Vienna is a paradise for music lovers like me. In fact, the wealth of opportunities to see live music in Vienna may have even increased my appreciation for music (which, I wasn’t even sure was possible until it happened!). It has definitely ignited my love for opera. I love all of the different performances that I have been able to see so far, and I can’t wait for all the other ones that I have yet to see! At most venues, you can read subtitles or supertitles in English, making musical theater very accessible to non-native German speakers, too. But listening to productions in German is also a great way to practice your German. I’ve found that I’m able to understand a lot of what is going on, even when I don’t read the supertitles. Reading the synopsis ahead of time and watching the staging also helps with that, of course.
There are plenty of ways to see live music in Vienna. Here’s a quick guide to a lot of the ways. This is not an exhaustive list, but a few tips that I’ve figured out from my experience so far:
- Pay full price for a seat: It is always an option, but I don’t recommend it, especially on a student budget. The cheap seats at most venues often don’t have a great view of the stage, so you do really get what you pay for. Why pay full price for a seat where you won’t be able to see anything?
- Standing Room tickets: Most music venues in Vienna have standing room tickets that cost a lot less than seats. Most venues sell standing room tickets for €5 or less. And, if you ask me, a lot of the time, the standing room tickets have better views of the stage than a lot of the seats in the house. So if you’re willing to stand through a performance, standing room tickets might be the way to go. But please, please, be sure not to lock your knees.
- Young Audiences: There are so many great discounts for young people to see live music. Lots of venues have at least one avenue for tickets for students and young people. The Wiener Staatsoper has several different discounts for audiences under 27 years old. Here’s a link if you want to explore the possibilitie. The Volksoper also has various discounts for audiences under 30 years old. Here’s a link to the Volksoper programs for young audiences.
- Restkarten: Meaning “remaining tickets” in English, Restkarten are some of the best ways to get inexpensive seats as a student in some of the best seats in the house, especially if you are feeling spontaneous. If a performance isn’t sold out, the venue sells the tickets that are left over to students at extremely discounted prices. Even if a seat is worth €200, the Restkarten prices are set by the venue, so you probably won’t pay more than €20 for Restkarten. Some venues are even less than that! Make sure to bring your student ID!
- BundestheaterCard: The first thing that you should do once you arrive for your semester abroad in Vienna is apply for a BundestheaterCard. Okay, maybe the first thing that you should do is check in with the IES Abroad staff and get checked into the program. But just after that, apply for a BundestheaterCard. There are so many benefits that residents of Vienna receive with a BusdestheaterCard, but my favorite benefit (so far!) is that standing room tickets at the Wiener Staatsoper are can be bought for €4-€5! That’s less expensive than a lot of types of coffee and pastries! And since there are so many different shows to see, it definitely makes going to a lot of them affordable.