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Architecture for Music: Wiener Staatsoper

This is the Sunday Series, a peek of things in the art music world.

Music has a close bound with architecture for quite some time. Concert halls and opera houses are also the ones which effects the music and also effected by music. These structures are devoted to music, from within them we witness the grow of musical arts.

This series presents the beauty of the structure, in which music creativity flows abundantly.



Vienna State Opera House or Wiener Staatsoper is the oldest and the longest running opera house in German-speaking world. This building houses the Vienna Statsoper company which stages 50 opera and 15 ballets in each of its 300 days season a year. The company is one of the most important opera company in the world.


This building was constructed in 1863-1869 as the first opera house built in Vienna. Decorated in neo-renaissance, this building was full of carvings, statues and other ornamented objects before it was damaged in the Second World War. This stairs are the several rooms that survived the bombing attacks in the war.


From the original capacity of the auditorium, which was 2,881 places, only 2,282 places remain (of which 1,709 are sitting, 567 are standing, 4 are wheelchair, and 4 are accompanying places). The reduction in the number was necessary due to stricter building, fire and safety regulations. The front of the boxes, constructed from reinforced concrete, were covered with wood for acoustical reasons (the acoustics of this Vienna opera house is of unequalled brilliance).


The orchestra pit is 123 m2 can hold around 110 musicians. It is fitted with an adjustable floor so that the height can be varied. The purpose of this is to achieve acoustical effects and to make possible the use of the front stage when fewer musicians are needed in the orchestra pit.


Paintings, reliefs, and columns no longer decorate the auditorium and for safety reasons the large centre chandelier was replaced by a lighting wreath made from crystal. This lighting fixture weighs 3,000 kilograms and contains 1,100 light bulbs. This fixture has a diameter of 7 meters, is 5 meters high and has access for a lighting technician to carry our maintenance work on the lighting wreath.


After a massive reconstruction and redesigning this structure was once more open in public in September 1955. In summer 1991 and 1993, this building also underwent a refurbishment. Housing several rehearsal rooms, the building’s biggest rehearsal room is “Eberhard Waechter” Rehearsal Room that has the 400 m2 worth of space opened in 1995. This structure also houses 10 soloist rehearsal room and two ballet rehearsal space.



About mikebm (1339 Articles)
An arts journalist, a conductor, an educator, a young arts manager whose passion drove him to leave a multinational IT cooperation to study Arts Administration and Cultural Policy in London and went back to Indonesia to build the scene there.

3 Comments on Architecture for Music: Wiener Staatsoper

  1. beautiful. Dan Dumitrescu . Thank you for making me your friend back in Opera National Romania,Bucharest. I see this wonderful Palace of Music , swell , Dan. Really , really , swell.

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