About the Volksoper

The Volksoper is the largest theatre in Vienna for operetta, opera, musicals and ballet, offering the highest standards in musical entertainment. Colourful, many-faceted and full of joie de vivre, it is the only theatre in Vienna that is dedicated to the genre of operetta.

Volksoper Wien

Over 150 singers
95 orchestral musicians
64 chorus singers
over 100 dancers
4 genres
1,000 surprises
and just 1 theatre!

Between September and June, around 36 different productions can be seen in almost 300 performances in the repertoire theatre, which seats 1,337. The Volksoper Wien repertoire extends from “The Magic Flute” to “La Traviata”, from the musical “The Wizard of Oz” to the ballet “Coppélia”, as well as operetta classics like “Die Fledermaus”, “The Csárdásprincess” and “A Night in Venice”.

In September 2007 the Burgtheater actor Robert Meyer took over as director of the Volksoper. Meyer places special emphasis in his programming on operetta, the status of which he is working to raise. Alongside operetta, operas of the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, classic musicals, and ballet form the pillars of the Volksoper repertoire. With “Volksoper Spezial”, a 5th segment has been created which covers soirees, cabaret music and parody, underlining the importance of dramatic music theatre at the Volksoper. In addition to fellow actors from the Burgtheater, Josefstadt and the Volkstheater, Robert Meyer himself – a magnet for audiences – appears in many performances on the Volksoper stage.

 With a child-friendly programme, children’s workshops, ticket price reductions, children’s series, school projects and tours, children are given easier access to the world of music theatre.

The history of the theatre

Volksoper Wien has a history going back over more than a hundred years.

The present-day Volksoper Wien was opened in 1898 as the “Kaiser-Jubiläums-Stadttheater”, and was initially purely a theatre for the spoken word. It was not until 1903 that operas and “singspiele” were included in the programme. In 1904 the Stadttheater Wien became the Volksoper.

“Tosca” (1907) and “Salome” (1910) had their first Viennese performances at the Volksoper; internationally famous singers such as Maria Jeritza, Leo Slezak and Richard Tauber appeared at the Volksoper at the very start of their careers; Alexander Zemlinsky worked here as a conductor and (from 1906) as “erster Kapellmeister” [first conductor]. After the First World War, the Volksoper became Vienna’s second prestigious opera house, although from 1929 onwards it reverted to a “Neues Wiener Schauspielhaus” in which “light” operettas were also performed. After the Second World War, the Volksoper was used as alternative accommodation for the Wiener Staatsoper, the Vienna State Opera, which had been destroyed.

 Following the reopening of the Staatsoper in 1955, the Volksoper once again became an independent music theatre for the performance of opera, operetta and musicals. Since then, the directors Franz Salmhofer (1955-63), Albert Moser (1963-73), Karl Dönch (1973-86), Eberhard Waechter (1987-92) Ioan Holender (1992-96), Klaus Bachler (1996-99), Dominique Mentha (1999-2003) and Rudolf Berger (2003-2007) have all left their mark on the Volksoper.

Operetta, Vienna and the Volksoper

On 21 October 1858 Jacques Offenbach presented his first full-length operetta “Orpheus in the Underworld”. Eleven days previously, with Offenbach’s “Verlobung bei Laternenschein”, a work of this new genre was performed for the first time on a Viennese stage (10 October 1858 at the Carl-Theater). Soon the Austrian composer Franz von Suppé was to follow the scent of success. He and subsequent composers, from minor masters to the great Johann Strauss, established the concept of “Viennese operetta”, a fountain of melody and gaiety which around the turn of the 19th to the 20th centuries was threatening to run dry. However, the “golden” age of operetta was followed by a “silver” age which coincided with the opening of the Volksoper. Here, this genre which is so characteristic of Vienna was to find its permanent home. The Volksoper is rightly regarded as the world’s leading theatre for operetta. Evening after evening, first-class singers, actors and dancers and a versatile orchestra provide a “musical firework”.

Photos of Volksoper Wien

Would you like to have a look at the auditorium and the foyers, or view Volksoper Wien from the outside?