A Night at the Opera?

Colin Baumgartner
March 22, 2013

Inside the Vienna Staatsoper: a view of the stage from the Galerie

I was somewhat daunted by the idea of attending an opera at the Viennese Staatsoper.  I was told by friends and relatives that it was a must, but I still had lingering doubts.  I’d been told that I should go and buy a ticket for a Stehplatz (“a standing place”).  The Stehplätze are a cheap way for people on a budget to experience the world-class opera and theater.  Though I was all for  getting affordable tickets to the opera, the idea of standing for the entirety of an opera sounded less than relaxing.  In spite of my initial doubts, I followed the advice that everyone had given me and made my way to the opera one evening.

The Burgtheater is a great place to see German theater

I made my way to the side of the opera that is closest to the Albertina.  Behind a small door marked with a golden sign reading “Stehplatz Karten” there is a small room  where a snaking line forms before operas.  Depending on the popularity of the opera and the day of the week it is a good idea to arrive at around 17:15 or so.  I brought a book with me and simply read as I waited for the ticket office to open.  At around 18:00 the office opens and the line begins to move as people buy their tickets.  I’ve found that the Galerie is the best––and most affordable––option at only €3.00.  After getting a ticket, I proceeded upstairs where another line forms.  People are allowed into the Galerie at 18:15-18:30.  People surged into the Stahplatz area and claimed their spots in the two rows of standing spaces at the back of the balcony.  To mark your place you simply wrap a scarf around the railing in front of your place.  The view from the Galerie is quite good and it isn’t often a problem to get a good place.

Fortification for the opera––a Waldviertler sausage with mustard, horseradish, a thick slice of bread and a local beer

Once I’d marked my place I had around 45 minutes before the opera began.  This window of time is just long enough to exit the Staatsoper and visit the small Würstelstand in front of the Albertina.  The Würstelstand is a must-visit where you can get great sausages with fresh dark bread and a beer.  After a good meal like this I was fortified for the opera.

The cast of Oscar Wilde’s Der Ideale Man take a bow

The standing was actually quite easy and the opera was brilliant.  I’ve since been to quite few operas––as well as performances in the Burgtheater and the Theater in der Josefstadt.  The opportunity to get tickets to such brilliant performances is a real gift to everyone in Vienna; the performances are often so engaging you forget you’ve been standing for 3 hours.  Maybe the beer and sausages helps as well…

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Colin Baumgartner

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Colin Baumgartner is a Junior studying to be a secondary English education teacher. Colin grew up as a second generation Austrian and has always had a distinct sense of being split between two cultures&ndash;&ndash;Austrian and American. Studying abroad in Vienna, Colin will have an opportunity to really explore the Austrian side of his heritage. When not buried in literature or writing, Colin enjoys blogging, hiking, cooking, working out, and traveling. Colin is an unabashed aesthete and gourmand, so the beautiful foods, sights, and people of Europe will not go unnoticed or unrelished. Dum vivimus, vivamus!</span></p>

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Penn State University
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