wine and cheese

The ultimate guide to European opera and ballet

Guests of European cruises are fortunate enough to travel through some of the best countries for such performances, with the likes of Austria, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic producing some of the most incredible talent in this area, and, as such, housing some of the most significant opera houses and ballet companies. Here is a guide to the very best to visit during river cruising holidays through such beautiful European cities. 

Theater an der Wien

Austria is known for its exquisite architecture alongside its talents in the arts. Theater an der Wien shows this harmony of talent at its best as the theatre stands among the most beautiful buildings in the city. The theatre was built in 1801 by Mozart’s librettist Emanuel Schikaneder, with Mozart as the inspiration.

Here is what Theater an der Wien said when we asked why European river cruise guests should visit their theatre:

“As a centre for Baroque and Mozart opera as well as today’s “Musiktheater”, the Theater an der Wien is definitely worth a visit.” – Theater an der Wien

Vienna State Opera

Being closely linked to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera is regarded around the world as an institution of superior musical talent. In addition to their orchestral performances, the opera house features a wide range of ballet and opera concerts for local residents and visitors to Vienna. For this reason the Vienna State Opera is considered one of the most important institutions of its kind and the one with the largest repertoire.

We asked: Why should European river cruise guests visit your opera house?

“The Wiener Staatsoper counts as one of the most important opera houses in the world. The season runs from September to June and offers more than 300 performances of more than 60 different operas and ballets. The artistic pillars of the Wiener Staatsoper are a regular ensemble of singers, the ballet ensemble, the Vienna State Opera Orchestra / Wiener Philharmoniker, the choir and the stage orchestra. Moreover, the internationally leading opera singers and conductors appear as guests at the Wiener Staatsoper each season.” – The Vienna State Opera

Cologne Opera

Cologne may not be the largest nor most populated city in Germany, but that by no means suggests that the Colognians are any less talented in opera or ballet. The Cologne Opera stands as testament to this fact with its resident opera company of the same name, being regarded among the most spectacular operas in the world. Having undergone extensive renovations since 2012, it is a fantastic institution to visit during any trip to Cologne as its transformation marks a significant step forward in the history of the opera house, which is due to be complete by November 2015.

“Cologne Opera enjoys an outstanding reputation and features performances of a high artistic standard. All performances are accompanied by the prestigious Gürzenich-Orchestra.” – The Cologne Opera

The National Theatre

The National Theatre of the Czech Republic stands as much as a representation of the nation as it does of their operatic and ballet talents. With the founder of the Theatre being the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, it is an institution that the Czechs hold dear and stands as a fantastic place to visit even if you were not already a ballet and opera devotee.

“The National Theatre is the Czech Republic’s representative stage. It is one of the symbols of Czech national identity and a part of the European cultural arena. It is a bearer of national cultural heritage and at the same time an arena for free artistic creativity. The theatre is a living artistic organisation which understands tradition as imposing a task and duty to find constantly new interpretation and an endeavour to achieve the highest artistic quality.

Today’s National Theatre comprises four artistic ensembles – Opera, Drama, Ballet and Laterna magika – which alternate in performances in the historic building of the National Theatre, the State Opera, the Estates Theatre and the New Stage. Opera, Ballet and Drama choose their repertoire not only from the wealth of classical references, but in addition to Czech authors also focus on modern international creative work.” – The National Theatre of the Czech Republic

Bucharest National Opera

Famed ballet dancer Alina Cojocaru, who now stands as the lead principal dancer with the English National Ballet, is from Budapest, as is world-renowned soprano Angela Gheorghiu, which has given the country a reputation for producing quality ballet and opera. The Bucharest National Opera’s first opera was performed in January 1954 as Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades and now stands among the most respected institutions of its kind.

Image Credit: Paul Ott Theater an der Wien

This content was written by Angela Sloan. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.