As I was preparing for my train travel to Turkey, I was looking for things to do in Vienna, the capital of Austria. It was one of my stops and I searched on the website of the Vienna Tourist office. A promo for the Vienna Opera House caught my eye and I decided to explore more. What comes next is my #travelfail of how I bought cheap Vienna Opera tickets and didn’t see a single thing!
Sounds hilarious, doesn’t it? Read on and learn the right way to get cheap opera tickets in Vienna.
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Cheap Vienna Opera tickets
Researching online, I found out what an amazing experience the opera house of Vienna must be. The grand building, designed to house the best operas and welcome the richest people of that time.
Red plush seating, gold ornaments, and a staggering stage to house the best performances.
If you’d ever want to go to the opera, it had to be in Vienna.
But what are the costs to see the opera in Vienna? Are there cheap Vienna opera tickets available? I wanted to find out!
See the opera outdoors in Vienna
The main thing that caught my attention and actually gave me the idea of going to the Vienna opera house, was the promotion of the outdoor seating area. In summer times, chairs are available outside the opera building where the opera is broadcasted on a widescreen.
If the weather is nice and you show up early, you’ll be able to see the opera without paying a single cent! Some things do come for free.
It sounded nice, so I went to check the schedule to see what performances there would be during my visit to Vienna.
Standing room tickets for the Vienna opera
I only had Friday evening and Saturday to attend an opera in Vienna, so I searched the schedule for my dates. I found Fidelio by Beethoven on Friday and Der Rosenkavalier by Strauss on Saturday.
The Saturday performance was sold out and only had standing room tickets available. I checked what that meant.
When you show up 1,5 to 2 hours before the opera in Vienna starts, you have to queue to get a shot at buying a standing room ticket for the Vienna Opera.
For only €4 you get the chance to see the opera in Vienna.
The only downside is: you have to be on time, lucky and you really have to stand.
An opera can last up to 3 or even 4 hours so be ready for this! Adding this up to the 2-hour wait, I browsed for other options.
Cheap seating tickets for Vienna Opera House
As the Friday opera still had some tickets available, I was curious. How much would a ticket to the opera in Vienna cost? Is there such thing as cheap Vienna opera tickets where you do not have to stand or sit outside?
To answer the first question: very expensive. Some seats were sold up to 300€!
As I glanced over the seating arrangements, I found 2 seats left for €14. Wait? What!? 14 Euro for a Vienna opera ticket? That is about the price of lunch or the entrance to a museum.
I didn’t hesitate for much longer and decided I wanted to give it a shot. For 14 euros, it would be a great introduction to the opera and I was all giddy and excited about this great deal.
Why I didn’t get to see anything at the Vienna Opera?
So. What is the problem then? To be honest, there wasn’t much of a problem. It was a great experience and I had a good time. Things were just a little bit different than I imagined.
The 14 euro ticket to the Vienna Opera said it had a partial view.
In my mind, I saw myself sitting behind a pillar, stretching my neck to look around it or seeing only part of the stage.
In real life, partial view means you get to see part of the ceiling.
I was in one of the upper balconies and there are 3 rows of seats. 3 in the front, 2 behind that, and 1 seat behind them. We were quite close to the stage, but being so high up, you had to stretch and look down to see part of it.
As I was in the 3rd row, I was able to see the ceiling of the opera building of Vienna. Even at times when I stood in my chair (yea. I did that! #sorrynotsorry), I was not able to see more than a quarter of the stage.
Turned out, none of the performers ever stood in that quarter.
So, although I bought super cheap Vienna opera tickets, I was not able to see a single thing! A roommate in my hostel opted for the standing area tickets and she was able to see the whole performance.
Did I mind though?
The whole ambiance of the opera in Vienna was amazing!
It was great to experience it and see the opera in use. Beethoven only composed 1 opera, and I got to see it performed. The opera was very heavy on the music and had large orchestra pieces in it. I sat there, in the dark, eyes closed, and enjoyed the music.
I had a great cake at the Gerstner Imperial Patisserie across the opera, got to dress up (a bit- still a backpacker), and enjoyed the whole entourage.
Learn from your #travelfails
And what can we learn from this? When things are too good (a.k.a. too cheap) to be true: they are! I don’t really understand why the Vienna opera house even sells these tickets as you are really not able to see anything from the performance on stage.
It should not be called a partial view when there is no view of the stage at all.
But ok, back to learning from my mistakes. Well, this was a good one. I was happy it was only 14 euros and I stayed till the end nevertheless.
I think next time I’d check the internet better to read any reviews about these cheap Vienna opera tickets to make sure that I am prepared for what it entails. Maybe if I’d known about the non-existing view, I would have opted for the standing room tickets.
Check the seating plan plus prices for the Vienna opera house to prevent the same mistake.
Last-Minute Vienna Opera Tickets
In case you really really want to see the Vienna Opera House and see some classical music performed at the most famous Opera in Europe, then there are some last-minute Vienna Opera options left for you.
I have no experience with them myself, but as I’d like to be complete and provide you with all the options, I list them below:
- Tickets to Mozart & Strauss at the Vienna State Opera
- Imperial Vienna 2.5-Hour Tour with Opera House Visit
- Vienna Mozart Concert at the Golden Hall
- Vienna Mozart Evening: Gourmet Dinner and Concert at the Vienna Opera House
Click the links above to see prices and what is included. Make sure to select a tour that is actually at the Vienna Opera House and I’d opt for a performance in the Golden Hall as this is the fanciest opera room in Europe.
Mind you, these are not the official Opera performances but specific events made to experience classical music at the Vienna Opera. You still get to dress up, go to the opera and it would be a great last-minute introduction to opera when you’re not that familiar with it.
Have you ever been to the opera in Vienna or anywhere else? Did you have good views? Please share your story in the comment section below.