluminous orchestral sound. Instead, chamber music qualities came into play again, as well as a transparent, light sound that was later thought to be typically Viennese. The main singers were Anton Dermota , Erich Kunz , Elisabeth Schwarzkopf , Wilma Lipp and others. a. m.

As early as 1947, the Mozart Ensemble gave a guest performance at the Covent Garden Opera in London with Mozart's Don Giovanni . There Richard Tauber , who had fled the Nazis, sang Don Ottavio again. Tauber died three months later, and then it became known that in order to fulfill his dream of performing again with the State Opera Mozart, he had only stood on stage with half a lung. Many other artists have been associated with the Mozart Ensemble, e.g. B. Karl Böhm , but they played a more peripheral role in it, simply continuing the work of others. For Krips this was the beginning of his world career, which brought him to the most important opera houses in the world. Until his death in 1974 Krips was one of the most important maestri of the State Opera.

Due to the desperate conditions at the Theater an der Wien, the opera management at the time tried to raise funds. Many donations came from private individuals. But the Soviets also showed great interest in rebuilding the opera and donated building materials. But in 1949 an emergency roof had just been erected over the opera, and reconstruction was still ongoing. Only on November 5, 1955, after the State Treaty , could the State Opera be reopened with Fidelio by Ludwig van Beethoven under the direction of Karl Böhm . The then American Secretary of State John F. Dulles was also present as a visitor . The ORF also used the opening for one of its first live broadcasts at a time when there were only about 800 televisions in all of Austria.

The ensemble, which was held together until the opening, crumbled more and more in the coming years and an international ensemble was newly formed. The Vienna State Opera has a repertoire system in which over 50 productions are on the program every year. Therefore, the house can be used for operas almost every day for ten months of the year.

During his time as director, Herbert von Karajan introduced the principle of performing operas exclusively in the original language. In addition, he lifted the previously valid ensemble principle with only a few guest singers and began to engage the best international singers at the State Opera, with mostly only the smaller roles being cast from the ensemble. At that time a collaboration began with La Scala in Milan , which related to productions as well as to the cast. The most important members of the Vienna State Opera now also appeared in Milan, especially in works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Richard Strauss .

Elektra by Richard Strauss in the staging by Uwe Eric Laufenberg , 2015

The Vienna State Opera is considered one of the leading opera houses in the world. Both his orchestra and the choir have since become independent for appearances outside the opera with the Vienna Philharmonic and the Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Choir . While Dominique Meyer was in charge, there was increasing criticism, above all of the fact that the youngest work on the schedule was over 70 years old in one season. The State Opera Director responded with a series of contemporary premieres (including The Tempest by Thomas Adès in June 2015 and Tri Sestri by Péter Eötvös in March 2016), as well as a composition commission to Olga Neuwirth for the setting of Virginia Woolf's Orlando , December 2019 was premiered at the State Opera. On October 20, 2019, the opera was awarded the Taurus European Culture Prize.

State ceremony for the centenary of the republic

On November 12, 2018, the State Opera was the scene of the state act for the centenary of the Republic of Austria. It was chosen as the location because the parliament (in whose meeting room of the former House of Representatives state acts usually take place) was extensively renovated at that time. The program included besides speeches of the President ( Alexander Van der Bellen ), the Federal Chancellor ( Sebastian Kurz ), the Vice-Chancellor ( Heinz-Christian Strache ), the National President ( Wolfgang Sobotka ) and the Chairman of the Governor's Conference ( Hans Niessl ) a speech of Carinthian -Slovenian writer Maja Haderlap , film documentaries by ORF and three pieces of music played by the Vienna Philharmonic :

Singing appearances

The star casts introduced by Karajan still prevail at the State Opera today. Great artists have performed here, singers from Maria Callas to Jessye Norman as well as the sisters Anny and Hilde Konetzni , Mimi Coertse , Martha Mödl , Christa Ludwig , Renata Tebaldi , Leonie Rysanek and from Agnes Baltsa to Anna Netrebko and Angelika Kirchschlager or Angela Gheorghiu , singers from Giuseppe Di Stefano , Giacomo Aragall to Luciano Pavarotti and Juan Diego Flórez , from Ettore Bastianini and Eberhard Waechter to Bryn Terfel and Thomas Hampson , from Theo Adam to Martti Talvela and Nikolaj Gjaurow or Cesare Siepi to Matti Salminen and Ruggero Raimondi or Ferruccio Furlan . Plácido Domingo celebrated its 40th stage anniversary here in May 2007. Edita Gruberová followed suit in September 2008.


Among the conductors since the reopening of the Haus am Ring in 1955 - apart from the conducting (music) directors Herbert von Karajan , Karl Böhm , Lorin Maazel , Claudio Abbado , Seiji Ozawa and Franz Welser-Möst - there are e.g. B. Kurt Adler , Erich Kleiber , Ernest Ansermet , Hans Knappertsbusch , Hans Swarowsky , Rafael Kubelík , Rudolf Moralt , Fritz Reiner , Antal Doráti , Gianandrea Gavazzeni , Antonino Votto , Tullio Serafin , Heinrich Hollreiser , Dimitri Mitropoulos , Igor Strawinsky , Paul Hindemith , Michael Gielen , Pierre Monteux , Lovro von Matačić , Robert Stolz , André Cluytens , Silvio Varviso , Leopold Hager , Leonard Bernstein , Carlos Kleiber , Otmar Suitner , Riccardo Muti , Gerd Albrecht , Alberto Zedda , Georg Solti , Riccardo Chailly , Horst Stein , Nello Santi , Francesco Molinari-Pradelli , Erich Leinsdorf , Nikolaus Harnoncourt , Sir Colin Davis , Christoph von Dohnányi , Giuseppe Sinopoli , Arnold Östman , John Eliot Gardiner , Roger Norrington , Christian Thielemann , Daniele Gatti , Marcello Viotti , Alfred Eschwé , Zubin Mehta , Friedrich Haider and Elio Boncompagni .


Productions by Boleslaw Barlog , Ruth Berghaus , Irina Brooks , Giulio Chazalettes , Giancarlo del Monaco , Dieter Dorn , August Everding , Piero Faggioni , Jürgen Flimm , Götz Friedrich , Josef Gielen , Karl-Ernst Herrmann , Vaclav Kašlik , Alfred Kirchner , Harry , among others Kupfer , Uwe Eric Laufenberg , Jorge Lavelli , Robert Lepage , Marco Arturo Marelli , Gian-Carlo Menotti , Christine Mielitz , Hans Neuenfels , Tom O'Horgan , Pier Luigi Pizzi , Jean-Pierre Ponnelle , David Pountney , Harold Prince , Luca Ronconi , Ken Russell , Filippo Sanjust , Johannes Schaaf , Otto Schenk , Peter Stein , Giorgio Strehler , István Szabó , Luchino Visconti , Antoine Vitez , Wieland Wagner , Margarethe Wallmann , Herbert Wernicke , Peter Wood and Franco Zeffirelli were or can be seen at this opera house .

Wagner performances

Cast list from the program booklet for the last performance before the fall of the Nazi regime and the destruction of the house by a bomb

In addition to the intensive maintenance of the Mozart , Verdi and Richard Strauss repertoire, the State Opera regularly performs all ten of Richard Wagner's main works . The regular Ring Cycles are conducted by renowned conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle , Christian Thielemann , Peter Schneider , Ádám Fischer and Franz Welser-Möst . The State Opera endeavors to engage the world's best singers in each of the Wagner roles.

Vienna State Opera Orchestra

The Vienna State Opera Orchestra is the only world-class orchestra that has to perform every evening - a significant part of which is performed by temporary staff in the repertoire business. The orchestra is best known for its independent form, the Vienna Philharmonic . These are made up of members of the State Opera Orchestra and perform classical orchestral concerts in Vienna and on guest performances worldwide. The Philharmoniker have been playing a subscription concert series in the Wiener Musikverein since 1860 and have been a central axis of the Salzburg Festival since 1922 , where they perform five to six operas and several concerts every year.

The Vienna State Opera also maintains a separate stage orchestra .

Vienna State Opera choir

The choir of the Vienna State Opera employs 92 professional singers on a permanent basis. In addition to the in-house soloists, the orchestra and ballet, the choir forms the building blocks of the opera and performs up to 50 different works on around 250 evenings per year. Since 1927, the choir has also performed outside the Vienna State Opera under the name Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor .

Vienna State Ballet

From 1995 to 2005 Renato Zanella was ballet director and chief choreographer at the State Opera. At the beginning of the 2005/06 season, the ballet company of the State Opera and that of the Volksoper were placed under the joint direction of Gyula Harangozó . Since the 2010/11 season, the former Danseur Etoile of the Paris Opera, Manuel Legris , has headed the company, whose name was also changed to the Vienna State Ballet . In June 2018 it was announced that Martin Schläpfer would become director and chief choreographer of the Vienna State Ballet and the Ballet Academy on September 1, 2020.

Current or former dancers include Riki Raab , Edeltraud Brexner , Jolantha Seyfried , Simona Noja , Eva Petters , Karina Sarkissova , Olga Esina , Lyudmila Lwowna Konowalowa , Michael Birkmeyer , Willy Dirtl , Davide Dato , Rudolf Chametowitsch Nurejew , Gregor Hatalaew , Gregor Hatalaew , Franz Wilhelm , Karl Musil , Ludwig Musil , Christl Zimmerl , Boris Nebyla , Rebecca Horner and Natascha Mair .

The Vienna State Opera Ballet School is a training center for classical dance. In 2013 the name was changed to “Ballet Academy of the Vienna State Opera”.


Franz Freiherr von Dingelstedt (1814–1881): First director of the Vienna Court Opera

World premieres

Seating and standing room

Seating plan and location of standing room

The opera house has 1,709 seats in the auditorium and a total of 567 standing places, 4 wheelchair and companion seats on the parquet / ground floor, and 18 wheelchair spaces on the gallery.

Inexpensive standing tickets, which are popular with viewers of all ages, can be purchased directly before the performances. These standing places have legendary regular customers who express their displeasure particularly loudly and unequivocally during the performances, but who also most loudly approve of what they consider to be a successful performance .

According to the opera house, the best seats in terms of visibility and acoustics are in the gallery, middle, row 2, seat 36 and 37.

useful information

A graphic of the Vienna State Opera can be seen on the back of the 5000 Schilling banknote issued in 1989.

A beehive has been on the roof of the house since the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 to 2012. The care of around 60,000 bees was the responsibility of a private beekeeper in cooperation with the Austrian beekeepers platform and the bee friends . Blossoming avenue trees (mainly Norway maple and summer linden) and plants from the surrounding parks were flown over. A webcam transmitted images live to the Internet. The city is a perfectly suitable habitat for bees and the honey is of perfect quality. The proceeds were used for "vielfaltleben" projects.

Associations such as the Friends of the Vienna State Opera , the Merker-Verein (Heft), the Merker Online and the Wiener Opernarchiv (formerly RISM-Austria ) also operate within the framework of the Vienna State Opera .

Artists who have been awarded honorary membership can be found in the list of honorary members of the Vienna State Opera .

On July 23, 2015 was the world premiere of the film Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation ; the Vienna Opera House was one of the original film locations where it was shot the previous summer.

The iron Curtain

The Iron Curtain shows a scene from the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice by Rudolf Hermann Eisenmenger . Various artists were invited to participate in the design in 1954/55. 16 Austrian artists participated with 78 designs. After the fourth application round, Eisenmenger's submission was selected. As a resin oil mixed media painting on gilded canvas, the design selected by a jury was finally executed by the artist himself within 4 months on a 170 m² area.

Rear view at night

The artistic implementation was financed with the help of the Austrian population through "donations of gold plates". The State Opera was a symbol of the reconstruction and rebirth of Austria after the Second World War . At the same time as the signing of the Austrian State Treaty in 1955 and the beginning of the sovereignty of the Second Republic , the State Opera was also reopened.

"Bacchus" by Cy Twombly , Iron Curtain in the Vienna State Opera, 2010/2011 season

The “ museum in progress ” conceived the “Iron Curtain” exhibition series for the Vienna State Opera, which has been transforming the fire protection wall between the stage and the auditorium into an exhibition space for contemporary art since the 1998/1999 season . Every year the curtain is redesigned by internationally renowned artists. It is not about overpainting, but a technical transfer of an artistic design onto a carrier material with which the iron curtain is only spanned. Each motif is also published as a postcard and can be freely taken from information stands for advertising purposes. However, as early as December 2001, a signature campaign led by the art historian Maria Missbach to “preserve the Iron Curtain of the Vienna State Opera as a total work of art for the reconstruction” collected around 22,100 signatures against the painting over of the opera curtain.

In addition, as early as 1950, Rudolf Eisenmenger was allowed to contribute 54 cardboard boxes as templates for the weaving mill for the large tapestry cycle "Scenes from the Magic Flute". The work carried out has since been presented in the Gobelinsaal (today's Gustav Mahler-Saal ). With a design area of ​​171 m², this is the main factory of the former manufactory in the Vienna Hofburg . Eisenmenger was interested in tapestry from the start of his career , and the revitalization of this art form in the 20th century goes back not least to him.

The artists of the Iron Curtain of the Vienna State Opera

1955/1998 Rudolf Hermann Eisenmenger
1998/1999 Kara Walker
1999/2000 Christine & Irene Hohenbüchler
2000/2001 Matthew Barney
2001/2002 Richard Hamilton
2002/2003 Giulio Paolini
2003/2004 Thomas Bayrle
2004/2005 Tacita Dean
2005/2006 Maria Lassnig
2006/2007 Rirkrit Tiravanija
2007/2008 Jeff Koons
2008/2009 Rosemarie Trockel
2009/2010 Franz West
2010/2011 Cy Twombly
2011/2012 Cerith Wyn Evans (from October 28th until the end of the season)
2012/2013 David Hockney (from November 20th until the end of the season)
2013/2014 Oswald Oberhuber (from October 25th until the end of the season)
2014/2015 Joan Jonas (from November 14, 2014)
2015/2016 Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (from September 30, 2015)
2016/2017 Tauba Auerbach
2017/2018 John Baldessari
2018/2019 Pierre Alechinsky (from November 2, 2018)
2019/2020 Martha Jungwirth

In the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 seasons, the original design by Rudolf Hermann Eisenmenger could be seen from the beginning of the season until the completion of the new design.

The opera house and the children

Ring-sided facade of the State Opera. On the roof is the
opera tent for children

Since the direction of Holender (who is himself the father of three children), the State Opera has been known for its frequent performances of child-friendly productions. Examples include the operas Peter Pan , Das Traumfresserchen , Der 35. Mai , Aladdin , Bastien and Bastienne or Wagner's Nibelungenring for children . Until spring 2015 they took place as a children's opera on the roof of the porch (above the loggia, the vestibule and the Schwind foyer) in a specially erected tent construction. This tent was dismantled in summer 2015, the venue for children's performances is now the former Walfischgasse municipal theater .

In addition, every year on the day after the Opera Ball, a performance of the Magic Flute for children aged nine to ten takes place in the conversion of the auditorium and the stage as a ballroom.

In addition, the opera house offers its own opera school for children between 8 and 14 years of age, which must be attended in the afternoons alongside a regular school. The children are introduced to music theater in a professional manner and made aware of a possible career goal as a singer. The State Opera recruits actors for children's roles from this opera school for its productions. The opera school also has its own matinee twice a season. In the Mozart year 2006 Der kleine Friedrich was performed, a twenty-minute collage of Mozart songs by Janko Kastelic and Claudia Toman .

Opera live on the square

The monitor of "Oper live am Platz"

Since the Hollender era, there has also been the “Oper live am Platz” initiative, in which the performances are broadcast via a monitor to Karajanplatz (the square-like bulge on Kärntner Strasse near the opera). This takes place approximately every other day in May, June and September, around 300 seats will be placed on the square and removed again at the end of the performance. This initiative is funded through advertising that appears before the performance and during the breaks and is free for viewers. Most of the rules within the house (such as dress codes) do not apply at the place, and food and drinks may be consumed during the performance.

The opera ball

The Opera Ball (2014)

An internationally known event is the Opera Ball, which takes place every year on the last Thursday in Mardi Gras.

With around 5000 guests, the Opera Ball is Austria's largest meeting place for cultural workers, entrepreneurs and politicians from home and abroad. Including the participants and employees of the house, around 7,000 people populate the State Opera on the evening of the ball. The ball goers and the advertising effect for Austrian tourism have also developed into an economic factor in Vienna. 180 couples from home and abroad open the ball.

The tradition of the opera ball goes back to the time of 1814/15, the time of the Congress of Vienna. The first ball in the State Opera took place in 1935, the first of today's annual Opera Balls was held on the occasion of the reopening of the State Opera building in 1955 on February 9, 1956.

Since 1987 there have been repeated demonstrations on the occasion of or against the Opera Ball , most recently in 2010.


The organ of the Vienna State Opera was built in 1988. The slider chest instrument has 33 stops on two manuals and a pedal. The playing and stop actions are mechanical. The organ is located in the organ hall on the 6th floor of the opera house. During performances, their sound is transmitted to the auditorium via loudspeakers.

I main work C–
Tube bare 16 ′
Principal 8th'
Covered 8th'
Calm Dolze 8th'
Gemshorn 8th'
Octave 4 ′
Reed flute 4 ′
cornet 4 ′
Night horn quint 2 23
Super octave 2 ′
mixture 2 ′
clarinet 8th'
II Swell C–
Horn principal 8th'
Concert flute 8th'
Unda Maris 8th'
Salizional 8th'
Prefix 4 ′
Pointed flute 4 ′
Sif flute 4 ′
cymbal 2 ′
third 1 35
Trumpet 8th'
Pedals C–
Principal bass 16 ′
Sub-bass 16 ′
Echo bass 16 ′
Fifth bass 10 23
cello 8th'
Dulciana 8th'
Chorale bass 2 23
Rauschpfeife 2 ′
Bombard 16 ′
tuba 8th'
  • Couple:
    • Normal coupling: II / I, I / P, II / P
    • Sub-octave coupling: I / I, II / I, II / II
    • Super octave coupling: I / I, II / I, II / II, II / P

Further views of the Vienna State Opera


  • 2019: Backstage Vienna State Opera , documentary film, director: Stephanus Domanig, Prisma Film


  • undated: City expansion fund 142, court opera in the administrative archive of the Austrian State Archives .
  • Albert Josef Weltner, Alois Przistaupinsky, Ferdinand Graf (ed.): The imperial-royal court opera theater in Vienna. Statistical review of the personnel situation and artistic activity during the period from May 25, 1869 to April 30, 1894 [25 years], Adolph W. Künast, Vienna 1894 ( online in the Google Book Search USA ).
  • Richard Specht : The Vienna Opera Theater. From Dingelstedt to Schalk and Strauss. Memories from 50 years . Paul Knepler , Vienna 1919, OCLC 6725739 .
  • Anton Bauer: Operas and Operettas in Vienna . Böhlau, Vienna 1955, OCLC 893905 .
  • Wilhelm Beetz : The Vienna Opera House. 1869 to 1955 2nd edition Panorama, Vienna 1955, OCLC 39775273 .
  • Dossier: The Vienna Opera House. Reconstruction 1955. In: Bühnentechnische Rundschau (BTR), issue 1/1956 ( full text in kultiversum. The culture platform. ):
    • Eduard Wachner: The Vienna Opera House. BTR, p. 6ff.
    • Wolfgang Teubner: The stage equipment of the new Vienna State Opera. BTR, p. 12ff.
  • Alois Kieslinger : The stones of Vienna's Ringstrasse, their technical and artistic significance . Franz Steiner, Wiesbaden 1972, ISBN 978-3-515-00202-8 .
  • Wilhelm Sinkovicz : The house on the Ring: The Vienna Opera; a stroll through the house with a look behind the scenes. Vienna: Holzhausen 1997, ISBN 3-900518-67-X
  • Karl Michael Fritthum: The Vienna State Opera. “I've never heard or seen anything like this!” A cultural-historical and technical tour of the Vienna State Opera. Löcker, Vienna 2000, ISBN 3-85409-281-4 .
  • Michael Jahn : Writings on Viennese opera history . The apple, Vienna 2004–2011, ISBN 978-3-85450-321-7 .
  • Michael Jahn (Ed.): Writings from the Vienna Opera Archive . The apple, Vienna 2012 ff.
  • Maria Kramer: Vienna State Opera. Destruction and rebuilding . Molden, Vienna 2005, ISBN 978-3-85485-141-7 .
  • Leo Mazakarini . The Vienna State Opera: 50 years - our life . Kremayr & Scheriau, Vienna 2005, ISBN 978-3-218-00760-3 .
  • Carmen Ottner , Erich Wolfgang Partsch : Music theater in Vienna around 1900. Gustav Mahler and his contemporaries (= publications of the Institute for Austrian Music Documentation 37). Vienna 2014.
  • Michaela Schlögl : The Vienna State Opera. A walk through the history of the Vienna Opera House - a tour of the building. Löcker, Vienna 2016, ISBN 978-3-85409-676-4 .
  • Michaela Schlögl / Claudia Prieler: The Vienna State Opera: How it was - How it is , Echomedia-Buchverlag, Vienna 2018, ISBN 978-3-903113-19-0
  • Kaspar Mühlemann Hartl, museum in progress; Dominique Meyer , Wiener Staatsoper (Ed.): CURTAIN - CURTAIN. A living museum space - The Iron Curtain of the Vienna State Opera , Vienna: Verlag für moderne Kunst 2017, ISBN 978-3-903228-11-5 .

Web links

Commons : Vienna State Opera  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Concert Association - Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Choir .
  2. ^ Two project sheets by Alfred Messel on the Vienna Court Opera in the archive of the Architekturmuseum der TU Berlin ( Memento from May 15, 2016 in the Internet Archive ).
  3. Helmuth Furch : The Kaiserstein an important stone of the Vienna Ringstrasse using the example of the k. k. Hofoper , main source of the city ​​expansion fund , in messages from the Museum u. Kulturvereines Kaisersteinbruch , No. 44, November 1996. ISBN 978-3-9504555-3-3 .
  4. ^ Federal Geological Institute : Oper– Vienna ( Memento from October 21, 2017 in the Internet Archive ).
  5. ^ Wiener Staatsoper In: ZEIT Reisen , accessed on January 2, 2018.
  6. Schwind Foyer ( Memento of March 8, 2008 in the Internet Archive ).
  7. ^ The Teesalon ( Memento of March 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ).
  8. ^ Andrea Harrandt: Jahn, Wilhelm. In: Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon . Online edition, Vienna 2002 ff., ISBN 3-7001-3077-5 ; Print edition: Volume 2, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 2003, ISBN 3-7001-3044-9 .
  9. ^ Biography of Gustav Mahler , accessed on May 26, 2016.
  10. Thomas Leibnitz:  Schalk, Franz. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-428-11203-2 , p. 549 f. ( Digitized version ).
  11. Ernst Krenek in the Lexicon of Persecuted Musicians of the Nazi Era (LexM)
  12. Tamara Ehs: Political Schedule in: Neue Zürcher Zeitung , April 11, 2014, accessed on May 6, 2016.
  15. ^ The Vienna State Ballet . Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  16. Schläpfer becomes director of the Vienna State Ballet . Article dated June 22, 2018, accessed June 22, 2018.
  17. Ballet School - History . Retrieved May 24, 2015.
  18. Bogdan Roščić, Director of the Vienna State Opera (from July 1, 2020) Website of the Vienna State Opera, accessed on July 1, 2020
  19. ^ State Opera: Jordan becomes music director . Article dated July 31, 2017, accessed July 31, 2017.
  20. "Persinette": Hairy premiere at the Staatsoper. In: . December 20, 2019, accessed December 20, 2019 .
  21. The perfect place. Article in SZ-Magazin , No. 14/2009, p. 40
  22. See Christine Oertel: Rudolf Hermann Eisenmenger and his Iron Curtain
  23. a b c anonymous: Life: Rudolf Hermann Eisenmenger 1902–1994. In: accessed September 4, 2011.
  24. museum in progress .
  25. - State Opera: curtain as a labyrinth . Article dated November 14, 2014, accessed November 15, 2014.
  26. ^ - State Opera: Joan Jonas designs the Iron Curtain . Article dated September 23, 2014, accessed November 15, 2014.
  27. Iron Curtain 2015/2016 . museum in progress , accessed on November 11, 2015.
  28. ^ The conveyor belt in the Theatertempel , Ö1 , November 30, 2016
  29. ^ Art as fire protection: The "Iron Curtain" in the State Opera , Ö1 Leporello , June 14, 2017
  30. New Iron Curtain of the State Opera . Article dated October 18, 2017, accessed October 18, 2017.
  31. “Iron man” of the opera becomes a black and white sea . Article dated November 2, 2018, accessed November 3, 2018.
  32. ^ Culture: "Trojan Horse" for the Iron Curtain. In: Vienna. . October 10, 2019, accessed October 10, 2019 .
  33. htoman: DIRECTOR - Friedrich .
  35. Information on the organ ( Memento from May 27, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  36. ^ The organ of the Vienna State Opera. Orgelbau Kuhn AG, accessed on March 21, 2020 .
  37. CURTAIN - CURTAIN - VfmK Verlag für moderne Kunst GmbH . VfmK publishing house for modern art GmbH. 5th September 2018.

Coordinates: 48 ° 12 ′ 11 ″  N , 16 ° 22 ′ 9 ″  E