Vienna’s late box-office dip

Vienna’s late box-office dip


norman lebrecht

July 02, 2018

The Vienna State Opera has issued end of season stats.

Revenues hit a record high of € 35,298,761.91, up 93,000 on the previous year.

The house played to 98.61% capacity, fractionally down on 98.83% for 2016-17. There must have been a late downturn as nightly figures were running at 99 percent until a few weeks ago.

In any event, the uptake is higher than for any other major house.


  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Who is going to be the first to mention the MET?

    • FS60103 says:


    • Nik says:

      Then I’ll be the first to remind you:
      Vienna has to sell 1,700 tickets to be 100% full.
      If the Met sells the same number of tickets, it’s only 45% full.

      • Tamino says:


        Vienna metropolitan area: 2.8 million people
        Opera houses: 3

        NY metropolitan area: 19 million people
        Opera houses: 1 (or actually, since the season is so short, 0.7)

        Vienna sells roughly 10 times as many seats in opera houses per capita. And that is without adjusting for the number of performances, which puts NY with its short MET season even further down into cultural irrelevance.

        • Sue says:

          No, that figure of population for Vienna is wrong. Vienna has under 2 million inhabitants. 1.76 million actually. You are out by 1 million. It’s the tourism factor which drives the high attendance rates, to a degree.

          • Tamino says:

            my figure is right for the greater area, not only the city of Vienna.
            It‘s the right figure also for a comparison with NY.

          • Max Grimm says:

            As Tamino correctly reiterates what he initially specified, the number is correct for the Vienna Vienna Metropolitan Area. According to the most current official census data published by the Austrian statistical office last year – the exact number is 2.811.186.
            Additionally, it is you that is off regarding the population of Vienna-proper. It is 1.867.582 actually.

  • FS60103 says:

    Of course, since it’s such a small house – only 1700 seats – it’s actually selling considerably fewer seats per performance than either ENO at the Coliseum or the NY Met. How’s that for a headline story, then?

  • Mario Roberto Lutz says:

    Ladies and gentlemen written here, please considering that Vienna provide around 350 performances per season, 227 opera, 53 ballet and other including chamber music vocal recitals and concerts…. it seems to me that wider houses mentioned here seems smaller…

  • Martinu says:

    Comparing the Met with Vienna opera is not just about the city population. It is mostly about tourist.
    When a tourist arrives in NY he has tremendous choice for entertainment – Broadway. The Met is just one of the attractions.
    When a non-German speaker tourist arrives in Vienna – and wants some “Culture” – there is the Opera. Watch how many Far-Eastern tourists are in the opera performances. Yes, there are the “Concert with Dinner” light classical events, utterly tourist traps, but still, but the opera is a huge attraction.
    I’ve been in many performances both in the Met and Vienna. Both have (usually) superb casts, and great orchestras. Though a routine Figaro in Vienna last year was really routine and boring. And the current Cosi in the Met is nothing but.
    So comparisons should be taken with caution.

    • Fan says:

      Thank you for putting down Far Eastern audience who could only be tourists not genuine opera lovers and who spoiled the quality of white entertainment.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Indeed…. the idea that ‘a tourist’ could not possibly be a genuine music lover is ridiculous. Tourists who have no idea about classical music, mostly attend the simple kitsch traps.

        • Petros Linardos says:

          I disagree about your generalization. Of course tourists who love classical music will make Staatsoper a priority. But to many other clueless tourists the Staatsoper will be a magnet the same way superstar musicians sometimes are.
          Kitsch traps are obviously another matter.

          • John Borstlap says:

            OK, point taken. It is impossible to check whether every audience member of an opera house or concert hall comes there for the ‘right’ reasons, and who is to tell? Exams at the entrance? Taking blood pressure? Showing your diploma or degree? Short auditions, both singing and playing an instrument? (the visitors with the bailalaika, mandoline or accordeon are kicked-out immediately). It’s an old problem though, and when you read Berlioz’ memoirs, or Wagner’s letters or other writings about music life, you begin to understand his wish to have the auditorium darkened and the seats made of hard, uncomfortable material, and why his operas are so long – like infinite church services meant for congregations instead of the usual audiences which come for some social status and pleasure and want to be seen as cultural consumers.