The Burgtheater – who will make it into the “castle”?


Where did the Burgtheater used to stand and how long has this institution existed? Who were famous Viennese castle actors? What makes the Burgtheater so special?

The Burgtheater is the largest spoken theater in the German-speaking world. To play at the castle, as it is briefly and simply called in Vienna, is the goal of every theater actor. End of the 19th c. built by Gottfried Semper (Semper Opera in Dresden) and Karl von Hasenauer.

After 14 years of construction, it was opened on October 14, 1888 with Grillparzer’s “Esther” and Schiller’s

“Wallenstein’s Camp” inaugurated. The location is right across from the city hall and the Volksgarten is right next to it.

The Burgtheater has a long tradition . The “old” Burgtheater was located on Michaelerplatz, where the main entrance to the Hofburg is today. Already about 270 years ago , a ballroom had been converted into a theater there. The Habsburg family could reach their court lodge from the imperial apartments via a separate entrance.

It was already valid in the 19 c. particularly distinguished in the “castle to go. The bourgeoisie and the nobility met and gossip was exchanged, preferably about the castle actors. The actress Charlotte Wolter would become legendary because of her special “Wolter scream” . Attila Hörbiger and Paula Wessely were among the public favorites in the 1940s, and later their children or brother Paul Hörbiger. Josef Meinrad was so popular that the square next to the Burgtheater was named after him.

In the beginning, the Burgtheater, which outwardly resembled the Semperoper in Dresden, was very popular due to its splendor and technical innovations (electric lighting) . Soon, however, the Viennese did not spare criticism because of the poor acoustics . This problem was solved by a reconstruction of the auditorium in 1897. After that, the reputation of the theater was unstoppable and it became a meeting place of the rich and beautiful.

A special feature connects the Burgtheater with the Volksgarten. An underground ventilation system (Schwammerl) draws the scent of roses from the Volksgarten into the Burgtheater. Emperor Franz Joseph wanted to breathe in the scent of roses in the Burgtheater. The stale air is released again via the roof. There used to be showers and sun loungers on the roof for the actors as well, but these were not provided after the damage in World War 2.

In 1945, during the great air raid on Vienna, the Burgtheater suffered bomb hits and burned out completely. The Ronacher (today popular as a musical theater) was used as an alternative location until the Burgtheater at the

October 14, 1955 was reopened.

There have also already been negative headlines about the “Burg. The play “Heldenplatz” by Thomas Bernhard caused a scandal even before its premiere. Hermann Nitsch ‘s performance art in 2005 didn’t please everyone either. And a financial scandal rocked the house in 2013/2014.

As with the Vienna State Opera, the Burgtheater also offers a repertory program. I.e. the program changes every day. The Burgtheater also includes the Akademietheater, the Vestibule and the Casino on Schwarzenbergplatz.

In the summer, during the play-free period, the Burgtheater serves as a beautiful setting for the

Dance Festival “ImPulsTanz”, one of the largest European dance festivals.


Time Travel Tip:
During the guided tours of the house , daily in summer during the break of the play, in the rest of the year adapted to the play schedule, you can admire the ceiling painting in the staircase . This was designed by Gustav Klimt, his brother Ernst and his colleague Franz Matsch .

More info: Online stream | Burgtheater






Share this post

More contributions


Planning a European city break?

Organising a journey might feel overwhelming, particularly when venturing to an unfamiliar city or country. But with Go City, it’s how the best city breaks

read more "

Information on data protection
We use technologies such as cookies, LocalStorage, etc. to customize your browsing experience, to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features, and to analyze traffic to our website. We also share information about how our site is used with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Our partners may combine this information with other data that you have provided to them or that you have collected as part of using the Services (incl. US providers). You can find more information about the use of your data in our data protection declaration.

data protection
This website uses cookies so that we can offer you the best possible user experience. You can find more information about the use of your data in our data protection declaration.

Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.

Marketing & Statistics
This website uses Google Analytics to collect anonymous information such as the number of visitors to the site and the most popular pages. Leave this cookie enabled helps us to improve our website.

Google Tag Manager
This is a tag management system. Using the Google Tag Manager, tags can be integrated centrally via a user interface. Tags are small pieces of code that represent activitiescan track. Script codes from other tools are integrated via the Google Tag Manager. The Tag Manager makes it possible to control when a specific tag is triggered.