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150 Years of the Opera House on the Ring - Set

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  • 28.02.2019
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About 150 Years of the Opera House on the Ring

A building with a history

The Vienna State Opera is celebrating its 150th anniversary. For Austrian Post this is a welcome opportunity to celebrate the world-famous cultural institution with an anniversary stamp. The design on the stamp is a collage linking the past and the present of this impressive building.

In 1857 Emperor Franz Joseph I decided to replace the old city wall with a magnificent boulevard, today's Ringstraße. One of the first buildings to be built was an opera house where ballets and operas could be performed in the music and theatre-loving Vienna.

The plans for the Neo-Renaissance style building were drawn up by the architects Eduard van der Nüll and August Sicard von Sicardsburg. Although it originally attracted heavy criticism from the people of Vienna, being described as the architectural equivalent of the disastrous battle of Königgrätz, the opera house on the Ring soon gained acclaim as the ideal venue for staging opera and dance performances.

Following an eight year construction period, the building was finally completed, and on 25thMay 1869 it was ceremoniously opened with a performance of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”attended by the imperial couple, an event which attracted attention not only within the Austro-Hungarian Empire but also around the world. After being destroyed in the Second World War, the building celebrated its reopening in 1955 and became a symbol for the resurrection of Austria. The commemorative stamp to celebrate this special anniversary will be issued on 28th February 2019, this also being the date of the annual traditional Vienna Opera Ball.

A world-class cultural institution

Throughout its 150 years, the history of the opera house on the Ring has always been marked by the great artists of the day. The Vienna State Opera is considered one of the most important opera houses in the world, with the defining artists of every season having passed through its doors. Over the course of 300 evenings, around 50 different operas and 10 ballets are performed each year. The cultural institution is the most visited opera house in the world (with occupancy at around 99 percent) and the opinion voiced by an impressedGiuseppe Verdi after a visit to the opera house on the Ring is one shared by many: “It issaid that Vienna has the foremost opera house in the world – and this is an opinion to which I too ascribe!”