Vienna is still selling 20% fewer tickets

Vienna is still selling 20% fewer tickets


norman lebrecht

May 22, 2022

A survey of Vienna theatres shows they are operating at 20 percent pre-Covid capacity.

The State Opera has risen to 90%, but that’s nine points lower than before with the influx of Asian tourists.

Stephan Pauly, director of the Musikverein, says, ‘for many concerts we are noticeably below the occupancy rates before Corona. For some concerts we sell 20 percent fewer tickets.’

Konzerthaus director Matthias Naske: ‘Sales in spring 2022 have increased significantly, but are far from pre-pandemic dimensions.’

The Theater an der Wien is running at 83 percent.


  • erich says:

    Not just Vienna. The Munich opera’s new Les Troyens (musically terrific, horrendous production) was no more than 50% – including papering – last night.

    • M McGrath says:

      The production is what kept me away. I just did not feel up to yet another visually deplorable evening – which really goads me. Perhaps we have become more selective on how we spend our evenings? I know that we have, as have friends. I wonder if Dorny will be able to adjust the course of his juggernaut in the short term?

  • Chicagorat says:

    READER DISCRETION ADVISED – The following post contains crude language that could hurt the sensitivities of some readers and viola players. Do not read if you are easily offended.


    On a comparative basis, Vienna is doing exceedingly well. To put things into perspective, let us compare it to a random benchmark: Chicago.

    Chicago sells only half of its tickets these days. They are wrestling with the incredible handicap of a reprobate and sullen Maestro at the helm of a sinking ship. The sales debacles interwoven with the abysmal music making make it for very somber nights at SC, where the Muti era has purloined even the Midwestern spring’s glory, and geriatric audiences spend their social time arguing over which superior empty seats they should switch to, in order to game the house. Picture the gloom of it, how it stultifies Chicago’s young who might attend their first concerts, and drag them down. It’s the denial of everything exciting they might care about.

    You don’t have to take my word for it, check it out @ June 28, Un Ballo in Maschera, the last Muti concert of the season: half of the tickets on the main floor and lower balcony are unsold. And this is Verdi, supposedly this man’s “specialty”, his messianic message of salvation to a barbaric society who does not want to listen or be ennobled by him. Now follow your fancy and travel east to New York: Jaap van Zweden’s June Shostakovich concerts show very limited availability, only a dozen seats open.

    The international and US-wide audience have acquired a reliable lesson in the post-pandemic era: stay away from Chicago. At least until they are under the crushing weight of the present burden.

    • Hugo Preuß says:

      No need to warn anybody, my dear fellow commentator. It was just the usual Muti bashing which we can read in every single comment you post…

    • Scott says:

      I heard his Othello in New York. It was a great performance.

      • guest says:

        Is it Muti’s Othello now, not Verdi’s? On second thought, perhaps it is, considering that Verdi’s and Rossini’s are both spelled ‘Otello’. For ‘Othello’ though he’ll have to sort his claim with Shakespeare, so I don’t know if this isn’t from the frying pan into the fire… But good to know you liked it, whatever it was.

        Chicagorat’s advance warning is appreciated, though he forgot to mention that most of his comment is completely unrelated to NL’s post. But then the content wasn’t such a surprise, so perhaps he was right not to bother with a second forewarning.

    • Attilla the Hun says:

      Stop blaming Muti for everything. The biggest problem right now is not Muti or the cast — it’s hordes of violent teens gathering by the hundreds to cause trouble directly across the street at Millenium Park. One person was just killed there. Wow, that’s gonna really attract the crowds. They are trying to have a curfew, but it’s dicey. When these hordes do a “meet up” advertised on social media, you don’t know where they will be. They’ve already ruined State Street, Water Tower Place and Oak Street Beach. They’re like a plague that you can’t get rid of. Unless the City can get a grip on it, downtown will be finished. Who wants to be carjacked in the parking lot, robbed by gunpoint on Michigan Avenue and lose your phones, money and id. Businesses are moving out, tourists aren’t coming and conventions are cancelling. The bad guys know the weak, Democratic mayor can’t handle it, the DA won’t prosecute them, and the judges let them out on bail. Our beautiful music institutions and museums are now at risk. This is no joke. So stop blaming Muti. There might not be another conductor after him who wants the job in this city.

    • Brian says:

      One flaw in your argument is revealed in the phrase “post-pandemic.” We aren’t post-pandemic yet. Look at Cook County: It’s averaging 2,500 recorded cases a day, and probably several times that when you factor in home tests. The pandemic is very much with us and I suspect many concertgoers remain uneasy about returning to crowded halls.

  • Minnesota says:

    “20% fewer” or “20% capacity”? Different things.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Good question! You made me check the Wiener Zeitung report:

      Definitely way over 20% capacity. To state that they sell about 20% fewer tickets than pre-Covid is a reasonably good simplification.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Don’t think for a minute that it was not intended to obscure facts.

  • M McAlpine says:

    It still doesn’t dawn upon them that people might not want to sit through their horrendous productions they foist on the public.

    • guest says:

      It will never dawn on them. It doesn’t dawn on you when your job depends on ignoring certain cause-and-effect relationships. For decades now they have decided this is the way to go, rubber-stamped by politicians. Heaven forbid it should come out they have backed the wrong horse all this time. To be fair, the issue is more complex than just trashy productions, but the productions are a factor nevertheless. There is however a glimmer of hope if a major international house, never mind which one, would put their foot down to such productions. House managers are like sheep – not an original idea between all of them, so they would all follow the new trend.

  • Chiara says:

    It really is time Chicagorat sought help for his obsession.

  • Willem Philips says:

    You mean 80% of pre-COVID capacity. Get the numbers right and proofread what you write. Geez.

  • words matter says:

    Twenty percent fewer tickets would be discouraging but not hopeless; 20% pre-covid capacity is a very different and absolutely dismal number.
    Could someone please sort the maths and let us know which it is?