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A night at the opera

Attending the opera in the famed Staatsoper in Vienna

Vienna's opulent Staatsoper (State Opera House) is one of the most important opera houses in the world. It opened in 1869 with a performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni and has counted Mahler and Richard Strauss among its musical directors. You can take a 35-minute tour during the day, but it's even better to attend a performance there at night.

Attending the opera in Vienna

The season runs September through June and its performances are not to be missed, even if you aren't an opera fan. Regular tickets from €6 to €212, but the true experience it to pick up Praterrestehplatz (standing-room-only) tickets on the day of performance.

Standing room only for €2

One of my favorite $2 experiences in Europe was waiting in line for two hours to snag S.R.O. tickets for a performance of Donizetti's silly L'Elisir d'Amor. That was in 1994—and even with the introduction of the Euro and more than a decade of inflation, the price for standing-room tickets is still just €2 (less than $3).

(I also chatted with the Austrian opera student waiting in line in front of me. I taught her the lyrics to Devil Went Down to Georgia, and in exchange she showed me how to save my spot in the parterre so I could wander before the performance started and then took me on a tour of the opera house.)

To get these cheap opera tickets, show up two to three hours early to wait in line and bring a scarf or something to tie around the railing at your standing spot. This scarf will save your place so you can wander through gilded rooms and mingle with the black-tie crowd until the performance begins.

Summertime performances at the Schönbrunn

When summer chases the company out of the State Opera House, you can enjoy open-air Mozart operas at Schloss Schönbrunn (—which actually stages musical concerts year-round.

Opernring 2
U-Bahn: Oper or Karlsplatz
tel. 01-514-447-810


Intrepid Travel

This article was last updated in August 2007. All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.