Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Vienna State Opera

Music History Monday: If a Building Could Speak, this One Would Sing: The Vienna State Opera House

We mark the opening on May 25, 1869 – 151 years ago today – of the Vienna Court Opera (or Wiener Hofoper), which has been known since 1921 as the Vienna State Opera (or Wiener Staatsoper). The opening was a gala event: a performance of Wolfgang Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni attended by, among many others, Emperor Franz Josef I and his bride, the Empress Elizabeth of Austria (know to her intimates as Sisi).  Last week’s Music History Monday post noted the deaths of both the Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz and the Bohemian-born composer Gustav Mahler. In the course of that post, we observed that between 1897 and 1907 Mahler was Director and Principal Conductor of what was, and arguably still is, the most prestigious opera house in the world: the Vienna Court/State Opera.  (Along with Mahler, the Vienna Court/State Opera has had some pretty impressive Directors over the years, including Felix Weingartner [who served for 4 years], Richard Strauss [5 years], Bruno Walter [2 years], Karl Böhm [4 years], Herbert von Karajan [8 years], Lorin Maazel [2 years], Claudio Abbado [5 years], and Seiji Ozawa [8 years].  If a building can be said to tell the story of modern Vienna, […]

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