Vienna State Opera | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Vienna State Opera

Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Sarah Roller

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Vienna State Opera

The Vienna State Opera House dates back to 20 December 1857, when Emperor Franz Josef made his intention to expand Vienna’s public buildings known.

History of Vienna State Opera

Construction of the Vienna State Opera House formed part of this controversial scheme and its design was awarded to architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, neither of whom lived to see its completion on 25 May 1869. They designed the State Opera House in a Renaissance style which was deeply unpopular at the time: the building was nicknamed the ‘Stone Turtle’.

In its heyday, the Staatsoper has hosted some of the most iconic directors in opera’s history, including Mahler and Strauss.

The building was in large part destroyed in March 1945 by American bombing raids on Vienna, but it was painstakingly after the war, including restoring its original façade, and the first performance of Fidelio by Beethoven was held there on 5 November 1955. Today, the State Opera House houses the world famous Vienna Philharmonic.

The Vienna State Opera today

Guided tours of the building are available and include the entrance foyer, the main staircase, the marble room, Schwind foyer and the Gustav Mahler room as well as a tour of the auditorium, but only at specific times – check out precise and up-to-date details on the website

The nearby Vienna State Opera Museum displays a series of exhibitions relating to the building and its history since 1955. Of course, another way to sneak a peek of the Vienna State Opera is to buy a ticket to a performance and see the building in all its glory, but you’ll need to book way ahead as performances often sell out weeks if not months before the show, especially if you don’t want to splash all of your holiday cash in one go.

Vienna’s famous Café Sacher is just over the road – once you’ve finished your tour, be sure to enjoy a slice of their eponymous Sachertorte and soak up some of the glamour of one of Vienna’s oldest coffee houses.

Getting to the Vienna State Opera

The Vienna State Opera is in the city centre, just south of the Hofburg and just within the Ring. The nearest U-Bahn is Oper, Karlsplatz, a 2 minute walk away, and a whole host of buses and trams stop on the Ring itself. It’s walking distance from MuseumsQuartier and Stephansplatz, as well as the Hofburg.

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