Wiener Kammeroper:
Vienna′s Fourth (& smallest) Opera House

Vienna has three "famous" opera houses - and the "Wiener Kammeroper". The famous ones are the Staatsoper (of course), the Volksoper and the Theater an der Wien. The Kammeroper enjoys a specialist niche and lives a hidden life - it took me more than a year of living in Vienna before I heard of its existence for the first time. While this might tell you at least as much about me as it does about the Kammeroper, it really doesn′t get the same kind of media attention that other opera venues in Vienna do. Which is pretty mean, since the program of the Kammeroper is small, but exquisite.

It aims to produce Baroque opera usually not performed elsewhere in Vienna, Opera buffa and contemporary opera - all off the mainstream of the opera world. The Kammeroper tries to be a venue for young artists and talents that still need to be discovered. Which, in a way, applies to the opera itself as well.

The Wiener Kammeroper was founded in 1948 as the "Wiener Opern Studio" for touring productions. In 1953, it was reformed as the "Wiener Kammeroper" and formalised with the aid of the Hungarian conductor Hans Gabor. For the first seasons, the Kammeroper rented the Mozartsaal in the Konzerthaus.

New Venue for the Kammeroper of Vienna

From 1954, the theatre at Schloss Schönbrunn Palace served as an additional venue during the summer months. By 1961, the Kammeroper had earned itself a reputation for rare opera productions at high quality. This year, it purchased a performance venue at the Fleischmarkt in Vienna′s historic city centre.

In the 1980ies, Hans Gabor retired from the opera′s management. Still quite active in the musical world of Vienna, he started a singing competition that turned into a major recruiting event for classical performers. This influenced the Kammeroper quite positively, and today, the two things - Kammeroper and Gabor competition - are still important stepping stones for the careers of young singers. Every year, only four operas are produced, usually a fine blend of forgotten Baroque compositions and contemporary works, often performed for the first time in the German-speaking world.

Nearby attractions include pretty much everything worth noting in the city centre of Vienna - but in particularly close distance, you find the Staatsoper, the Albertina, the Hofburg, the Jewish Museum and the Hoher Markt Square.

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Further Reading

Official website of the Vienna Chamber Opera

Wikipedia is surprisingly thorough on Vienna Kammeroper