Welcome to Strauss Saturday. You’ll be able to enjoy two Strauss contributions this week. All will become clear in the next few days.
Today, I’m getting you acquainted with the Theater an der Wien, an important venue for Johann Strauss Son.
Theater an der Wien
Linke Wienzeile 6
The theatre was built 1801 by Emanuel Schikaneder. He was a composer, actor, singer, dramatist and impresario. You may know him as the librettist of Mozart’s Magic Flute. He was its first Papageno.
The only part of the original building still existing is the Papagenotor, depicting Schikaneder as Papageno. Going through my pictures, I saw I didn’t have one of the Papagenotor and the stagedoor. My pictures of them date from before the digital photo age. But I will make up for it when I go back to Vienna this summer and add them later.
In the late 19th and early 20th century it was the home of the golden and silver age of Viennese operetta.
Whilst the Staatsoper was being restored after bombs had destroyed it in the Second World War, the Theater an der Wien was one of its temporary homes between 1945 and 1955. After that the Theater an der Wien was a venue for musicals.
But the theatre never lost its touch with opera productions and has now become a venue for opera and classical music, musicals being staged at the Raimund Theater and the Ronacher.
Many premieres were held in the Theater an der Wien, a plaque on one of the buildings walls commemorates this. Amongst them Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio, some of his concertos and symphonies and many operettas. Beethoven even lived at the theatre for a while when he was composing his opera.
Johann Strauss Son took to composing operettas later in his life. He was encouraged to do so by his wife Jetty, who had been on the stage long before they were married. Between 1871 and 1897 Johann composed 16 works for the stage. You probably know one or two of them:
- Indigo und die vierzig Räuber
- Der Karneval in Rom
- Die Fledermaus
- Cagliostro in Wien
- Prinz Methusalem
- Das Spitzentuch der Königin
- Der lustige Krieg
- Eine Nacht in Venedig
- Der Zigeunerbaron
- Ritter Pásmán
- Fürstin Ninetta
- Die Göttin der Vernunft
Except for Prinz Methusalem, Eine Nacht in Venedig and Ritter Pásmán, all of them premiered at the Theater an der Wien.
First picture of the theatre: kindly put at my disposal by Helmut Reichenauer, Director of the Museum der Johann Strauss Dynastie.
Other pictures: taken by me during my only visit to the theatre.