Working in a school’s boarding house means that we are all constantly on the look out for any activities around the city that could be of interest to the students. Due to many of them being keen musicians we figured this would be of interest, but decided to check it out in advance anyway.
Looking on the website for the Wiener Staatsoper I was surprised to find that the tours were actually remarkably cheap. For an adult it was only EUR 7.50 and for children and students it is EUR 3.50, making it very affordable to take both families and large groups. It is also suitable for anyone needing disabled access and only requires, just like non-disabled groups, to arrive fifteen minutes before the tour begins.
When we arrived the main reception/ticket area for the tour (which can be found through the corner Operngasse entrance) was already pretty full, but then it became clear that they were all organised into different languages via clearly labelled signs. The tours are offered in German, English and Spanish at any of the allocated times and can also be spoken in Italian, French, Russian and Japanese if booked in advance. (I will link the website at the bottom where you can find the details.) I was incredibly pleased with just how organised the whole system was. Our English group was split into three smaller groups, meaning there was only around 25 or so. Each tour group then went in a different direction meaning there was not a problem with too many groups trying to fit into one room or speaking different languages at the same time.
The tour itself was around forty minutes long, a perfect length of time for a school group, but was incredibly informative. Our guide educated us on the history of the Opera House and how it is run, the costumes and sets that are used for the productions and provided many facts and jokes about each aspect of the Staatsoper, all whilst touring many different rooms, eventually leading to the auditorium.
As a theatre student, it was this that excited me the most. To see this beautiful stage surrounded by the red seats of the main auditorium and the royal box directly across from it was breathtaking. During our tour they were also preparing the stage for one of the rehearsals that day and it was fascinating to see the crew working to create what would end up being a masterpiece of stage design, whilst also being swamped by the great stage itself.
The only downside to these tours is that they are only run throughout April and May, so if you are ever in Vienna during these two months do it! For EUR 7.50, the tour was definitely worth the money and I would recommend it to any tourist (or even someone who lives in Vienna that wants to know some more about the history of the Opera House.)
All that is left to do now is actually see an Opera!
Click here to go to the main website.
Click here to go to the guided tours area.