“Vienna makes a play out of everything”
There’s a German saying that says “Vienna makes a play out of everything”, referring to the Viennese habit of making a big fuss out of everything. Of course, this also refers to Vienna’s extraordinary theater performances. Below, we offer you a display of Vienna’s theaters and a small description of each.
The Burgtheater is not only a building where you can watch plays, but due to its outstanding architectural beauty and its location opposite the city hall, it also counts as one of Vienna’s most majestic sights. The Burgtheater, built in 1874, is one of the first known theaters amongst German-speaking countries. Before transforming the Burgtheater into an actual theater, it used to be a ballroom for the guests of the Hofburg. Responsible for the drawings on the ceiling, conveying scenes of plays from Shakespeare and Molière and portrayals from antique theatres, is none other than the famous artist Gustav Klimt. The facade of the Burgtheater is a masterpiece as well, decorated with mythological and literary sculptures like Apollo, the Muses, Bacchus and Ariadne.
Across from the City Hall at Universitätsring 2, 1010 Wien
- After being burned to the ground in WWII, it was rebuilt in 1955.
The Volkstheater was built in 1889, with the purpose of becoming a theater for the bourgeoisie, in contrast to the imperial Hofburg. Under the rule of the nazis, it was completely rebuilt in 1939, who unfortunately got rid of valuable sculptures and decorations. Like the Burgtheater, it also got destroyed during WWII. After its renovation in 1945, it today has 500 seats less than it used to originally.
- Near the Natural History Museum, the Art History Museum and the Museumsquartier at Neustiftgasse 1, 1070 Wien
The Akademietheater, built in 1911, is being run by the Burgtheater since 1922, after the actors of the Burgtheater wished for a more intimate acting venue. Unlike the Burgtheater and the Volkstheater, the Akademietheater survived WWII undamaged. In 1974 and 1999 the Burgtheater underwent a renovation and was technically modernized.
- Lisztstraße 1, 1030 Wien
Similar to the Volkstheater, the Ronacher theater was built with the intention of being a theater for the public as opposed to the imperial theaters at the time. Therefore it even got the name “Wiener Stadttheater”, which translates to “Viennese city theater”. Unfortunately a couple of years after it was built in 1872, it was burned to the ground. Anton Ronacher, who brought the ruins back to life, transformed the theater into a classical venue. In the years after WWII, the Ronacher fulfilled its original purpose as it served as a replacement for the damaged Burgtheater. In the
Location:Not far from the Vienna State Opera and the famous Kärtner Strasse at Seilestätte 9, 1010 Wien
- In the years after that the Ronacher, which had had a lot of ups and downs, became a part of the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien, a musical company that runs many theaters in Vienna. After undergoing many renovations and functional changes, the Ronacher became the mesmerizing theater we know today!
Like the Ronacher, the Raimund Theater forms a part of the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien. In 1893, the Raimund Theater was known to be a suburban theater, welcoming the not-so-wealthy social class as an audience. In the beginning it would mostly showcase dialogues, but soon moved over to showcasing operettas, which were mainly responsible for the Raimund Theater’s rising fame. Only in the 80s, it started showcasing musicals as well. Since then, the Raimund Theater has also welcomed a broadway-show once, resulting in it becoming the leading musical show-venue in Vienna.Wallgasse, 1060 Wien
- Raimund Theater
The Rabenhof theater is unlike any other theater in Vienna. Its showcasing of contemporary political satire and influences from pop culture, give it a unique, urban flair. However, the Rabenhof Theater wasn’t always a theater. Before being transformed into an Art-Deco theater, the Rabenhof Theater used to be a cinema and before that it was a gathering place for workmen in WWII.
Rabengasse 3, 1030 Wien
- So, not only does the Rabenhof Theater showcase diverse and daring performances, but its history is very divergent as well, as the building served many different purposes throughout the years.
- Rabenhof Theater
Theater in der Josefstadt
Theater in der Josefstadt has had a very modest start: it was built by the owners of a pub in 1788 to help increase their income. Later, the growing audience lead to an expansion of the building. The opening of the new theater was accompanied by a composition conducted by Ludwig van Beethoven himself. In 1924, the theater underwent another renovation, transforming it into a palatially place, making it an escape to the luxurious, imperial atmosphere of the past. Celebrities like Johann Nestroy, Ferdinand Raimund and Johann Strauss performed at the Theater in der Josefstadt. Today it is considered to be one of the most successful theater venues throughout the entire German-speaking region.Location:
- Josefstädter Straße 26, 1080 Wien
Other Theaters in Vienna are…
Kammerspiele (run by Theater in der Josefstadt) | Theater Akzent | Stadthalle (not typically a theater venue, but showcases plays amongst other performances)
As you can see, Vienna offers a great deal on theater venues, where you can enjoy musicals, dialogues, plays, operettas, stand-up comedy, political satire, plays for children and many, many more!
- To purchase a ticket you can simply browse online, go to the theaters directly at the opening hours or go to the ticket stand right in front of the State Opera.
Operas in Vienna
There is one thing that should pop in your head when thinking of Vienna: the Opera! Even if you’re not really a fan of operas in general, we highly suggest that you pay a visit to the opera in Vienna at least once! We’re positive you will have a good time.
The State Opera
The State Opera of Vienna opened in 1869 with the premiere of Mozart’s Don Juan. The State Opera is the most important opera in Vienna and one of the most known opera houses in the whole world. The building was built in the style of the neo renaissance, however it wasn’t appreciated by the public back when it was built because of it’s back then strange architectural style. The original name of the State Opera was “Hofoper” which translates into “court opera”. Insider Tip: Every year from April till June and in September you can enjoy top ballet and opera performances open air while comfortably sitting in the Karajan square. And as if it couldn’t get any better, it’s for free!
- Opernring 2, 1010 Wien
- Like many other buildings in Vienna, the State Opera was heavily destroyed in WWII. It re-opened in 1955 with the premiere of Beethoven’s Fidelio. The State Opera featured famous opera directors like Richard Strauss and is currently being directed by Dominique Meyer. The Opera is also known for the “Opernball”, which is a high-society ball, held every year in February and attended by many famous celebrities.
Theater an der Wien
In 1801 the theater was opened by Emanuel Schikaneder in the color ochre from the outside with large empire windows and blue and silver from the inside. Due to fights and disagreements within the theater management, which led to its bankruptcy, Schikaneder was forced to sell the theater to his arch enemy. However he still had the privilege to manage artistic matters of the theater. In the following years the theater went through many varying stages of bankruptcy and success, one of its later successes being the start of the infamous musical “Mozart” in 1999. In the Theater an der Wien you can not only enjoy great performances, but also get an amazing tour through the whole building for only 7 Euros! This is a great feature for theater lovers in general, but also for makeup and costume lovers, since you also get to go backstage and see the masks and everything. The tour is unfortunately only held in German, but in our opinion there’s a lot more to be seen there than heard anyway, so we guarantee you’ll have a blast!Linke Wienzeile 6, 1060 Wien
- 2005 was the last year of the Theater an der Wien held the purpose of being a theater, because since 2006 it is officially the “New Opera House” of Vienna. Like the Raimund theater and the Ronacher theater, the Theater an der Wien is part of the “Vereinigte Bühnen Wien” organisation.
The smallest Opera in Vienna features everything from portrait concerts to unconventional reinterpretations. In fact the Kammeroper was built with the very intention of introducing new ways to opera, for example rock operas. If you consider yourself rather a fan of the classics you can of course also find plenty of those in the Kammeroper. It is as well part of the “Vereinigte Bühnen Wien” organisation.
Location:Fleischmarkt 24, 1010 Wien
When it opened in 1898, the Volksoper had only a lyric-style stage. Operas and singing performances were introduced to it only later in 1903. Many famous Operettas had their first ever showings at the Volksoper and many famous opera singers started out here as well. After WWI the Volksoper had lost most of its purpose as it was then only a representative building, but after WWII things looked much better for the Volksoper, as it served as a replacement for the then damaged State Opera.
- Währinger Str. 78, 1090 Wien
- Today, the Volksoper’s main focus lies in the showings of musicals and operettas, but it considers ballet and operas of course too.