Vienna Opera imposes tough new audience test

Vienna Opera imposes tough new audience test


norman lebrecht

November 18, 2021

Covid-19 is rampant again in Vienna and the authorities are tightening restrictions.

Here’s the latest from the Staatsoper:

Dear audience,

From Friday, November 19, according to the ordinance of the City of Vienna, the 2G-Plus rule will apply to events of 25 people or more.

This means: Even if you are fully immunized with a double vaccination, have even received the third jab, or recovered from Covid, you must also show a negative PCR test when you visit our performances.

This test must be no more than 48 hours old and must be valid until the end of the performance. The date and time of the test acceptance apply and not the result. As of Friday, the FFP2 mask requirement applies again in the entire building, including during the performance.

We are aware that these guidelines of the City of Vienna mean difficulties for you, but we ask you to comply with them, as otherwise we will not be allowed to let you in despite a valid admission ticket and 2G proof. 



  • John Borstlap says:

    “The date and time of the test acceptance apply and not the result.”

    ?? This makes all the measures pointless. It is like ‘Entry prohibited except when you open the door’.

    • Kenneth Griffin says:

      “The date and time of the test acceptance apply and not the [date and time of the test] result.”

    • Matthias says:

      Poor translation. What is meant is that admittance is only possible within 48 hours of the negative test, not 48 hours after receiving the result (which takes up to a day).

      • Raymond Ali says:

        That’s as clear as … … … MUD!

        • Matthias says:

          You can attend an opera up to 48 hours after actually doing the test, with a negative test result. That’s the rule.

          48 hours after receiving the test result would be too late, since it takes time to process the test – you usually get the test result the day after the test.

    • Maria says:

      Poor translation, and not the original German! Probably translated by an American – ha, ha!!

  • Dennis Pastrami says:

    Weird, it almost seems as if the vaccines don’t actually work…

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. If you had never looked at any data, you might think that.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Make sure you factor in the sheer number of ‘returns’ to the vaccination process in your data. I hope it doesn’t end up like The Pill!!

    • May says:

      Best comment of the year.

    • Amos says:

      They don’t if a 1/3 of your fellow citizens refuse to get vaccinated. Vaccines are not magic impregnable suits of armor which prevent viruses from entering your respiratory system. Vaccines induce high but variable, due to genetics and pre-existing conditions, titers of neutralizing Abs which prevent or limit infection. Guess what, the more virus in the environment due to non-compliance the better chance a highly infectious virus has to overcome the neutralizing Abs. Get everyone vaccinated and the problem is solved.

    • Maria says:

      Vaccinations were never meant to stop the virus, but to stop one going into intensive care and possibly die. The anti-vaxers are the problem in Austria, as my aunt told me this evening, and no where as high as the take up in either England or the UK in general.

    • John Borstlap says:

      They work and how! Since my booster jab I work twice as hard, to my own surprise. Not that I make less mistakes but that is not the point.


    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      It’s an open secret that this is the case. No ‘almost’ about it. I know of no other vaccine that maintains its ‘efficacy’ for circa 200 days. That just isn’t viable – for the community and national economies. Somebody has to pick up this endless financial cost too.

  • Raymond Ali says:

    Forget it. I’ll stay at home and watch a DVD or the OperaVision channel.

  • José Bergher says:

    “…This test must be no more than 48 hours old and must be valid until the end of the performance….” This applies to performances of “Die Meistersinger.”

  • Sanity says:

    The Wiener Staatsoper is not imposing anything. This unbelievably stupid and pointless invention is (sadly!) being imposed by the municipality of Vienna. As a matter of fact, in its previous communication about this ridiculous measure the Wiener Staatsoper made it very clear that it doesn’t agree at all with this new rule. I sincerely hope that local authorities will come to their senses and put their energy and efforts at the source of all problems: the unvaccinated.

    • Gus says:

      Austria has imposed the world’s first lockdown for the unvaccinated.

      The anti-vaccers have become the despised minority. They have become the new deplorables.

      Remind you of anything?

      • Amos says:

        Yes morons in every country need to be prevented, through quarantining, from risking the lives and health of their fellow citizens. That is why children need to be vaccinated before attending elementary school.

      • Maria says:

        Yes! My family have got the virus in Salzburg and all been double vaccinated, but not seriously ill, just very ill.

      • John Borstlap says:

        When a large body of the population refuses to be protected, they take the rest of society in hostage and cause the medical system getting overwhelmed. How difficult is this to think through?

      • Tom Phillips says:

        They are despicable (calling ultra-right wingers, anti-semites etc. merely “deplorable” is far too kind) and should be despised – and even more true of their equivalents in the U.S. Were there not so many of them, life would have returned back to normal quite a while ago at least for the more humane and civilized parts of the population.

    • Sane says:

      The “source of all problems” is not “the unvaccinated.” What an imbecilic line of thought!

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Because they know as I do; vaccinations are an endless revolving door.

  • John Kelly says:

    Rapid PCR tests aren’t cheap. $100 if you’re lucky. I was going to Vienna in February for a week of opera. I would.need about 4 tests for the week based on the 48 hour guidance. I am now not going because I am triple vaxxed and the PCR testing is a royal pain to arrange especially with a 48 hour turnaround. Moreover I would have had to have a PCR prior to leaving the US to visit Austria. Thanks SD for excellent reporting. Helpful
    I am.currently in Dubai where there to no covid, a booming economy and,according to.the hotel manager “almost 100% vaccination percentage”. “No vaccination, no salary”

    • Bet says:

      You know what else is not cheap?

      4 weeks in intensive care, followed by funeral services.

    • Matthias says:

      They are free in Vienna.

    • Maria says:

      So stay there, and get on with it. Why would you then want to go and see four operas where there is the virus, and go through all that rigmarole???

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Somebody HAS to pay for all this, and I’m betting most of the people commenting here don’t they THEY will be!!! It has got to be assessed on a cost/benefit analysis because this virus will be around for a very long time.

      Ultimately the people will have to stump up the money if they’re to be vaccinated 3 times or more a year.

      In Australia nurses are being paid $79 PER HOUR to conduct Covid-19 testing. And there are tens of thousands of them, many coming out of retirement for obvious reasons.

      OK, no problem, you say? Not as long as you DON’T need schools, hospitals, roads, defence or anything else which depends on the taxpayer!!

  • Alan says:

    Ridiculous. So even if you’re triple vaccinated (and I am) you have to have a PCR before entry? Wouldn’t be doing that.

    There’ll be no one there soon

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Soon it will be “four or more vaccinations”. It HAS to be, given the limited efficacy already discussed. You can see where this is heading, right? I’ll provide a clue: into unsustainable territory.

  • inaustria says:

    The testing is indeed a pain, but not quite as bad as discussed here.
    PCR tests are available free of charge to non-residents, as well as residents. There are “Gurgelboxen” (free PCR Test Centers) set up around the city. Additionally, self-tests are available: for Vienna residents up to eight per week, and some hotels are supplying their guests with these tests. A saliva sample is supplied and the test is returned to a participating collection station: grocery stores, gas station, pharmacies…
    I took a test yesterday at 14:00, and at 10:00 am had the result in my email.
    As for the test only being valid from the time is it collected: yes, very annoying, as you lose at least 12 hours. But that is only logical, as it is of course concievable that one could get infected after one submitted the sample.
    The whole thing is do-able but requires planning, and was concieved as an alternative to a total lock-down, which very well might occur anyway: Salzburg and Upper Austria are going into quarantine as of Monday for an indefinite period of time.

    • Maria says:

      My family are in Salzburg, and all three have been nowhere but have the virus, so a real pain. Not very ill, but have to stay in to stop it going to the neighbours.

  • Lausitzer says:

    Just out of curiosity: Are they offering refunds or vouchers for those who are not interested in attending under such circumstances?

    As of Monday the same in Saxony for every event with more than 50 people. And watch out for news from Dresden tomorrow – it has been hinted with weasel wording, avoiding the L-word, that further decisions are to be expected.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    The “third jab” might be a little clue about the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccinations. I’m having my third in February – all in the space of circa 8 months. Ergo, they last about 200 days before you need another. Confusion is going to reign supreme on this.

    Meanwhile, the young construction supervisor for our new home build was hospitalized for a fortnight after a severe reaction from Astra Zeneca. Not good.

  • JB says:

    Who goes to opera under such restrictions ? Would be interesting to know how many tickets they sell.

  • inaustria says:

    I was in the theater tonight and was surprised at how many people were there: it was by no means full, but at least most of the seats in the Parterre were taken. Tonight was the first time that audience members had to show proof of a negative PCR test, a photo ID and vaccination card. I witnessed a few people being turned away because they didnt have the PCR test. As of Monday the whole country will be in lockdown, theaters (shops, markets etc) closed until at least Dec. 13.

  • Tom Phillips says:

    Hard to imagine that Gunther Groissbock will have much of a career left now that his anti-vax stance has caused him to also burn his bridges at the Met (and no doubt elsewhere).