Vienna State Opera Season 2017/2018: What is new?

The Vienna State Opera has a broad spectrum on offer in the 2017/18 season, from baroque to modern: The portfolio of six premieres in the coming season ranges chronologically from Handel to von Einem.

Premières

No fewer than six opera premières will be staged at the opera house on the Ring during the course of the 2017/18 season:

  • Sergei Prokofiev’s The Gambler (4 October 2017)
  • Alban Berg’s Lulu in the three-act version (3 December 2017)
  • George Frideric Handel’s Ariodante (24 February 2018 )
  • Gottfried von Einem’s Dantons Tod (24 March 2018)
  • Camille Saint-Saën’s Samson et Dalila (12 May 2018)
  • Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz (11 June 2018)

Artists

Among the star guests in the repertoire: Jonas Kaufmann’s Vienna debut as “Andrea Chénier” (April/May), Anna Netrebko, Elena Zhidkova and Piotr Beczala in “Adriana Lecouvreur” (November), Piotr Beczala and Carlos Alvarez alongside Margarita Gritskova and Anita Hartig in “Carmen” (January), Sabine Devieilhe, Javier Camarena and Carlos Alvarez in “La fille du régiment” (January), in which Marjana Lipovšek returns in the comic role of the Duchess of Crakentorp.

Netrebko will also once again sing Leonora in Verdi’s “Il Trovatore”, this time alongside Marcelo Alvarez (September), Juan Diego Florez and Aida Garifullina are the Duke and Gilda in a “Rigoletto” series with Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who will hopefully have made a full recovery by then (June).

Children’s opera: Alma Deutscher’s “Cinderella”

There will be a premiere in the area of children’s opera: The British child prodigy Alma Deutscher will now also stage her opera “Cinderella” on 28 January in the Walfischgasse, after the work was premiered last year in Vienna’s Casino Baumgarten. Director Birgit Kajtna will arrange the piece for young opera fans, with a condensed version lasting one hour.

More than 350 performances

In all, 54 different operas will be staged at the State Opera in the coming season, plus nine ballet programmes and four works for children, as well as concerts and other events. This amounts to more than 350 performances, including 227 opera and 53 ballet performances.

Those who prefer to enjoy the State Opera in the comfort of their own home have a choice of 45 performances available in the live-stream offer. And in the project “Oper live am Platz”, around 20 performances will once again be broadcast on Herbert von Karajan-Platz, with free admission. Furthermore, the State Opera will go on tour twice, taking “Don Giovanni” to Abu Dhabi and “Le nozze di Figaro” to Aix-en-Provence.

Tickets for the new season of the Vienna State Opera are available at www.concertvienna.com

What’s new at the Vienna Opera Ball 2017?

The 61st Vienna Opera Ball will take place on 23.February at the Vienna State Opera. The new organizer is Maria Grossbauer, the daughter of a member of the Vienna Philharmonics. She has studied music and is in charge of a PR agency.

The star tenor Jonas Kaufmann will sing for the first time at the opening of the Vienna Opera Ball („La fleur que tu m’avais jetée“from Carmen und „Dein ist mein ganzes Herz“ from Das Land des Lächelns)

The following orchestras will be playing:

  • The Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera / Vienna Philharmonics
  • The Stage Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera
  • The Vienna Opera Ball Orchestra

144 debutante pairs from 9 different countries will open the ball. The girls wear tiaras, this year designed by Karl Lagerfeld. The name of the tiara is „Le Beau Danube Bleu“ in commemoration of the 150th birthday of the Blue Danube waltz.

The flower decoration is inspired the Mozart’s “Magic Flute”: the roses and flowering branches will represent the magical forest and its colorful birds.

There are quite a few new gastronomic highlights, the most remarkable being the Opera-Ball-Drink 2017 created by Roberto Pavlovic of Roberto American Bar: “L’elisir d’amore” after Donizetti’s opera.

The ball guests traditionally receive mementos as a gesture of thanks for their attendance. This year the ladies will receive, among other small gifts, a brooch by Swarovski, inspired by the Rosenkavalier.

Roméo et Juliette, Vienna State Opera

Roméo et Juliette, Vienna State Opera

Wiener Staatsoper/ Michael Pöhn

On Sunday night, the Vienna State Opera staged Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette” starring Juan Diego Flórez and Aida Garifullina as Shakespeare’s legendary lovers, and Plácido Domingo in the conductor’s pit.

The two singers offered performances of complementary excellence. Flórez exuded extraordinary passion, vocally and physically, alternating between intense outbursts and ravishing soft singing with dark colorings and an emotional vulnerability.

Aida Garifullina showed impressive range in her solo turns. Her silvery voice aptly represented the young heroine’s innocence and sweetness.

Flórez and Garifullina were especially inspired during balcony scene duet (“O nuit divine”), shifting subtly between romantic abandon and melodic intimacy.

The third star of this performance was Plácido Domingo in the pit, issuing one of his finest performances in years.

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Roméo et Juliette
Through February 1 at the Vienna State Opera, tickets available at: www.concertvienna.com/program/Vienna_State_Opera

Vienna State Opera: Top Spring 2016 must-see Operas

Vienna state opera in spring

Franz Jachim / flickr / CC BY-NC-ND

Vienna may be a first-class winter holiday destination, but one can hardly ignore the feelings of relief and even joy that come with watching the snows melt. Fortunately, what comes along with the end of winter is a slate of wonderful new performances at the Vienna State Opera and Volksoper.

This spring, we have our eye on four particular performances.

Manon, Une Comédie Parisienne

If you’re eager for the laughter and ease that comes with spring, this February’s performances of the famous French comic opera Manon should be perfect for you. This opera’s enduring appeal has been long established, with well over 2,000 performances at Paris’ Opéra-Comique alone in its first 68 years. Today, that popularity endures, with 16 cities putting on performances in 2016.

The opera begins with a permanent trip to the convent for the young lady Manon, which is interrupted by an encounter with the chivalrous Des Grieux. However, their domestic bliss is quickly met with yet another interruption, as Manon is tricked into leaving with a mysterious man who is his identity.

As the comedy and absurdity builds, the lovers are torn from each other, forced to gamble their future, and eventually meet their fate. It’s a humorous vision of love and all of the pleasantries of Paris’ Belle Époque. With five performances occurring at the Vienna State Opera, beginning on Valentine’s Day (February 14th), you’ll want to take someone special and book your tickets now.

La Traviata, The Fallen Woman

Singer in La Traviata holding roses

Quincena Musical / flickr / CC BY

One of the most famous and acclaimed operas in history ended its first night of life with the composition of a letter by its composer, Giuseppe Verdi, “La Traviata last night a failure. Was the fault mine or the singers’? Time will tell.”

Time has told, and over a century and a half since its disaster of a premiere in Venice, La Traviata is the most popular opera in the world. The plot centers around the spirited and beautiful young courtesan Violetta and her battles both for love and against the ravages of tuberculosis. It’s a dual pair of struggles that continues to strike a chord with audiences worldwide.

La Traviata will have 11 performances at the Volksoper, beginning on February 3rd and running all the way until June 30th. Book your tickets today and don’t miss the opportunity to experience the world’s premier opera in the world’s premier opera city.

Parsifal, An Arthurian Legend by Richard Wagner

If you had the opportunity to experience Wagner’s full ring cycle this January at the Vienna State Opera but still have yet to satisfy your desire for Wagnerian grandeur, Parsifal is coming to the state opera next. Wagner’s last completed opera, the composer wrote in his autobiography that Parsifal was conceived almost miraculously on Good Friday of 1857.

The opera follows Percival, one of the Knights of the Round Table, in his quest for the mythical Holy Grail. The story revolves around religious themes and the characters’ striving for holiness. Parsifal’s history and story have given it powerful religious overtones in the times since its premier as its meaning for audiences has evolved.
Today, the Vienna State Opera’s three scheduled performances of Parsifal on March 24th, 27th, and 30th, make for a fantastic opportunity to see this, one of the less-frequently performed operas of Wagner. With so few performances, be sure to book your tickets and reserve your place.

Turandot

Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot reaches far out into heretofore untouched places in the world of opera. The subject material of this opera boldly stands out, based on the story of a princess named Turan-Dokht (daughter of Turan), first mentioned in a work by a Persian poet from the 12th-century named Nizami. This new production of Turandot premiering at the Vienna State Opera is sure to stand out as well.

In many ways, Turandot was the culmination of Puccini’s career. Having been unable to complete it before his death in 1924, it was left to be completed by others. At its dramatic premier in 1926 in Milan, the conductor is said to have stopped the orchestra, laid his baton down, and turned to the audience in the middle of the third act. In this moment, he somberly said, “Here the performance finishes because at this point the maestro died.”

This drama reflected the pure boldness of the composition – Puccini’s attempt to push the boundaries of opera with his unique historical and cultural sources of inspiration. This has made Turandot controversial since its inception. However, it has also made it a perennially fascinating opera for 90 years. There will be a total of five performances from April 28th until May 12th. Be sure to book now and not miss the new production of this unique opera.

Which operas are you looking forward to seeing this spring? Let us know in the comments.

The Exciting Blend of Verklungene Feste and Josephs Legende

Vienna has long been a city where art stays vibrant and alive for centuries after its creation. With ballet, it’s no different

Vienna has long been a city where art stays vibrant and alive for centuries after its creation. With ballet, it’s no different
jeff / Flickr / CC BY-SA

Vienna has long been a city where art stays vibrant and alive for centuries after its creation. With ballet, it’s no different. For proof, look no further than choreographer John Neumeier’s ambitious reimagining of two great works of ballet, Verklungene Feste and Josephs Legende, in a powerful double feature.


Aside from what you can experience in the previews the Vienna Staatsballett has recorded and made available online, there’s much to learn about these two pieces before experiencing them yourself. Continue reading

Top Attractions to Compliment Your Winter Vacation in Vienna

The magnificent Belvedere is even more captivating in the winter

franzj / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND

Finding an ideal location for a winter holiday trip is never easy. Whether you’re into winter sports, finding a cozy cottage somewhere, or retreating to the equator for some beach time, there’s always the risk someone in the family won’t be happy; it comes down to finding the perfect balance of activities for a perfect winter holiday.

Lucky for you, Vienna has plenty of music events to offer, even for those who don’t think they would love an evening of opera or classical music.

Here are our top picks that you can’t help but love this winter. Continue reading

The Charm and Beauty of The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte)

The Charm and Beauty of The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte)

Sidneiensis / Flickr / CC BY

A classic almost since its premier in 1791, The Magic Flute cleverly plays on our ideas and expectations about fairy tales and opera itself, in a way that only Mozart could manage in that era. In the 225 years since then, the opera’s allure has only grown. It may have a handsome prince fighting for love against the forces of evil, but there’s much more than meets the eye.

Critics continue to devote hours or even careers to the work. There’s delight for anyone, true, but these are deep waters for any serious lovers of music, drama, or simply the ecstasy one finds in truly great art. Continue reading

Vienna State Opera Features: The Makropulos Affair by Leos Janácek

Czech nationalism in musical form, immortality, bizarre real-life onstage deaths – all inspired by unrequited love for a substantially younger woman: Leos Janácek’s opera The Makropulos Affair could hardly stand to pack much more into its history or its running time.

Though Věc Makropulos literally translates from Czech as “The Makropulos Thing,” the Affair is part detective story, part fantasy, part failed love story. To anyone familiar with Czech culture and art, it is above all, very Czech. That’s how Leos Janácek wanted it. But what makes this opera so unique and even peculiar? For that, we should start with the story of its creation. Continue reading

Wagner’s Ring at the Vienna State Opera: January 2016 Tickets, History, and News

Zé Carlos Barretta / Flickr / CC BY

A dive into the deep waters of Richard Wagner’s four-part dramatic opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen can take one of two basic forms: the marathon or the more drawn-out series. True Wagner lovers enjoy partaking in both, but while fitting 15 hours of viewing into four nights might appeal to a true diehard, there’s something left out of an experience that dense.

What possesses even an opera lover to devote so much time to a single interconnected drama? In a word: genius. They come seeking an opera experience which stands alone amongst all the other great works of the medium in its breadth, intensity, and place in the hearts of its devotees.

How did such an enormous interconnected work come about? The answer is intertwined with the history of Europe and how Richard Wagner navigated it during his chaotic and brilliant life. Continue reading

Vienna’s Must-See Opera and Concerts this December and January

A winter snowfall over Vienna

A winter snowfall over Vienna
gego2605 / foter / CC BY-SA

Attending an opera or classical concert in the depths of a Viennese winter is unlike any other time or place. A walk along the Ringstrasse beneath glittering lights and architectural gems before a fabulous performance and an elegant dinner: it’s something no other city does quite like Vienna.

This winter is no different. With new performances coming to Vienna on top of several excellent one-time events, there’s no shortage of outstanding opera and concerts to attend. But what are some of the best events to keep an eye on and worth planning a trip around?

Here are the top four Vienna events you can’t miss this December and January. Continue reading