Vienna Opera hires interns to do backstage work

Vienna Opera hires interns to do backstage work


norman lebrecht

March 03, 2021

Starting in September, the Vienna State Opera is hiring five apprentices in metalwork, carpentry and event technology.

We assume they are paid the national minimum wage.

Apply here.



  • V.Lind says:

    Not unionised?

    They just got off criticising the Met. Even if their backstage is non-union, they had regular workers. What about them? Or is this supplementary to them, to offer young people work to alleviate Covid employment problems?

    • SVM says:

      A reminder to readers on the other side of the Atlantic: most of Europe is “right to work”, so “closed shop” employment practices are illegal — that is to say, a worker can never be required to join a union as a condition of employment. Hence, there is no concept of “union jobs”. Trade unions have to actually convince workers that union membership is worth having. In some workforces, there is competition between multiple unions for the same workers. The extent to which a workforce is unionised varies enormously by sector, location, and even employer.

      At the same time, employers in Europe *do* usually nonetheless recognise and negotiate with one or more unions.

  • Nadine Weissmann says:

    Apprentices are NOT interns. These are full-time trainee positions for three years.

  • HugoPreuss says:

    They are looking for regular apprentices (“Lehrlinge”) for a three year dual track education, which is the common German-Austrian model. And they pay the wages as stipulated by the “Kollektivvertrag” (collective agreement) for the Austrian Federal Theaters. This will be on an upward going scale, increasing with growing experience. This is not to replace existing personal, but rather to hire young people who’ll presumably replace the older ones once they reach retirement.

  • Mouse says:

    Norman, you really have no idea. A three-year apprenticeship is paid vocational training, not an internship. The monthly apprenticeship remuneration in the first year of apprenticeship is currently € 628.90, in accordance with the 1999 collective agreement for technical staff in the entire area of the federal theaters, which was negotiated with the trade union in Austria.

  • Matthias says:

    Why is this worth a story?
    The positions on offer are apprenticeships, a type of learning-on-the-job that is well-regulated by law. Absolutely standard stuff.

    Furthermore, there is no national minimum wage in Austria since almost everything is collectively bargained, including the pay of apprentices.

    Here is the monthly pay for apprentices at the State Opera according to the WKO. Keep in mind that apprentices are on average 16-17 years old when they start their apprenticeship.


    im 1. Lehrjahr: 561,00 Euro monatlich;
    im 2. Lehrjahr: 716,00 Euro monatlich;
    im 3. Lehrjahr: 849,00 Euro monatlich;
    im 4. Lehrjahr: 1.086 Euro monatlich.

  • Anonymous Bosch says:

    “Assume” whatever you want. Had you read the press release you would see that this practise has been going on for at last the last two decades. So suddenly this is “news”?

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    Praktikum in Austria are common and paid at the union minimum per area… It is normal for an intern to work part time (20h/week) and get 14 pays of EUR 900. Unpaid Praktikum are not possible. Another thing is a training program lasting several years for which apprentices work while learning and receive a salary.

  • Bean says:

    Apprentices =/= interns. Not sure why this is newsworthy though- Covent Garden has already been doing this for years.

  • Joe says:

    There is a vast difference between being an Intern and learning your trade as an Apprentice.
    Your Headline is misleading.