“Soli d’inverno è cosa da morire!”

Exterior of the Opera House

On KW’s last night in Vienna, we attended the opulent Wiener Staatsoper, or the Vienna State Opera, to see Puccini’s La Bohéme.

Exterior of the Opera House at night
The beginning of the grand staircase inside the Opera House

I’m not sure which was more exciting: seeing the interior of the remarkable building or hearing the spectacular music of the opera itself. Without question, doing both with my dear friend was the best part.

A view of the grand staircase from an upper level
View of the ceiling paintings from the top level
This is a concession room – selling coffees and wine

The building itself was finished in the mid 19th century. Believe it or not, it was not popular at the time for reasons that are still unclear to me. Unfortunately neither of its architects saw the building completed: August Sicard von Sicardsburg died of tuberculosis, and Eduard van der Nüll committed suicide before the 1869 opening. The building was extensively damaged during an American bombing raid during World War II, but private funds were raised in Vienna to repair the damage.

Another view from the grand staircase
Beautiful ceilings
Statues ring the entire grand staircase
This is another concession room; the wall coverings are modern tapestries

The performance of La Bohéme was excellent. When we sat down and saw the modern art covering the stage curtains, we weren’t sure if it was going to be a modern setting for the play. I admit to being intrigued to see Vienna’s version of Rent. But the production was the traditional setting, in mid 19th century Paris. Unsurprisingly, Musette was my favorite.

More beautiful statues
Another angle of the grand staircase
Panoramic view
The inside of the Opera House – the artwork didn’t have anything to do with the opera itself
My caption machine – I was pleased they offered both German and English translations
A closeup view of these three ladies from the top floor

Title quote: Italian for “To be alone in the winter is a deathly thing!” from Puccini’s La Bohéme Act III.

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