Vienna: Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper)The Neo-Renaissance-style opera house in Vienna was constructed as part of Emperor Franz Josef’s grand Ringstrasse building project. It opened on May 25, 1869 with Mozart's Don Giovanni.
A bombing during World War II and subsequent fire destroyed the Vienna Opera's stage and auditorium along with sets, props and costumes for more than 100 operas. The foyer, the main stairways, the vestibule and the tea room, however, were spared.
Rebuilt in a design similar to the original with some modern touches, the fa?ade and the foyer of the Vienna State Opera, which had all been damaged in the bombing, were restored to their original style. The new opera house, renamed the Staatsoper, seating more than 2,200, reopened on November 5, 1955 with Beethoven's Fidelio.
Today, the Vienna State Opera stages more than 50 productions every year, about 200 performances. Past conductors at Vienna's State Opera have included Richard Strauss, Igor Strawinsky, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Leonard Bernstein, Riccardo Muti, Daniele Gatti as well as Gustav Mahler, who introduced the practice of dimming the lights during performances.
In addition to opera, the Vienna State Opera also presents ballet performances and is the venue of the yearly Vienna Opera Ball.