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Wiener Staatsoper (Orchestra & Choir)

Founded: 1869 - Vienna, Austria

Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera): The first opera house, the Vienna Court Opera, was built as the first monumental building of artistic importance on the Ringstraße from 1861-1869 by A. Sicard von Sicardsburg and E. van der Nüll (decoration) in neo-Romantic style. The architects were severly criticised, people spoke of a "sunken box", which caused van der Nüll to commit suicide, while Sicardsburg died of a heart attack two months later. The predecessors of the State Opera were the Theater am Kärntnertor (situated approximately on the site of todays Hotel Sacher) and the Hofburgtheater (Imperial Palace Theatre) on Michaelerplatz square. The State Opera opened with "Don Giovanni" by W.A. Mozart on May 25, 1869.

During World War II (on March 12, 1945) the stage was destroyed by bombs and the building gutted by fire. The foyer, with frescoes by M. v. Schwind, the main stairways, the vestibule and the tea room were spared. Almost the entire décor and properties, the equipment for more than 120 operas with around 150,000 costumes were destroyed; The State Opera opened its temporary stages at the Theater an der Wien and at the Volksoper on October 6, 1945.

The reconstruction of the State Opera was carried out from 1948-1955 by E. Boltenstern (auditorium, stairways, cloakrooms, upper lounges), C. Kosak (Gobelin Hall), O. Prossinger and F. Cewela (side passages and Marble Hall), R. H. Eisenmenger (Safety Curtain) and H. Leinfellner (marble inlays in the bar room). The State Opera can accommodate 2,209 people (previously 2,324), offering 1,642 seats and standing room for 567. The stage is one of the largest in Europe.

The re-opening of the State Opera took place on November 5, 1955 with L.v. Beethovens Fidelio under Karl Böhm. The members of the Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) are chosen from the Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. The Vienna State Opera, one of the most illustrious opera houses in the world, looks back on a long tradition; the artistic highlights from the late 19th and early 20th centuries are closely connected with its history and its directors (in particular Gustav Mahler, H. Gregor, F. Schalk and R. Strauss).

Great conductors of the State Opera, some of whom also worked as directors, were Gustav Mahler, Felix Weingartner, F. Schalk, R. Strauss, C. Krauss, Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan, Lorin Maazel, Claudio Abbado, Hans Richter, Bruno Walter, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Riccardo Muti and others. The era of G. Mahler in particular marked the beginning of an outstanding development: G. Mahler took on new stars (such as A. Bahr-Mildenburg, S. Kurz and L. Slezak) and, in the person of A. Roller, recruited a stage designer who changed the lavish historical stage décor into a sparse stage scenery corresponding to Jugendstil (art nouveau) and modern style. G. Mahler also introduced the practice of having no lighting whatsoever in the auditorium during performances, which was not appreciated by the audience. G. Mahlers determined reform policy was continued by his successors (especially by F. Schalk and R. Strauss).

Until the directorship was taken over by Herbert von Karajan, the high standard of the opera productions was guaranteed by maintaining a permanent ensemble (particularly famous was Karl Böhms "Vienna Mozart Ensemble"), which was, however, reduced during the 1960s in favour of the internationally common practice of engaging guest stars. Even though the State Opera ensemble still has excellent singers, working on the basis of the ensemble alone is no longer possible.

Vienna State Opera Chorus

The Vienna State Opera Chorus is composed of ninety-two solidly engaged professional singers and build up one of the most important cornerstones of the Annually, since 1923, the choir also additionally participates at the Salzburg Festival. Therefore the Concert Association (CA) performs up to fifty-five different operas on almost every night of the year. Other than that, there are numerous CD-recordings and concerts on the program.

Outside of the Vienna State Opera House the choir performs as the "Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus". This name expresses that the choir is not only capable of singing extended opera literature, but also a wide variety of concert repertoire.

Source: AEIOU Project Website; Vienna State Opera Chorus Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2001, April 2005)

Hermann Scherchen: Short Biography | Wiener Akademie Kammerchor | Vienna State Opera Orchestra
RecordingsOF Vocal Works:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Recordings of Instrumental Works | General Discussions
Individual Recordings:
BWV 232 - H. Scherchen | BWV 244 - H. Scherchen | Review Scherchen AoF
Works | Recordings

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Karl Alwin


Aria from BWV 244

Jean-Marie Auberson


BWV 57, BWV 243

George Barati


BWV 246

Michael Gielen


BWV 63, BWV 122, BWV 133

Nikolaus Harnoncourt


BWV 161 [DVD]

Franz Litschauer


Bach-Walton: The Wise Virgins, suite from the ballet

Felix Prohaska


BWV 50, BWV 70, BWV 243

Jonathan Sternberg


BWV 21

Mogens Wöldike


BWV 12, BWV 29, BWV 244

Recordings of Arrangements/Transcriptions of Bachs Works




Karl Krueger


Bach-J.J. Castro: Chorale Prelude Kommst du nun, Jesu, vom Himmel herunter, BWV 650, transcribed for orchestra
Bach-J.J. Castro: Chorale Prelude Nun komm der Heiden Heiland (II), BWV 659 (?), transcribed for orchestra
Bach-J.J. Castro: Chorale Prelude Nun freut euch, lieben Christen, BWV 734, transcribed for orchestra
Bach-Gui: Pastorale in F major, BWV 590, transcribed for orchestra

Links to other Sites

Wiener Staatsoper (Official Website)
Staatsoper (AEIOU)

The Choir - Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 06:50