in eager anticipation of you, the city of Vienna and the continuing story of one of Europe’s most successful opera houses I extend my very best wishes and warmest regards to you!
For over sixteen years, the Theater an der Wien has been setting new artistic standards under the directorship of Roland Geyer. It now falls to me to invite you not just to a new season, but to the first season under a new director and consequently to a wealth of new encounters.
Since I was asked to come to Vienna, much has changed. At least since peace collapsed in Europe and the Iron Curtain closed again it has been clear just how fragile the values are on which the art of freedom, and therefore the freedom of art, rests. Where a sense of beauty is not gratified, insensibility threatens. It is now more vital than ever to counter the failure of political and economic interventions in the world with aesthetic approaches.
Those who control the media control the mind – at least that is what many think. But music and theatre are universal media: they appeal not just to the mind, but to the entire person. In combination, the disparate components of musical theatre form a unity of artistic diversity, but also a unity of human diversity – an interconnected “we” that consists of all contrasts and contradictions and defies simplistic appropriations. You, dear visitors, are an essential part of this “we” because it is your participation that makes musical theatre an artistic event.
The new artistic directorship of the Theater an der Wien and the Vienna Kammeroper feels bound by this “we” as much as by the diversity revealed in this programme. It reflects the sheer artistic breadth that the opera has produced from the early Baroque to the present day, including lesser-known genres and neglected forms of musical theatre. To place particular emphasis on the unique synthesis of music and drama, the new directorship of the Theater an der Wien introduces a new logo featuring one additional word that, coupled with our new-style graphics, perfectly encapsulates our identity: MusikTheater an der Wien
The 22/23 season represents the start of a series of several programmes that will run over a number of seasons. In stimulating and enthralling productions you will experience magnificent oratorios by George Frideric Handel, masterpieces of the First Viennese School that are hardly ever performed, bel canto operas full of passion, outstanding musical drama of the modern age and the present day, enchanting one-act works for the whole family and, returning at long last to the Theater an der Wien that was so instrumental in the genre’s historic development, operetta. Alongside these main focal areas of the programme we offer numerous unique performances and open with one of the earliest operas, which was composed by a woman with links to the Florentine Camerata, and an animal-like humanist piece of musical theatre by Leoš Janáček with which I make my debut as a producing director.
The themes that run through this season are fear of the unknown and self-estrangement, and the protagonists in the selected works have to overcome them in every conceivable way. Every work was chosen in close consultation with teams of directors whose vastly differing perspectives and approaches all unite unmistakeable artistic craftsmanship and a great love of opera.
We intensify our long-standing cooperation with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Arnold Schoenberg Choir. We are also looking forward to experiencing the expertise of style-defining ensembles for early and modern music as well as distinguished directors and singers from all over the world, many of whom will be appearing at the Theater an der Wien for the first time. The artistic standards we share, along with the programme’s distinctive pillars, guarantee the continuity with which we will give the Theater an der Wien a unique profile.
The complete refurbishment of what used to be a suburban theatre on Linke Wienzeile was begun in the spring of 2022 and must be seen as protecting universal values – a cultural monument that once profoundly influenced life in the Austrian capital as the “Nationaltheater an der Wien”. It was here that geniuses such as Emanuel Schikaneder, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Grillparzer, Johann Nestroy, Johann Strauss, Marie Geistinger and Franz Lehár set standards of artistic diversity by which we feel bound, also and precisely because we are the MusikTheater an der Wien.
Until the venerable house reopens its doors in renewed splendour for the 24/25 season, our major new productions will be performed in Hall E in the middle of the MuseumsQuartier, a venue that seats 800 and is eminently suited for musical theatre. In this unique setting, nestling among outstanding museums, the innovative Tanzquartier Wien and attractive restaurants, our view of cultural synergies will be reflected in so many ways that we do not at all feel that we have been displaced to alternative accommodation. On the contrary, our artistic repositioning at this location presents unique opportunities of attracting new audience groups. It is a particular pleasure for me to be able to present a major collaboration with the Wiener Festwochen here.
We do not even want to imagine a future without musical theatre. For this reason we are expanding our programme for the heirs to the world with a wide range of performances and projects for children and young people. Although adults will enjoy them enormously too: in particular, our major family opera at Christmas will be an exciting gift of musical theatre for everyone!
Aficionados of early music and historically informed performance practice will continue to have a wide selection of rarely performed masterpieces to choose from, presented in concert or semi-staged form and always with a cast of outstanding singers and musicians.
The synthesis of music and drama also serves us as a guiding principle for the repositioning of the Vienna Kammeroper. The focus will continue to be on highly talented young artists. Instead of having a fixed ensemble, we will be cooperating with international universities, academies and other “talent factories” to bring students and performers who are just starting to establish themselves together with well-known artists. We expect this synergistic connection of the Kammeroper with the wide world of musical theatre to give us plenty in the short term and a great deal more in the long term.
In addition, the names CAMPUS, TaWumm! and Late Night stand for a range of entertaining educational events and projects as well as artistic performances by and with personalities who are both inspired and highly inspiring.
And finally, under the motto of Zugabe (encore) we offer you not theatre, but unique music written and performed by artists with close links to the MusikTheater an der Wien and who have been firmly kissed by all nine muses!
Our box office staff are happy to give you full details of everything that has changed with regard to our venue in the MuseumsQuartier and our range of subscriptions. As in the past, all those who take out a subscription early will receive particularly favourable conditions. We are also very happy to answer your questions at any time about regular ticket sales, matinees, introductions to works, special events and our reorganised Circle of Friends.
With our 22/23 programme I extend the warmest of welcomes to you to the MusikTheater an der Wien – in Hall E of the MuseumsQuartier and at the Kammeroper in Vienna.
We look forward to seeing you!