A Night at the Opera

No visit to Vienna can be considered complete without at least a musical activity of some kind. Vienna, after all, is the city of music, of Mozart, of Beethoven, of Strauss and just about every other major name in music especially from the 18th century. And so on my second night, I headed off to the Volksoper Wien opera house, the perfect venue for those seeking the classical music experience on a budget. Ticket prices range from as low as €1.50 to just €75. If finances are really tight, then buy the standing tickets. This means that you get to only stand, way up in the back, throughout the entire performance. But last night’s show was only half-filled, thus by the second act, most of those with the standing tickets were already seated and there were no complaints from the attendants.

Don’t be fooled by the low prices, however; there is nothing low-quality or”budget” about performances in the Volksoper Wien. What you get is the real McCoy. And last night we had Tosca. This, being my first ever opera, it was difficult to avoid a certain sense of excitement, of the new, from the moment I bought my ticket (€19 for a seat high up in the back gallery) to that second when the first notes finally sang out from the orchestra below.

There was only one little problem: this Tosca was in German! The last time I checked Puccini composed it in Italian. Not really being an afficionado of high music, I let that one pass, but I’m pretty sure that I heard a stray syllable or two somewhere between the bars.

Overall, a night at the opera in Vienna is an unforgettable experience. If you’re going to get into opera, then you might as well begin here.

One last tip. Do try to appear presentable. My roommate suffered the ignominy of expulsion for having the temerity to wear his hiking boots! So boys, while jeans are fine, wear collared shirts and tuck them in. A coat jacket will also help.

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