In a city with such a rich musical tradition, it is no surprise to find an above-average number of outstanding opera and concert houses.
3 World’s Best Concert Halls are on the Ringstrasse
The Viennese concert and opera houses are different from other comparable institutions around the world above all because so many premieres of famous compositions have taken place in exactly these houses.
In addition, these historical premieres were often conducted by the composers themselves.
Still today this is special challenge for every orchestra and every musician who plays in these houses.
New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra & Zubin Mehta | Musikverein in Vienna
Radetzky March | Johann Strauss Sr. (1848)
Almost all of Vienna’s important concert halls are located on Ringstrasse. Three of the ten “World’s Best Concert Halls Ever” are located on Ringstrasse: the State Opera in first place, followed directly by the Musikverein in second place and the Konzerthaus in sixth place.
1. Musikverein in Vienna
A tale that holds quite true is often told to European travelers.
There are two things on a trip through Europe that you won’t have enough money for: to rent a cabin on the Lido di Venezia and to purchase a ticket for a concert of the Vienna Philharmonic in the Musikverein.
For both things there are very long waiting periods. Currently you have to wait six years to get season tickets for week-day Vienna Philharmonic concerts at the Musikverein, for concerts on the weekend even thirteen years.
Musikverein, Vienna (Photo: Maximilian Just)
The famous main concert hall in the Musikverein is considered to be the best concert hall in world by many.
Every year, on the morning of January 1, the New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic is followed worldwide by more than a billion enthusiastic people.
The general program is dedicated to the Strauss dynasty (father and three sons). A surely unforgettable experience for anyone who is able to attend the concert in person.
2. Wiener Konzerthaus
The coexistence of tradition and modernity was already obvious during the very first concert at this new concert hall.
The Wiener Konzerthaus was opened with a gala concert in 1913 in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
For this occasion Richard Strauss composed his Festliches Präludium op. 61 that was combined with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Wiener Konzerthaus, Vienna (Photo: Andreas Praefcke | cc-by-sa)
Premieres of works by Arnold Schönberg also took place in this concert hall.
The art nouveau ornamentation has remained unchanged since the time of the theatre’s opening.
There are four halls in which concerts take place simultaneously.
3. Vienna State Opera
The “Top Address on Ringstrasse”, the Vienna State Opera is the most important opera house in Vienna and one of the most famous in the world.
Alone the names of a few of its directors – Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Herbert von Karajan, Lorin Maazel – speaks for the standard of the performances that is cultivated to this day.
Vienna State Opera (Photo: Maximilian Just)
The members of the Vienna Philharmonic are still today chosen from the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera.
The State Opera is also where the most prestigious ball in Vienna is staged – the annual Opera Ball.
4. Vienna Volksoper
The Vienna Volksoper is the second largest opera house in Vienna. If operetta is on your list of things to see in Vienna, then the Volksoper is the place for you to go.
5. Theater an der Wien
The Theater an der Wien is the oldest, still active opera house in Vienna. In this theatre is where, in 1805, the first public performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (Eroica) and the opera Fidelio took place. In addition, his Fifth Symphony and Sixth Symphony (Pastorale) premiered here in 1808. Beethoven even lived in the building from 1803 to 1804. On the ground floor there is a memorial room dedicated to him.
In later years operettas by Johann Strauss I and Franz Lehár also premiered here.
The main focus of their repertoire today lies on the one hand on the First Viennese School, above all on Mozart, and on the other hand on premieres, or respectively the rediscovering, of operas from the 20th and 21st centuries.
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