The Vienna State Opera is the premiere opera and classical music venue in Vienna. From September to June, the best singers, conductors and dancers perform for opera lovers from all corners of the world. The Vienna Opera can also claim the finest opera orchestra in the world, as it is made up of members of the Vienna Philharmonic.
Each season approximately 50 operas and 20 ballets are performed, making the Vienna Opera the busiest opera house anywhere. Productions are lavish affairs and a great experience.
Built between 1861 and 1869 by August Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, the opera house initially revolted the Viennese public and Habsburg royalty. Van der Nüll committed suicide, and barely ten weeks later Sicardsburg suffered a fatal heart attack. Neither lived to see the opening of their building on May 25, 1869.
The Vienna Opera was opened with Mozart's Don Giovanni. Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) were present.
During WW II the Vienna opera was bombed. The building burnt for two days. The auditorium and the stage, as well as almost the entire decor and around 150,000 costumes, were destroyed by the flames. After the war the opera house exterior was rebuild as it had been.
On Novermber 5, 1955, the Vienna Opera was re-opened with Fidelio by Ludwig van Beethoven, conducted by Karl Böhm. The performance was broadcast throughout the world as a sign, that Austria was again an independent and democratic republic.
Another historical broadcast took place on July 1, 1998, as Austria undertook its first presidency of the European Union. Fidelio was broadcast live from the Vienna State Opera to the 15 capital cities of the EU.