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.
More #travelfails: Mistakes to avoid hiking Montserrat mountains.
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 wide screen. 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 an 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 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 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.
Read more: Polaroid Photo Tour of Vienna
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? Not really. 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.
Read more: Breakfast at the Café Savoy in Prague.
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 of the performance on stage. It should not be called 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 see about 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.
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.