As the largest theatre in the German-speaking world, one of the most important stages in Europe, and the country’s symbol of freedom, the Burgtheater is a place of turbulence, hope, and art.
The opulent building on the Ringstraße is a symbol of freedom, and not just in the artistic sense. After it was destroyed during the Second World War, a lot of money and effort went into its reconstruction. It was intended as a step towards a new beginning for a country that had completely lost its identity. Five months after the Austrian State Treaty was signed, the Burgtheater was opened and with it, the birth of the Second Republic was complete.
The legend of the Burgtheater
By the end of the 19th century, the actors of the Burgtheater had developed into a true celebrity cult. “The Burg” was seen as a refuge of genuine Austrianism and as such, transformed Vienna into a theatre city. The first performance of the tragedy King Ottokar’s Fortune and End by Grillparzer after the end of the occupation was associated with the 19th century myth.
Over the years, the building was gradually modernised. Icons such as Oskar Kokoschka were employed as stage designers and Thomas Bernhard’s “scandalous” Heldenplatz play was brought to the stage, despite large protests. In 1955, this would have been unthinkable, while today, the Burgtheater represents classic and contemporary theatre of the highest level.
360-degree view of the hall:
“The Burg” is also a masterpiece in the architectural sense – the facades flaunt the style of the Italian High Renaissance on the Ringstraße. Gustav Klimt has also been immortalised in its halls with the frescos which extend high over visitors’ heads in the foyer.
Guided tours through the Burgtheater
Of course, the halls of the great theatre are not just open to visitors during performances. Guided tours through the magnificent rooms shed light on the history and theatrical cult of the national sanctuary and are offered in German and English all year round.
How to reach the Burgtheater
Address: Universitätsring 2, 1010 Vienna
Further information on the programme and ticket sales