The famous Burgtheater in Vienna, with its prestigious building on Vienna's Ringstrasse, is one of the most important sites of German dramatic art in Austria and internationally.
The Vienna Burgtheater is the federal theatre of Austria. By international standards, it is one of the most important theatres in the German-speaking world and one of the top 10 sights of Vienna. Its classical stage and language style soon became a model for many other German theatres.
In the Austrian Nestroy Theatre Prize, which has been awarded since 2000, the Burgtheater is one of the most successful theatres in the country, both in terms of nominations and victories.
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PICTURES: Vienna Burgtheater
Photo gallery: Burgtheater in Vienna
Foundation and construction of the Burgtheater
The Burgtheater of Vienna was once called "Theater an der Burg", was founded by Empress Maria Theresa on 14 March 1741 and was named "German National Theatre" by her son Emperor Joseph II in 1776. From 1794 to 1918, the theatre in a former ballroom next to the Hofburg was known as the "Kaiserlich-königliches Hoftheater nächst der Burg".
The Burgtheater has been housed in its present building on Vienna's Ringstrasse since 14 October 1888. The architects Gottfried Semper, who also built the famous Semper Opera in Dresden, and Karl Freiherr von Hasenauer were responsible for the magnificent building. The latter designed the impressive façade of the building, which was restored after a fire in 1955.
Acting celebrities at the Burgtheater in Vienna
Among the works premiered in the past decades were plays by Thomas Bernhard, Peter Turrini and Elfriede Jelinek, which made Vienna's Burgtheater a renowned stage for spoken word in Europe.
The stages of the Burgtheater have already been graced by a multitude of great personalities in its history. Among them are such illustrious names as Klaus-Maria Brandauer, Birgit Minichmayr, Elisabeth Orth, Peter Simonischek, Karlheinz Hackl, Gert Voss and Michael Maertens.
Those personalities who have rendered special services to the Burgtheater were and are awarded honorary membership, which are noted in the marble wall at the foot of the Feststiege on the Volksgarten side.
Tip: Holders of the Bundestheater Card receive discounts for selected performances at the Burgtheater, Akademietheater, Volksoper or Vienna State Opera and are repeatedly invited to exclusive performances.
Guided tours of the Burgtheater in Vienna
A guided tour of Vienna's Burgtheater provides insights behind the scenes of the famous playhouse. In addition to the art on stage, a guided tour also takes in the sophisticated technology behind the curtain, as well as the architectural highlights hidden behind the impressive façade.
These include the magnificent Feststiege with the famous ceiling paintings by Franz Matsch and Gustav Klimt, as well as his lesser-known brother Ernst, the sculpture collection by Schnitzler, Nestroy, Raimund and many more, and the gallery with portraits of Austrian actors.
Official website of the Vienna Burgtheater
Information on the Bundestheater Card