Opera House (Wiener Staatsoper) — The Opera House is probably the most-beloved symbol of Viennese arts, and one of the first buildings to be rebuilt in the postwar era.
It was built from 1861-1869 under the direction of architects Eduard van der Nüll and August von Siccardsburg for then-emperor Franz Josef I. The first performance was Don Giovanni, an opera by Austrian native Mozart, on 25 May 1869.
Though now as well-loved as any member of the family, the architecture of the Opera was barely tolerated by the picky Viennese when it opened. Van der Nüll did not take these criticisms of his work lightly and committed suicide. A few weeks later, von Siccardsburg died of a heart attack. Doubly cursed, the Opera building succumbed to bombs less than 100 years later, during WWII. After ten years of Allied control after the end of the war, many cultural institutions reopened to celebrate the birth of the new Austrian state. This time the Opera opened with an adopted son of Vienna's work: Beethoven's Fidelio.
The lush curtains and overall elegance contribute to the atmosphere of the Opera (even the nosebleed seats, so steeply pitched and close to the ceiling a nosebleed becomes a distinct possibility).
Inexpensive standing room tickets are made available for every performance and sold the day of the performance. The line forms about 2 hours prior to the performance.
Post-performance, have some torte at the nearby Sacher Hotel.
Guided tours in a number of languages are offered throughout the desk. The line at the front side door forms about 1/2 hour before the tour.