Burgtheater (Castle Theatre)

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Burgtheater (Castle Theatre) ( 640x480 )
Burgtheater is also known as City Theatre, Federal Theatre or National Theatre, by the Viennese population it is called "die Burg". It is one of the premier theatres in the world and it is considered the top performance hall in German speaking countries. Its address is 1010 Vienna, Dr. Karl-Lueger-Ring 2. Over the years, its theatrical company of more or less regular members has worked out a traditional style and speech characteristic of Burgtheater performances.

The construction of present Burgtheater building began in 1874 and it was designed by Gottfried Semper and Karl von Hasenauer. Although this building was finished just in the year 1888, Burgtheater as such existed also before. Actually, it came into being under the patronage of Empress Maria Theresia in 1748 as theatre “next to the Burg”, so the newly built building got similar name. After the theatre moved, both actors and audiences, however, complained about the bad acoustics and the new Burgtheater no longer enjoyed the reputation of its predecessor. The auditorium was redone in 1897.

As many others buildings in central Vienna it was largely destroyed during the Second World War (firstly by bombing, then by fire of unknown origin) and reconstruction was needed. It was done between the years 1953 and 1955 and the new Burgtheater building was finally inaugurated on October 15, 1955.

The ceiling of the building is lined with frescoes, and a statue of Apollo stands guard over the main entrance on the Ringstrasse. The interior is the height of opulence, decorated in rich red, cream, and gold with marble floors and paintings of great actors on the walls called Burgtheater Gallery (collection of portraits of members of the Burgtheater in the course of its 200-year history). Tours are offered several times a day in various languages.
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