Staatsoper information

Vienna , Austria
01, Opernring 2
Getting there
Metro: Karlsplatz
Tram: D, 1, 2, 71
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Few concert halls can hold a candle to the neo-Renaissance Staatsoper, Vienna's foremost opera and ballet venue. Even if you can't snag tickets to see a tenor hitting the high notes, you can get a taste of the architectural brilliance and musical genius that have shaped this cultural bastion by visiting the museum or taking a guided tour.

Built between 1861 and 1869 by August Siccardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, the Staatsoper initially revolted the Viennese public and Habsburg royalty and quickly earned the nickname ‘stone turtle.’ Despite the frosty reception, it went on to house some of the most iconic directors in history, including Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss and Herbert van Karajan.

The Staatsopernmuseum presents a 140-year romp through the opera house's illustrious history, with portraits of operatic greats, costumes, stage designs and documents spotlighting premieres and highlights like Karajan’s eight-year reign as director. Opera lovers will enjoy the occasional gem, such as Dame Margot Fonteyn’s stub-toed ballet slipper.

Join a 40-minute guided tour, which takes in highlights such as the foyer, graced with busts of Beethoven, Schubert and Haydn and frescos of celebrated operas, and the main staircase, watched over by marble allegorical statues embodying the liberal arts. The Tea Salon dazzles in 22-carat gold leaf, the Schwind Foyer captivates with 16 opera-themed oil paintings by Austrian artist Moritz von Schwind, while the Gustav Mahler Hall is hung with tapestries inspired by Mozart’s 'The Magic Flute'. You'll also get a behind-the-scenes look at the stage, which raises the curtain on around 300 performances each year.