Latest: The Vienna Opera is getting emptier

Latest: The Vienna Opera is getting emptier


norman lebrecht

January 11, 2022

The latest shocking picture from Online Merker shows a deserted Vienna State Opera just before last night’s curtain-up at Cenerentola.

The authorities are beginning to ask if the Vienna Opera can survive without tourists from Asia. There is clearly not enough local support or enthusiasm to sustain a house of this capacity.




  • Gus says:

    Not the only tourists to stay away. Have you seen the ski slopes – deserted, all for what is now no more than a touch of the flu.

    • Gustavo says:

      Skiing tourism will be going down the drain soon thanks to ongoing climate change.

      When will mankind wake-up and realise that long-term climate change is far worse than a series of funny little pandemics spreading across the globe?

      In the western world, the rich are not missing out on anything at the moment. The elite have just returned from their boosted skiing holidays in Austria and are celebrating 5 years of Elphi, elegantly dressed in black FFP2-masks made in China. The only problems are that it is increasingly difficult to find enough parking space for SUWs in the city and that the gravel driveways at home are overgrown with algae.

      And why on Earth did Allan Gilbert chose such bizarre works?

    • Nick Kalogeresis says:

      Tell that to the many people who died from COVID the past two years. It wasn’t the flu to them.

  • M says:

    There is literally nothing nor anyone attractive enough for me to jump thru all THESE hoops. The pre-op takes more time than the actual operation.

    -A valid admission ticket, personalised in your name.
    -A »Booster proof« for all from 12 years (3x vaccinated, also with Johnson & Johnson, or recovered and 2x vaccinated)

    You will find all details below – please read the instruction carefully
    -A negative PCR test, not older than 48 hours. The date and time of the test and the end of the presentation are valid.
    -An official photo ID
    -An FFP2 mask

    (Above from Staatsoper website)

    Honestly, why bother. Torture.

    • Anonymous Bosch says:

      I hope you have a comfy sofa and a large collection of CDs/DVDs.

      I am going to Staatsballett tonight.

      I ordered and printed-out my “personalised” ticket in less than five minutes.

      I had my third vaccination in October, and never leave the house without a copy of it.

      I went yesterday morning (on foot) to my apothecary for a free PCR test; I was home in less than 30 minutes; the result (“negative”) came by email within 12 hours. It will be valid through tomorrow morning.

      For what seems to be years, I never leave my apartment without wearing an FFP2 mask, plus I always carry an extra in case the strap breaks or I am somewhere close to a person who needs a mask.

      Photo ID? If you live here, you have either a citizenship card or a residence permit card; if you are from elsewhere, surely you have a passport.

      “Jump through hoops”? Now really: getting the PCR test was a slight inconvenience, but I would do more to be able to attend live performances (I have three more this month).

      Incidentally, I went to the Kino on Saturday afternoon to see “The Tragedy of Macbeth” and was the sole person in the balcony! I think one big reason for small audiences is that people are afraid of the 40.000+ demonstrations, often violent, that our far-right-wing party holds on weekends – or whenever they want. Fuck these deniers!

      • John Borstlap says:

        Yes, this is the right mentality. The burden of barriers to live performances are greatly exaggerated. It is probaly the tourists who don’t come and lots of locals who fear either infection or demos or both. It will be live streaming for some time to reach the opera’s audiences.

        As for hoops: it can never be so bad as for the theatre in Cairo where people, wanting to obtain a ticket for a live performance, have literally jump through one, just to check whether their condition is fit enough to bear the production, on top of vaccination proofs.

        (Source: The Lucky Camel Magazine, issue December 2021)

      • May says:

        Wow, with your eloquence, you should consider entering the next presidential election in France.

        As for the deniers, you really need to start getting your news from reliable sources. Why don’t you read e.g. the latest RKI Bericht, where you will find „Anteil an geimpften Omikron Infizierten 78,6%.“

        Das liegt deutlich über der Impfquote von 71,2% (auf gutem Deutsch).

        We don’t need your pandemic and those of us under the age of 90 certainly don’t need your worthless vaccines and the even more worthless boosters.

      • dalet says:

        You were the sole person in the balcony watching Macbeth because no one else wanted to watch Denzel Washington butcher the Bard with his American colloquial cadence.

      • M says:

        I’m happy you are going and enjoying… Honestly, great! And we need people like you. Is it bad I don’t particularly miss the concert going experience? Perhaps. But like many things, concert going fell out of the routine, and I’m not particularly thrilled with this ‘new’ routine- I’ve had my three shots and sailed thru breakthru omicron and well, I’m done with this masking business. To add one last thing, I simply do not hear properly in an FPP mask. Especially voices. Something in the resonance. Anyone else have similar experiences?

        • John Borstlap says:

          I wear three masks alltogether when I go to work with the bus, and then I’ve great difficulty to see and hear where I am, and often miss the stop. But it gives me perfect excuse for coming late. As for hearing: I find that my ears begin to stand-out because of the cords, can hardly cover them with my hairdo. It’s ugly!


      • Psycobunny says:

        Wrong. People don’t want to join in the madness anymore. The pandemic is over. Life needs to go back to normal. NOW before the arts no longer exist.

      • Playr says:

        “Plus I always carry an extra in case the strap breaks or I am somewhere close to a person who needs a mask.”

        You must be fun at parties. Or get told to bugger off quite a lot!

      • Fernando Espineira says:

        Welcome to your happy dictatorship. Shut off the TV and start getting informed and living a natural, healthy life.

    • F says:

      Exactly right, M.

      Austria is again in the grip of N@€#s, starting with its Chancellor, telling everyone how to live their lives!

  • Peter says:

    3,9 million Austrians have received the 3rd dose making them eligible for a visit to the Staatsoper. That’s less than half of the population. The rest are simply not allowed in. Then what can you expect?

    • Anonymous Bosch says:

      Please stop spreading false information. We are at 74% of the population being fully-vaccinated (source: today’s New York Times).

      From where – and when – do you get your “less than half” figure?

      • Peter says:

        From the Gesundheitsministerium, my dear.

        • Anonymous Bosch says:

          The heading on the source you site is „71 von 100 Menschen in Österreich sind mit der Schutzimpfung gegen Corona geschützt“. If you scroll down a bit you will see that of the 36.746 vaccines given in the week preceding 10 January, 24.338 were the „dritter Stich“. This is the trend, as the number of vaccinations continues to grow (30,86% increase over the preceding week).

          • Peter says:

            My argument was not in the heading, but in the green box showing the number of 3rd doses given: 3,9 million. 3,9 million out of 8,9 million people is approx. 44%. Only these are allowed to visit the Staatsoper. Less than half the population.

    • Me says:

      Even if this is the rate, for sure those who are not fully vaccinated, have no interest in opera houses ( beeing young, or football fans, or kind of anti-social type). So no problem at al.

  • henry williams says:

    if it was the rolling stones. it would be full.

  • IC225 says:

    Covent Garden was absolutely packed on Sunday for Figaro. I’ve rarely seen it busier.

  • Layla says:

    I, for one, cancelled my tickets because they are imposing booster and PCR. PCR test should be enough and more certain of absence of infection than booster!

  • Gustavo says:

    At last it will become possible to get Kaiserloge-tickets for my Sissi and me.

  • Nicholas Ennos says:

    It is not worth committing suicide for.

  • Karl says:

    There were only about 400-500 people in Symphony Hall Boston last Friday. There was snow and it was an afternoon concert, but they have never been that empty even on afternoons with snow.

  • Anonymous Bosch says:

    Update to my comment on Tuesday morning:

    Yes, I went to Staatsballett on Tuesday night to see a friend dance the showier role of Lenski in John Cranko’s „Onegin“ (it’s not a great ballet; novels may make good opera libretti, but not ballets).

    Getting in the door with all my documents: waiting time – 0 minutes / processing of documents – less than 1 minute.

    Attendance: about ¾ full (not many young people; nice couple of students next to me); curtain calls: at least 15 minutes.

    The „Cenerentola“ photo is just sad. It could have something to do with: a really ugly production set ca. 1950s with no sense of magic or charm (the big gimmick is that both Angelina and Don Ramiro need black, thick-framed glasses to see anything); the production has been shown too often – every year since its 2013 premiere (except 2017 and 2021); no „names“ in the cast; performance on another Saturday when 40.000+ violent antivaxxers clogged the Ringstraße causing some public transportation to close down.

    I cannot imagine seeing „Cenerentola“ again in this production, just as I will not go to the 1958 „Tosca“ again unless there is some truly amazing casting, but we had that a few years ago with Gheorghiu, Kaufmann, and Terfel (remember the performance where Tosca didn’t show up for her Act III entrance?).

    But we are getting a new production of Balanchine’s „Liebeslieder-Walzer“ and I may wind-up seeing all eight performances! And later a new „Wozzeck“ and then a new „Tristan + Isolde“…

  • margaret koscielny says:

    It’s the Pandemic, please! Europe is more strict about this than here.

  • chris says:

    What opera were they performing? Not a popular one I assume. There are plenty of cultured people in Vienne, I can’t believe their survival depends on asian tourists in January.

  • chris says:

    In Chicago, we have to show vaccination and identity card. Unfortunately we have no state-verified vaccination confirmation here. I’ve been to four performances, two of our Lyric Opera, one Chicago Symphony concert, One Messiah. I had no problem showing my vaccination card and ID to see a live performance.

    • Fernando Espineira says:

      Next, you’ll be obligued to show your personal sanitary info (which is unconstitutional to withdraw money from your bank account. But… you surely will have “no problem” about it.

      Please, stop the Earth: I want to get down…

  • In bocca al lupo says:

    Meanwhile, the wonderfully creative Theater an der Wien, albeit with a smaller capacity, is playing to reassuringly high numbers. They have cultivated a greater sense of loyalty amongst their audiences based on years of imaginative and high quality performances/ productions rather than opting for a more industrialised churn. Two very different models admittedly, but looking forward, perhaps one is demonstrating greater relevance in terms of arguing its case for the art form. A pity it is closing for refurbishment as its foundations are in danger of being swept away..

  • Fernando Espineira says:

    What are they waiting for if imposing an inconstitutional, aberrant dictatorship?

    Some sheeps will always obey, but the bottom line truth is that, finally, we can understand (and I am almost 60 years old) how it was possible for the III Reich to succeed imposing that aberrant craziness: because masses obey, look somewhere else and only some free, courageus men and women stand and fight for Freedom.

    Dictatorship? Most of the sheeps don’t go to the Opera. Look for them somewhere else.

  • Ti says:

    Here we go! Sure keep pushing the vacation + double and triple busters along with mask and….no one will ever come to visit. But it seems your government doesn’t care about you or the tourists. All well deserved. Freedom is not for free.