Vienna State Opera - a famous building in Vienna with an annual ball
Location show on map
Opernring 2, 1010, Vienna, Austria
Date of build
1861 - 1869
May 20, 1863 - laying of the cornerstone
May 25, 1869 - opening date
Construction work on the building began in 1861 and lasted eight years - until 1869. The building was opened on May 25, 1869, with the opera "Don Giovanni" in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and Empress Elisabeth.
The most famous opera house in Austria was designed by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll. It was built by the famous Czech architect and contractor Josef Hlávka. The opera was met with a wave of harsh criticism and ridicule, which led Eduard to commit suicide.
The Vienna State Opera, known locally as the Wiener Staatsoper, was originally called the Vienna Court Opera. In 1920, with the replacement of the Habsburg monarchy by the First Austrian Republic, it was renamed the Vienna State Opera.
The building is constructed in a neo-Renaissance style.
At the end of World War II, on March 12, 1945, the opera house was severely damaged by the bombing of Austria. The auditorium, stage, all decor and costumes were destroyed by fire.
Over the years there have been discussions about the future fate of the building. It was discussed whether the opera house should be renovated to its original form or completely demolished and built in another location. In the end, it was decided to restore the opera house in the same place.
The restored Wiener Staatsoper opened its doors on 5 November 1955, with Beethoven's "Fidelio" opening the season. Today, there are more than 200 performances in the Vienna State Opera's repertoire.
Looking at the front of the building from the ring road, you can see the original structure, which has been preserved since 1869.
On the main façade of the loggia, statues of two riders on horseback were placed in 1876 by Ernst Julius Hähnel. They depict Eraton's two winged horses being led by "Harmony and the Muse of Poetry".
On the arches above the veranda are five bronze statues of Hähnel, representing the qualities of heroism, tragedy, fantasy, comedy and love. On either side of the building are two fountains by Josef Gasser that represent two different worlds: music, dance, joy and lightness on one side, and seduction, sorrow, love and revenge on the other.
The beautifully decorated staircase, the tea room or the foyer are just some of the many attractions inside the building. Most of them are decorated by beautiful marble statues representing arts such as music, dance and sculpture. Other areas are decorated with numerous silk wall panels and coats of arms, busts of composers, and scenes from legendary operatic works.
The chandelier consists of three tons of Bohemian crystal and 1,100 bulbs, 22 feet in diameter and 16 feet high. It has its own maintenance aisles and takes more than a week to clean and is done from the ceiling because it cannot be lowered.
The horseshoe-shaped main auditorium can accommodate 2,284 spectators, including 1,709 seated, 567 standing, 4 wheelchair spaces and 4 wheelchair companion spaces. The auditorium uses the traditional colors of red, gold and ivory, and the large central chandelier has been replaced by a ring of recessed ceiling lights made of crystal glass for safety.
The stage appears small at 88 feet tall, but behind its curtain, the remaining portion of the stage is four times the size of the massive auditorium. The huge stage allows the various sets to be rotated by hydraulic elevators, which require so much power that the Vienna Opera has two substations of its own.
One of the most important annual events is the ball, which takes place in the Wiener Staatsoper building in mid-February. 180 pairs of young people dance the waltz.
The Vienna State Opera is considered one of Austria's landmarks. The season at the Opera House runs from September to June with operas, operettas, ballet and concerts. It attracts many tourists, cultural and media people from all over the world every year.
Official website: https://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/en/