How to get Vienna opera tickets for only 3 Euros!
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What if we told you that you can score Vienna opera tickets on the cheap? Even cheaper than what you’d pay for a guided tour? Would you believe us? “Aren’t opera tickets really expensive?”, we hear you think. True, usually they are. And we feel you brother (sister); we too don’t want to sell our left kidney on the black market for some really expensive opera tickets
Below we will reveal the secret (which is actually not that secret) to get Vienna opera tickets for only 3 Euros!
Standing place Vienna Opera tickets
When you’re on holiday in the beautiful city of Vienna, a visit to the majestic Vienna State Opera (or the Wiener Staatsoper as it’s called in German) should be on your to do list! You can go for a tour during the day or, even better, visit an opera performance at night!
It so happens that the Wiener Staatsoper is the only opera house in the world that sells standing place tickets. The Vienna opera has 567 standing places, and the price for them is ridiculously low: only 3 or 4 Euros per ticket! The reason for this is that the Viennese value the art of opera so highly that they want to make it possible for people from all walks of life to see an opera show. They believe that visiting the opera should not only be for the rich (some of the Vienna Opera tickets go up to 500 Euro!).
The trade off for this sweet deal? You can’t order the tickets online and, go figure, you have to stand during the show.
How to get standing place tickets?
Standing place tickets go on sale only 80 minutes before curtain. By then a long line of opera enthusiasts has already formed in front of the ticket office, so try to be there earlier. We decided to go for ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’ on a Monday in September. We were there at around 5.30 PM, two hours before the start of the performance. There were about 100 to 150 people in front of us, so we were well in time. In the end, not all tickets sold out, but we didn’t want to take the risk of being too late.
If you’re planning to go during the high season of June-August or December, or in the weekend, prepare for much larger crowds. Arriving two hours before the performance could be cutting it a bit tight. But don’t worry, as long as your spot in the line is inside of the building, you should be able to get a ticket.
Tip: Do your research on the popularity of the specific opera performance you want to visit. Is your visit more about experiencing the ambiance and grandeur of the Vienna State Opera and the performance or do you want to see a very famous opera? If you choose the latter, know that waiting lines can get very long. We specifically chose for ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’ instead of ‘Carmen’ a few days later, as we didn’t want to spend more than two hours waiting in line.
The entrance to the standing place ticket office is not located at the main entrance of the opera building (which is at the street ‘Opernring’), but under the arcades at the left side of the building when you are facing the main entrance (this street is called the ‘Operngasse’). The entrance to the standing place ticket office is small and easily overlooked, so we made a picture to help you along!
Once inside, make yourself comfortable. You’ll be waiting for a long time, so sit yourself down on the floor and read a book, check your emails or have a chat with your neighbours. This is also a good time to decide from which area of the opera house you want to watch the performance.
Choosing your standing area
There are three different areas for which you can buy standing place tickets: the parterre (4 EUR), the balcony (3 EUR), the gallery (3 EUR). At the ticket office you can choose between the three (if there are still tickets available).
Tip: Be sure to bring cash, as you won’t be able to pay for your Vienna opera tickets by card. Exact change is not necessary, but it is appreciated.
Parterre tickets will have you standing behind the last row of seats on the floor. The difference between the balcony and the gallery is that the gallery is higher up, all the way at the top of the building. Also, the gallery standing places are located on a three step stairs, which means you can sit down on the step above your place. If you get balcony or parterre tickets, you will not have this option. However, you will be a bit closer to the stage. It’s up to you to decide what is more important to you.
We went for gallery tickets, and were quite happy with that choice. The opera performance lasted for about tree hours, so our feet were thankful that we got to sit down every now and then. The view was great, although a little far away. But what can you expect for that price? A nice bonus is that you have a nice overview of the stage and the opera hall as a whole!
Finding your place
Once you’ve got your Vienna opera tickets, follow the corridor into the opera hall and find an usher. They will point you in the right direction for your standing area. This is where you will get into the next line. Try to get into this line as quickly as possible, as this is the line that will determine your actual standing place. You see, you do not get assigned a specific place when you buy your ticket; it’s first come, first serve.
We waited in this second line for about 15 minutes, after which we were led into the gallery and selected our places. Try to get a spot on the lower of the three steps as you’ll have the best view. The places are quite spacious, so no need to crowd. Each place is indicated by a monitor (more on that later).
Once you’ve selected your monitor, you need to mark your place. You can use a scarf for this; most people will bring one especially for this purpose. However, the ushers will also hand out strips of paper, which you can tie around the handlebar. This marking of the places is taken very seriously. If you’ve marked a place, it’s yours. People will not remove your scarf, or try to ‘steal’ your place.
This leaves you the freedom to leave your place and roam around the opera building until the show starts. This is a good time to bring your coats and bags (if you brought any) to the wardrobe, get some (overpriced) drinks and snacks, or use the bathroom.
The show itself was really nice. The performance was in German but our monitors showed the “subtitles” of the show (in German, English or Spanish). The theater itself is really impressive. Before the show, and in the break, we wandered around the building admiring the beautiful architecture. We were really happy that we bought tickets instead of booking a regular tour during the day. The ambiance of a show does something special to the building that we wouldn’t have experienced during a tour of the empty building.
Tip: If you don’t care for watching an entire performance (usually between two and three hours) and just want to experience the ambiance you can leave after the first act. After all, you only paid a couple of Euros! 😉
There is no specific dress code for the opera. However, you’re expected to “match the way you dress to the elegant setting of the opera building”, as they nicely put it on the Vienna Opera website. We saw several people get refused entrance because they were wearing hot pants, sweatpants or jeans with holes in them. However, jeans (without holes) and a shirt should be fine. Sneakers are also not a problem. Just keep in mind that if you dress very casually, you will stand out a bit between all the ‘regular’ opera goers, who have dressed up for a fancy night out. So try to make an effort at least.
Have you been to the Vienna State Opera and want to share any tips? Let us know in the comments below!
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Hi, my name is Geert and I’m traveling the world together with my wife Sandra. I like photography, cooking and eating good food, and exploring the outdoors.