Opera: Vienna State Ballet, first solo dancer, Maria Yakovleva, Nina Poláková and Olga Esina
© WienTourismus / Peter Rigaud

Curtain up!

The Viennese cultural scene is showing strong signs of life and is starting the autumn with self-confidence. Because people need culture. All organizers have developed Covid-19-compliant security, hygiene and distance concepts for their houses, with adjusted visitor numbers. So that one can experience again live, but carefree music and theater. And so that Vienna can once again live up to its reputation as the world capital of music and culture.

Stage free at the Vienna State Opera

It is finally playing again: the Vienna State Opera, world famous and beloved opera house. The glittering prelude was the premiere of Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly on September 7. The celebrated Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian sang the Cio-Cio-San. The premiere signaled the resumption of regular opera performances - and is also the beginning of a new era: under the direction of Bogdan Roščić, ten very central operas will be brought to the stage anew in 2020/21, with the most important directors, singers and conductors of the opera world. Roščić is supported by Philippe Jordan as music director - he was also conducting the Butterfly premiere.

Zazá and Ludwig van

The Theater an der Wien is both Vienna's oldest (dating from 1801) and youngest opera house (reopened as an opera house in 2006). Today it houses baroque opera and modern music theater. The season started on September 16 with the premiere of Ruggero Leoncavallo's Zazá, directed by Christof Loy. This extraordinary opera rarity is in no way inferior to Leoncavallo's most famous work - The Bajazzo: With an experimental collage technique and overlapping music and musical styles, Leoncavallo takes us into the dazzling world of vaudeville.

The jubilarian Beethoven is also honored: The Theater an der Wien was one of his residences and the setting for the premiere of his only opera Fidelio. Beethoven's 250th birthday will be celebrated with the monodrama Looking 4 Ludwig (from Sept. 19).

The spark jumps over

To the gates of Vienna's concert halls! Streaming, YouTube or high-end system sound do not achieve the same musical experience as live in halls with fantastic acoustics, directly at the performers.

The Musikverein - Vienna's musical temple of muses, so to speak - has a new director: Stephan Pauly. A first big highlight of the season are the performances of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on October 1, 3, 4 and 5 with Beethoven symphonies conducted by Herbert Blomstedt. On October 4, mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli will sing in the Great Hall.

The Wiener Konzerthaus is a stage full of musical diversity - from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, Jazz and World to classical music and the progressive tones of the present. Top interpreters of all genres are guests in the atmospheric Art Nouveau ambience. The opening of the new season was in the hands of the Camerata Salzburg at the beginning of September, with a festive Beethoven program (1st Symphony, Violin Concerto). The Philharmonix took a different approach with Swing on Beethoven on September 5: The seven musicians radiate pure musical pleasure when they virtuously blend classical music, jazz, Jewish folk music, Latin and pop. On September 7 and 8, the British conductor Daniel Harding, pianist Rudolf Buchbinder and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra gave a truly romantic piano concert, with works by Robert Schumann and Richard Strauss (Also sprach Zarathustra).

Opera to Musical

The Vienna Volksoper is home to opera, operetta, musical and dance. So everything. Johann Strauss' operetta Die Fledermaus (The Bat) has already fluttered at the start of the season; in September the musicals Sweet Charity (by Cy Coleman; premiere!) and Kiss me, Kate (by Cole Porter), the operas Carmen (Georges Bizet) and The Canterville Ghost (Marius Felix Lange), Franz Lehár's operetta The Merry Widow as well as the ballet performances of Peter Pan and Holland's Masters follow.

Speaking of musicals: The cats are dancing again. From September 24, magic, mysticism and Grammy-winning music will fill the Ronacher - in Andrew Lloyd Webber's masterpiece Cats, which has broken all records since its Vienna premiere last year.

All theater

The Viennese call their number one theater stage "Die Burg" ("The Castle"): The actual name of the National Theater is Burgtheater. On September 11th, Pedro Calderón de la Barca's Das Leben ein Traum (Life a Dream) opened the season, staged by director Martin Kušej. From September 27, Lucy Kirkwood's Das Himmelszelt follows, with an almost exclusively female cast (Marie-Luise Stockinger, Sophie von Kessel, and many more).

The Akademietheater is a venue of the Burgtheater - here the Austrian premiere of Thomas Köck's Antigone. A Requiem (after Sophocles) took place on September 12.

The Theater in der Josefstadt, which opened in 1788, was rebuilt by Max Reinhardt in 1924 - into a room for contemporary escape, furnished with red damask, gold jewelry and Venetian chandelier pomp. Today a theater company dedicated to contemporary theater works in this architectural jewel. The September premiere is Der deutsche Mittagstisch, Dramolette by Thomas Bernhard. In these grotesque miniatures, Bernhard sketches "small" scenes on "big" subjects with sharp eye, lightness, wit, black humor and a deep knowledge of human nature. A feast for actors and audience.

By the way: Numerous initiatives have already demonstrated open air how a cultural concept can be successful in times like these. To be experienced outdoors until Sept. 28: Theater im Park.

All important cultural dates can also be found in our Event Database



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