Theater an der Wien
Theater an der Wien, theatre in Vienna´s sixth district, most recent of the 3 famous Viennese "Vorstadttheater", theatres created for the middle classes at the end of the 18th century. (The other two were the Theater in der Josefstadt and theLeopoldstädter Theater.) Built in 1798-1801, the Theater an der Wien was at that time the most modern theatre in the Empire. It was directed by E. Schikaneder first as its owner, later as its director, from 1801 to 1806 (Viennese popular plays and spectacularly staged operas), was sold in 1804 to Baron von Braun, the leaseholder of the court theatre (1805 première of Beethoven´s "Fidelio"), was then directed by a group of aristocrats ("Cavaliersgesellschaft") from 1807 to 1813 and by Count F. Pálffy in the years 1813-1825 (operas, pantomimes, children´s ballets, and plays, 1817 première of Grillparzer's "Die Ahnfrau"). After Pálffy´s financial ruin, it was leased by C. Carl (1827-1845), who established it as the leading theatre among Viennese popular theatres (premières of Nestroy's plays, many of them with J. Nestroy and W. Scholz in the leading roles). Director F. Pokorny (1845-1850) had the theatre renovated and technically modernised and turned it back into an opera theatre (guest appearances by such illustrious singers as Jenny Lind); under the director F. Strampfer (1862-1869) came the definitive changeover to an operetta theatre (particularly with performances of the operettas of J. Offenbach), where artists such as J. Gallmeyer, K. Blasel, and M. Geistinger performed; under the direction of M. Geistinger and M. Steiner (1869-1875), productions were mainly masterpieces of the "golden age" of Viennese operetta (J. Strauss the Younger, K. Millöcker) and popular plays (L. Anzengruber); under the later directors, plays increasingly took a back seat to operetta (with the exception of guest performances by foreign ensembles, with stars such as S. Bernhardt and E. Duse). Following renovations in 1900 by the theatre architects F. Fellner jr. and H. Helmer and under the direction of W. Karczag (1901-1923) and H. Marischka (1923-1935), the Theater an der Wien became the stronghold of post-classical operetta (F.Lehár, E. Kálmán, L. Fall, E. Eysler). Closed during the Second World War, it was used from 1945-1955 by the Vienna State Opera, which had been destroyed by bombing. In 1960 it was bought by the municipality of Vienna and, after extensive renovations by O. Niedermoser, reopened in 1962, from which time the theatre has presented its own productions (musicals), as well as Theater der Jugend (theatre for children and young people) and Vienna Festival performances Wiener Festwochen. In 1981 a state-of-the-art light and sound system was installed, 1983-1988 saw the run of the hit musical "Cats" by A. Lloyd Webber. Since 1987, the Theater an der Wien has belonged to the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien Ges. m. b. H.
Literature: A. Bauer, 150 Jahre Theater an der Wien, 1952; F. Hadamowsky, Das Theater an der Wien, 1962; A. E. Láng, Das Theater an der Wien Vom Singspiel zum Musical, 1976; G. Tolar, So ein Theater! Die Geschichte des Theater an der Wien, 1991.