The new opera house
The Theater an der Wien numbers among the most beautiful theatres in Vienna and has one of the richest traditions, too. It was built in 1801 in the spirit of Mozart by Emanuel Schikaneder, the librettist of The Magic Flute. A host of major theatrical works have been premiered here, for example Beethoven’s opera Fidelio.
In 2006, the Mozart Year, the Theater an der Wien was reopened as the city of Vienna’s new opera house with a gala featuring Plácido Domingo, and will now stage performances all the year round. The Theater an der Wien is a marvellous addition to the internationally renowned operatic scene in Vienna and underscores the city’s reputation as a centre of culture and music. Beyond Mozart Year 2006 operas from the baroque period to the present day will be staged to the very highest artistic standard.
Programme for the 2011/12 season
The development of opera as an imitation of the tragedy of the ancient world was only possible in times of change. The emotions, rather than the intellect, were now the highest authority to which the works aimed to appeal. Monteverdi’s life is a perfect example of these contrasts. On 24 February 1607 his Favola in musica d’Orfeo was premiered in Mantua. The new art form of opera was born.
At Theater an der Wien, L’Orfeo marks the start of a new Monteverdi trilogy that will be staged over several years under the direction of the successful director Claus Guth. But we begin the season with one of the most important operas of the 20th century, The Turn of the Screw, the third production in our Benjamin Britten cycle. The work„reunites“ us with Robert Carsen and introduces the new principle conductor of RSO Vienna, Cornelius Meister, on the rostrum.
It goes without saying that the TAW once again pays its reference to the great masters of the baroque, Handel and Gluck. Whereas Serse with its famous “largo” Ombra mai fu made Handel popular far beyond the confines of classical music, Gluck’s Telemaco is a rarity of the very highest order. And the baroque ensembles are led by two completely contrasting musicians in René Jacobs and Jean-Christophe Spinosi. In addition, we have decided to introduce a new feature in the coming season in the shape of a “timeline” of musical theatre that leads through the 19th century: roughly 85 years separate Rossini’s La donna del lago and Rachmaninoff’s Francesca da Rimini – between them lie Thomas’ Hamlet and Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann. A remarkable musical journey with outstanding artists such as Kirill Petrenko, Marc Minkowski, Christof Loy, “Exorcist” William Friedkin, Kurt Streit, Saimir Pirgu, Malena Ernman, Marlis Petersen, Angel Blue and Christine Schäfer. The latter is also responsible for arranging our season’s opening on 13 September with Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire.
The programme of Theater an der Wien once again features several premieres: we commissioned the young Russian composer Lera Auerbach with the composition of the opera Gogol, which we will unveil to you on 15 November under the direction of Christine Mielitz, with Vladimir Fedoseyev conducting RSO Vienna and Bo Skovhus in the title role. This will be joined by premieres of two miniature operas in our basement, the “Hölle”, one by the trio of composers Tsepkolenko, Gryllus and Doderer, the other by Hans-Jürgen von Bose. Besides these eleven stage productions, the TAW also offers twelve concert performances of operas, the majority of them exquisite rarities.
Mozart, never averse to a game, is said to have often kept scraps of paper in his pocket on which he played number games to let time pass. Mozart’s love of numbers has now been made the subject of an installation by the artist Valie Export entitled “Anagrammatische Komposition mit Würfelspiel (nach W. A. Mozart, Klavier) für Sopransaxophon” (“Anagrammatic Composition with Dice (after W. A. Mozart, piano) for Soprano Saxophone”). Together with the new canopy designed by the architect Golmar Kempinger-Khatibi, the new entrance to Theater an der Wien is now completed.