of the Theater an der Wien



Reopening scheduled for autumn 2024

  • Zuschauerraum Probensituation © VBW Riepl Kaufmann Bammer Architektur

The Theater an der Wien, part of Vereinigte Bühnen Wien (VBW), a company of Wien Holding, is one of Vienna’s most beautiful and historically significant theatres. Since 2006 it has operated as an innovative stagione opera house of international standing. The curtain had barely fallen in front of a sellout audience on the last performance of the season’s final opera, Jenůfa by Leoš Janáček, when the extensive renovation and modernisation was begun that the venerable theatre so desperately needed.

“Vienna is one of Europe’s top cities for culture and it is not least for this reason that we are committed to massive investment in the future of our theatres,” says Peter Hanke, councillor responsible for the economy and finance on Vienna city council. “We have already done this with the Ronacher and more recently with the Raimund Theater, which has presented itself in renewed splendour since 2021. Now we’re setting aside a total of EUR 60.05 million to renovate and modernise the Theater an der Wien from top to bottom. And this is a sound investment because it not only enhances the quality of Vienna as a city of culture and tourism, but also creates added value and safeguards jobs.”
“The renovation and modernisation of the historic theatre is urgently needed to make the opera house fit for the future for many years to come,”
says Wien Holding CEO Kurt Gollowitzer. “The refurbishment includes improvement of the fabric of the building, the plumbing and electrics, renovation of the front and rear, its opening onto Naschmarkt and construction of a traffic-calmed zone in Millöckergasse. The makeover will take about two years, and then the theatre can reopen, newly resplendent, in autumn 2024.”
“The Theater an der Wien is a pivotal opera house whose reputation spreads far and wide,”
says Veronica Kaup-Hasler, councillor responsible for culture. “This is reflected in the fact that 93% of tickets were sold in the years before Covid, but also by the numerous international accolades and co-productions. To ensure that this successful, historic opera house has an equally dazzling future, modernisation is necessary. I’m delighted that the City of Vienna is taking its cultural responsibilities seriously and has provided the funds required for the urgently needed renovation of the historic theatre.”
“As we did with the extensive refurbishment of the Raimund Theater, we as a district would like to take the opportunity to make public space more attractive,”
explains Markus Rumelhart, council leader in Vienna’s 6th district. “Together with the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien we want to create a modern entrance to the new opera house for its patrons as well as an attractive street layout for the residents.”


A total of EUR 60.05 million has been budgeted for the extensive renovation and modernisation of the Theater an der Wien. The costs will be borne by the City of Vienna, Wien Holding and the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien. EUR 39 million of this money comes direct from the municipal budget of the City of Vienna. Additionally, Wien Holding is granting the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien a loan of EUR 21.05 million for this project.

  • Theater an der Wien Foyer 1. Rang © VBW Riepl Kaufmann Bammer Architektur

A consortium consisting of L-Bau-Engineering and Riepl Kaufmann Bammer Architektur is responsible for planning and execution. In consultation with the proprietor, this consortium was deemed to offer the best conditions following a tendering procedure for overall planning. The L-Bau-Engineering / Riepl Kaufmann Bammer Architektur GbR consortium consists of architects and engineers based in Vienna and Linz who have experience and expertise in constructing music venues (Baden-Baden, Salzburg Festival, Landestheater Linz) and renovating listed public buildings (University of Applied Arts, Austrian Academy of Sciences). Responsibility for the construction project’s management rests with WIP Wiener Infrastruktur Projekt GmbH, a company of the Wien Holding subsidiary WSE Wiener Standortentwicklung GmbH.
The last time the Theater an der Wien was renovated from top to bottom was 1962. Refurbishment and repairs to certain parts of the building were carried out over the course of the following decades, chiefly in periods when there were no performances. Now the time has come for a comprehensive and lasting refurbishment of the building, inside and out, to preserve the historic opera house for the coming decades, to meet the requirements of patrons, artists and staff in terms of safety and comfort, and to ensure state-of-the-art operatic performances for a long time to come. The work will be carried out in accordance with the preservation orders to which parts of the theatre, such as the so-called Papageno Gate on Millöckergasse and the auditorium, are subject.
“We feel proud and privileged that the VBW can produce stage works at the Theater an der Wien, a site of major cultural significance owned by the City of Vienna,” says Franz Patay, CEO of the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien. “It is important to us to preserve the opera house’s unique history and aura and optimise it for future stage spectacles. Our thanks go to the representatives of the City of Vienna and Wien Holding who make it possible for us to fulfil our responsibilities with regard to this cultural heritage.”
The complete refurbishment of the historically significant theatre — it is the oldest opera house in Vienna — is scheduled take over two years, starting in March 2022. Stefan Herheim will begin his directorship in Halle E of the MuseumsQuartier in autumn 2022. The opera house is scheduled to reopen in renewed splendour in the autumn of 2024.
“Schikaneder, Beethoven, Offenbach, Nestroy, Strauss, Lehár and Marie Geistinger are just some of the geniuses who performed at the Theater an der Wien and whose presence is still felt in the venerable walls of what was once the theatre in Vienna’s suburbs,” says Stefan Herheim, newly appointed artistic director of the Theater an der Wien. “Preserving this cultural monument is consequently an investment in values on which the freedom of art, and therefore the art of freedom, rest. As the newly appointed artistic director of the Theater an der Wien I have a burning desire to unite the past and the future here in the present, in art and through art, in such a way that the importance of renovating the building is incontestable.”


  • Anrainerversammlung 04 © Katharina Schiffl

In detail, the complete renovation and modernisation concerns the following parts of the historic theatre: renovation of the facades in accordance with the requirements of the Office for the Care of Monuments; draining measures. New safety and fire protection installations are urgently needed: fire-containment sections and the installation of fire alarms are planned. The electrical fittings, heating, ventilation system and plumbing are to be completely replaced.

A reorganisation of rooms to the rear of the building will make better use of the available space and enable the use of rooms that have hitherto been empty. A canteen is planned for artists and staff of the VBW. The entire stage technology is to be overhauled and updated to ensure productions that in future meet the latest standards. In the stage area, no more weight can be placed on the flies and reinforcement of their structure is urgently required to enable state-of-the-art productions. Renovation of the entire technical equipment and installations should guarantee lower costs for overheads and maintenance in the coming years.
Comprehensive reorganisation and extension of the foyer is planned, as is the installation of lifts for barrier-free access. The audience experience in the foyers and lounges is to be made more attractive by opening the theatre onto Naschmarkt by means of a loggia. The auditorium will be redesigned in compliance with the requirements of preserving sites of historic interest. In Millöckergasse a traffic-calmed zone is planned in cooperation with the district authorities.



Theater an der Wien Foyer 1. Rang



Emanuel Schikaneder, all-round genius and librettist of The Magic Flute, had the Theater an der Wien built in 1801 on the River Wien to reflect the spirit of Mozart. The theatre was constructed according to plans drawn up by Joseph Reymund the Younger and Anton Jäger and was the site of many historic world premieres including Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio, Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss and Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow. Ludwig van Beethoven even lived in the Theater an der Wien from 1803 to 1804. In 1960, the City of Vienna purchased the theatre as a venue for the Vienna Klangbogen festival and performances by visiting artists. In the 1990s it was transformed into a theatre for musicals, staging world premieres and German-language premieres that included Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. The musical Elisabeth by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay enjoyed a successful run that went on for years. In 2006, Vienna celebrated the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth and as part of the festivities Director Roland Geyer established the Theater an der Wien internationally as the city’s third opera house. From the 2022/2023 season, Stefan Herheim is the new artistic director. Productions are presented according to the stagione system and include works ranging from the Baroque to the contemporary.

Before renovation





On 14 March 2022, the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien and the leaders of Mariahilf district council invited the residents who live near the Theater an der Wien to the opera house for an information evening. VBW CEO Franz Patay, leader of the district council Markus Rumelhart and architect Daniel Bammer presented the planned refurbishment work and answered all the questions about the project that came from the audience.


It is of the utmost importance to us that all the residents have the chance to be involved and that their needs are taken into account. We therefore invite you to contact us at any time at sanierung@vbw.at with your questions and suggestions or if you simply need more information. We will answer your query as quickly as possible.




Work in full swing and on schedule – Reopening in autumn
Pressure on the construction industry and architectural challenges increase costs

During a visit to the Theater an der Wien on 7 September 2023 to inspect the work, Wien Holding CEO Kurt Gollowitzer, VBW CEO Franz Patay and MusikTheater an der Wien director Stefan Herheim reported on the refurbishment, by then well advanced:

Much of the work on the building fabric has been completed, for example the foundations for the new orchestra pit, the concrete shafts for the front-of-house lifts and the walls for the extra level above the dressing rooms where new equipment and appliances will be housed. In fact, this work has progressed so well that the crane that was installed for it can already be removed.

The glass roof of the new dress circle foyer has also been fitted and secured so that the rest of the work on the foyer, including its interior finish, can proceed. Renovation of the facade, windows and roof has also started. Renovation of the facade in the inner courtyard has already been completed. The outer doors for the newly conceived entrance loggia on Naschmarkt have been put in. Renovation of the damping in the basement levels is also complete.

The building nevertheless keeps producing the odd surprise or challenge for the construction engineers, and these are making this project even more complicated, time-consuming and, owing to rising prices in the construction industry, costly.

Despite all the unforeseen difficulties posed by current trends in the construction industry and the building’s architectural characteristics, the theatre will reopen in autumn 2024 as planned.


  • Theater an der Wien Umbau Jänner 2023 © Barbara Nidetzky


Final demolition and dismantling work, work on the building fabric, foundation construction for the orchestra pit and damp-proofing are all under way.