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September 2023

The stage setting is a drawing room „à la grec“. In the gloomy half-light, a young woman lies dreaming on a couch in the middle of the room. The drawing room is dominated by two large antique statues: at the feet of Apollo, sitting in a chair, one can just make out a dark figure. The young woman stirs uneasily in her sleep. Is she dreaming? The man is watching her – is it perhaps her husband? The sound of a solitary oboe is heard. The figures in the wall paintings appear to come alive. The statue of Dionysus, whose gaze is directed at the sleeping woman, lights up in the darkness. The sound of voices penetrates the walls, reaching the young woman’s ears. She sits up, the painted trees exerting a magical attraction on her, and wistfully laments: „O stay, beloved day.“ She is afraid of the night, particularly the one now falling.

The walls become transparent. A young man lying amidst the foliage suddenly gets up and approaches the woman as she sings. The veil between them falls, and from now on their two worlds become one. The woman becomes Daphne, the young man is Leukippos, the mother becomes Gaea, the father Peneios, and the husband is transformed into Apollo. When Leukippos starts making improper advances, Daphne flees from the reality of the drawing room. Leukippos grumbles to the maid who enters the room. She advises him to put on Daphne’s clothes in order to get closer to her.

Peneios arrives with his herdsmen and sings the praises of Olympus. This idyllic scene is disrupted by the arrival of a stranger. It is Apollo in disguise.Startled, they all flee. Left alone for a moment, Apollo is filled with misgivings about having humiliated himself. Daphne rises from her couch. By the enchanted light of the moon, the sight of her reminds Apollo of his sister Artemis, and he is seized by a great affection for her. Daphne, however, regards the man with suspicion. The stranger confesses that he knows her very well, repeating some of the words that she addressed to the daylight on her first appearance. Believing she has found a kindred soul in Apollo, Daphne rests her head against his chest. When he kisses her passionately, however, she tries to flee.

The celebrations in honour of the god Dionysus are about to begin. A huge mask comes into view. Fauns and nymphs jump out of its mouth, a large wine fountain is produced, and everyone drinks freely from it. Amongst them is Leukippos in disguise, who sidles up to Daphne. She is attracted to this „girl“ by a great affection. They start to dance. When Daphne tries to remove the stranger’s mask, Leukippos becomes violent, throwing Daphne to the groundin order to rape her. At this moment Apollo sees through Leukippos’s disguise,and lets out a cry of rage. He conjures up a storm, and everyone flees: only Daphne, Apollo and Leukippos remain behind. Leukippos demands that Apollo reveal his identity. When Daphne does the same, he tells them who he is: „I am Apollo, god of the sun and the daylight.“ Leukippos curses the god, who immediately kills him. Daphne mourns over the corpse of her erstwhile companion, realising that she belongs to him. Bitterly she rejects Apollo’s advances. Deeply moved, he implores the gods to forgive him for deceiving these mortals. He begs his father Zeus to turn Daphne into a laurel tree. Her branches will be adorn the brows of the finest of men, and she will love Apollo like a sister. As Daphne’s transformation begins, her voice can still be heard for a time. The wall closes up again. The man is still sitting in the dark room, but the couch is now empty.

Program and cast

Vienna State Opera

Public Transport

Subway lines: U1, U2, U4
Trams: 1, 2, D, J, 62, 65
Buses: 59A
Local Railway: Badner Bahn
Stops: Karlsplatz / Opera

Taxi stands are available nearby.


Parking is only € 6, - for eight hours!

The Wiener Staatsoper and the ÖPARK Kärntner Ring Garage on Mahlerstraße 8, under the “Ringstraßengalerien”, offer the patrons of the Vienna State Opera a new, reduced parking fee. You can park in the Kärntner Ring Garage for up to 8 hours and pay only a flat fee of € 6, -. Just validate your ticket at one of the discount machines inside the Wiener Staatsoper. The normal rate will be charged for parking time greater than 8 hours. The validation machines can be found at the following coat checks: Operngasse, Herbert von Karajan-Platz, and the right and left and balcony galleries.

Important: In order to get the discount, please draw a ticket and do not use your credit card when entering the garage!

After devaluing your ticket in the Wiener Staatsoper you can pay comfortably by credit card or cash at the vending machines.

The machines accept coins and bills up to 50.- Euro. Parking time longer than 8 hours will be charged at the normal rate.


The structure of the opera house was planned by the Viennese architect August Sicard von Sicardsburg, while the inside was designed by interior decorator Eduard van der Nüll. It was also impacted by other major artists such as Moritz von Schwind, who painted the frescoes in the foyer, and the famous "Zauberflöten" (“Magic Flute”) series of frescoes on the veranda. Neither of the architects survived to see the opening of ‘their’ opera house: the sensitive van der Nüll committed suicide, and his friend Sicardsburg died of a stroke soon afterwards.


On May 25, 1869, the opera house solemnly opened with Mozart's Don Giovanni in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth.
The popularity of the building grew under the artistic influence of the first directors: Franz von Dingelstedt, Johann Herbeck, Franz Jauner, and Wilhelm Jahn. The Vienna opera experienced its first high point under the direction of Gustav Mahler. He completely transformed the outdated performance system, increased the precision and timing of the performances, and also utilized the experience of other noteworthy artists, such as Alfred Roller, for the formation of new stage aesthetics.


The years 1938 to 1945 were a dark chapter in the history of the opera house. Under the Nazis, many members of the house were driven out, pursued, and killed, and many works were not allowed to be played.


On March 12, 1945, the opera house was devastated during a bombing, but on May 1, 1945, the “State Opera in the Volksoper” opened with a performance of Mozart's THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. On October 6, 1945, the hastily restored “Theaters an der Wien” reopened with Beethoven's FIDELIO. For the next ten years the Vienna State Opera operated in two venues while the true headquarters was being rebuilt at a great expense.


The Secretary of State for Public Works, Julius Raab, announced on May 24, 1945, that reconstruction of the Vienna State Opera would begin immediately. Only the main facade, the grand staircase, and the Schwind Foyer had been spared from the bombs. On November 5, 1955, the Vienna State Opera reopened with a new auditorium and modernized technology. Under the direction of Karl Böhm, Beethoven’s FIDELIO was brilliantly performed, and the opening ceremonies were broadcast by Austrian television. The whole world understood that life was beginning again for this country that had just regained its independence.


Today, the Vienna State Opera is considered one of the most important opera houses in the world; in particular, it is the house with the largest repertoire. It has been under the direction of Dominique Meyer since September 1, 2010.

© Bwag/Commons
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