ENTERTAINMENT AND FESTIVALS OF VIENNA
While Vienna offers all the standard entertainment in the way of theater, film, and festivals, the heart of the city beats to music. All but a few of classical music’s mar quee names lived, composed, and performed in Vienna. Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn wrote their greatest masterpieces in Vienna, creating the First Viennese School; a century later, Schonberg, Webern, and Berg teamed up to form the Sec ond Viennese School. Every Austrian child must learn to play an instrument during schooling, and the Vienna Konservatorium and Hochschule are world-renowned conservatories. All year, Vienna has performances ranging from the above-average to the sublime, with many accessible to the budget traveler. Note that the venues below have no performances in July and August.
Vienna hosts an array of important annual festivals, mostly musical. The Vienna Festwochen (mid-May to mid-June) has a diverse program of exhibitions, plays, and concerts. ( 58 92 20; www.festwochen.or.at.) The Staatsoper and Volksthe- ater host the annual Jazzfest Wien during the first weeks of July, featuring many famous acts, ( 503 5647; www.viennajazz.org.) The Social Democrats host the late-June Danube Island Festival, which draws millions of party-goers annually for fireworks and rock, jazz, and folk concerts. From mid-July to mid-August, the Im- Puls Dance Festival ( 523 55 58; www.impuls-tanz.com) attracts some of the world’s greatest dance troupes and offers seminars to enthusiasts. In mid-October, the annual city-wide film festival, the Viennale, kicks off.
Staatsoper, I, Opemring 2 (www.wiener-staatsoper.at). Vienna’s premiere opera per forms nearly every night Sept.-June. No shorts allowed. 500 standing-room tickets are available for every performance (1 per person; ‚2-3.50), but plan on getting there 2hr. before curtain. The box office (Bundestheaterkasse; 514 44 78 80), I, Hanuschg. 3, around the corner from the opera, sells tickets in advance. Seats ‚10-180. Open M-F 8am-6pm, Sa-Su 9am-noon; IstSa of each month 9am-5pm.
Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) plays in the Musikverein, Aus tria’s premiere concert hall. Even if you only want standing room tickets, visit the box office (Bosendorferstr. 12 or www.wienerphilharmoniker.at) well in advance.
Wiener Sangerknaben (Vienna Boys’ Choir) sings during mass every Su at 9:15am (mid- Sept. to the first week of June) in the Hofburgkapelle (U3: Herreng.). Despite rumors to the contrary, standing room is free; arrive before 8am.
Volksoper (People’s Opera), IX, Wahringerstr. 78, specializes in lighter comedic opera, operettas, dance troupes, and musicals. While the theater is less elaborate, the music is fantastic and the performances diverse. Go 45min. before the show to get the best seats in the house for ‚7. Tickets ‚7-250.