Vienna State Opera | Accidentally Wes Anderson

Vienna State Opera

Vienna, Austria | C.1869

Photo Credit: Accidentally Wes Anderson

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These 1,709 seats welcome over 600,000 spectators per year to the Vienna State Opera (German: Wiener Staatsoper), an opera house and company based in Vienna, Austria. It was built from 1861-1869 as a team effort; the exterior was planned by the Viennese architect August Sicard von Sicardsburg, while the interior was the responsibility of Eduard van der Nüll.

Preserved since its 1869 inauguration, the Renaissance-style arches of the facade overlook Ring Road with the statues of the two riders on horseback: Erato’s two winged horses led by Harmony and the Muse of Poetry. Transverse wings perpendicular to the main opera house were originally used as driveways for spectators’ horse-drawn carriages.

World War II was the opera house’s darkest period; Nazi forces took over, forcing out many regular patrons and restricting certain productions from being performed. As a result, Vienna State Opera was the target of an American bombardment towards the end of the war in 1945.

Reconstruction began that same year, and was completed on November 5, 1955. In honor of the reopening, Beethoven’s Fidelio was performed and broadcast on national television, signaling to the world that Austria was ready to begin life anew as an independent country.

Today, performances are still being broadcast outside the opera house, but this time on a more global scale. In 2013, director Dominique Meyer launched a live at home series where fans of opera and the Vienna State Opera house can view performances from digital devices around the world.

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