The Opera House of Vienna

One of the regular things one is often told is don’t miss the opera house tour, when one comes to Vienna. The opera house had to be reconstructed after WWII because the front one third of it was blown up by an Allied bomb. All is well now however, and the tour is indeed worth it. Opera was out of due season when we were there, so we did not take in a performance.

First of all this opera house rivals La Scala in Milan in size, number of balconies, and its degree of ornamentation. As you will now see, the tour really gives you a sense of the size and scale of things, even behind the scenes.
Here is the back side of the opera house which survived WWII
tort40 Here’s the side entrance where you can get tickets…
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The entrance is ornate with a grand staircase up into the opera house itself…tort50
tort43tort44tort46 Of course the most spectacular thing to see is the opera hall itself, and even its stage curtain is a work of art.
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It is of course not just opera that happen here, there is even a teenagers prom ball held here and they take the chairs out of the hall to do it!
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Back stage is cool as well…
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Obviously there is a huge amount of work involved in changing scenery etc. for the various acts of an opera, and in fact we were told they change it out several times a week as they have several different performances going on in the same time period. Yikes! Can you say job security?

Though it is hard for me to comprehend, originally the opera had little tables and chairs in the performance hall with drinks and food and conversation going on…. all during the performances! This annoyed the famous twentieth century composer and conductor Gustav Mahler, and he put a stop to it when he became the director of the opera… banishing the food to the adjacent halls outside of the opera house itself. Hence the bust and painting of Mahler in the great hall beside the opera hall, where one also finds the picture of its other famous director— Richard Strauss of Thus Spake Zaarthustra fame (think the theme from 2001 a Space Odyssey). No he is not the same person as Papa Strauss (Johann) who wrote all those Viennese waltzes. There is also the bust of another famous conductor– Herbert Van Karajan.

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Here are the intermission halls themselves…
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